(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily of Thomson Reuters)
The most unfortunate aspect of the censorship controversy over Kamal Haasan’s new movie “Vishwaroopam,” which came out on Thursday, is that it is happening in Tamil Nadu. India’s southernmost state has a history of using cinema as a tool of political dissent and expression, particularly regarding the Dravidian movement, but that spirit seems to have vanished with the decision to release a truncated version of the film after Islamic groups said certain scenes offended them.
The water was running in Bangalore on Saturday, but the buses were not.
“I have been waiting for a bus for over two hours now,” said Prabhat Kishan, 60, at the Majestic Bus Station in Bangalore.
Chennai is dealing with a second day of protests against the United States over a film that Muslims say insults the Prophet Mohammad, following an attack on the U.S. consulate on Friday that prompted 86 arrests.
Close to 2,000 people mobilised by the Islamist group Tamil Nadu Thowheed Jamath reportedly gathered outside the Thousand Lights Mosque. That is less than a kilometre from the U.S. consulate, where protestors smashed windows on Friday.
While India has produced many “ready at hand” atomic experts, as nuclear physicist Homi Bhabha predicted in 1944, they have failed to address nuclear safety concerns.
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) pulled up the government last week for not implementing such a policy. Under the current system, the maximum penalty that can be levied on a nuclear plant operator for violating safety guidelines is a paltry 500 rupees.
Public health experts and activists are attacking a proposal by India’s leading government think tank that recommends handing many of the country’s healthcare responsibilities to the private sector.
The document, written by India’s Planning Commission, proposes eliminating the government as the primary healthcare provider. Instead, it would focus on specific areas such as immunisation and HIV testing. Getting rid of many of its other responsibilities would amount to a shortcut to its goal of universal healthcare. Patients would get private healthcare at a cost that the government would negotiate with the private sector, and service providers could be reimbursed for each medical prescription.
Opponents of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, under construction in Tamil Nadu, are raising fresh questions about the plant’s safety because of Indian government documents that they say reveal a problem in the design of one of the two reactors.
The reactor’s design differs from the plan that Russia and India came up with when they agreed to build the reactor in 1988, according to the documents published by India’s Atomic Energy Regulatory Board.
The debate over regulating genetically modified crops in India is back after two years of silence that followed the moratorium on the Bt brinjal, a genetically modified eggplant. This is thanks to the government’s wavering policy on agricultural biotechnology. If you study its policy since the eggplant flare-up, you could be forgiven for thinking that it was designed to do two things that don’t quite fit together.
Here is what happened:
The government released its report on the hills of the Western Ghats nearly nine months after the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) submitted it, and then only under a court order. The report, among other things, warned that genetically modified organisms were a threat to biodiversity in India. The government attached a disclaimer to the report, saying that it has not formally accepted the conclusions.
Ever wondered what happens to your old mobile phones, computers, television sets and refrigerators the moment you discard them? They are most likely to land in an unauthorised scrap yard waiting to be recycled in a hazardous and unscientific manner — causing great damage to the environment. The rapid growth of the information technology sector in India has only contributed to this problem of accumulating e-waste or electronic waste.
The government finally woke up to this growing problem a couple of years ago when studies by its information technology department estimated the e-waste burden on the country to touch 800,000 metric tonnes by December. It responded by framing the e-waste (management and handling) rules – 2011 which came into effect this month. While the rules seem impressive on paper, environmental groups have expressed concerns about its ability to bring about change due to the sheer oversight of the ground situation.