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The 'Silver tsunami'
2010.09.14 16:34:05

 

Ever since I crossed 70 I have been apprehensive of the future. With the rising life expectancy I just do not know how long I am going to live. The government from which I retired more than a decade ago provides a pension which till now is handsome. I do not know what happens in the future with the continuing double-digit inflation. For the present things are comfortable – the government supplies the basic medicines that I need and I can afford to buy the vitamins, micronutrients and other diet supplements. But their prices are also rising almost every month. That is, however, a minor worry. What gives me nightmares is what would happen if I develop some disabling ailment or if I happen to go into a coma. Geriatric care here being what it is, I may become an unbearable burden on my wife or may have to lie around uncared and neglected oblivious of my surroundings.



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Needed enhanced ecological literacy
2010.09.01 14:37:01

That ecologically India has been facing tough times has been known for some time. Things have not been happy and what is perhaps more forbidding is that they are going to become more difficult in the future, generally worsening the plight of the people. Many of those who are suffering perhaps do not even know what is really hitting them. Global warming may have been the reason for most of the misery, yet one cannot entirely rule out thoughtless human interventions with nature.



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Innocents caught up in climate-change jam
2010.08.01 15:28:57

Not many would have heard of the Nenets who inhabit the Yamal Peninsula in the Arctic Circle between the Kara Sea and the Gulf of Ob. I too hadn’t until I came across a feature on them in Geographical, the magazine of the Royal Geographical Society of UK.



Tags: climate change

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GDP growth with growing poverty
2010.07.19 19:54:28

The forecasts for India’s high economic growth have been coming thick and fast. Only late last year the Parisbased Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development predicted a 5.9% growth for India in 2009 and 7.2% 2010. In his budget speech earlier this year the Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherji, had promised to put the economy on a trajectory of high growth and there have been several occasions when he predicted that India’s GDP would grow at the rate of more than 8%.



Tags: GDP India

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Bhopal gas leak - messy controversies
2010.07.08 14:31:05

Any natural or man-made disaster raises controversies. A disaster of the scale that Bhopal witnessed because of the leak of the lethal methyl isocynate (MIC) on one cold December morning in 1984 was sure to raise controversies of huge proportions. That is precisely what it did, and more so after the June7, 2010 ultra-mild verdict handed out to the accused officials of Union Carbide of India Ltd. (UCIL). In the process, facts and fiction got merged and one doesn’t really know what is true and what is not and what to believe and what not to. A few of these are subject of this article.



Tags: Bhopal gas leak

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Solar power - the best bet for India
2010.06.26 18:29:43

Recently we had a 16-hour power outage commencing from midnight until 4.00 next afternoon. The inverter saw us through the hot and stuffy night but it, too, lost its energy by the next afternoon. There was no alternative but to bear the acute discomfort of an air-less hot afternoon. Outages are frequent but this was out of the ordinary.



Tags: india | solar power

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A Chinese lesson
2010.06.02 23:28:41

The Time magazine, in one of its issues, before Barak Obama was to visit China in 2009, made a mention of a few things that he could learn from the Chinese. Among them were the Chinese habit of saving and the care that they take of the elderly. Chinese have not given up these traditions in the euphoria of accretion of untold riches.  Both are twined together, as one becomes the enabling element for the other.



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Development neutralises the Indian Maoists
2010.05.26 20:02:53

“No roads lead into Naxal-affected areas” screamed a headline recently in a national daily. An internal review the other day at the Indian Planning Commission revealed what has been known all these years. Among the 34 districts reviewed by the Plan panel, Dantewada in the Bastar region of the South Eastern state of  Chhattisgarh had the poorest record on road connectivity. The district was the scene of a recent carnage when Maoists, aka Naxals, killed as many as 76 police personnel in a well planned ambush. According to the Plan panel member secretary, road connectivity is a big issue in Maoists-affected districts. While district officials cannot be easily deployed in these districts, those who are available do the work of village development out of the district headquarters for want of roads.



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