Dear Reader,

As a massive second wave of Covid hits India, there are calls for immediate lockdowns and closures to battle the virus, as was done when the pandemic first struck. However, Swarajya argues that what worked against the first surge is unlikely to work now and the ‘real solution’ is compulsory and enforced masking, rapid antigen tests for quick detection and isolation, and vaccinating ‘5 to 10 million’ people a day.

The News Minute too asserts the importance and criticality of vaccinations as the prime antidote against the Coronavirus, and emphasises that not only has the pace of vaccination to be stepped up dramatically but the access also needs to be universalised. Noting the recent decision by the Centre to turn down Maharashtra's plea for door-to-door delivery of the vaccine, the story argues that decisions on who should be vaccinated, and how, should be decentralised and left to the states.

As the election season peaks, so do promises by political parties. One of the promises made in the Assam elections is to deliver a ‘flood-free Assam’. EastMojo visits Majuli, which has lost one-third of its landmass due to flooding by the Brahmaputra, to examine if this is at all feasible. It concludes that floods, like in Majuli, can at best be managed through creating storages and holistic development of the area, and cannot be completely eliminated.

The year and more of Covid has taken a toll and there has been a tendency to self-medicate for ‘comfort’, especially with herbal and ‘natural’ remedies. However, there’s a flip side, as The Ken tells you - this comfort can come at the cost of your liver.

And, as one more chapter of the familiar ‘one-step forward, two-steps back’ paradigm plays out between India and Pakistan, there is a small but significant shift in roles. This time it is the Pakistan army that has proposed and the civilian government that has disposed. Mojo Story delves into this change in choreography.

For a selection of stories from our grantees this week, please read on.


Sunil Rajshekhar

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No More Lockdowns, Night Curfews Or Such Redundant Policies Please: States Must Opt For Real Solutions To End Covid-19

As the Covid surges and closures are mooted, Swarajya argues that it is not lockdowns but the rampant and consistent use of masks, increased tracing through rapid-antigen tests that are the real panacea. Most importantly, it asserts, there is no way that India can turn the tide against the virus unless it begins to vaccinate ‘5 to 10 million’ citizens per day.

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Why India's COVID-19 vaccination strategy must be decentralised

The pace of vaccinations should not only be increased but universalised, says The News Minute. Open the vaccine to everyone, without restrictions of age or morbidities, as Israel successfully has, and let the states, rather than the centre, be the judges of who the recipients will be.

Read Here

Watch: Is flood-free Assam possible? Here’s what Majuli said

EastMojo reports on the impact of flooding on people living in Majuli island and whether a "flood-free" Assam is really possible. The island has lost about a third of its landmass over the last 70 years. While several anti-erosion measures have been taken over the years, independent researchers feel that piecemeal measures are unlikely to have much of an impact. Instead, holistic social development of the region and staggered storage of floodwater across wetlands and other artificial storage structures could help Majuli deal with the impact of heavy flooding better.

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Herbal drugs get a Covid push but at the cost of your liver

The Ken takes a detour from its Covid-focused healthcare reportage to analyse the rising cases of liver injury. The cause: adverse reactions from over-consumption of ayurvedic and herbal medicines taken by people without any medical guidance. The pandemic has given the sector a boost with consumers believing that these over-the-counter “natural” alternatives are safe. This perception makes regulating the industry much harder.

Read Here

India-Pakistan | Imran Khan's Dropped Catch on Trade Ties with India | Barkha Dutt

In a dramatic move, Pakistan announced the decision to import sugar and cotton and then dramatically reversed its decision. Mojo Story looks at events coming right after Pakistan army chief called for burying the past and starting anew, and the civilian government, for a change, putting the spanner in the works.

Watch Here

More from the grantees
Why COVID vaccine: Doctors on cycles answer us
Asiaville reports on a rally hosted by doctors in Chennai to spread awareness of the criticality of getting vaccinated. With placards and t-shirts bearing messages exhorting citizens to wear masks and get inoculated, the doctors cycled around the city.
Understanding The Emerging Women Vote Bank In India
Feminism in India examines the rise of women as political actors in the recent past. Women have now begun to assert their identity as ‘voters’.
Farm laws 2020: Efficiency vs equity
India Development Review argues that while there is agreement on the need to improve farm productivity and the conditions of farmers, there are differing views on how to achieve this. New farm laws have leaned towards a market-based approach but could end up strengthening the existing unequal power dynamics.
The Laws of the Land of Social Media
The Bastion analyses the different rules to regulate online content - both existing and proposed - to show that they are opaque, violate user privacy and could also cause people and media organisations to self-censor.
COVID-19: Migrant labourers are leaving Gujarat, again
With the second wave of the pandemic hitting Gujarat, businesses have slowed down and the migrant labour, as in the past, is once again at the receiving end, Down to Earth reports.
The Odd One is ‘Out’: Voices from Virtual Classrooms
EPW points out that the pandemic has led to the classroom being transformed from table, benches and seats, to tablets, websites and applications. This dependence on technology has not just blurred the physical boundaries but has also amplified the social and economic ones.
किसानों की खड़ी फसल में अचानक आग लगने से हुआ लाखों का नुकसान | Khabar Lahariya
Khabar Lahariya reports from Ramnagar in Chitrakoot on the plight of farmers who have lost their harvest after their crops were burnt through fire caused by faulty electric transformers.
In Kerala elections, the key demographic to woo this election are the Gulf returnees
Suno India reports on how lakhs of workers who returned to Kerala from the gulf states after losing their livelihood during the pandemic are turning out to be an important voting group in the Kerala assembly elections.
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