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Delhi CM Kejriwal’s New Low Down Denial Of The Kashmir Files, Horrifies Hindu Pandits, Even Sikhs From Valley

Should a film on genocide be exempted from state entertainment tax? Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s brazen attack on The Kashmir Files – a defining movie on genocidal horrors and forced exodus suffered by Kashmiri Pandits – not only killed the tax-free debate but also resurrected a new low, “You (BJP) don’t look good putting Jhoothi picture.” The genocide denial has led to a tide of opprobrium. Sikh social worker Manjinder Singh Sirsa tweeted, “Laughing at #TheKashmirFiles and calling it a lie!! Sorry to say @ArvindKejriwal you don’t deserve to be called a human being.” Earlier, came scathing remarks from BJP’s Amit Malviya: “Only an inhuman, cruel and depraved mind can laugh at and deny the genocide of Kashmiri Hindus. Kejriwal has ripped open the wounds of the Hindu community, who have been forced to live as refugees in their own country, for 32 long years, by calling #KashmirFiles a jhoothi film.” Aditya Raj Kaul, a veteran journalist, pointed out, “Denying persecution, forced exodus and genocide of a minority community is a criminal act. I hope you will apologise to the victims of terrorism, Mr Arvind Kejriwal. Hate for Modi, BJP and filmmaker is one thing but to deny a historic reality is absolutely shocking.” Steven Spielberg’s 1993 film Schindler’s List suffered the same genocide denial mindset and was banned from screening in many Islamic countries, including Pakistan.

Bulldozer Baba Levelled Modi’s Path For 2024, Good Governance For All, With Widespread Law & Peace

BJP’s stunning 4-1 series sweep with Yogi Adityanath’s triumphant return to power in Uttar Pradesh should cheer up party rank and file left clueless after the Maharashtra hara-kiri and, deeply traumatized over West Bengal’s post-poll bloodlust. PM Narendra Modi’s path to 2024 will pass through terrains now evenly levelled by “Bulldozer Baba,” who promises to keep his bulldozer in fine tune, continuing to dismantle mafia dens and stolen scrapyards. BJP positions itself as a party opposed to minority appeasement. Still Yogi had no hesitation in informing the state assembly that 35% of all welfare benefits were allocated to Muslims, who account for 18% of the population. This season, the appeasement awareness campaign focused on the Opposition’s cozy nexus with gangsters and how no trick was left untried by the Akhilesh Yadav government to let Islamist terrorists off the hook. The wide coverage to AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi’s threat to UP Police – “When Yogi will go back to his mutt, Modi to the mountains, then who will come to save you?”– and don Mukhtar Ansari’s son Abbas’ attack on bureaucrats, “No transfer posting for six months, pehle hisab kitab hoga,” rattled many. The spectre of the dreaded dons presiding over the state seems to have weighed heavily in the minds of the voters rather than inflation, unemployment, farm unrest, Covid or even Jinnah.

Jyotiraditya Scindia and Mihai Anghel

As (Operation) Ganga Flowed Through Romania, Scindia Held Back, Buried Differences With Anghel, Focussed On Gratitude

Truth is often the first casualty of war – even rescue operations @Operation Ganga, as seen in the recent polarization triggered by a video gone viral on India’s Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia and Mayor of Romania’s commune Snagov, Mihai Anghel. The edited video starts with Scindia’s narrative at the Romanian shelter and, how students were helped to board planes with pet dogs. “Talk about (plans). Not dogs,” the good Mayor interrupted in a way that will clearly not be seen as good manners anywhere. “Let me decide what I am going to speak on,” responded Scindia firmly and yet, politely, “Stand back kindly.” Anghel then lost his cool advancing angrily towards him: “Hey, hey I provide shelter here, I provide food to all these, not you. Just tell them when they leave home, when?…” He backed off after inflicting another unnecessary blow, probably taking Scindia to be an Indian embassy official. “I understand, kindly stand back, thank you very much,” Scindia resumed explaining the travel plan before concluding, “So let me place on record my thanks to the Romanian authorities.” What is clearly a case of language-misunderstanding and, frayed nerves (in a war-zone with millions of refugees seeking safe shelter after the Russian invasion of Ukraine) has still not been put to rest with leading publications and parties spinning their very own customized political narratives.

Photo : BCCI

Rohit The Hitman Has A Winning Contract: Promises Different Strokes For Cricket Folk, With Eyes Only On The World Cup

Rohit Sharma delved deep into his own mind and said, “(I) don’t believe in a perfect game. You can’t be perfect,” after India won its 1,000th ODI. Then, he repeated his team’s winning streak in the 1001st ODI against the West Indies cricket team. With the ODI series won, Sharma’s debut as full time ODI captain now offers him more space to play a few variations. “I have been asked to do different things,” he said after his bowlers defended the under-par score of 237 runs in the second ODI. “We want(ed) to try a few things, with the long term in mind,” he added. All IPL heroes will get a chance now, as will battle-hardened veterans. The new Indian cricket mantra: Play with maturity, bat and bowl as the team need demands not, as you desire. India prepares for the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup it will host, come October 2023. Virat’s coming back to form is long pending. His ICC knockout scores: 1 (SF WC2019); 5 (Champions Trophy Final 2017); 1 and 3 (SF and QF WC2015); and 9 (SF WC2011) will surely buck up based on the law of averages. Team India requires the high-performance fix that defined the WC 2011 win, when its batting centurions played like gladiators digging deep into positions and, canny wicket takers complemented by scrappy all-rounders.

Turbanator Looks Back In Anger: BCCI’s Use & Throw Act Against 2011 World Cup Winners Still Hurts

Some fresh, fascinating insights into the mind and heart of BCCI’s Selection Think Tank have been laid bare by Harbhajan Singh, the legendary offspinner with 417 Test wickets – and a proud member of the World Cup winning Indian team. “If we were good enough to win the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2011, why didn’t we play even a single match together after that? Was that team good enough just to win the World Cup and became kharaab after that?” he questioned in a YouTube show Backstage with Boria. “Were 31-year-old Harbhajan Singh, 30-year-old Yuvraj Singh, 32-year-old Virender Sehwag, 29-year-old Gautam Gambhir who played in 2011, not good enough to play in the World Cup team of 2015? Why were we removed from the team one by one? Why were we treated like a kind of Use and Throw?” There are no easy answers to the Turbanator’s probing questions. So staggering is India’s bench strength that it’s equally tough for the bowlers and batters to be counted in. Take the case of Karun Nair (KL Rahul’s teenage cricketing buddy), the only Indian with a triple ton other than Sehwag. Nair’s unbeaten 303 helped India score a record 759 against touring England in Chennai Test in 2016 and wrap up an innings win to take the series 4-0. He has turned 30 now, not recalled since 2017.
Team india_Twitter

Photo : Twitter

Rohit’s ODI Team India Looks At World Cup 2023, Hitman Plans On Form And Fitness, Starting Off With Windies

Age is just a number. But only for the fortunate few in cricket who continue to defy age – like 40-year-old MS Dhoni’s Dad’s Army winning IPL 2021 or Sachin Tendulkar’s masterclass in World Cup 2011 at the age of 38. For most, Age is the moment of Truth that could end their illustrious career. Sunil Gavaskar’s recent suggestion to make 24-year-old Rishabh Pant India’s Test captain; and earlier Virat Kohli’s wish (after the T20WC 2021) to have KL Rahul as vice-captain in ODIs while Rishabh Pant in T20Is have clear bias against the undisputed contender: Rohit Sharma, on account of his age. While the suspense over who will succeed Kohli as India’s Test captain continues, Sharma, 34, has started building the ODI team for World Cup 2023 – beginning with the home series against West Indies on February 6. Shikhar Dhawan, 36, is there too, bringing his heroics of three centuries in World Cup ODIs to complement Hitman’s six centuries, including five in WC2019. What Team India – with eight players aged above or around 30 — may now need are batters to cross the finish line: like in WC2011, Suresh Raina scoring 34 (28 b) with Yuvraj Singh 57 (65 b) to take match away from Australia in the QF. More than age talk, what’s needed is Fitness & Form – and a clear ability to perform in knockout matches.

Photo : Fotocorp

Spotlight On PM Modi’s Sikh Outreach & Surprise Farm Laws’ Repeal

It is on the occasion of Gurpurab – the birth anniversary of Sri Guru Nanak Dev – that Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to break the impasse by repealing three farm laws. Modi’s surprising climbdown on farm reforms acknowledges that the farm protests were not only hurting BJP’s prospects in poll-bound states but were also causing unintentional, deep divide in the society. During his earlier outreach to Sikhs (February 2021), Modi offered the nation’s gratitude: “What have they not done for this country? Whatever respect we give them will always be less.” At Rajya Sabha came his call to stand with the Sikhs: “We must not forget what happened with Punjab. It suffered the most during the Partition 1947. It cried the most during the 1984 riots.” The new farm laws – despite being transformative – had stirred passions with the most vocal resistance coming from Punjab and adjoining geographies that gave Green Revolution. The PM’s fresh outreach must be welcomed: The Sikh families not only contribute disproportionately to the farming sector but also send the bravest of warriors to the defence forces. It may be recalled that it was the failure of the then government to manage the Punjab agrarian alienation which eventually led to a violent separatist movement, followed by a series of tragic consequences: Operation Bluestar, assassination of PM Indira Gandhi, and anti-Sikh riots in 1984.

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Islamist Gladiatorial Parade: Is It Cricket? – Part 1

When India plays Pakistan in a World Cup, sparks are expected to fly – but not of the kind that followed Pakistan’s victory over India in the 13th attempt. Pakistan’s Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed hailed the moment as “victory of the Islamic world (awaam-e-Islam ki fateh),” pointing out: “The Pakistani team had the emotional support of all Muslims of the world, Including Muslims of India.” Pakistan’s legends too didn’t hold back: In the company of Sohaib Akhtar and ARY News moderator, Waqar Younis gushed in: “The best thing, what Rizwan did, Mashalla, he offered the Namaz on the ground surrounded by Hindus. That was really something very special for me.” His expert comments also focused on how Shaheen and Babur – also the name of Pakistan’s missiles aimed at India – will be remembered for a long time. (Pakistan’s missiles Ghaznavi, Ghauri, Babur etc are named after some of history’s most barbaric conquerors who invaded the Indian Subcontinent). This sight of a civil society boasting like Islamic Supremacists has sent a wave of revulsion in India. “I really hope that a lot of genuine sports lovers in Pakistan are able to see the dangerous side to this statement and join in my disappointment. It makes it very difficult for sports lovers like us to try and tell people it is just sport, just a cricket match,” said cricket commentator Harsh Bhogle.

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Islamist Gladiatorial Parade: Is It Cricket? – Part 2

“Takes jihadi mindset of another level to say this in a sport,” tweeted an anguished Venkatesh Prasad on Waqar Younis comment (“Hinduon ke beech me khade hoke namaaz padi, that was very very special for me”). A quarter century ago, it took “something special,” out of this world heroics from the Men in Blue to knock out Pakistan, the defending champions, at the Quarter Final of Wills World Cup 1996 in Bengaluru. The high-intensity match is remembered for Prasad sending Aamer Sohail off (after his arrogant taunt) and ripping the heart out of Pakistan’s batting by removing three wickets in 18 balls (including Inzamam-ul-Haq); Man of the Match Navjot Sidhu missing century (93 runs) — and Ajay Jadeja’s brutal clubbing of Waqar Younis (who conceded 22 runs in the 48th over and 18 in the 50th versus 27 in his first eight overs). “Cricket matches between India and Pakistan are “less cricket and more gladiatorial contests,” remarked the then External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh in mid-2001 during the NDA Government, which discontinued cricket bilaterals “given the atmosphere prevailing.” Situation has only worsened in the past 20 years with Pakistan emerging as a home to the world’s largest pool of UN designated terrorists – and India being the No 1 victim of the terror attacks like 26/11, Pulwama and a series of bomb blasts across cities, massacring and maiming thousands of Indians.

Anti-Maharashtrian Brahmin Genocide 1948: Need For Recognition, Healing

It has taken a magnum opus on Veer Savarkar to put in print a memory that still lives and torments millions: The memory of the 1948 anti-Maharashtrian Brahmin genocide, a “wilfully erased chapter of history.” While writing for his concluding volume on the freedom fighter – Savarkar (Part 2): A Contested Legacy, 1924-1966 – author Vikram Sampath’s crowdsourcing efforts through social media drew an outpouring of tragic personal tales from survivors and descendants of the 1948 pogrom. The book captures how the carnage started from Bombay and Pune before spreading to Nagpur, Satara, Sangli, Miraj, the Patwardhan States, Belgaum, Kolhapur, where thousands of Brahmins were either massacred or their properties destroyed; and most villages in the state were ethnically cleansed of Brahmins. Thanks to laws like the Press Act, the media was silent on it – as it was on the coverage of the Partition Holocaust against Hindus and Sikhs in the newly created Pakistan, and its Kashmir horrors. Washington Post reported on wave of looting, arson and killings; New York Times said how “the communal riots quickly swept Bombay when news of Mr Gandhi’s death was received (January 30, 1948).” The accounts of DP Mishra, home minister of Central Provinces, point to a systematic pogrom against Brahmins and how no FIRs were lodged. Says Sampath: “The tragedy apart, denying its very occurrence makes it a doubly chilling crime.”

Anti-Maharashtrian Brahmin Genocide 1948: Need For Recognition, Healing

It has taken a magnum opus on Veer Savarkar to put in print a memory that still lives and torments millions: The memory of the 1948 anti-Maharashtrian Brahmin genocide, a “wilfully erased chapter of history.” While writing for his concluding volume on the freedom fighter – Savarkar (Part 2): A Contested Legacy, 1924-1966 – author Vikram Sampath’s crowdsourcing efforts through social media drew an outpouring of tragic personal tales from survivors and descendants of the 1948 pogrom. The book captures how the carnage started from Bombay and Pune before spreading to Nagpur, Satara, Sangli, Miraj, the Patwardhan States, Belgaum, Kolhapur, where thousands of Brahmins were either massacred or their properties destroyed; and most villages in the state were ethnically cleansed of Brahmins. Thanks to laws like the Press Act, the media was silent on it – as it was on the coverage of the Partition Holocaust against Hindus and Sikhs in the newly created Pakistan, and its Kashmir horrors. Washington Post reported on wave of looting, arson and killings; New York Times said how “the communal riots quickly swept Bombay when news of Mr Gandhi’s death was received (January 30, 1948).” The accounts of DP Mishra, home minister of Central Provinces, point to a systematic pogrom against Brahmins and how no FIRs were lodged. Says Sampath: “The tragedy apart, denying its very occurrence makes it a doubly chilling crime.”

Aug 16: 75th Anniversary of Great Calcutta Killings Vs TMC’s Khela Hobe Divas

August 16, 1946 is mourned by millions as a day of catastrophe: Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s call for Direct Action Day in Kolkata – with the threat of ‘We shall have India divided or India destroyed’ – led to mind-numbing slaughters as bazars and homes were torched, thousands massacred. The carnage also broke the resolve of the secular leaders, who decided to buy peace by conceding to Jinnah’s demand. According to Freedom at Midnight by Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins: “Mountbatten was haunted by the spectre of Direct Action Day staged in Calcutta in 1946 by the Moslem League in which 26,000 Hindus were killed in 72 hours.” The consequence of the Great Calcutta Killings should have been the arrest and trial of the perpetrators, but it ended up rewarding them: talks accelerated for the creation of West and East Pakistan, which became a nightmarish reality a year later August 14, 1947. Against this traumatic background, West Bengal’s ruling party Trinamool Congress’ idea to celebrate Khela Hobe Divas on Aug 16 is being decried as not only insensitive but also an insult to the memory of those butchered in the savage killings. For BJP Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, “Khela Hobe’ was never a poll bugle: it was always a veiled call to the cadres for unleashing stone age barbarism.” TMC has dismissed the public opprobrium as an attempt to spread hatred.

Tulsi Gabbard: 2020 U.S. Presidential candidate & former Congresswoman - Twitter

50th Anniversary Of The Bengali Hindu Genocide: Cry, The Beloved Country

I rise in sad remembrance of the 50th anniversary of the Bengali Hindu Genocide,” Sheila Jackson Lee, U.S. Democratic Congresswoman, offered her prayers in the House of Representatives, putting spotlight on Pakistani Army’s 10-month reign of terror known as Operation Searchlight (started on March 25, 1971) when “2 to 3 million people were killed, over 200,000 women raped in organized rape camps, and over 10 million people displaced, most finding refuge in India.” In remembrance of the Bengali Hindu Genocide victims, Tulsi Gabbard, former U.S Congresswoman and 2020 Presidential candidate, quoted U.S Senator Ted Kennedy: “Hardest hit have been members of the Hindu community who have been robbed of their lands and shops. Systematically slaughtered.” She added: “The Islamist persecution of Hindus and other religious minorities in Bangladesh didn’t end with Bangladesh’s Independence. That campaign continues to this day with horrific targeted attacks, murders, homes being burned down and families who continue to be forced to flee.” For many, this campaign has now reached West Bengal. The extent of the bloodlust unleashed after TMC’s spectacular poll victory over BJP has left pro-Hindu voices seething in despair. The NHRC is appalled to discover “a pernicious politico-bureaucratic-criminal nexus” behind 29 murder, 12 rape, and 940 cases of loot and arson during May 2 to June 20. The Calcutta High Court will hear the matter on August 2.
priyanka_prashant rahul

Rumour Mills Agog On The Prashant Kishor 2.0 Show

Nothing excites the Opposition parties and their rank and file so much as the sight of Prashant Kishor holding strategic sessions with friendly political honchos. His meeting with the Gandhis – Rahul, Priyanka and Sonia – in the Capital, following multiple parleys with Sharad Pawar, the NCP supremo and the driving force behind the ruling MVA alliance in Maharashtra, has once again sparked an animated speculation about his larger-than-politics future. Speculation has been rife ever since he announced quitting polls ‘space’ after inflicting a spectacular defeat on the legions of mighty Amit Shah (whom he dismissed as an over-rated poll manager) and helping his client Mamata Banerjee’s AITC retain West Bengal; and guiding MK Stalin’s DMK win Tamil Nadu. Archana Dalmia, a close aide of Rahul Gandhi and Chairperson, Grievances Cell @INCIndia, raised hopes. “A warm welcome into the Congress family,” she said, only to delete the tweet. A deleted tweet is more newsworthy, you know. Arguably more newsy than Congress’ frontal attack: “The Home Minister, who has likely played a key role in the #CabinetReshuffle should first take a look at his own track record … overall breakdown of law & order across the nation – this is his legacy.” With Kishor joining the action – and Modi 2.0 taking a fresh guard with a radical ministerial reshuffle, the road to 2024 promises Mother of All Slugfests.
modi nytimes

NYT Seeks A Reporter: Only Modi-Baiters May Apply

The New York Times’ call for an enterprising journalist would have been a non-event, a non-issue but for the backlash its grand 627-words job description evoked. “India’s future now stands at a crossroads. Mr Modi is advocating a self-sufficient, muscular nationalism centered on the country’s Hindu majority. That vision puts him at odds with the interfaith, multicultural goals of modern India’s founders.” The message was soon picked up. Tweeted one @SamairaRehan: “These two factually incorrect sentences are part of the job description for the position of @nytimes ‘South Asia Business Correspondent’ based in New Delhi. Journalism is in danger, indeed. But from within.” Apparently, anybody arguing against these twisted premises knows they haven’t got a hope in hell of getting an NYT offer. Senior I&B Ministry adviser Kanchan Gupta fumed: “@nytimes has dropped all pretences of impartiality with this job ad. They are clearly looking to hire an anti-Modi activist who can also stoke anti-India sentiments in our neighbourhood. With this, the paper qualifies as a foreign-funded NGO.” Such hiring practices by dominant Big Media – with naked political and ideological tilt – point to a scary future of journalism. And this practice is unlikely to stop anytime now – given American billionaire George Soros’ $1-billion fund to fight nationalists; China’s ads in Big Media; and Pakistan, Turkey and Malaysia floating a media joint venture.
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Swamy Warns Against Orchestrated Slandering Of Chennai PSBB School

“I will legally defend Chennai PSBB school if TN Govt does not stop goons slandering them, says Dr @Swamy39 jee.” This was retweeted by Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy early morning Thursday (May 27) to reiterate his stand on Chennai’s distinguished Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan Senior Secondary School (PSBB). The legally sharp BJP leader has decided to step in, sensing that the prestigious institution could be unfairly targeted for an employee’s alleged misdemeanours – in a highly polarised Tamil Nadu polity where Brahmins are often at the receiving end of toxic, hate campaigns. Reacting to caste-phobic slurs, he tweeted earlier: “Only a Gyani and Tyagi can be a Brahmin. So Muthuramalinga Thevar is for me a Brahmin. School teachers, Pujaris etc are Brahmins. No one is born Brahmin per se. If some teacher misbehaves by an inquiry, he should be disowned.” The accused teacher was suspended by the school administration – after complaints of online harassment; and later arrested under POCSO Act sections 11 and 12; IPC Act 354 (a) and 509; and IT Act section 67 and 67 (a). While the law will take its course, the schools are required to raise the bar on compliances to protect children. PSSB was founded by educationists. The allegations come close on the heels of the Tamil Nadu State Commission for Women directing Chennai’s Loyola College to pay Rs 64.3 lakh to a woman faculty member who was allegedly harassed by a Jesuit Father and terminated from service.
modi biden

Modi-Biden Talks, Phase 3 Trials Put Vaccine Juggernaut Back On Track

Business and economy need people to come together, work together. But the deadly virus also needs this vibrant togetherness to grow and circulate, mutate and spread. As long as this virus stays unsubdued, not only India’s $5-trillion-economy dream is threatened but also its operational $3-trillion economy, now staring at incalculable toll. In the absence of any vaccine promise, we opened with brave slogans – #LivingWithCorona #MyFamilyMyResponsibility etc. For a while it looked like working — with farmers’ agitation in full flow; people thronging to rallies in poll-bound states; mandis, malls and pubs drawing footfalls; even pilgrimage tourism (for devotees with Covid-19 negative report) reviving via Haridwar Kumbh Mela (key dates being April 12, 14, 21, 27 though crowds thinned down after PM Narendra Modi’s appeal to seers on Apr 17). But now, #LivingWithCorona is not working as lockdown hits state after state amid a ferocious Covid resurrection. The April 26 count: over 3.5 lakh news cases and 2,812 deaths in 24 hours. Clearly, the only deterrence against the virus is Vaccine. With phase 3 trials showing Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin’s efficacy against severe Covid-19 disease at 100% and an overall efficacy at 78%, Shashi Tharoor fans couldn’t have asked for more. Also, with US agreeing to lift embargo on ‘vaccine materials’ following PM Modi’s call with US President Joe Biden, India’s vaccine juggernaut – led by Serum Institute’s Covishield – should be back on track. Already, after 100 days of world’s largest vaccination drive, 14.2 crore jabs have been given. Hopefully, the MRP hagglers won’t give tough time to vaccine makers now.
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Vaccinating The World’s Largest Democracy

The ferocity of the second attack of pandemic has rattled everybody – with Covid toll hitting 1,500 a day after new cases surged from 50K on March 24 to 261K on April 18. Ten states – including UP, Delhi and Maharashtra — account for 79% of all new cases. For the argumentative Indians, it’s a moment to speak truth to power, to hold up a mirror to the all-powerful Prime Minister – with Mann Ki Baat (words of wisdom) pouring from plucky crusader Prashant Bhushan, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Saamna editorials. Beginning February, the tone was set by Bhushan: “FM announces Rs 35,000 crore of our money to be spent on Pvt Vaccine Companies for untested Vaccines at a time when Covid is naturally dying down in India! But this money cannot be given to poor migrant labour who lost their jobs or to Farmers for MSP on their crops. Wah FM sahiba!” The tweet was as confusing as it could be. The State had the opportunity to counter the disturbing narrative: instead of wasting time haggling over the MRP for the atm-nirbhar, all-affordable jab, it could have simply taken a leaf from America’s Operation Warp Speed that made the Big Pharma the nation’s ally. India’s fresh $17-million funding to ramp up Covaxin should hopefully lead to more investments in capacities – which are needed now to save lives as much as defend its $3-Trillion economy (and also, the $5-Trillion dream).

Investment Hesitancy Restricts India’s Vaccination March

The new political brawl is not about vaccine-hesitancy or vaccine-denial but about the vaccine-scarcity, as the nation is hit hard by the second wave of pandemic. Mumbai, which is staring at a re-lockdown, saw supplies go down by half to about 22K jabs on April 10. Average jabs per day have touched 3.5 million a day versus the combined capacity of 2.4 million a day between Covaxin and Covishield. And there is no immediate capacity expansion in sight as Serum Institute CEO Adar Poonawala has written to the Government for Rs 3,000 crore to scale up operations – failing which it will approach banks for loans. Clearly, an opportunity to stay ahead of the curve has been frittered away. Meanwhile, other five vaccines, including J&J via Bio E, will be made available not before October! Suddenly, this realization hits you: Has India failed to reap the dividends of its global vaccine-science leadership due to investment hesitancy? Our failure to comprehend that in a pandemic-like extraordinary conditions, the free-market as well as the atmnirbhar economy operates not only on the principles of demand and competition, but also legitimate corporate profits – and the combo of incentives (guaranteed purchase agreements) and risk capital (for research and capex) extended by the State. This is evident in America’s successful vaccine roll with the state funding private pharma majors. Hopefully, there will be some aatm-manthan when Prime Minister holds the next Covid-19 review meeting with Chief Ministers.

Cutting Wastage, Sputnik V Launch Critical In Mission Vaccination

India has leaped dramatically from Covid-19 vaccine-reluctance to celebrate the Tika Utsav since the first Covid-19 jab received by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 1 and the second one on April 9. From less than 1% of population receiving at least one dose of vaccine on March 1 (1.2 crore), the coverage jumped to 6.3% (8.57 crore) by April 9. Modi taking Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin dispelled all fear and doubts. “The Covaxin has not yet had Phase 3 trials. Approval was premature and could be dangerous,” Congress leader Shashi Tharoor had tweeted earlier. Samajwadi Party President Akhilesh Yadav announced he would not take the “BJP Vaccine”. On April 12 – the second day of Tika Utsav, and the 87th vaccination day – more than 37.63 lakh citizens (over 45 years) received jabs, making India the fastest nation to administer vaccine doses to 10.8 crore. With the states running mass campaigns – from high-frequency TV ads of Delhi Chief Minster Arvind Kejriwal to Sonu Sood being appointed as brand ambassador by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh – the focus has now shifted to preventing vaccine wastage (6.5% nationwide) amid the second wave of pandemic. States like Telangana with wastage of 17.6%, Andhra Pradesh 11.6% and Uttar Pradesh 9.4%, will have to reorganise their efforts to meet the goal of keeping it below 1%. The task is critical as capacities are ramped up with new vaccines like Sputnik V getting regulatory approvals.


Editor’s Note: Big Punch In Small Pack

It is the Third Anniversary of Short Post and as a news media startup launched during the Covid-19 pandemic it certainly feels better than good to find ourselves where we are today. Here, I must cite the unstinted support of our seasoned contributors, all senior editors in the country, who brought a great degree of maturity and sagacity to the Short Post newsroom. But for them, our tagline “Authentic Gossip”, an Oxymoron, would not have matured viably. Our user numbers may be small but our stories have created the desired impact among people who matter — decision makers and influencers. We offer a big punch in a small pack and Short Post with its 225-word stories has been punching above its weight category. Having posted close to 3,000 stories in the last 36 months, Short Post, I feel, is an idea whose time has come.
And this is vindicated by our two marquee advertisers – IDFC FIRST Bank and ICICI Lombard. Both believed in our story and have supported us from Day one. A big thank you to both.
If you look at the media landscape – print, TV and digital — it is a mixed bag. There are job losses as some outfits have closed down while a lucky few were bailed out by large corporate houses. Yes, there is a lot of action in the digital space. However, the entry of corporate houses has raised the question of independence of news media outfits. Sadly, there are just a handful of independent media outfits in the country that are highly respected for their neutrality. At Short Post, our credo is not to take sides, prejudge issues or be biased but, informing readers of behind-the-scenes happenings. In essence, Short Post strives to be a neutral editorial platform — neither anti-establishment nor pro-establishment.
As I said last year, disruptions in the media world are moving at a fast and furious pace. Technology is playing a very big role in how content is generated and consumed. But, we are neither alarmed nor perturbed as it is all a part of the evolution process. What gives us comfort is that AI is unable to create original gossipy content. And that is the news arena where we have achieved a distinction.