The IMF’s latest update to its World Economic Outlook spotlights the starkly widening variance in the global recovery from the economic strains caused by the pandemic. And the primary fault line precipitating the divergence of the world’s economies into two blocs — those that are normalising activities from the COVID-19-induced curbs and those that are still struggling — is vaccine access and the pace of vaccination coverage. Three months since its April forecast, the IMF projects the global economy to expand at an unchanged pace of 6% this year. But it sees the world’s advanced economies registering faster growth than forecast earlier, while emerging markets and developing economies are expected to post appreciably slower recoveries. The IMF projects Advanced Economies to grow by 5.6% in 2021, 0.5 percentage point quicker than forecast in April. Undergirding this anticipated acceleration, the U.S. economy is seen expanding by 7% — a 0.6 percentage point upgrade — on the back of an

The institution of a judicial probe by the West Bengal government into allegations of surveillance using advanced spyware on potential Indian targets marks a significant political and legal pushback against the Union government’s attempts to deny the global media revelations and diminish the potent threat such practices pose to democracy. Given Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s penchant for the dramatic and her endless run-ins with the Centre, it may be easy to dismiss the act of a State government ordering an inquiry into what could be a large-scale intelligence-gathering programme of a state actor as mere political chutzpah. However, in the context of the Centre and the ruling BJP’s aggressive refusal to cede any ground on the growing demand for a credible probe into the use and misuse of Pegasus spyware, the West Bengal inquiry acquires both legal and political salience. The Union government claims that illegal surveillance is not possible in India and has not specifically admitted
 
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