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In Focus by The Hindu

In Focus by The Hindu

Author: The Hindu

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A podcast from The Hindu that delves deep into current developments with subject experts, and brings in context, history, perspective and analysis.
171 Episodes
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Earlier this week, Parliament passed three new laws on social security, industrial relations and occupational safety that subsumed 25 Central labour laws. Along with the wage code that was passed in 2019 the NDA government has now merged 29 different labour laws into four codes and this is something that was badly needed because India’s labour laws are famously complicated and jumbled, and the demand for bringing in more clarity has been longstanding. But what changes do these codes bring to the existing laws and what are the ramifications? Among the key changes are the greater flexibility afforded to employers in hiring and firing workers, the provisions for expanding the social security net to informal workers, albeit not completely, the recognition of new categories of workers such as gig workers, and something of a reduction in the influence of trade unions. So many of these are far-reaching changes and we’ll discuss the most relevant ones. Guest: Roshni Sinha, Senior Analyst, PRS Legislative Research Find the In Focus podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Search for In Focus by The Hindu.
Our discussion in this episode is on issues arising from the Sudarshan TV news case that is currently under consideration by the Supreme Court. Sudarshan TV is a private channel which aired a series of episodes of a programme called ‘UPSC Jihad’ and claimed that it had uncovered a plot in which Muslims were “infiltrating” the civil services. Last week, a very angry Supreme Court clearly stated that the show was an attempt to vilify Muslims. It granted an injunction on the telecast of the programme, stopping it for the time being, and also said it was going decide how to — and if at all it must — rule on broader questions including the point at which free speech in the media crosses the rubicon to insult a community or breach its dignity, and could thus be considered hate speech. We’ll pick up on that second thread in this episode and take the discussion forward, looking at the questions of law as regarding hate speech in India that the Supreme Court now has an opportunity to bring some clarity on in this case. Guest: Suhrith Parthasarathy, Advocate, Madras High Court Find the In Focus podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Search for In Focus by The Hindu. Write to us with comments and feedback at socmed4@thehindu.co.in
India should engage with the Taliban and fully support the peace process, says former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai. In an interview to The Hindu, Mr. Karzai, who remains involved in the process, speaks of his hopes from the Intra-Afghan negotiations that began in Doha this month, and the future of Afghanistan as the United States plans to pull out troops, in this interview with The Hindu's Diplomatic Affairs Editor, Suhasini Haidar. Find the In Focus podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Search for In Focus by The Hindu. Write to us with comments and feedback at socmed4@thehindu.co.in
On September 20, the government introduced the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2020 in the Lok Sabha, and it was passed in the Lower House on September 21. The Bill amends the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010, a.k.a. FCRA. The FCRA regulates the acceptance and utilisation of foreign funds by individuals, associations and companies. Civil Society organisations and NGOs are unhappy with the changes proposed in this new Bill. Some of the terms they have used to describe it include “draconian” and “cumbersome”. What exactly are the changes proposed, and why are civil society organisations concerned? To answer these questions, we have with us Venkatesh Nayak, a development sector veteran who has worked on issues of social justice and public audit mechanisms, and is currently with the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), New Delhi. His views and observations are personal. Find the In Focus podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Search for In Focus by The Hindu. Write to us with comments and feedback at socmed4@thehindu.co.in
In a massive scientific discovery, a team of international scientists has detected traces of phosphine gas in the atmosphere of Venus. On Earth, phosphine is produced by bacteria thriving in oxygen-starved environments. Crucially, it is considered as a marker for life. The researchers said that their research provided evidence “for anomalous & unexplained chemistry" on Venus. The possibilities for what this means for science, for the long search for life outside earth, are endless. Guest: Prajval Shastri, astrophysicist, Indian Institute of Astrophysics. Find the In Focus podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Search for In Focus by The Hindu. Write to us with comments and feedback at socmed4@thehindu.co.in
Our episode today looks at the joint statement issued by the Foriegn Ministers of India and China after a two-and-a-half-hour-long meeting on September 10 in Moscow that went into the night, and which now contains a five-point course of action to de-escalate the four-month-long stand-off at the Line of Actual Control. In previous episodes, we have discussed the stand-off in detail at various junctures and why, for months, despite meetings at various levels, the de-escalation process was really making very little headway. What’s more, there only seemed to be more flare-ups. Will this new five-point course of action make any difference at all? Where do things stand now and are they headed? Guest: Ananth Krishnan, former Beijing Correspondent; Suhasini Haidar, Diplomatic Affairs Editor Find the In Focus podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Search for In Focus by The Hindu. Write to us with comments and feedback at socmed4@thehindu.co.in
In today’s episode we focus on strategic affairs and, in particular, on the quad alliance between India, the United States, Japan and Australia. The occasion for doing so is statements made by India’s Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat on Monday, September 3, where he said that the ‘Quad’ alliance among India, U.S., Japan, and Australia could be a mechanism to ensure ‘Freedom of Navigation’ in the Indian Ocean and surrounding regions. He said this would ensure that there is “no fear of any other nation singularly trying to dominate the oceans”. These are, of course, not-so-subtle references to China. And General Rawat’s statement introduces the idea of introducing a militaristic aspect to the ‘Quad’. And that’s where things get interesting, because although the Quad forum goes back as far as 2006, the alliance has refrained from exhibiting a military purpose, largely because China has always viewed the alliance with suspicion. Indian thus far has also always been wary of joining any kind of military alliance that would be choosing sides between any of the world’s superpowers. On the other hand, though, could the unprecedented situation playing out in the LAC with China force a rethink? Guests: Suhasini Haidar, Diplomatic Affairs Editor; Dinakar Peri, Defence Correspondent, The Hindu. Host: Jayant Sriram Find the In Focus podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Search for In Focus by The Hindu. Write to us with comments and feedback at socmed4@thehindu.co.in
With less than two months to go before the U.S. presidential election not only Americans but people across the world are asking what policy paradigm the winner would bring to the White House. Whether in terms of economic policy, including trade and investment, or immigration, geopolitics, and climate change, there could be major differences between the possible presidencies of Donald Trump and Joe Biden. We explain these differences and why they matter to India, and the relevant policy and political attributes of the Republican and Democratic agendas. Guest: Dhruva Jaishankar, U.S. Director of the Observer Research Foundation Host: Narayan Lakshman, Associate Editor, The Hindu
In this episode, we follow up on a report that we carried in the paper last week and that merits a deeper discussion on an important legislation that is being discussed in Parliament right now. It’s on the DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Act, 2019. And our story on it was about a draft report on it by the parliamentary standing committee on science and technology, which said the provisions in the Bill, as they pertain to what kind of information can be collected through DNA sampling, could be misused. And, in particular, it flagged the possibility that it could be used for caste-based profiling. Guest: Suhrith Parthasarathy, Advocate, Madras High Court. Find the In Focus podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Search for In Focus by The Hindu. Write to us with comments and feedback at socmed4@thehindu.co.in
With both the Democratic National Convention and Republican National Convention now over, how is the race for the U.S. presidency shaping up and what are the issues that will dominate the campaign ahead of the crucial November elections? We review the major discussion points for each party in this podcast and get a perspective from a former U.S. Ambassador to India on how each side could approach diplomatic equations in the South Asia region. Guest: Richard Verma, former U.S. Ambassador to India (2014-2017) and currently the Vice-Chair of strategy advisory firm, The Asia Group. Find the In Focus podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Search for In Focus by The Hindu. Write to us with comments and feedback at socmed4@thehindu.co.in
What is the legacy of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who just a couple of days ago on August 28 announced that he would be resigning from office because of health problems? The news came as something of a shock — over the last eight years, Mr. Abe brought stability and continuity to a country that had grown used to political churn. In the five years in between Mr. Abe’s first stint as Prime Minister — a short-lived one-year term in office that ended in 2007 and his coming to power in 2012, Japan had seen five different Prime Ministers. It’s that sense of stability now that may represent Mr. Abe’s greatest contribution to Japan’s politics — both domestic and in the field of its international relations. Guest: Ananth Krishnan, former Beijing Correspondent, The Hindu. Find the In Focus podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Search for In Focus by The Hindu.
We turn our attention to the health of the economy in this episode and we do that analysis by looking at the RBI’s assessment of the economy, presented in its annual report released earlier in the week, and then look ahead to what we can expect when GDP numbers are expected to be released on Monday, August 31. Guest: Suresh Seshadri, Business Editor, The Hindu. Find the In Focus podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Search for In Focus by The Hindu. Write to us with comments and feedback at socmed4@thehindu.co.in
The latest meeting the Congress party’s working committee ended with another thumbs-up for the Gandhi family with Sonia Gandhi continuing on as interim president. This is despite 23 senior party leaders writing to Sonia Gandhi stating that the party needs overhauling from top to bottom and that there should be a new leadership which can be more visible on the ground. The party’s dynasty dilemma looks no closer to being resolved but can any meaningful change come from this latest episode? Also read: Sound and fury: On the Congress and the Gandhis Guest: Varghese K. George, Associate Editor, The Hindu. You can now find The Hindu’s podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Search for In Focus by The Hindu.
Fifty years ago on this day, that’s August 9, 1970, was the last time that a private member’s bill was passed by both Houses of Parliament. A private member’s bill is the only way for a parliamentarian who is not in the government, as a minister, to introduce a piece of legislation. And the fact that it’s been fifty years since a legislation proposed by a private Member of Parliament was actually enacted into a law tells a story of its own. Why has there been a reduction over the years in the time given to discussing private member bills? How might the process around them be strengthened? Guest: Chakshu Rai, head of legislative and civic engagement at the non-profit PRS legislative, which tracks all things to do with parliament and lawmaking in India. Find the In Focus podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Search for In Focus by The Hindu. Write to us with comments and feedback at socmed4@thehindu.co.in
Fifty years ago on this day, that’s August 9, 1970, was the last time that a private member’s bill was passed by both Houses of Parliament. A private member’s bill is the only way for a parliamentarian who is not in the government, as a minister, to introduce a piece of legislation. And the fact that it’s been fifty years since a legislation proposed by a private Member of Parliament was actually enacted into a law tells a story of its own. Why has there been a reduction over the years in the time given to discussing private member bills? How might the process around them be strengthened? Guest: Chakshu Rai, head of legislative and civic engagement at the non-profit PRS legislative, which tracks all things to do with parliament and lawmaking in India. Find the In Focus podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Search for In Focus by The Hindu. Write to us with comments and feedback at socmed4@thehindu.co.in
On August 14, U.S. President Donald Trump made a surprise announcement via Twitter that two of America’s close allies in West Asia, which had been at odds with each other for decades, reached a “historic” peace agreement. According to the deal, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will formally recognise the state of Israel, while the latter would halt its plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank of Palestine. What does this mean for the people of Palestine and how does it fit into the context of a rising Iran and the upcoming U.S. Presidential elections? Guest: Stanly Johny, International Affairs Editor, The Hindu. Find the In Focus podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Search for In Focus by The Hindu. Write to us with comments and feedback at socmed4@thehindu.co.in
On March 12 this year, the Environment Ministry put out a draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification. This draft notification, with amended norms, is meant to replace the EIA notification of 2006. It was in the public domain for consultations and suggestions till August 11. So far, it has triggered widespread fears around dilution of environmental norms. Thousands of environmental activists, civil society groups, opposition leaders and ordinary citizens have written to the Environment Ministry, asking that the draft notification be withdrawn. But Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has maintained that the protests are unwarranted. What exactly does the draft EIA 2020 propose to do? Why are so many environmental groups up in arms against it? What changes does the draft need so that it is able to achieve its stated purpose, which is to safeguard the environment and local communities from potential damage due to developmental projects? Guest: Kanchi Kohli, scholar with the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, and expert on  issues related to the environment, forest and biodiversity governance in India. Find the In Focus podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Search for In Focus by The Hindu. Write to us with comments and feedback at socmed4@thehindu.co.in
In this episode, we go into the politics underlying the reconstruction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, the ground-breaking ceremony held on Wednesday, and read into the symbolism and import of the statements made around the event. Guest: Varghese K. George, Associate Editor, The Hindu. Find the In Focus podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Search for In Focus by The Hindu. Write to us with comments and feedback at socmed4@thehindu.co.in
The 2020 tiger census numbers were recently released with much fanfare. And the headline is that India is home to 70% of the world’s tiger population. But is the methodology by which the census is conducted outdated? And could we actually be doing a lot more to increase our tiger population? Guest: Ullas Karanth, Director, Centre for Wildlife Studies, Bengaluru. Find the In Focus podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Search for In Focus by The Hindu. Write to us with comments and feedback at socmed4@thehindu.co.in
In this episode, we take a look at the issues related to rapid antigen tests, as several States, led by Delhi, have started to rely on this form of testing to collate data related to positive cases. What is it not telling us? We also discuss two serological surveys, from Delhi and Mumbai respectively, and what they tell us about the effects of the disease. Guest: Srinivasan Ramani, Deputy National Editor, The Hindu. Find the In Focus podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Stitcher. Search for In Focus by The Hindu. Write to us with comments and feedback at socmed4@thehindu.co.in
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Comments (8)

utkarshdwivedi14

please attach links of articles you talk about.

Sep 3rd
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Abhay Srivastava

nice

Aug 12th
Reply

Mahendra Singh

It's very unfortunate incident.

Jul 1st
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Anindo De

this is a very informative. I hope we will see more from Hindu like interview and analysis with experts.

Mar 19th
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ityagi

Please improve the sound quality! Keep up the good work.

Mar 13th
Reply

Anindo De

this is indeed a very informative and analytical podcast.

Mar 6th
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Anindo De

finally the Hindu has a podcast. audio is bit grainy. could you please clear this up?

Feb 17th
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Elray

Waah..! At last.. here’s the podcast from the esteemed the Hindu. 😇 Been waiting for quite a long. There should be more shows here by the Hindu. Keep doing the good work.

Jan 13th
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