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India Today

India Today April 27, 2020

India Today is the leading news magazine and most widely read publication in India. The magazine’s leadership is unquestioned, so much so that India Today is what Indian journalism is judged by, for its integrity and ability to bring unbiased and incisive perspective to arguably the most dynamic, yet perplexing, region in the world. Breaking news and shaping opinion, it is now a household name and the flagship brand of India’s leading multidimensional media group. Additionally, the weekly brings with it a range supplements like Women, Home, Aspire, Spice and Simply which focus on style, health, education, fashion, etc. and Indian cities.

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5 Min.

As the deadly coronavirus rages across the world, it has put many facets of a country to test—its medical infrastructure, its economy, its social security net, the discipline of its people and the nature of its polity. Most importantly, it has tested the mettle of its leaders. The president of one of the richest and most powerful countries in the world—the idiosyncratic Donald Trump—has been floundering, with disastrous consequences. He was first in denial of the crisis, then he acted too late, causing confusion with dubious medical advice, quarrelling with state governors over jurisdiction, seeming more interested in reviving the economy than in saving lives and, in a final piece de resistance, withdrawing funding from the World Health Organization. No wonder, the US is the worst hit in terms of…

6 Min.
the ‘long arm’ of an app

In his April 14 address that announced the extension of the coronavirus lockdown till May 3, Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealed to Indians to follow a seven-pronged strategy to combat the pandemic. One of the measures was to download the Aarogya Setu contact-tracing app. The app, conceived by NITI Aayog, has been developed in two weeks by the National Informatics Centre in collaboration with the developers of makemytrip.com and 1mg.com. Aarogya Setu is designed on the premise that if two mobile phones are within Bluetooth range of each other, their users are potentially close enough to transmit the novel coronavirus to one another. Since its launch on April 2, the app, which is available in 11 Indian languages, has registered nearly 50 million downloads. A World Bank report released on April…

1 Min.
how aarogya setu works

The Aarogya Setu contact-tracing app is a key resource addition in India’s fight against COVID-19, garnering nearly 50 million downloads in less than a fortnight besides praise in a World Bank report. Its design, however, has raised the hackles of privacy advocates and cybersecurity experts, who feel the app seeks too much personal information. They are not convinced by the official assertion that only data of COVID-positive users is uploaded to the central server—in anonymised form—and purged 60 days after such users have been declared cured. A PERSONAL DETAILS SOUGHT (while downloading app) B APP’S ACCESS Knows your GPS location METHOD 1 Personal information and location data are stored on the user’s mobile phone and a unique device ID number (DiD) is generated. The app can log data from all mobile devices within the Bluetooth range of…

3 Min.
building a post-covid reality

It hardly needs stating that the first two decades of this century have led humanity into serial crises. Climate change, terrorism, economic meltdowns, growing nationalism, viral attacks and, finally, a pandemic. The rising cascade of catastrophes seems to be our selected path into the future. It is obvious that most such disasters are the result of failing political and economic policies, coupled with the lack of will and consensus between governments. Just look at global ambitions related to climate change: as part of the Paris Agreement, governments grudgingly agreed to limit global temperature rise to less than two degrees; all this while cyclones, forest fires and famines will continue. Unwilling to give up ingrained food choices like dairy and beef—whose production contributes to global warming—some people may switch to cultured meat…

5 Min.
crisis cuts to the bone

Atif Parvez, 28, a poultry farmer in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur district, is a worried man. Prices of broiler chicken have nearly halved in the state, from Rs 90-110 a kg in December to Rs 50 in early April, first on rumours that chicken meat and eggs caused COVID-19 and later from the lockdown. His costs are around Rs 65 a chicken, including chicken feed and staff wages. “If costs can’t be recovered, what’s the point of running a business?” he asks. India’s poultry sector is valued at about Rs 80,000 crore (2015-16), according to the Department of Animal Husbandry, and broadly divided into two areas—the organised commercial sector, with about 80 per cent of the market, and the unorganised or ‘backyard poultry’ sector. According to the Livestock Census 2019, India had…

3 Min.
how to run a country

A shopping bag of reforms—Arvind Panagariya’s book essentially outlines what he would do if he were India’s prime minister Arvind Panagariya is a prolific writer. He has written 20 books, 170 academic papers and twice as many press articles in a career of 47 years and lists being the prime minister’s Sherpa in three G20 meetings among his exceptional honours. Economists learn policy-making as a part of their curriculum. Few find any use for it—except to comment on policies—but many harbour the ambition to apply it. Panagariya is keen on making policy. He spent a couple of years as the first vice-chairman of NITI Aayog immediately after it replaced Planning Commission. He said he left because he prized his Columbia professorship; but the hard work he put into making NITI Aayog…