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outlookindia.com
2016-06-03T20:12:04+0530
Damned If You Grow, Damned If You Don’t

India’s GDP numbers for the fourth quarter of 2015-16 are so confusing, they could belong to two different countries. Seen from the lens of how much is being produced, the growth is closer to 8 per cent. From the lens of how much was consumed, it dips below 4 per cent. The second-­largest contributor to this growth is ‘discrepancy’. While its composition is unclear, this adjusting figure has surged so that it accounts for half the last quarter’s GDP. But something is still not right: exports have also fallen, as have new investments, and government expenditure just about grew. We live in hope.

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Who’s To Blame For GM Crops?

The debate over GM crops has been playing out in India. Yet, despite the opposition, NITI Aayog seems keen on pushing for such crops. In a recent round table, NITI Aayog member Ramesh Chand said the organisation has been pleading for a trial of GM crops for farmers. Agreeing that public sentiment on the use of GM crop is still lukewarm, he felt, tongue-in-cheek, that this was partly because scientists in India are not making any promising technological process in the area. Otherwise, the opposition would not have been so strong, you see.

The NN Debate Continues

After banishing Facebook’s much-touted Free Basics and Airtel’s zero-rating platform from Indian shores, and giving a thumbs up to the net neutrality debate in India, the telecom regulator TRAI, headed by R.S. Sharma, seems to be having second thoughts. In a ­recent consultation paper on net neutrality, TRAI talks about the issues it has already ruled on and seems to be in favour of free internet services. Of course, this has upset net neutrality evangelists. In the consultation paper, TRAI is talking of a toll-free or free internet and a cashback scheme for internet access where ­users are reimbursed for their web use. It has also sought opinion on zero-­rating platforms. Oh well, here we go again.

Mojo
Ancient space dagger

Tutankhamun, the boy-king of ancient Egypt who died at 18, apparently owned—and was buried with—a literal space dagger made from meteoric iron. The dagger is now on ­display at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

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This week we learned about a cure for cancer

The pharma industry is all abuzz about a new wonder drug for cancer. Seems one of our resident babas (not the leading FMCG manufacturer) had developed one such drug at his ashram and sent it to a ­private scientific research facility for verification. The latest is that the private lab might have cleared it and that should set off a global storm soon. Of course, there is an entire process of peer-review before such claims can be authenticated. But that is a remote concern at this stage at least because the baba’s officefolk are tight-lipped and won’t even confirm if the lab has indeed passed this drug as a new medical ­marvel. Can’t wait.

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