Code on Wages Bill, 2019

Context The new Parliament passed the Code on Wages Bill, 2019 mandating a minimum wage across the country in its first session itself. Concern with the Bill: This law mandates a universal minimum payment of ₹178 a day. There is some excitement and lots of disappointment all around. For one, the wage prescribed Read More …

What fertility rate data show

Context The graph (below) shows trends for the total fertility rate (TFR) in various states. TFR, defined as the number of children born to a woman until the end of her child-bearing age, is a key indicator for population trends. The graph is based on TFR data from the Sample Read More …

A Cure to Ebola

Context: A randomised trial has shown two candidate drugs to be highly effective in curing Ebola, especially if treatment is started early. Background: In 2018, Ebola struck the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), making 2,619 people ill and killing 1,823 (overall fatality rate of about 67%). The first step towards finding a cure was Read More …

Transgender Persons (Protection Of Rights) Bill

Context: The Lok Sabha recently passed the Transgender Persons (Protection Of Rights) Bill. Highlights of the Bill:  According to the Bill, a transgender is a person whose gender does not match with the one assigned at birth and includes transman or transwoman (whether or not such person has undergone sex Read More …

Lessons after the great deluge

Context The unique geography of Kerala, with its steep climbdown from 900m high elevations of the Western Ghats to the coast of Malabar, has resulted in a land with a vast riverine network. There are no less than 44 fast flowing rivers that drain the rainwater Kerala is blessed with into Read More …

What is zero budget natural farming?

Context Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman thrust zero budget farming into the spotlight in the first Budget speech of the 17th Lok Sabha earlier this month, calling for a “back to the basics” approach. She said, “We need to replicate this innovative model through which in a few States, farmers are Read More …

US Federal Reserves rate cut and its impact on India

Context the United States Federal Reserve announced a quarter-percentage-point cut in interest rates — the first rate cut in 11 years. What makes this rate-cut action — the first since the global financial crisis broke in 2008 — more significant is that barely six months previously, the US Fed was on a Read More …

What are the UAPA amendments?

Context The Unlawful Activities Prevention Amendment (UAPA) Bill is an anti-terror legislation that seeks to designate an individual as a “terrorist”. On July 24, Lok Sabha cleared the changes to the existing law, but Opposition parties and civil liberties lawyers have criticised the Bill, arguing it could be used to Read More …

The rise of unemployment rate, within various religious groups

Context Union Minister for Minority Affairs presented in Lok Sabha data on the rates of unemployment across major religious groups over the last three unemployment surveys conducted by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) and the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS). The three sets of data correspond to the Employment and Read More …

Time to articulate a ‘Moral Code of Conduct’

Context Of late, the poisoning of public discourse in India through frequent invocation of religion by politicians has reached alarming levels. Conventionally, the place of religion in politics has been examined with reference to the secular scheme of the Constitution. Leaders have taken recourse to deeming secularism as ‘undesirable’ and giving semantic Read More …