Stopping the surge: On unlock and the next COVID-19 wave

After a debilitating second wave of COVID-19, cash-strapped State governments have responded to falling cases with a swift unlock programme in most districts. Some States have opted to open the floodgates, allowing dine-in restaurants, gymnasia, most shops and religious centres in areas with low test positivity rates for the coronavirus. Lockdown-weary citizens, on their part, have greeted the reopening with road trips to tourist centres, even travelling across inter-State borders. This is not surprising, considering that the country has gone through weeks of anguish, when death and misery touched the lives of millions. The déjà vu moment, worryingly similar to the misplaced optimism following the first wave, is a time for caution and to avoid the missteps that produced the deadly second wave. Already, Maharashtra has expressed worry that there is a noticeable rise in cases in just a week; the experience of other States will soon be known. There is a lot to be concerned about, since

Deserving winners: On Test champion New Zealand

The sun, after playing hide and seek with the clouds, finally shone in all its glory at Southampton and the inaugural ICC World Test Championship summit clash had its closure on the reserve sixth day. New Zealand emerged as deserving winners with skipper Kane Williamson leading from the front through knocks of 49 and an unbeaten 52, both outings buttressed by patience and a steely resolve to counter a strong Indian bowling unit. The Black Caps won by eight wickets and Virat Kohli’s men had to draw solace from being second-best. They had to accept that the opposition was stronger in English conditions akin to New Zealand backyards unlike the tropical heat and abrasive pitches seen in India. Williamson also relished his luck at the toss and immediately elected to field with the damp weather and moist air further enhancing his pace-attack’s potency. Even while the seniors Tim Southee and Trent Boult did their nagging lines, tall Kyle Jamieson, the man-of-the-final, extracted bounce and
Editorial

Friends in need: On BJP and Opposition unity

Talk of any political realignment is unseasonal, considering the fact that the next general election is due only in 2024 and the BJP is entrenched in the government. A gathering of political leaders, activists and scholars convened by Trinamool Congress leader Yashwant Sinha on Tuesday, however, was preceded by a lot of speculation about the emergence of a ‘third’ front, opposed to the BJP and sidelining the Congress. The Rashtra Manch is not intended to be a third front according to its organisers, but that does not mean the end of an exploratory politics ahead of 2024. In fact, most parties have reasons to think and act towards a new alternative to the BJP. For one, serial governance failures and missteps have made the current moment the most vulnerable for the BJP since 2014. The Congress does challenge the BJP at an ideational level, but the electoral victories over it in recent months were by regional parties such as the TMC, the DMK and the Left. While Rahul Gandhi has a

Editorial

Engage Iran: On U.S. blocking Iran-linked websites

The U.S.’s decision to block dozens of Iran-linked websites at a time when both countries are trying to revive the nuclear deal is unnecessary provocation. The U.S. has accused the sites, including Iran’s state-owned Press TV, of spreading disinformation. In the past, the U.S. had cracked down on Chinese and Iranian media over similar allegations. The move comes days after Iran elected Ebrahim Raisi, a hardline cleric, as President. The election of Mr. Raisi, who has been sanctioned by the U.S. for his alleged role in the execution of political prisoners and other rights violations, has already escalated tensions between the two countries. Iran’s sharp response to the move on the websites, has been that the U.S. was trying to “muzzle free speech”. Even if one ignores Iran’s rhetoric, the U.S.’s move hardly serves its declared purpose of fighting disinformation. When America seized the website of the semi-official Iranian news agency, Fars, in 2018, it switched to an Iranian domain and

Editorial

A welcome spike: On India’s vaccination record

India began the week with a record, by administering over 8.6 million doses of vaccine on a single day, an impressive feat even from a global perspective. For most of May, India struggled to deliver over 2 million doses a day and beginning June, managed to hike it to over 3 million doses daily. These are substantial numbers, but inadequate, given that the benefits of mass vaccination would be discernible — in terms of reducing hospitalisation and mortality — only after a large percentage of the population is inoculated. By that metric, India is a global laggard with only 17% of the population covered by at least one dose and less than 4% by two. The U.S., in comparison, has inoculated at least 53% and the U.K. 64% with a single dose. In that light, India on a single day being able to administer over twice the previous weeks’ daily average makes plausible the Centre’s aspiration to inoculate all of India’s adult population by the year-end. So far, about 25% of them have been

Policy creep: On e-commerce and overregulation

A time to give: On ex-gratia compensation to families of COVID-19 victims

A perpetual war: On dilemmas of ending U.S's 'forever war' in Afghanistan

Fair assessment: On CBSE Class 12 evaluation system

Cold peace: On first Biden-Putin summit in Geneva

Reverse migration: On the politics of defections

Other Articles