A climate risk: On extreme weather events

The monsoon is nearing its halfway mark and July, which is among the rainiest months, began with a rainfall deficit but has since seen a revival. For most of last week, all-India rainfall has been over 50% more than what is normal for this time of the year. Many regions in the Konkan coast and the southern peninsula have been seeing instances of extreme rainfall. According to India Meteorological Department (IMD) data on the regional distribution, the ‘South Peninsula’ has seen 29% more rain from June 1-July 25 than what is normal for this period. Rainfall in Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra, was torrential enough to beat its all-time record, according to the IMD. The monsoon is characterised by unexpected variability that forecast models can capture only in a limited way. However, much evidence is accumulating that there is a distinctive change in climate patterns. The frequency and the strength of cyclones over the Arabian Sea have increased in the last two decades. There has been a 52%
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Money changer: On need for an official digital currency

In contrast to India’s continued ambiguity over the legality of cryptocurrencies, its stance on introducing an official digital currency has been reassuringly clear and consistent over time. And, four years after an inter-ministerial committee recommended that India launch fiat money in digital form, the Reserve Bank of India has indicated that pilot projects to figure out its viability are likely to be launched soon. In a speech a few days ago, T. Rabi Sankar, Deputy Governor, RBI, said, “RBI is currently working towards a phased implementation strategy and examining use cases which could be implemented with little or no disruption.” The clarity is welcome, given that the much-awaited Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021, is yet to be introduced. In recent years, the significant rise of private cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ether has spooked central banks throughout the world, and pushed the case for official digital currencies. Mr. Rabi Sankar
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Editorial

The Ganga’s message: On microplastics pollution

The Ganga might have stood witness to many stages of India’s civilisation, as Mahatma Gandhi once noted, but in recent decades it has become a conduit for sewage, solid waste, industrial effluents and other pollutants. It is depressing, though not surprising, therefore, that a new study by an NGO has found evidence of a modern-day scourge, microplastics, in the river, with the highest concentrations in Varanasi and Kanpur, followed by Haridwar. What the data show is the alarming presence of plastic filaments, fibres, fragments, and in two places, microbeads, with their composition pointing to both industrial and secondary broken-down plastics from articles of everyday use. These range from tyres, clothing, food packaging, bags, cosmetics with microbeads, garland covers and other municipal waste. The finding of significant levels of microscopic particles invisible to the naked eye at below 300 micrometres to 5 millimetres in the country’s holiest river calls into question the progress

Editorial

Return to troubles: On Brexit and the Good Friday agreement

The British government’s demand to renegotiate parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol of the Brexit agreement with the EU has set the stage for another round of clashes between London and Brussels. Just seven months after the agreement came into force, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government now says the Protocol, which was accepted by both sides to avoid physical and economic barriers between Northern Ireland, a part of the U.K., and the Republic of Ireland, an EU member, hampers trade inside the U.K. When the Brexit agreement was signed in 2020, Mr. Johnson agreed to set up checks at the British side for goods entering Northern Ireland. This meant, in order to avoid an economic barrier between the two Irelands, Britain effectively set up one between the British mainland and the Island of Ireland. The decision had economic and political repercussions, affecting British traders every time they move goods across the Irish Sea. Within Northern Ireland, the Irish nationalists who

Editorial

Limits of cooperation: On reforms in cooperative sector

The cooperative movement certainly needs reform and revitalisation. Beset by political interference, many cooperative societies do not hold elections regularly, while some are superseded frequently. The 97th Constitution Amendment, which came into effect in 2012, was a major step towards infusing autonomy, democratic functioning and professional management. The recent Supreme Court verdict holding the amendment unconstitutional to the extent it applied to cooperative societies under the control of the States is a reminder that even well-intentioned efforts towards reforms cannot be at the cost of the quasi-federal principles underlying the Constitution. The amendment added Part IXB to the Constitution, concerning cooperative societies. Part IXB delineated the contours of what State legislation on cooperative societies ought to contain, including provisions on the maximum number of directors in each society, reservation for seats for SCs, or STs, and women, besides the duration of the

In search of gold: On Tokyo Olympics

Dealing with denial: On playing down the COVID-19 tragedy

Water as woe: On Mumbai’s annual mayhem

Health above faith: On cancellation of Kanwar Yatra

Laughter challenge: On political calculus of Congress

Leaving the past behind: On Afghanistan

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