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GS Paper 4

20th November – ‘Nudge’ in public policy

Nudge – A desirable public policy tool This is a classic example of businesses using behavioural foibles to upsell products to customers. There is now a school of thought that the understanding of human behaviour can be used by policymakers to nudge citizens to act in a way that is good for them or for …

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16th November – Western bias in Science

Western bias in Science Recently NASA released a news about the discovery of molecular water on the sunlit side of moon by the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), piggybacked on a Boeing-747 aircraft at approximately 45,000 feet above the ground. The finding of 100-412 parts per million water (equivalent to a 12-ounce bottle) in …

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14th November – Media regulation

Media regulation The government’s move bringing online news and current affairs portals along with “films and audio-visual programmes made available by online content providers” under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is as brazen as it is wily. Brazen, because this is an attack on the free press, targeted at a section that has been …

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6th November – Elections in the US

Election system is broken in USA The general election in the United States is too close to call. This has often been the case in the past two decades, ever since the 2000 presidential election was decided when Democratic candidate Al Gore conceded with just 537 votes in between him and George W Bush in …

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30th October – Deepfakes

Countering Deepfakes Disinformation and hoaxes have evolved from mere annoyance to high stake warfare for creating social discord, increasing polarisation, and in some cases, influencing an election outcome. What are ‘deepfakes’? Deepfakes are a new tool to spread computational propaganda and disinformation at scale and with speed. Deepfakes are the digital media (video, audio, and …

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3rd October – Mahatma Gandhi

The Mahatma as an intercultural Indian Gandhi’s idea of non-violence was not a dream; it was a realistic hope, armed with a dose of practical idealism; that of the global welcoming of the law of love. By saying this, he presented himself, at the same time, as an Asian who was influenced by Hinduism, Jainism …

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1st October – Public Order

A demarcation in the interest of public order The reiteration by the Supreme Court in the Shaheen Bagh case of the right to protest, within reasonable restrictions, helps in understanding the breakdown of public order in Delhi over a three-month period. Outlining the bureaucratic roles – First, distinction between independent actions, for which no political …

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Menstrual Leaves

5th September – Menstrual Leaves

Menstrual Leaves Recently, Zomato, an Indian food delivery firm, announced that all its women employees (including transgender employees) can avail up to 10 days of paid menstrual leaves each year. While this is notable for such a large company in India, countries like Japan and South Korea and closer home, Bihar, have been providing period …

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Encounter Killing

13th July – Crime as punishment – Encounter killings

Crime as punishment – Encounter of Vikas Dubey The Uttar Pradesh Police’s account of the encounter killing of Kanpur gangster Vikas Dubey, even if taken at face value, is a startling admission of serious ineptitude. But the official narrative, as it stands, stretches the bounds of credulity to an astonishing extent. An act of retribution …

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Killer Acquisitions

10th July – Killer Acquisitions

Ensuring market dominance through killer acquisitions The corporate game is a serious affair. New entrants with novel ideas and products find it hard to sustain and are easily gobbled up by the bigger players. In the realm of antitrust law, such a corporate strategy or practices have come to be known as killer acquisitions. What …

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