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Pandemic and panic

The Tamil Nadu government’s order intensifying the lockdown in Chennai, Coimbatore, Madurai, Tiruppur and Salem from April 26 briefly convulsed these cities with panic, threatening to undo the gains achieved from avoiding crowding, maintaining physical distancing and preparing the public for a calibrated exit from restrictions. If the idea was to halt the rising rate of infections, which cumulatively touched 1,821 on April 25, the government’s announcement of a ‘complete lockdown’ was counterproductive. Thousands crowded grocery stores, vegetable shops and petrol pumps to stock up, many ignoring safety norms. Anxiety over access to essential goods, particularly among people who do not store articles for long periods, triggered panic buying. Confusion also marked the issue of new passes for delivery agents in places such as Madurai, attracting massive crowds. Such chaotic events are an invitation to disaster, since the highly contagious, and by many accounts dangerous virus infects
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No 100% quota: On overzealous reservation

The Supreme Court is right in considering cent per cent reservation as anathema to the constitutional scheme of equality even if it is for the laudable objective of providing representation to historically deprived sections. The verdict quashing the reservation of 100% of all teaching posts in ‘Scheduled Areas’ of Andhra Pradesh for local Scheduled Tribes is not against affirmative programmes as such, but a caution against implementing them in a manner detrimental to the rest of society. A five-judge Constitution Bench found that earmarking teacher posts in areas notified under the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution adversely affected the interests of other candidates not only from Scheduled Castes and other backward communities but also other ST communities not native to those areas. Of course, what the State government did, in its original orders of 1986, and thereafter, in a subsequent order in 2000, was not without its own rationale. It found that there was chronic absenteeism
Lead

Troughs and crests in the pandemic response

Irfan Nooruddin
Comment

Bihar’s dystopian moments and a looming crisis

Atul K. Thakur Yashwant Sinha
 
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The COVID-19 paradox in South Asia

Deepak Nayyar

Work-from-home is so much more hectic than work-from-work

G. Sampath

No dissent, no democracy

A.S. Panneerselvan

An epidemic of lies

Ruchir Joshi
Battle for survival Adjutant storks at a huge garbage dump near the Dipor Bil lake in Guwahati.
Open Page

Adjutant’s last stand

Soumitra Das
Flowers on Golden Shower Tree (Indian laburnum)
Open Page

Rejuvenating spring

Latha Menon