News & Politics
India Today

India Today August 3, 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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52 Issues

in this issue

5 min.
from the editor-in-chief

In December 2002, while travelling with Narendra Modi on his campaign for his first state election in Gujarat, I was taken aback when in our casual chat he said: “Do you know the biggest tragedy of recent Indian politics is the decline of the Congress as a national party. The country would have been better off with two pan-national parties.” Little did I, or perhaps even he, know at the time that he would be the one to push them into insignificance. That’s not his fault. It is what opposing parties are supposed to do to each other. However, a robust Opposition is central to the functioning of a vibrant democracy. It presents a viable alternative to the incumbent government, promotes responsible debate and democratic discussion and holds the government…

4 min.
a shot at immunity

The last time Pranav Sharma (name changed on request) was at AIIMS, Delhi, it was for the birth of his best friend’s son. The 33-year-old, however, returned to the institute on July 20 as one of 1,124 individuals being screened for a Covid vaccine trial, and who will receive a dose of the indigenously developed Covaxin as part of the ongoing Phase 1 and 2 of the trial. “It is for the greater good of our planet,” he says. Not all of the 375 people to be studied in Phase 1 and the 750 in Phase 2 are likely to contract the killer virus. It depends on the movement and environment of these volunteers. But their initial response to the vaccine will show whether it is safe to use, and whether…

1 min.
the frontrunners

Oxford University and Astra Zeneca The vaccine uses a non-replicating virus and is the first to have published its safety and efficacy in Phase 1 and 2 trials; it has now advanced to Phase 3 Moderna Trials are still in Phase 2; Phase 3 is expected to start at the end of the month. This is the only mRNA vaccine to have advanced to Phase 3. Wuhan Institute of Biological Products/ Sinovac It has begun recruiting for Phase 3 trials in Bangladesh and the UAE, but there’s no peer-reviewed data at present Beijing Institute of Biological Products/ Sinopharm Preliminary studies showed promising results with antibodies, but data is not available yet for peer review. Company expects the vaccine to be ready by year-end. 155 vaccine candidates across the globe 23 have begun human trials…

3 min.
return of the maoists

On July 14 and 15, armed cadres of the outlawed Communist Party of India (Maoist) got into firefights with the police at three places close to Telangana’s borders with Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra, signalling their return to the state after a six-year hiatus. The militants have mostly stayed away since the formation of Telangana in 2014, except to recuperate in safe havens while on a break from activities in Chhattisgarh’s tribal areas. With the central and state security forces turning up the heat in those areas under Operation Prahar, the new CPI (Maoist) central committee (it was reorganised at the start of the year) is looking for alternative bases in the home state of their founder, Kondapalli Seetharamaiah. The new 21-member committee has 10 nominees from Telangana, four from Jharkhand, two each…

3 min.
the private fallacy

The book analyses five domains to argue how private intervention is inadequate to respond to public policy failures The principal premise of this book is that citizens who can afford to, respond to India’s public policy failures through private initiative and that this is neither optimal nor adequate. This is shown in five domains: water, health, education, power and security. The author makes his case with an impressive combination of historical analysis, policy initiatives, cited research and individual case studies of private responses. This would seem to be quite a challenge to coherence, but I found it superbly addressed. The narrative in each chapter is well stitched together and, at the conclusion, one is left with a clear geography of the problem and the response. The first chapter begins with a disturbing story…

5 min.
caught in the storm

A narrow 5 km-long embankment along the Ichhamati river’s tributary Dnasha in the North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal has become home for some 2,000 displaced people from the nearby Bainara village in Hingalganj. Ever since Cyclone Amphan struck on May 20, families have been camping here—some with their cattle—in makeshift shelters, made of plastic sheets, saris and even lungis strung on bamboo poles. The makeshift shelters are no protection from the scorching sun and heat nor the lashing rain that beats down periodically, but they have nowhere to go. High-velocity winds and rain caused massive devastation in six of the 16 districts Amphan barrelled through. Over 100 lives were lost, 100,000 ha of crops inundated and at least a million houses destroyed. The Trinamool Congress (TMC) government pegs the…