ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Alarming Hunger in India

Does the Global Hunger Index convey the actual picture of hunger in India? While there are methodological issues in the measurement of calorific undernourishment, India’s performance remains poor in tackling child undernutrition, but not so in child mortality. The varying performance in the three domains calls for an objective assessment and targeted remedial measures in aspects where performance is poor.

Lockdown and Reopening the Economy

This article explores the spatial dynamics of COVID-19—with nationwide and partial lockdowns’ in its two waves, respectively—in India by employing the location quotient and univariate Moran’s I statistics with various variables representing spatial adjacency, proximity, population, population density, urbanisation, migration, and health infrastructure variables. The results suggest that though geographical proximity to the hotspot states played an important role in triggering the outbreak during both the waves, it could not influence the spatial clustering at the sluggish phase of the pandemic.

Interrogating the Hegemony of Biomedicine

Pharmocracy: Value, Politics and Knowledge in Global Biomedicine by Kaushik Sunder Rajan, Hyderabad: Orient Blackswan, 2017; pp 328 , ₹ 1,095.

Clinical Drug Trials

The controversial clinical drug trials on 26 cancer patients at the Regional Cancer Centre in Thiruvananthapuram, allegedly under a contract with the Johns Hopkins University of the US, could be the tip of the proverbial iceberg, with 'biomedical joint ventures' becoming a buzzword for many leading institutions in the country. Greater public vigilance on biomedical experiments, especially in human beings, is needed to ensure that such trials strictly follow the norms set by the Indian Council of Medical Research and the Helsinki Declaration.

Ethics in Medical Research

Last month the US Congress decided to send to the Senate a bill banning all research on human cloning, further polarising the debate among scientists and ethicists. The flurry of exchanges, some of them surprisingly sharp, have thrown up issues which are perhaps the most significant in the realm of science, ethics and human welfare since the second world war and the horror of Nazi experiments on prisoners. If the latter triggered the first major debates on the interface between scientific progress and ethical and human values, this current debate worldwide on human cloning and stem cell research brings into focus the problems that are going to become increasingly complex over this century, no matter how this particular issue is decided. At the core of the debate is the troublesome question of the degree to which scientific endeavour, particularly as it relates to health and longevity of humankind, should be allowed to set its own pace without reference to the possible negative consequences during the process of development or even afterwards. The focus of concern is as much whether such pursuit is necessary at all as the process of research.
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