Dear Reader,

Even while the economy was hurting badly as a result of the Covid lockdown, there was one sector – Edtech – that was able to successfully leverage the forced recourse to online learning and training. However, The Ken reports that transparency and choice have not been the calling cards of the sector’s leading lights.

The Lede reveals the “hell on earth” that some of the Indian migrants find themselves in Saudi Arabia’s detention centres - without food, medication or care. And, The Print, reporting from Kerala, tells us why the state’s fabled fight against the pandemic has worryingly run aground.

These are just a few of the many stories that our grantees have covered this week. We bring you a selection. Please read on.

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Sunil Rajshekhar

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Rage against the machine: behind Byju’s swift silencing of dissent

In a deep-reported story, The Ken analyses how Edtech firms selling products to aspirational parents in India have been able to force social media platforms to take down negative or critical reviews of their products. Less than specific terms of use, blatant application of content takedowns and complicated redressal methods are threatening the freedom of information and choice that parents and customers are entitled to.

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“Hell On Earth”: Indian Migrants Detained In Saudi Deportation Centre Speak To The Lede

The Lede reports on the dire condition of detained Indian migrant workers in Saudi Arabia. From gross overcrowding, denial of food and almost absent healthcare, Indian migrants are having to face “hell on earth” in the detention centres in the Al Kharj area in Riyadh. The grantee’s story shows how the country, ironically the chair of the United Nations Human Rights Council panel in 2015, is ill-treating migrant workers in a rush to prune the number of immigrant workers.

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Laxity, low seroprevalence & reliance on antigen tests — how Kerala’s Covid battle came undone

Kerala, which was once considered the text-book case of how to contain Covid-19, has now turned into a pandemic hotspot with rising and worrying Covid-19 numbers. The Print reports that complacency in screening at the state’s borders, resort to a lower grade of testing and the unbridled lifting of the lockdown have led to the state struggling to gain control over the pandemic.

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Digital divide: Online schooling in Nagaland amid COVID-19 pandemic

EastMojo reports on the students of Nagaland who have come to dislike online schooling because they have to trek long distances – 3 kilometres in some cases - to access 4G internet on mountaintops. Some villages are so remote, they have not yet been electrified and residents have to depend on solar panels and generators to charge their devices.

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COVID-19: Rural India’s case load has topped since August

Down to Earth points out that COVID-19 killed more people in rural districts than in urban ones in September. Rural cases accounted for 49.7 per cent of all cases (by September 27) and the trend indicates a further uptick in the coming months. This does not come as a surprise, says the report, given the poor state of medical infrastructure in rural India and the apathy of government agencies.

Read Here

More from the grantees
Corona Cyclips Documentary | Covering Migrant Crisis on Bicycles
In May, two reporters from Asiaville made an epic 600-km journey from Delhi to Lucknow on their bicycles, recording and reporting on the Covid lockdown and the “largest migration since partition”. Asiaville rewinds the odyssey, including new footage.
Farm Sector Reforms: The State-Led Fixes Nobody Is Talking About
Even as the government and the opposition slug it out on the farm bills, Swarajya argues that some of the states have long begun the reforms, much before the Union government logged in.
भारत में न्याय अब एक ऐसा शब्द है जो अपना मतलब खोता जा रहा है
Historian Ramachandra Guha argues, in Satyagrah, that while discrimination based on caste, gender and religion have a long history in India, it has never plumbed the depths that it has today.
World Mental Health Day: Distressed Kashmiris seeking solace in Therapy
Kashmir Observer reports on how people dealing with mental health issues have turned to therapists, got treated, and turned the corner.
National Mental Health Policy (2014): Just An Empty Promise Without Proper Implementation
Only about 30 million of the 150 million people in India, in need of mental health intervention, receive it. Feminism in India reports that this is on account of two reasons - paucity of mental health professionals, and their relatively high cost when they are available.
आदिवासी पाड्यातल्या घराघरांत शिक्षण पोहचवणारी सरस्वती
Max Maharashtra profiles the work of Jayashree Patil, who is taking education to the doorsteps of the Adivasi and tribal children living in Galapur, a small tribal village in the Arendol district of Jalgaon, in Maharashtra.
‘Muslim’ regiment that never existed in Indian army blamed for refusing to fight in 1965 war
Alt News fact-checks a viral post on social media that falsely claimed that the “Muslim regiment” of the Indian Army refused to fight in India’s war with Pakistan in 1965.
How Can States Help Themselves?
Think Pragati takes listeners through the complicated systems of taxation and public finances; and discusses how the states, being short-changed by the Centre on GST compensation, can tide over the crisis.
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