India’s Combat Helicopter: Re-Discovering Self-Reliance?

ON October 3, 2022, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL)’s indigenously-designed and produced Light Combat Helicopter (LCH) was formally inducted into the Indian Air Force in Jodhpur in the presence of the defence minister who named the aircraft ‘Prachanda’ or fearless. “The induction of LCH underlines the fact that just as the country trusts the Indian Air Force, the IAF equally trusts the indigenous equipment,” the minister said.

The Draft Telecom Bill: A Surveillance Paradise and a Gift to Telecom Monopolies

THE government has recently released a Draft Indian Telecommunication Bill, 2022, for public comments. At the same time, the union government has withdrawn the Personal Data Protection Bill, which had been in the making for five years. This bill was to give a framework for the citizens' privacy rights, based on the Supreme Court's Puttuswamy Judgement declaring privacy as a fundamental right. However, the citizens' rights still remain undefined. In contrast, the government's powers over what citizens can do, see or hear are vastly increased.

DART Hits Bulls-Eye!

ONE of the more striking (pardon the pun!) of recent space projects came to the first stage of fruition on  September 26, 2022 when a small spacecraft crashed into an asteroid 11 million kilometers away from Earth. The US National Aeronautics and Space Agency’s (NASA) Double Asteroid Redirection Test or DART sought to deliberately hit the small asteroid Dimorphos with the objective of knocking it off its usual trajectory in a technology demonstration that could, someday, be used to actually deflect an asteroid from a collision course with Earth.

Queen Elizabeth II: The Apology that Never Came

HOW should we remember Queen Elizabeth II and her 70 years on the British throne? A number of people have reacted to the glorification of her rule, pointing out the British Royals' direct connection to the slave trade, Britain's colonial massacres, and its loot from the colonies. Britain's wealth was built on the blood and sweat of people who lost their land and homes and are today poor countries.

Aircraft Carrier Vikrant and Self-Reliance

INDIA’S first indigenously built aircraft carrier, named INS Vikrant and assigned the same ensign number R-11 as its illustrious predecessor, was commissioned and joined service with the Indian Navy on September 2, 2022 at a ceremony in Kochi in the presence of the prime minister and defence minister. Every Indian must of course be proud of this achievement which, with all the many hurdles it has overcome, has taken 17 long years for fruition, spanning the terms of many governments.

When Market Fundamentalism Overcomes Common Sense: The Myth of Electricity Markets

THE price of electricity has risen astronomically in Europe over the last two years: by four times over the previous year and ten times over the last two years. The European Union (EU) has tried to claim that this rise in prices is due to the increase in the price of gas in the international market and Russia not supplying enough gas.

US-China Chip War Continues

AS the tension between the US and China mounts as a fall-out of Nancy Pelosi's provocative Taiwan visit, the technology war between the two is also taking a new turn. Both houses in the US Congress have approved a $280 billion plan – The Chips and Science Act – to boost US chip manufacturing. Currently, 75 per cent of chip manufacturing in the world takes place in East Asia, centred around Taiwan, South Korea and China.

Two Hundred Years of Mendel’s Genetic Revolution And the Fight against Scientific Racism

IN July this year, the world is celebrating 200 years of Gregor Mendel's birth, widely accepted as the father of genetics. His experiments with peas, published in 1866 as Experiments in Plant Hybridisation, identified dominant and recessive traits and how recessive traits would reappear in future generations and in what proportion. Nevertheless, it was to lie unacknowledged and ignored till three other biologists replicated his work in 1900.