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Sharp and latest opinion on politics, policy and current affairs.

Workers at a spice factory in Pune

Covid-19 crisis is choking India’s MSME sector. Business won’t pick up even after lockdown

Countries such as US, UK, Germany and China have announced quick relief for small companies. Perhaps finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman missed a trick or two.
WhatsaApp | Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg

WhatsApp warriors during Covid-19 crisis — first line of defence for PM Modi

Messages on how coronavirus will be killed due to high temperature started circulating on WhatsApp, justifying PM Modi’s call to light candles and torches.
World Health Organization flag | Photo: Commons

From passivity to pandemic: A timeline of Dr WHO’s failure

The WHO’s sluggish, almost reluctant response to the coronavirus crisis raises serious questions about its accountability towards the global community.
The Narendra Modi government has set up 11 empowered groups to plan, implement and communicate in the face of the Covid-19 crisis and lockdown (representational image) | Photo: ANI

India’s response to coronavirus can’t be based on existing epidemiological models

Lack of accurate models to gauge Covid-19 spread should not become an excuse for policy paralysis. There exists a framework to make policy decisions under uncertainty.
Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi

BJP’s Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi is actually a Kapil Mishra, but with Allah on his lips

Leaders like Manjinder Sirsa are unapologetic about supporting their communities. But Naqvi plays invisible for minorities, unless it's to defend BJP or praise Modi.
A woman getting haircut at a salon

What I learned from trying to cut my own hair during the lockdown

Right now, the do-it-yourself version of many services feels a whole lot safer, and probably will do for a while.
File photo | Congress President Rahul Gandhi, former Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra | PTI

Modi’s Covid-19 strategy has Congress party’s ‘first family’ split in its political response

Modi reacted a bit late to the Covid-19 crisis but has won the battle of optics. His adversaries though remain their usual self — confused and full of self-doubt.
People exercise along a bike path on March 28, 2020 in Huntington Beach, California. Photo | Bloomberg

Parks and green spaces can be great calmers only if there is social distancing

Going outside during a pandemic is safe only as long as you stay well away from other people.
Supreme Court of India being renovated

SC judgment on RTI Act sets a dangerously low bar for what passes muster as law of land

The SC delivered a judgment on the need to give a reason to file RTI on high courts. That has not only harmed the Act but the basic principle of legal reasoning.
Doctors wearing protective gear check the temperature of visitors at the entrance of a hospital in Srinagar | PTI

What is rapid antibody test that India has cleared for Covid-19 and how it will help

In episode 436 of #CutTheClutter, Shekhar Gupta explains the process involved in rapid antibody tests and new experiments related to plasma therapy.

On Camera

Tablighi Jamaat will have to change its ways in post-Covid world order

Jamaat’s religious puritanism can’t be an excuse for endangering public health, nor can its criminal negligence in keeping infected foreign preachers be condoned.

How is Modi’s BJP different from the one founded by Advani-Vajpayee 40 years ago?

Forty years ago, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L.K. Advani founded BJP. Today it's led by Narendra Modi-Amit Shah duo, who have won two general elections with full majority.

Defence

Indian Army (representational image) | Photo: PTI

5 Special Forces men, 5 terrorists: How a deadly hand-to-hand fight at the LoC unfolded

Five commandos of the elite 4 Para were killed in action after they eliminated 5 terrorists from Pakistan in close combat in J&K’s Keran sector.

Poke fun at taali, thaali, diya and mombatti all you want. Modi couldn’t care less

Modi knows who he needs to speak to, who he should toss, who he can address in kind. People accuse him of infantilising his voters, but it’s a winning strategy.