The consistently deteriorating ambient air quality in the Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR) has left most people literally breathless
Do you know what Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) says about Air Quality Index (AQI)
VERY POOR: prolonged exposure may cause respiratory ailments
POOR: may lead to breathing discomfort
Discomfort of using face masks
Mask triggers gloomy and claustrophobic feeling
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or winter blues
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the AQI has dipped on account of calm winds.
Slower wind speed and low ventilation conditions are unfavourable for the effective dispersal of pollutants.
Big tech vs State | IndExp
Social media platforms must be neutral, transparent and consistent in their decision-making process.
GoI vs Twitter
MeITY Ravi Shankar Prasad: accused Twitter of “double standards”
The seeming arbitrariness of decision-making of social media platforms is not an India-specific concern.
A few days ago, French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his displeasure at the way social media platforms which had “helped President Trump to be so efficient” “suddenly cut the mic” the moment “they were sure he was (out of) power”.
The government also needs to be more transparent in its decision-making.
Pre-defined and publicly disclosed set of rules
India’s Internet-based Over-The-Top (OTT) streaming services have operationalised a code of self-regulation from February 10, soon after the I&B Ministry announced that it had prepared a set of guidelines and directives for the industry.
Growth of OTT channels has infused creative talent into film-making, aided by the absence of overbearing censors and vested interests
Many legal cases are filed against film/series makers
Somewhere there is a feeling that even Govt. does not want influential creative expression without breaks.
A voluntary code is consistent with the recommendations of the I&B Ministry’s Expert Committee on film certification chaired by Shyam Benegal in 2016.
The panel upheld creative expression and full ownership of any visual production, leaving viewing decisions to audiences, more accurately classifying films by viewer age, and ensuring transparency in the way reviewing bodies are constituted.
The idea that films must be pre-censored and arbitrary cuts made by government-appointed nominees, mostly out of prejudice, is antiquated and repugnant to liberal societies.
Setting the tone
S. President Joe Biden made his first calls, to key allies and partner nations
Some say, Biden took “too long” to call Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on February 8
India will continue to be a priority
Biden’s call with Chinese President Xi Jinping, which came two days later, reflected a sharper, even strident, exchange of views, with palpable diplomatic choke points, including China’s actions towards Taiwan, Hong Kong and the Uighur minority community in Xinjiang, making their presence felt in the call readouts.
Democratic Party values
The thread of the U.S.’s foreign policy paradigm now will comprise progressive values, a commitment to internationalism, and reliance on regional cooperation on global governance subjects including climate change.
Indeed, this could put the brakes on the accelerating global trend toward nationalism in foreign policy across the world.
Fuel prices on fire
In March 2020, the crash in international oil prices prompted the NDA government to sharply raise taxes on petroleum products in a bid to garner revenue amid the upheaval caused by the pandemic.
The Centre has ruled out any immediate move to reduce taxes
Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has stated that retail pump rates are governed by international prices as India is 85 per cent dependent on imports for meeting its needs.
However, the fact remains that Central and state taxes account for around 60 per cent of the retail prices
With petrol and diesel rates skyrocketing, Central and state governments need to strike a balance between the economic compulsion of generating resources through the taxation route and the political exigency of providing relief to the suffering populace.
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