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

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.
PUBLISHED ON JAN 17, 2021 06:59 PM IST

United States (US) President-elect Joe Biden will begin his term on Wednesday by signing executive orders to return the country to the Paris Climate Agreement (PCA). In a memo, Mr Biden’s chief of staff, Ron Klain, noted that the US is facing “four overlapping and compounding crises; the Covid-19 crisis, the resulting economic crisis, the climate crisis, and a racial equity crisis,” which “demand urgent action”. The Biden administration’s decision to return to PCA (the US issued a formal exit notice on November 4, 2019, which took effect on November 4, 2020) reverses one of the most controversial — and damaging — decisions of Mr Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, a climate sceptic. In the run-up to the election, Mr Biden had promised that one of his priorities would be to build a more resilient, sustainable economy — one that will put the US on an irreversible path to achieve net-zero emissions, economy-wide, by no later than 2050, and also lead an effort to get every major country to ramp up the ambition of their domestic climate targets.

The 2015 Paris agreement is the first truly legally binding global treaty to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels. Mr Trump’s decision to withdraw the US, one of the world’s largest economies and emitters, cast a shadow on the deal because the US has a historical responsibility to not just reduce its own emissions but also provide financial resources to developing countries to deal with the crisis, their adaptation requirements and green technology. In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic elbowed out the climate crisis from the global agenda, but, at the same time, it underlined the urgent need to take stronger measures to offset the debilitating impact of the climate crisis on the environment and humans. The return of the US to the accord (and the arrival of the vaccines to deal with the pandemic) will hopefully help the world reset its focus on the crisis.

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 hydroflu-orocarbons. A green partnership between two of the world’s biggest economies is not just critical for both nations, but can also become a template for the world to “build back better” after the pandemic.

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The single-most important geopolitical development of the last few months has been India making it clear to Beijing and to the world that it is possible to resist Chinese aggression successfully (ANI)
The single-most important geopolitical development of the last few months has been India making it clear to Beijing and to the world that it is possible to resist Chinese aggression successfully (ANI)

New Delhi’s new regional calculus

By Harsh V Pant
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 08:13 PM IST
India is giving peace a chance from a position of strength, after showing it can adequately defend its interests when challenged
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Education remained the one tool for social mobility, but women were still expected to use fairness creams to be marriageable. (Bloomberg)
Education remained the one tool for social mobility, but women were still expected to use fairness creams to be marriageable. (Bloomberg)

The changing nature of urban homes and women’s lives

By Rukmini Sen
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 07:25 PM IST
This pandemic highlighted the gendered implications of work-from-home and stay-at-home — in terms of increased labour and violence. The home remains a nuclear, heterosexual, marriage-reproduction-based space. A renewed political discussion around housework is needed as much as a re-articulation of what relationalities constitute this home.
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Supporters of India's ruling Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) shout slogans, during a rally supporting the implementation of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizenship (NRC), Kolkata, December. 23, 2019 (AP)
Supporters of India's ruling Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) shout slogans, during a rally supporting the implementation of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizenship (NRC), Kolkata, December. 23, 2019 (AP)

In Bengal, the BJP’s now-or-never moment

By Sandip Ghose
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 07:25 PM IST
With successive state governments at perpetual loggerheads with Delhi for over 50 years, there is a widespread feeling that Bengal has missed the development train. Therefore, Bengal’s voters may like to give the BJP’s promise of a “Double Engine Ka Sarkar” a chance, turning this into a wave election. Like Mamata Banerjee’s call of “Ebar or Never” in the 2000s, BJP is fighting this election based on a now-or-never spirit. For the Left and Congress, however, the writing on the wall appears to be Never–Ever.
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By toppling a Congress government in Puducherry, the BJP has sent a message to neighbouring Tamil Nadu, where it is contesting the assembly elections with the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, that the Congress is a greatly diminished force, and the party can be vanquished at any time. (PTI)(HT_PRINT)
By toppling a Congress government in Puducherry, the BJP has sent a message to neighbouring Tamil Nadu, where it is contesting the assembly elections with the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, that the Congress is a greatly diminished force, and the party can be vanquished at any time. (PTI)(HT_PRINT)

The battle for a UT and BJP’s South ambitions

By Venkatesha Babu
PUBLISHED ON MAR 08, 2021 09:18 AM IST
  • BJP is hoping that its NDA alliance of AINRC, AIADMK and itself along with the three nominated members will be able to come to power against the Congress – DMK combine.
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A nurse carries coolers with vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19 as elderly people are being inoculated. (AFP Photo )
A nurse carries coolers with vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19 as elderly people are being inoculated. (AFP Photo )

A crisis with a woman’s face

By Antonio Guterres
UPDATED ON MAR 08, 2021 06:49 AM IST
Women are 24 per cent more vulnerable to losing their jobs and suffering steeper falls in income. The gender pay gap, already high, has widened, including in the health sector.
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The BJP is going all out to win this election and Mamata Banerjee is fighting tooth and nail to ensure that she does not concede an inch. Both sides are evenly matched (Samir Jana/HT Photo)
The BJP is going all out to win this election and Mamata Banerjee is fighting tooth and nail to ensure that she does not concede an inch. Both sides are evenly matched (Samir Jana/HT Photo)

The high-stakes battle in West Bengal 2021

By Shashi Shekhar
UPDATED ON MAR 08, 2021 09:35 AM IST
In West Bengal, one TMC slogan is “Khela Hobe” (game on). The BJP picked it up and ran with it. Now the Congress and Left activists are repeating this. The game is truly on. But it will be just a game if it is stripped of all morality. It becomes a mockery of the people’s aspirations. But that is the way things are going at the moment.
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Violence against women or gender-based violence is defined by the Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women as “violence that is directed against a woman because she is a woman or that affects women disproportionately”. (HTPHOTO)
Violence against women or gender-based violence is defined by the Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women as “violence that is directed against a woman because she is a woman or that affects women disproportionately”. (HTPHOTO)

A misplaced idea of honour enables violence against women

By Amita Punj
UPDATED ON MAR 08, 2021 09:35 AM IST
The prevailing gendered notions of honour remain at variance with the gender-just society that the Constitution seeks to establish. The constitutional principles of non-discrimination and equality are in tune with India’s international obligations as a party to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women.
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A nurse draws a Moderna coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine, at East Valley Community Health Center in La Puente, California, US. (REUTERS)
A nurse draws a Moderna coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine, at East Valley Community Health Center in La Puente, California, US. (REUTERS)

Look at number of people dying post-vaccination: Efficacy number that matters

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON MAR 07, 2021 07:10 PM IST
People aren’t only worried about dying from Covid; they’re also worried about getting so-called long Covid and transmitting the disease to others even after they’re vaccinated.
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Why has the government persisted with a highly centralised approach? One, the BJP 2.0 appears enthralled with the idea of One Nation, One India. Two, collaborating with state governments or opening legislation up to parliamentary debate requires more time, effort, and risk of failure than executive decree. Three, there is an issue with credit-claiming (PTI)
Why has the government persisted with a highly centralised approach? One, the BJP 2.0 appears enthralled with the idea of One Nation, One India. Two, collaborating with state governments or opening legislation up to parliamentary debate requires more time, effort, and risk of failure than executive decree. Three, there is an issue with credit-claiming (PTI)

For reforms, create a coalition of the willing

By Milan Vaishnav and Jonathan Kay
UPDATED ON MAR 07, 2021 08:16 PM IST
Instead of big bang measures announced from Delhi, PM Modi should use his stature to create a coalition of like-minded states to pursue economic reforms
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With land in agriculture mostly being in the name of men, women are not recognised as farmers, although a large proportion of them are involved in agricultural work. This also keeps women away from accessing various schemes and resources (HT Photo)
With land in agriculture mostly being in the name of men, women are not recognised as farmers, although a large proportion of them are involved in agricultural work. This also keeps women away from accessing various schemes and resources (HT Photo)

The missing women in India’s workforce

By Dipa Sinha
UPDATED ON MAR 07, 2021 08:18 PM IST
Studies have shown that women are willing to be employed, negating the argument that cultural factors keep women from working outside the household
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So why is the court silent? Once retired, judges have spoken out, but those still sitting on its benches have kept their lips sealed. (File Photo)
So why is the court silent? Once retired, judges have spoken out, but those still sitting on its benches have kept their lips sealed. (File Photo)

Institutions have failed citizens on sedition

UPDATED ON MAR 07, 2021 08:17 PM IST
In a nutshell, sedition can only apply if there is clear and imminent incitement to violence. Not otherwise. But have our police and various governments recognised this? Or, if they have, do they care?
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Women labourers work at a site under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, Ajmer, 2020 (PTI)
Women labourers work at a site under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, Ajmer, 2020 (PTI)

Can Covid-19 open doors for working women?

UPDATED ON MAR 07, 2021 08:17 PM IST
The Start-up India and Skill India schemes should target women much more aggressively now. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, whose words have proved transformational in many areas, should use his popular radio broadcast, Mann ki Baat, to emphasis the need to get women back into the workforce and make the workplace more conducive to those already in it.
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Without either the wealth and connections or profile of India’s film industry, Faruqui has shown more courage and almost zero cynicism. It doesn’t matter if you found his jokes funny or not — the jail-time he was subjected to was an abomination. (ANI)
Without either the wealth and connections or profile of India’s film industry, Faruqui has shown more courage and almost zero cynicism. It doesn’t matter if you found his jokes funny or not — the jail-time he was subjected to was an abomination. (ANI)

What Bollywood could learn from Munawar Faruqui

PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 06:09 PM IST
In this patchy, roller-coaster of a fortnight for India’s fundamental freedoms, some individuals have stood up, while others have failed our citizens
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The Digital Media Code has been formulated rather speciously, under Section 87 (1) & (2)(z) & (zg) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 (as amended) (“IT Act”) i.e., the rule-making power. Rule-making or subordinate legislations are intended to carry out the purpose of an enactment. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
The Digital Media Code has been formulated rather speciously, under Section 87 (1) & (2)(z) & (zg) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 (as amended) (“IT Act”) i.e., the rule-making power. Rule-making or subordinate legislations are intended to carry out the purpose of an enactment. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

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By NS Nappinai
PUBLISHED ON MAR 05, 2021 05:55 PM IST
The Digital Media Code fails to conform to, and, in fact, confounds, every settled constitutional mandate for lawmaking — the very obvious premise that law is to be made by the lawmakers i.e. the legislature and not the executive.
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Six decades after the Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961, the continuing prevalence of dowry remains India’s national shame. The 2019 National Crime Records Bureau data tells us that a woman is subject to cruelty by her husband and in-laws every four minutes. (Reuters)
Six decades after the Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961, the continuing prevalence of dowry remains India’s national shame. The 2019 National Crime Records Bureau data tells us that a woman is subject to cruelty by her husband and in-laws every four minutes. (Reuters)

Dowry remains India’s abiding shame

UPDATED ON MAR 05, 2021 05:47 PM IST
In the run-up to the International Women’s Day, it’s good to celebrate the undeniable gains on our road to gender equality. But it’s also worth remembering just how far we have to go — and how little has changed.
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