Far away from the epicentre of the fierce slugfest on the farm laws, there is innovation afoot in Indian agriculture. A group of paddy farmers in Tamil Nadu have signed up for a ‘red revolution’ - growing chilli instead of the traditional paddy crop – with prices and buying being underwritten by a private company vested in sustainable farming. As ThePrint reports, this will not only wean farmers away from water-guzzling paddy but also raise their incomes enormously. Though still a nascent movement, it is being called the “next generation of innovation” in Indian farming.

However, The India Forum argues that the aftermath of the deregulation in the dairy sector offers a glimpse into the consequences that would follow if the farm laws are implemented. After deregulation, the dairy sector has seen the eclipse of the small and medium farmer with 5.25 million of them pushed out of dairying between the years 2000 and 2016. Additionally, large agri-business corporates have monopolised the market, injected inequities in consumption patterns and disrupted the ecology.

Is India ready to tackle the vicious second wave of the pandemic? Down to Earth explores the state of affairs and concludes that while over the past year there has been a significant uptick in the absolute numbers of medical equipment like oxygen-supported beds, ventilators, etc., it pales against the burden that the states are called upon to bear in the second wave. India’s spend on healthcare is woefully and shockingly inadequate, the report concludes.

When the pandemic struck and the lockdown began, there were geographies which were not covered by mainstream media, and access to information was scarce for these citizens. As The Bastion records, it was the community and hyperlocal media which stepped in and used radio, WhatsApp groups, and even recorded messages, to relay information about relief schemes and their entitlements. These ‘media’ also recorded the plight of the voiceless and brought it to the attention of local administration and civil society groups for redressal.

And, while the focus is on West Bengal, Live History India looks at the young science teacher from Kolkata, Satyendra Nath Bose, who in the 1920s took a quantum leap of faith in reaching out to Nobel Laureate Albert Einstein for having his research paper published. Later, Bose in collaboration with Einstein, did seminal work, the Bose-Einstein Statistics – a set of mathematical rules that described the behaviour of certain particles – which were christened the ‘Boson particle’ in honour of Bose. This breakthrough in quantum physics was a scientific milestone.

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


Sunil Rajshekhar

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A ‘Red Revolution’ unfolds — why these Tamil Nadu farmers are shifting from paddy to chilli

As the new farm laws are fiercely debated, in the “next innovation in Indian agriculture”, in Tamil Nadu’s Tiruvallur, erstwhile paddy farmers are changing colours through a ‘Red Revolution’, ThePrint reports. Eschewing traditional crops, farmers are turning to ‘chilli’, which is more remunerative and guzzles less water.

Read Here


India’s Deregulated Dairy Sector Signposts the Future of Our Food

The India Forum argues that a peep into what farm laws could bring is provided by the deregulation in the dairy sector which is marked by ousting of small producers, consumption inequalities and rise of monoliths.

Read Here


Is India's public health infrastructure ready to tackle the second COVID-19 wave? Here's what data says

In the wake of the second wave of the pandemic in India, Down to Earth digs into data to find whether India’s public health infrastructure is ready to tackle the second wave. It concludes that while the absolute number of tools like ventilators and oxygen-supported beds may have gone up, the underlying weaknesses remain. The biggest chink in the armour being the wholly woeful and abysmal public funding on health.

Read Here


Where the Mainstream Media Could Not Reach: How Local Information Travelled During the Lockdown

The Bastion reports on the role of community media and hyper-local news organisations which helped communities access essential information during Covid lockdown in absence of mainstream media coverage. These organisations used community radio stations, WhatsApp groups and even recorded messages to inform people about government relief schemes and took the inadequacies in the state's efforts to the local administration and civil society.

Read Here


Satyendra Nath Bose and the 'Boson' particle

Live History India tells the story of noted Indian scientist Satyendra Nath Bose and his work in discovering the ‘Boson particle’, named after him, and his collaboration with Noble laureate Albert Einstein, which led to a breakthrough in quantum physics.

Watch Here

More from the grantees
Quietly, Govt Sold Vehicular Bulk Data to Firm Without Price Discovery, Privacy Protection
In September of 2014, the Centre gave away India’s entire vehicle registration database to a private Indian company without due diligence in the form of ‘price discovery’, bureaucratese for selling cheap. The Wire investigates.
Why has Maharashtra topped the number of COVID-19 cases in both waves?
Suno India reports on how complacency, non-adherence to safe behaviour in public places and restarting of public activity have led to a surge in Covid cases.
हज़ारों खर्च करके वोट डालने आए बहेलिया समुदाय के वोटर गाँव के विकास के लिए तरस रहे |
Khabar Lahariya takes a closer look at the Baheliya community from Kolamjara village in Chitrakoot district in MP, who return to their villages from cities, at their own expense, to vote in the panchayat elections in the hope of being provided housing, roads and livelihood post the polls. Only to be disappointed election after election.
How Do International Financial Institutions Impact Public Services?
Feminism in India explains the ways in which the conditionalities imposed by international financial institutions impact access to public services in general and for women in particular.
Lockdowned Cinema
EPW explores three aspects of the social consumption of cinema during the lockdown which includes the consumption of the film star as a commodity, the shift in viewing towards OTT platforms and the challenges of the lockdown faced by cine workers.
Who runs Kreately? – Alt News investigates the factory of hate and misinformation
Alt News investigates the digital media outlet “Kreately” which it found was consistently promoting misinformation and hate.
Productivity vs poverty
India Development Review’s podcast debates if India should rapidly formalise its large informal sector or continue to encourage and support this sector that offers opportunities to the majority of its poor.
कर्जा लेकर घर चला रहीं ब्यूटी पॅार्लर चलाने वाली महिलाएं ।
Janjwar reports from the ground on the perilous state of salons and ‘beauty parlour’ business hit by the lockdown.

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