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Opinion

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Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a New Year's address in Beijing.(AP)

China is an economic winner, not an economic leader

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON JAN 18, 2021 10:46 AM IST
Even as Beijing posts impressive GDP figures, it’s a long way from setting the direction for global policy.
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It’s obvious now. The internet, once the promised land of free and open interactions for all, is now controlled by a few gigantic technology companies — often referred to as Big Tech. These companies include Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google, Microsoft, Paypal, and some others. (AP)
It’s obvious now. The internet, once the promised land of free and open interactions for all, is now controlled by a few gigantic technology companies — often referred to as Big Tech. These companies include Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google, Microsoft, Paypal, and some others. (AP)

India must lead in regulating Big Tech

By Jayant Sinha and Rajeev Chandrasekhar
UPDATED ON JAN 17, 2021 07:00 PM IST
Big Tech firms have played a transformative role. But they enjoy power without accountability. Rein them in
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United States President-elect Joe Biden will begin his term on January 20, 2021, by signing executive orders to return the country to the Paris Climate Agreement (AFP)
United States President-elect Joe Biden will begin his term on January 20, 2021, by signing executive orders to return the country to the Paris Climate Agreement (AFP)

Washington’s return to the Paris climate accord is a significant step. Build on it

PUBLISHED ON JAN 17, 2021 06:59 PM IST
With Mr Biden in the saddle and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment to the issue — India has done well on its Paris commitments — the US must support India on mitigation, capacity-building in renewable energy, financing, data-sharing, Indian Ocean monitoring, and phasing out hydrofluorocarbons.
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Farmers during their agitation over new farm reform laws, Singhu border, New Delhi, January 15, 2021 (PTI)
Farmers during their agitation over new farm reform laws, Singhu border, New Delhi, January 15, 2021 (PTI)

What the farm stir can learn from Gandhi

By Shashi Shekhar
UPDATED ON JAN 17, 2021 06:58 PM IST
Every protest has a window of effectiveness. As the struggle gets prolonged, people’s goodwill decreases
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A medical worker inoculates a colleague with a Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine, Mumbai, January 16, 2021 (AFP)
A medical worker inoculates a colleague with a Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine, Mumbai, January 16, 2021 (AFP)

Building a stronger scientific ecosystem to fight future crises

By Renu Swarup
UPDATED ON JAN 17, 2021 06:54 PM IST
The year 2020 put a spotlight on the capability, resilience and adaptability of the Indian scientific ecosystem. In 2021, we are confident of having a much stronger science-based response to any challenge we may face in the future.
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There are bound to be glitches — a power breakdown that ruins some doses; delays in the vaccine reaching some remote corners of the country; at least, some jumping of queues. But this is an exercise that India will manage well. If all goes well, a month from now, the country could well have more people who have received at least one dose of the vaccine than any other country (AFP)
There are bound to be glitches — a power breakdown that ruins some doses; delays in the vaccine reaching some remote corners of the country; at least, some jumping of queues. But this is an exercise that India will manage well. If all goes well, a month from now, the country could well have more people who have received at least one dose of the vaccine than any other country (AFP)

In India, the story of Covid-19 vaccines

UPDATED ON JAN 16, 2021 11:39 PM IST
India has done well. The rollout of the vaccines, despite a set of concerns, is a scientific milestone. But the State must, now, plan ahead
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Since its inception, WhatsApp has claimed security and privacy as its core DNA. With its new “take-it-or-leave-it” policy, Whatsapp essentially threatened users of deleting their accounts, unless they accept the new terms before May (AFP)
Since its inception, WhatsApp has claimed security and privacy as its core DNA. With its new “take-it-or-leave-it” policy, Whatsapp essentially threatened users of deleting their accounts, unless they accept the new terms before May (AFP)

Making privacy a mainstream debate

By Prabhu Ram
PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 07:09 PM IST
While messages remain secure and encrypted, as Facebook seeks to build more tighter cross-platform integration across its ecosystem, the user data on WhatsApp could fall prey to it through data sharing or targeted and precise advertising
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When Sitharaman weighs up the short-term political consequences of following the advice she is receiving, I’m sure she will be aware of the longer-term political consequence of getting the arithmetic wrong (Mohd Zakir/HT PHOTO)
When Sitharaman weighs up the short-term political consequences of following the advice she is receiving, I’m sure she will be aware of the longer-term political consequence of getting the arithmetic wrong (Mohd Zakir/HT PHOTO)

Budget 2021: Balance economics with politics

By Mark Tully
UPDATED ON JAN 16, 2021 11:50 PM IST
With the budget just over two weeks away, economist after economist is calling on finance minister (FM) Nirmala Sitharaman to spend, spend and spend
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Outlawing smoking in public places such as hotels, restaurants, cinema halls and bars is something we have accepted (AFP photo)
Outlawing smoking in public places such as hotels, restaurants, cinema halls and bars is something we have accepted (AFP photo)

Where the State should step back

PUBLISHED ON JAN 16, 2021 06:55 PM IST
I can understand bans on smoking in areas or circumstances where others who are not smoking get affected. But when an adult smokes on his own, the government has no business to intervene
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The incoming Joe Biden administration will avoid many of the personality-related pitfalls of its predecessor, and the presence of a core group of advisers in key security agencies suggests that coordination may be better than the first Obama term (REUTERS)
The incoming Joe Biden administration will avoid many of the personality-related pitfalls of its predecessor, and the presence of a core group of advisers in key security agencies suggests that coordination may be better than the first Obama term (REUTERS)

All the President’s men and women

By Dhruva Jaishankar
PUBLISHED ON JAN 15, 2021 07:02 PM IST
The incoming US national security and foreign policy team looks, on paper, to be one of the most experienced in history. How it translates into outcomes is to be seen
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While such incidents have raised issues of institutional discrimination, there are constant attempts, as was also done in Vemula’s case, to evade institutional accountability by attributing these instances as being incident-specific. (Sanchit Khanna/HT PHOTO)
While such incidents have raised issues of institutional discrimination, there are constant attempts, as was also done in Vemula’s case, to evade institutional accountability by attributing these instances as being incident-specific. (Sanchit Khanna/HT PHOTO)

The modern form of institutionalised casteism

By Anurag Bhaskar
PUBLISHED ON JAN 15, 2021 06:44 PM IST
India needs to move beyond tokenism of having one Dalit chief justice or two Dalit presidents, and ensure adequate representation to its Dalit and Adivasi citizens in all fields
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Pro-Trump protesters storm the Capitol Building, January 6. (REUTERS)
Pro-Trump protesters storm the Capitol Building, January 6. (REUTERS)

The psychology of Trump’s supporters

By Yashwant Raj
PUBLISHED ON JAN 15, 2021 06:35 PM IST
As President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the United States (US) Capitol on January 6, I wondered if a man I had interviewed at a Trump rally in Pennsylvania was among them.
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There are many common problems in smallholder agriculture, such as low productivity, investments and market access, which keep farm incomes low across India (PTI)
There are many common problems in smallholder agriculture, such as low productivity, investments and market access, which keep farm incomes low across India (PTI)

Farm laws: What India can learn from Kenya’s agri experiment

By Swati Dhingra
UPDATED ON JAN 15, 2021 08:38 AM IST
Recent research at the London School of Economics examines a decade of high-quality farmer-buyer data from Kenya during a period when it introduced radical farm laws to encourage agri-businesses to determine impacts on small farmers
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At the heart of the conflict is an acute trust deficit, a deepening mistrust of the nexus between untrammelled State power and big business (Biplov Bhuyan/HT PHOTO)
At the heart of the conflict is an acute trust deficit, a deepening mistrust of the nexus between untrammelled State power and big business (Biplov Bhuyan/HT PHOTO)

The anti-corporate texture of farm protests

UPDATED ON JAN 15, 2021 08:38 AM IST
It is symbolic of a wider discontent against emerging market monopolies and fears of this being replicated in the agricultural sector
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Countries concerned about China’s dominance are likely to prioritise strategic implications of investments over India’s economic inefficiencies (AP)
Countries concerned about China’s dominance are likely to prioritise strategic implications of investments over India’s economic inefficiencies (AP)

Weaning away foreign investment from China

By Manoj Kewalramani
PUBLISHED ON JAN 14, 2021 07:29 PM IST
Capitalising on emergent geopolitical trends entails working with like-minded partners focusing on sectors with national security implications
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Despite all efforts, the gross domestic expenditure on R&D as a fraction of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has declined from 0.8% in 2010 to 0.6% in 2018. It has been hovering around this level for more than two decades. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Despite all efforts, the gross domestic expenditure on R&D as a fraction of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has declined from 0.8% in 2010 to 0.6% in 2018. It has been hovering around this level for more than two decades. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

To truly become self-reliant, invest in research and development

By Rahul Mazumdar
PUBLISHED ON JAN 13, 2021 08:30 PM IST
India has always been found lacking in terms of academia-industry linkages. This is a bedrock in developed economies.
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The British Raj responded as it did in Champaran 104 years ago. Swaraj must do likewise and enter its 75th year with the glow of the health and happiness of farmers on its forehead. This is its “indigo moment”. (Sameer Sehgal/HTPhoto)
The British Raj responded as it did in Champaran 104 years ago. Swaraj must do likewise and enter its 75th year with the glow of the health and happiness of farmers on its forehead. This is its “indigo moment”. (Sameer Sehgal/HTPhoto)

Champaran to Singhu: A tale of two satyagrahas

PUBLISHED ON JAN 13, 2021 07:47 PM IST
To assuage the protesting farmers, the Centre must suspend the Acts indefinitely, refer demands to the Inter-State Council; and call a Parliament session
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When Facebook gains the data on a billion Indians, it will be able to hold the Indian government hostage too. It didn’t dare to pull this stunt in Europe because of the General Data Protection Regulations (AP)
When Facebook gains the data on a billion Indians, it will be able to hold the Indian government hostage too. It didn’t dare to pull this stunt in Europe because of the General Data Protection Regulations (AP)

At the mercy of big tech billionaires

By Vivek Wadhwa
PUBLISHED ON JAN 13, 2021 07:46 PM IST
India needs stringent data protection laws. It also needs to encourage its tech industry to develop competitive social media products
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Data as a beneficial good is also covered in the Economic Survey 2019, which proposed that data gathered by governments on issues of social interest ought to be democratised in the interest of social welfare, or made a public good (Indranil Bhoumik/mint)
Data as a beneficial good is also covered in the Economic Survey 2019, which proposed that data gathered by governments on issues of social interest ought to be democratised in the interest of social welfare, or made a public good (Indranil Bhoumik/mint)

Data can be an asset for governance, growth and public welfare

By Amitabh Kant and Desh Gaurav Sekhri
PUBLISHED ON JAN 12, 2021 08:16 PM IST
Data is a critical component for measurable and actionable governance and policy perspectives, as well as for triggering innovation and growth
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Experts say preventing bird flu is not possible as little research has been done on the virus-carrying capability of migratory birds in CAF (Parveen Kumar/Hindustan Times)
Experts say preventing bird flu is not possible as little research has been done on the virus-carrying capability of migratory birds in CAF (Parveen Kumar/Hindustan Times)

Handling the avian flu crisis | HT Editorial

PUBLISHED ON JAN 12, 2021 08:00 PM IST
2021 has started with an unprecedented bird flu epidemic in India, causing the death of thousands of wild and poultry birds in 10 states and bleeding the fast-growing poultry industry for a second time over the past year
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Assam, Jan 11 (ANI): BJP national president J.P. Nadda addresses the BJP supporters during a public meeting, at the Police parade ground in Silchar on Monday. (ANI)
Assam, Jan 11 (ANI): BJP national president J.P. Nadda addresses the BJP supporters during a public meeting, at the Police parade ground in Silchar on Monday. (ANI)

The BJP’s political pitch in Assam | HT Editorial

PUBLISHED ON JAN 12, 2021 08:00 PM IST
Even as it starts out as the favourite, the BJP must be careful in how it navigates the historical tensions on identity in the region
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Every year, floods and droughts affect 97.5 million and 140 million people, respectively (UDAY DEOLEKAR)
Every year, floods and droughts affect 97.5 million and 140 million people, respectively (UDAY DEOLEKAR)

Commit to a decade of climate resilience

By Arunabha Ghosh
PUBLISHED ON JAN 12, 2021 07:58 PM IST
India’s vulnerability to climate risks, growing experience with handling disasters, and new initiatives to strengthen infrastructure position it at the forefront for an adaptation action agenda
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State-provided salaries for housewives can work alongside investment in public services, infrastructure and social protection policies and improved access to education, decent jobs and workplace protection (Shutterstock)
State-provided salaries for housewives can work alongside investment in public services, infrastructure and social protection policies and improved access to education, decent jobs and workplace protection (Shutterstock)

Opening the black box of marriage

By Prabha Kotiswaran
UPDATED ON JAN 12, 2021 07:58 PM IST
There has been a debate recently over salaries for housewives
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Our study found an absence of in-group bias in one context, but it does not rule out other forms of bias in India’s legal system as a whole (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Our study found an absence of in-group bias in one context, but it does not rule out other forms of bias in India’s legal system as a whole (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

In India’s lower judiciary, the absence of in-group bias

By Sam Asher, Paul Novosad and Aditi Bhowmick
UPDATED ON JAN 11, 2021 10:59 PM IST
There is evidence from around the world that judges discriminate in favour of litigants who share their identity. In contrast, we find no evidence of in-group bias by gender or religion in India’s lower judiciary.
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A farmer holds a placard during their ongoing protest against new farm laws, Singhu border, Delhi, January 10, 2020 (ANI)
A farmer holds a placard during their ongoing protest against new farm laws, Singhu border, Delhi, January 10, 2020 (ANI)

Listen to the voice of protesting farmers

By Kapil Sibal
PUBLISHED ON JAN 11, 2021 08:05 PM IST
Farmers have low incomes, high debts, and go through great insecurity. The State must continue to support agriculture
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An explosion caused by a police munition is seen while supporters of US President Donald Trump gather in front of the US Capitol Building in Washington, January 6, 2021. (REUTERS)
An explosion caused by a police munition is seen while supporters of US President Donald Trump gather in front of the US Capitol Building in Washington, January 6, 2021. (REUTERS)

Tracing the roots of an American brand of extremism

By Kabir Taneja and Prithvi Iyer
UPDATED ON JAN 11, 2021 08:17 PM IST
Trump’s ambivalence towards such groups have emboldened them and with these groups now being increasingly cornered as social media platforms banned Trump and his ecosystem, the threat of Right-wing extremism may assume a different form but will persist.
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On January 11, 2021, a Supreme Court bench, led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde, reprimanded the executive for failing to manage the farm protests, and suggested it would stay the implementation of the laws (Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)
On January 11, 2021, a Supreme Court bench, led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde, reprimanded the executive for failing to manage the farm protests, and suggested it would stay the implementation of the laws (Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)

It is time for some prose

PUBLISHED ON JAN 11, 2021 07:32 PM IST
On Monday, a Supreme Court bench, led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde, reprimanded the executive for failing to manage the farm protests, and suggested it would stay the implementation of the laws
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India's Ajinkya Rahane, left, and Cheteshwar Pujara at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney, Australia, January 8, 2021 (AP)
India's Ajinkya Rahane, left, and Cheteshwar Pujara at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney, Australia, January 8, 2021 (AP)

In Sydney, when a draw was a win

PUBLISHED ON JAN 11, 2021 06:10 PM IST
There was grit and fight in spades. A match was saved. It was a draw that was better than many wins.
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The Indian State, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has stepped up its engagement with Indians and those of Indian-origin abroad. (PTI)
The Indian State, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has stepped up its engagement with Indians and those of Indian-origin abroad. (PTI)

The diaspora dilemma | HT Editorial

PUBLISHED ON JAN 10, 2021 09:24 PM IST
Over the weekend, India marked its 16th annual Pravasi Bharatiya Divas — an occasion to reach out to India’s vast diaspora (which includes both Indian-origin foreign citizens as well as non-resident Indians), celebrate their achievements, connect them to their roots, and provide a framework for the diaspora’s engagement with India’s development story back home
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Conspiracy theories are a part of what motivated the mob at the US Capitol. While belief in conspiracy theories is not new, technology has helped bridge the distance between the fringe and the centre-stage (AP)
Conspiracy theories are a part of what motivated the mob at the US Capitol. While belief in conspiracy theories is not new, technology has helped bridge the distance between the fringe and the centre-stage (AP)

At stake, the future of democracy

PUBLISHED ON JAN 10, 2021 09:24 PM IST
The roots of the attack on the Capitol can be traced to an alternative, fact-free, conspiracy theory based narrative, fuelled by technology
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