‘If India Can Have National GST, Why Can’t It Have Universal National Healthcare?’

If the state and Centre can collaborate on a national tax system, why can’t India similarly create a nationwide universal healthcare system, created and run primarily by the government? That’s a q... Srinath Reddy, 66, president of the Public Health Foundation of India, was awarded the WHO’s director general’s award for outstanding global leadership in tobacco control, and in 2005, the Ind... PHFI was part of the ‘State-Wise Disease Burden Report’ released in November 2017. It showed how the burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which accounted for 37.9% of all deaths in 1990s, r...

‘Railways Went Ahead With A Failed Bio-Toilet Model’

For 24 years, the Indian Railways have tried to find a solution to the 3,980 tonnes–497 truck-loads (at 8 tonnes per truck)–of excreta ejected from trains on to tracks every day. The lates... Vinod Tare, 61, who headed the study on bio digesters, is currently a professor of environmental engineering at IIT Kanpur. Between 2004 and 2006, he was the project investigator for the Indian Ra...   In this interview, Tare explained the problems of waste management in Indian trains and the reasons why it fails.   After 24 years of experimentation, the Indian scientific community has b...

‘Congress Comeback In 2019 A Distant Goal. Modi Must Go Beyond Promises’

With recent wins in Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is now in power in 19 of 29 Indian states, the best performance by an Indian political party since 1993, when the Con... While the BJP’s performance in Gujarat may not be satisfactory to itself and reveals future electoral risks, it may not herald a Congress comeback in the 2019 general elections, political commen...   Excerpts from an interview with IndiaSpend:   The BJP won 99 of 182 seats, the least since it came to power in 1995, when it won 121 seats. What do you read of BJP’s victory in Gujar...

Why Modern India Should Fear The Great Droughts That Ended Indus Valley, Vedic Eras

Ashish Sinha, 50, professor of earth sciences at the California State University in the US, studying calcite deposits in a cave in Uttarakhand. His team gleaned 5,700-year rainfall data using these de... Gayatri Kathayat, 31, a post-doctoral scholar at the Xi’an Jiaotong University, China. Kathayat’s passion for cave research, a traditionally male-dominated field, has led her to explore some o...   Kathayat and Sinha tell IndiaSpend why it is important to study the variability of the Indian summer monsoon over the last few thousand years.   Links between the Indian summer monsoon var... Gayatri Kathayat at the Sahiya Cave in Uttarakhand, about 200 km north of Delhi, roughly 1,190 m above sea level....   Your data set representing the variability of the Indian summer monsoon over the last 5,700 years shows a positive correlation with the expansion and disintegration of successive human civilisa... Ruins of the Indus Valley civilisation at Rupnagar, Punjab. Newly studied summer monsoon rainfall records over 5,700 years reveal periods of normality and drought--severe enough to have ended the ...   Why is it important to model the variations in the Indian summer monsoon over the last thousands of years? What can studies of this duration tell us about the Indian summer monsoon that we do n...

‘If You Destroy Aravalli Forests, Delhi, Gurgaon Will Be Devastated’

The Mangar Bani is a sacred forest on the edge of Delhi, in Faridabad.  The Haryana government’s reluctance to classify tracts like these outside Gurgaon as Aravallis could endanger rare and rich h... Pradip Krishen, naturalist and environmentalist, stumbled on the Mangar Bani and its ‘secret wilderness’ in 2002....   The Aravallis rarely figure in discussions on conservation at the national level. Why is it important to talk about its importance and the need to protect it from degradation?   Precisely ... Dhau is a resilient tree that grows on steep, rocky slopes where nothing else will grow. If it is destroyed nothing else will grow here for years...   I first heard of Mangar Bani from an archaeologist, Nayanjot Lahiri, who said she’d found Mangar Bani on one of her forays searching for pre-historic settlements in the Aravallis south of... A map showing the national conservation zone in green, with the Aravallis clearly marked on them in both Gurgaon and Faridabad....   Can you give us an idea of the damage so far to the Aravallis due to construction or neglect over the last couple of decades?   I don’t know how to quantify the damage. The stark fac...

India Is Losing Its Night To Light, At 3 Times World Average

Light pollution is gradually encroaching upon more of the Earth’s surface with the annual growth of such newly lit areas pegged at 2.2%, according to a new study published in the journal Science Adv... Christopher Kyba studies the health and ecological impact of light pollution. In his free time, he explores the night sky and the stars. (Copyright Phil Dera)...   You can join Kyba in his research. He invites you to take part in one of his initiatives that involves quantifying the skyglow produced by cities, and how it is changing. “Citizen science is ...

Why Adolescents, Not Adults, Are Key To Addressing India’s Teenage Problems

India has 253 million adolescents (10 to 19 years), more than any other country and equivalent to the combined populations of Japan, Germany and Spain. But India isn’t doing enough to ensure they be... India isn’t doing enough to ensure its 253 million adolescents become productive adults, health expert Sunil Mehra, whose advocacy MAMTA works with the central government, told IndiaSpend. ...   Over a quarter century, MAMTA has expanded its work from maternal and infant health to adolescents. It works in 19 Indian states, and in Nepal and Bangladesh.   “I think the best investm...