All posts by Aishwarya Malewar

I believe that carefully written or spoken words can change the world. I am currently interning with Eduindexnews.


Predictions on covid-19 are growing extremely complicated as the number of cases continues to increase across regions as India entered Unlock 2.0 on Wednesday, the government and scientists have reported.

The pandemic curve has been relatively confined and is starting to flatten since the strict 70-day shutdown implemented on 25 March, yet legislators remain mindful of the resulting increase in cases. States like Kerala succeeded in taking down the count of cases during the lockout but the easing of constraints contributed to a second surge. The condition is such that any covid-19 pandemic forecast may be inaccurate, state health experts said.

“The infection was imported and located in urban areas with a concentration in metros in the first two months, but has now moved to peripheral districts and small cities. This movement has given an impression that cases are decreasing in some areas, while in others there is a surge in cases. However, this is about the movement of infections and population,” said Dr Jugal Kishore, professor and head, department of community medicine, Safdarjung Hospital.

Delhi has the highest case load among cities with more than 87,000 cases. “We have increased testing in Delhi. Initially, on testing 100 people, around 31 were found to be positive and today only 13 out of 100 people were found to be positive. These things show that the situation is under control and is not as terrible as it was one month back. However, we have to be cautious,” said chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Over the past week, Delhi has been reporting more than 2,000 cases daily. “Delhi’s fixed population is showing less cases for 3-4 days, but new cases will continue because a large number of the Delhi population is floating,” said Kishore.

In all major states affected with covid-19 , Karnataka has also seen a significant increase since it opened its frontiers. In the last two weeks, however, the number of local infections has also increased, indicating the possibility of community spread. The number of cases has risen dramatically in Bengaluru, raising concerns of yet another lockout in the state capital.

Karnataka has now crossed the 15,000 covid-19 case threshold ahead of expectations, and by mid-August at least 25,000 cases are now expected. The state government has asked doctors to be prepared mentally to continue the struggle for another six months.

Health experts said the number of cases will increase because of the onset of the monsoon, which is also a season for influenza. “There will be a greater number of covid-19 cases as the influenza season will come. There will be a double problem. The cases that we are seeing now are reservoirs of the lockdown. Soon after the movement started, the cases also started increasing. We will see a further increase. The disease continues to be unpredictable,” said Lalit Kant, a scientist and former head of epidemiology and communicable diseases at ICMR.

India’s recovery rate improved to 59.43%. “During the last 24 hours, 13,157 covid-19 patients have been cured, taking the cumulative figure to 357,612. Presently, there are 226,555 active cases and all are under medical supervision,” the Union health ministry said. As on Wednesday, India recorded 601,952 covid-19 cases, with 17,785 deaths.




The government of Boris Johnson would enable almost 3 million Hong Kong people to migrate to the United Kingdom, causing greater deterioration of relations with China after it imposed a new security regulation on the former British colony.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Wednesday, the British Prime Minister stated that the current bill contravenes the London-Beijing Agreement of 1984, which laid out the “one nation, two systems” policy to maintain Hong Kong ‘s sovereignty after it reverted to Chinese rule in 1997.

In the U.K. Project to change the status of British National (Overseas) passport holders and give them a pathway and UK. Bourgeoisie. There are 350,000 individuals in Hong Kong keeping BNO passports, with another 2,5 million qualifying for them. China has blamed Great Britain. Interfering in the foreign relations after the plan was first tabled in May.

“The enactment and the imposition of this national security law constitutes a clear and serious breach of the Sino-British joint declaration,” Johnson said. “It violates Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and is in conflict with Hong Kong’s Basic Law.”

Johnson said he’d made clear “that if China continued down this path, we would introduce a new route for those with British National Overseas status to enter the U.K., granting them limited leave to remain, with the ability to live and work in the U.K. and thereafter to apply for citizenship — and that is is precisely what we will do now.”

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the new “bespoke immigration route” will allow holders of BNO status to come to the U.K. without the current six month limit, granting them five years limited leave to remain, with the ability to live and work in the U.K. After these five years, they will be able to apply for settled status and, after a further twelve months with that status, for citizenship.

Community dependents are also admitted into the UK. And there would be no cap on approved amounts, he added. Raab has made it clear, though, that he wants “a significant number” of those willing to live in Hong Kong or travel elsewhere in the country.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday said his cabinet was “very active” considering offering safe haven for Hong Kong citizens. He did not provide information on how this should be done.

“We think that’s important and very consistent with who we are as a people,” said Morrison, whose government has had its own clashes with China this year that have soured relations with its largest trading partner.

In the U.K., Raab also restated his criticism of HSBC for backing the new law at the expense of Hong Kong citizens’ rights. “I have been very clear in relation to HSBC and to all the banks — the rights and freedoms and our responsibilities in this country to the people of Hong Kong should not be sacrificed on the altar of bankers’ bonuses,” he said.

Speaking later on ITV’s “Peston” program, Raab acknowledged that the U.K. can’t stop China blocking Hong Kong residents from leaving, but that he hoped that would not happen as it is a reputational risk’

“I wouldn’t want to be naive about this, I think we need to be realistic,” he said. “But I do think China as a rising leading member of the international community is sensitive to the reputational risk in all of this.”

The Chinese Embassy in London hit back in a statement, saying that the U.K. had indicated that the new policy would not apply to Chinese citizens in Hong Kong who hold BNO passports.

“If the British side makes unilateral changes to the relevant practice, it will breach its own position and pledges as well as international law and basic norms guiding international relations,” the Chinese Embassy said. “We firmly oppose this and reserve the right to take corresponding measures.”



Investors are preparing ahead for expected upcoming market turmoil ahead of the US presidential election in November, with some shifting stock portfolios and selling the dollar, as Democratic party contender Joe Biden maintains a considerable lead in opinion polls against President Donald Trump.

During the four months leading up to the Nov. 3 elections, much will shift, and several analysts are concentrated about how a coronavirus outbreak could threaten a fragile U.S. economic rebound.

Nonetheless, several fund investors are now planning for the prospect of a win for Biden by betting against the currency and slashing their stakes in US stocks.

“The president’s poll numbers have fallen off a cliff,” said Phil Orlando, chief equity market strategist at Federated Hermes. “The market is looking at this and saying, ‘If the election were held today Biden would win.'”

The new survey by Reuters / Ipsos shows Biden leading Trump among eligible voters by 8 percentage points. Trump’s support for treating the coronavirus pandemic has collapsed.

A win for Biden-as well as a potential House and Senate Democratic sweep-may challenge initiatives supported by Trump and widely preferred by Wall Street, including lower corporate tax levels and fewer restrictions, analysts said.

Despite the sharp coronavirus-fueled dip, since Trump took office, the S&P 500 is up about 37 per cent. Under the first term of Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, the index rose 85 per cent and 79 per cent respectively.

According to Amundi Pioneer Asset Management, under Biden, the corporate tax rate is expected to climb to 28 percent, replacing half of Trump’s and Republican-led Congress reduction in late 2017.

That could rising S&P 500 earnings by around $20 a share, push buyers out of U.S. stocks and damage the dollar, said Paresh Upadhyaya, fund manager at the firm that bets against the greenback.

The fund manager at Laffer Tengler Investments, Arthur Laffer Jr., unwounded his dollar stake last week, predicting that a Biden win could contribute to stronger development and strain on the U.S. currency. Laffer Jr ‘s father has been counseling Trump on economic concerns.

Gross betting in derivative contracts against the U.S. dollar just reached a two year peak.

In a report to clients, analysts at UBS Global Wealth Management said possible new legislation by a Democratic government may be a headwind for oil and financial stocks.

Recently, the BlackRock Investment Institute has cut its ratings on U.S. equities to neutral over concerns of fading fiscal stimulus and uncertainty about elections.

“The two parties are as far apart on policy as they have ever been, making the result consequential for markets,” BlackRock’s analysts said in a note.

Orlando of Federated Hermes has boosted his cash allowance as the cases of coronavirus have risen and the vote numbers of Trump have dropped. He expects to lower shares in dividend-paying securities if Trump’s fall in the polls tends to boost questions about higher dividend taxation and capital gains.

Most investors remain unconvinced that a Biden win or Democratic sweep will bode poorly for stocks, especially because the U.S. economy is supposed to be bolstered by the Federal Reserve if appropriate.

As long as (stimulus) stays constant … you will continue to have some ballast in terms of asset prices,” said Sam Hendel, president at Levin Easterly Partners.



India’s ban on 59 Chinese applications, including the famous TikTok, has been widely noted in the US, including by some influential lawmakers, who have urged the US government to follow suit as the short video-sharing app is believed to pose a major security risk to the region.

India blocked 59 Chinese-linked apps Monday, including TikTok and UC Browser, saying they were harmful to the country’s sovereignty, dignity and security.

The prohibition, which comes against the context of India’s current stand-off with Chinese troops along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, is also relevant to WeChat and Bigo Live.

“India bans TikTok and dozens of other Chinese apps in the wake of the deadly clash,” powerful Republican Senator John Cornyn said in a tweet as he tagged a news report in The Washington Post.

Republican Congressman Rick Crawford tweeted that “TikTok must go and it should have been gone yesterday.”

Last week, US National Security Advisor, Robert O’Brien had alleged that the Chinese Government is using TikTok for its own purposes.

“On TikTok, a Chinese-owned social media platform with over 40 million American users, probably a lot of your kids, and younger colleagues, accounts criticising the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) and Beijing’s policies are routinely removed or deleted,” O’Brien said in his public remarks.

At least two proposals in the U.S. Senate are pending to prohibit federal government employees from using TikTok on their mobile phones, suggesting such a sentiment could build steam in the U.S. following the move by India.

“Would that be the same Chinese TikTok that was used to tank attendance at the Tulsa Rally?” tweeted Peter Navarro, Assistant to the US President for Trade and Manufacturing Policy, as he tagged a news report from The New York Times on India’s decision to ban these Chinese social media apps.

Fox News anchor Laura Ingraham urged the US to do the same. “LEADING THE WAY, WHERE’S THE U.S.? India bans dozens of Chinese apps including TikTok” she said in a tweet.

Author Gordon Chang said that India just banned 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok. “Why can’t the US do the same?” he asked.

According to Forbes, now with developers launching the latest clipboard alert in the beta edition of iOS 14, TikTok seems to have been caught abusing the clipboard in a rather remarkable manner.

“So it seems that TikTok didn’t stop this invasive practice back in April as promised after all,” it said.

An amendment added to the “Moving Forward Act” being considered this week in the US House of Representatives forbids Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers using the TikTok in smartphone device.

In April, Republican Senator Joshua David Hawley, passed a bill banning federal workers from accessing the TikTok social network camera platform on government-issued computers.

“This is a necessary step to protect the security of the US,” he said. A similar legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Ken Buck.

“It (TikTok) is owned by a Chinese company that includes Chinese Community Party members in leadership and it is required under Chinese law to share user data with Beijing,” said Senator Hawley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, during a recent Congressional hearing.

“TikTok has admitted that it has sent user data to China. To put it bluntly, this is a major security risk for the American people,” Hawley said.


Indian it firms plan to move to Mexico & Canada due to h-1b visa restrictions

Indian and U.S. technology firms advise the Trump administration to reverse an executive order restricting access to certain job visas, saying the change would disrupt a market model used to bring high-skill expertise to Wall Street and Silicon Valley clients.

Last week’s order from Donald Trump inhibits approvals of a range of visas all through to the year-end, including those for intra-company transfers and study-outside programs, and aims to give American preference after recording job losses from the coronavirus pandemic. H-1B visas used by Indian workers and other countries to occupy key roles are vital to the tech industry.

Visa delivery is an complex, month-long undertaking and some interruption could affect vital employees’ ability to fly to consumer locations for an prolonged period of time. The virus lockdowns have now delayed vital consulate access to the network and pushed hundreds of thousands of employees into demanding work-from – home conditions.

India’s technology trade group, Nasscom, called Trump’s order “misguided and harmful to the U.S. economy” and warned it would exacerbate the country’s economic pain. 

Indian companies provide technology staff and services to U.S. hospitals, drugmakers and biotechnology companies, Nasscom pointed out. In addition, the industry may send more workers to Canada or Mexico without access to the U.S. market.

“These are highly-skilled workers who are in great demand and they will be mobile no matter what,” said Shivendra Singh, president of global trade development at Nasscom.

Among the other critics of the order were Alphabet Inc. Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai, Microsoft Corp. President Brad Smith and Tesla Inc. founder Elon Musk. Pichai, himself a beneficiary of the H-1B visa system in the 1990s, tweeted, “Immigration has contributed immensely to America’s economic success making it a global leader in tech, and also Google the company it is today.” Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., Infosys Ltd. and Wipro Ltd., among the largest outsourcing companies in Asia, declined to comment.

According to immigration numbers, India accounts for around 70 per cent of the 85,000 H-1B visas granted annually. Of this number, 65,000 visas are given to international professionals with bachelor’s degrees, while the remaining 20,000 will be assigned to employees with more advanced degrees. The visa program was developed to allow businesses to recruit foreign staff to address a lack of highly qualified technical services and product creation expertise. The reality that every year Indian outsourcers receive a large amount of the visas has rendered the scheme problematic, with opponents alleging that businesses misuse the system by replacing American employees with cheaper foreign labour.

Shortly after assuming office, Trump promised to clamp down on work visas and overhaul the “broken” immigration framework. A long-term issue for outsourcers is the proposed redesign of the existing H-1B visa scheme by the government, which will substitute the established allocation mechanism to decide who accepts visas with a merit-based method that prioritizes wage-based applicants.

Now, outsourcing firms are grappling with the unpredictability of the visa situation and the possibility of an H-1B revamp being able to make it impossible to take all but the most important of talent outside the world.



Until recently, people at Lido Learning, a new educational startup company, would often be cut short by potential customers as soon as they heard “online tuitions.” Of the parents who did not hang up, only a quarter of the rest or one out of three would end up buying a subscription. By March, Lido Learning, whose educators gave math, science and English lessons on the internet to students from grade IV-IX in real time, had sold to students from grade IV-IX.

The organization increased its subscription revenue over the following three months.  Students are currently spending 90 minutes on an average on the network each day, which can be seen as a substantial increase as compared to max. an hour earlier. A  distribution team comprising of only 200 odd personnel  has made marketing much more efficient and smoother. Rather than illustrating the idea of online schooling to customers, what the organization wants to do now is show them how “we ‘re better than others,” said Sahil Sheth, CEO of Lido Education.

The company, Vedantu, the industry pioneer in K-12 live classes (kindergarten through grade XII), was hit by the influx of new students in early April, causing an unprecedented shortage of teaching assistants. The company’s teachers were now instructing 1,000 students instead of 300-400 students in each class. 1 million students attended live classes on Vedantu in May, up from 200,000 in usual times. Only a small fraction of these were paid users, but monthly revenues still jumped by more than three times from January, CEO Vamsi Krishna said. “What was happening in a year’s time in terms of growth happened in three months’ time,” he said.

The pandemic-driven growth of online education has been so broad that it’s tough to locate an educational company that hasn’t taken a parallel route. From industry giants to smaller companies, investors are quite optimistic this is the sector’s defining moment.

In India, education has always had a quasi-religious significance, as a degree is seen as the only means of prosperity. With schools and colleges shut down, disarray entrance exam schedules, inaccessible offline classes, parents and students are even more concerned about the future than usual, prompting them to try online tuitions like never before.

“Usually, when a new category is being created, companies have to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising over 8-10 years to get customers to shift from offline to online. In the case of edtech, this is happening super-fast because of the lockdown and because all the schools have gone online,” Lido Learning’s Sheth said.

The online education industry continues to be split into two categories by founders and investors: K-12 and post K-12. Both divisions, which in effect have several different verticals, had evolved rapidly anyway. The growth has been massively exacerbated by the pandemic. By 2022, the K-12 industry would grow by six times to approximately $ 1.7 billion, while the post K-12 sector would rise by nearly four times to $1.8 billion, RedSeer Consultancy predicts.

On the other side, funds are lined up to obtain shares in start-ups in healthcare. Byju’s, Unacademy and Vedantu, three prominent startups in education, are all raising large amounts of capital at soaring valuations. Over a dozen smaller startups, including Lido Learning and WhiteHat Jr, are in talks to raise between $5-50 million to anywhere.



Rationalisation of expenditure by the government for the second quarter of the current fiscal year has led to rising concerns. Fear’s have plummeted as many believe that the government may end up spending way less than the budget level, it has previously estimated, this would result in the economy taking even longer to recover than before.

Lower revenue intake and rising debt rates of central and state governments due to increased borrowing to cope with COVID-19 pandemic-related spending have also contributed to worries about the debt-GDP ratio crossing the 80 per cent notional red line from the 70 per cent rate seen in the last fiscal period. Nevertheless, the worries are being challenged by some analysts who stress the need to focus on economic recovery and prosperity instead of relying exclusively on debt figures, with high economic costs of debt reining in terms of jobs and loss of life and wellbeing.

Last week, the Finance Ministry released spending control guidelines in the quarter of July-September, extending an earlier order for the cash management system, dated April 8. The April order had grouped divisions of government and ministries into three, detailing their April-June quarter budget limit. Class A has without limitation ministries and agencies such as the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers’ Welfare, the Ministry of Civil Aviation, the Department of Health and Family Welfare, the Department of Rural Development and the Supreme Court of India.

Category B ministries and departments such as fertilizers, taxation, home affairs, election commissions and road and highways are expected to restrict spending to 20% of the 2020-21 budget total, whereas Category C ministries such as petrochemicals, energy, commerce, telecommunications, education , housing and urban affairs will only spend 15% of the budget.

The budget rationalization is likely being undertaken to allow enough headroom to dovetail the stimulus package unveiled last month, particularly when receipts are projected to be significantly smaller than this year’s projections. Direct taxes dropped by more than 25 per cent in the first quarter, though GST collections were just 45 per cent of the monthly mark. Economists point to some key aspects of the stimulus program, such as the allocation of funds to micro, small and medium-sized businesses under the 100 percent Emergency Credit Line Guarantee System that are failing to take off, thus exacerbating the effects of the continuing reduction of government spending.

With insufficient cash outgoing, fiscal support from the government in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic has been constrained. Schemes that are part of the stimulus plan, such as providing funds to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises under the 100% Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Programme, are failing to take off, with banks able to disburse a little over 7% of the volume distributed under this heading over the last one month. For MSMEs, hard hit by the pandemic lockdown, credit remains a challenge amid the demand slump. Official data shows that as of June 18, state-owned banks sanctioned loans worth Rs 40,416 crore under the scheme, of which Rs 21,028.55 crore has been disbursed, which is a little over 7 per cent of the Rs 3 lakh crore package under this head.



Japan had to agree to an unprecedented one year postponement from the initial insistence that the Olympics would be held on the originally stipulated dates with the usual pomp and pageantry. So now with the Covid-19 pandemic unlikely to depart early, the organisers have acknowledged that if they are cut down to keep expenses so safety risks in place, the only way the Games will be played in 2021 will be. This dream of a “simplified” Olympics – to use Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike ‘s term – entails ending the one-year countdown to the revamped Games, set for July 23 to August 8 next year, watering down the opening and closing ceremonies.

The organizers plan to check every fan, athlete, coach, and official .  Additionally, the movement of everyone participating in the Games is likely to be considerably limited, in whatever capacity. Both these steps are even more important when the International Olympic Committee has announced that the Olympics will not be delayed again, but will be canceled if they will not take place next year in July-August.

he ongoing pandemic is considered the world’s greatest societal threat since the Second World War. In the wake of which, the London Games of 1948—and sports — helped the world bounce back, that also played a role in morale-boosting. One key difference is that Tokyo had already made arrangements for a grand edition of the Games, and will now have to scale them down, but when the world recovered from the war, London 1948 could not afford the expenditure. Many parts of London still sport a dilapidated look from the bombings. There had been a shortage of certain supplies and the tight rationing for residents for the everyday necessities. In contrast to the Games Village set up at Tokyo Bay, the male athletes in 1948 were housed at Royal Air Force camps while the women stayed at colleges.

As The Guardian writes: “Not only was there no new Olympic stadium, there was no new velodrome, aquatics centre or handball arena either. Nor was there a purpose-built Olympic village… The organisers laid on bedding but asked contestants to bring their own towels.”

By throwing 800 tons of cinders over the greyhound course, they have turned Wembley into an athletics venue.No wonder they were called the ‘Austerity Games’ instead of the 1948 Olympics.It was tough for even British athletes to get the food that were considered essential in their sports for maximum results, which could explain the meagre haul of three gold, 14 silver and six bronze medals in the host country. There were also teams who carried their own food to the Tournaments.

Yet today the Games are remembered for the achievements of likes of Fanny Blankers-Koen, the 30-year-old Dutch mother of two, who won four gold medals, and Emil Zatopek, of Czechoslovakia, who took home the 10,000 m win.

To India, playing for the first time as a free nation at the Olympics, the highlight was its fourth consecutive hockey gold medal – that too beating Britain, its former rulers, in their own backyard.

But the Games — featuring 59 countries, with defeated powers Japan and Germany, kept out and the Soviet Union declining to participate — also brought people some relief amid their post-war struggles. The Guardian writes that the 1948 Olympics even managed a profit of almost £30,000, something unthinkable in the present age of ballooning budgets.

Today, the world is much more interconnected than it was in 1948. If the 2021 Olympics do take place, it will not be just about the sporting achievements. As Emil Zatopek had said at the end of the 1948 Games: “After all those dark days – the bombing, the killing, the starvation – the revival of the Olympic Games was as if the sun had come out… Suddenly there were no frontiers, no more barriers, just the people meeting together.”



When the border stand-off with China deepens, India will need to think of all potential diplomatic solutions in this crisis that will lend it leverage. New arrangements with a variety of foreign powers is one such factor which is often discussed in this sense. Most military analysts salivate at the possibility of an ever stronger coalition with the United States.

It is a good moment for mobilizing public sentiment on China. As China under Xi Jinping regime has seen an unprecedented degree of global alienation.  But can that be translated into concerted global action to bring real pressure to bear on China? India should pursue every avenue possible. Yet we would always have a thorough understanding of the limits of what can be achieved for India through new partnerships or agreements.

It’s important to remember that in the context of the development paradigm of a country , international relations are formed. India’s primary goal, if it can possibly articulate one, would be to maintain the optimum space for its growth model. In that way, India isn’t special. The alliance between the US and China may have arisen in the diplomatic effort to establish a break between the Sino-Soviets. But for decades this relationship was sustained not by a strategic logic, but by the logic of the developmental political economy in both the US and China, where they depended on each other reciprocally.

The technology model ‘s diplomatic prestige waned, and it is this fact that will be essentially the catalyst of the relationship between the US and China. The question for India is not just whether the US has any stake in the development of India, which it could have. Yet it is more a matter of how India’s infrastructure needs can fit into the evolving model of US growth. Will the very powers of the political economy which establish a disengagement with China also come in the way of closer relations with India? Some sections of American big business could be batting for India; but the underlying dynamics of the political economy are less favorable.

Would the US grant India the space it wants for commerce, intellectual property, legislation, agriculture, labour mobility, the very domains where democracy is essential to the economy of India? Can an American hell-bent on getting industrial jobs back to the U.S., comfortably fit with a Bharat “atma nirbhar?” To see what’s at stake, we need only look at how friction over the development paradigm drives tensions between the US and the EU on trade, taxation and regulatory issues.

There is sometimes a complaint in the US about India being invited but refusing enthusiastically to come to table. Given the salutary cultural and political impetus in this relationship there is some reality to this. Yet the causes of this, including climate change, have also been genuine disagreements in growth. It was also that this question was antithetical to the other strategic commitments of India at various points. India was wise to stay out of the Iraq war, it was wise not to completely spurn Russia, and it is wise not to throw its weight behind the US policy on Iran.

There’s more wisdom in the US to comprehend the role of India. But there is a section of India ‘s strategic community that sees India ‘s reluctance to go in with the U.S., hook line and sinker, as a sort of ideological wimpiness, not a sign of deeper-thought-out realism that it was.

It is a strange moment in global affairs, where a common challenge emanating from China is recognised, but there is no global appetite for concerted action. The global response to the BRI could be an interesting example. Many countries struggle to meet their debt obligations to the BRI. Most loans from China have been a millstone around the necks of the debtor countries. But it’s hard to see the rest of the international community help all these countries wean their regimes away from Chinese finance dependence. Similarly, there are now considerable concerns about frontier conflict areas such as cyber security and space.



As predicted, on Wednesday Delhi overtook Mumbai to become the region with the country’s largest number of novel Coronavirus cases. Delhi now has over 70,000 cases, of which roughly 40,000 have been detected during the last two weeks. These are around 800 fewer Mumbai has.

Yet it’s doubtful this condition will remain permanent. Delhi’s surge can be attributed to a marked increase in the number of samples tested by the city late, particularly after deploying the recently approved rapid antigen tests, which yield results in just about half an hour. The number of tests in Delhi has risen from around five to seven thousand a day in the last ten days to close to 20,000 on Wednesday.

On the other side, Mumbai performed very small experiments, between 4,000 and 4,500 a day. But Mumbai too, having ordered one lakh fast antigen kits, is now all set for an increased check. Mumbai ‘s case numbers are also expected to go up when these experiments continue to be implemented. There is already some criticism that Mumbai has spread its test net quite thinly, targeting only the primary contacts of the infected and those at the highest risk of infection. The real number of cases in Mumbai may be much higher, but since the results are small, this is not being observed.

Meanwhile, Delhi has also decided to carry out door-to – door monitoring to detect the disease early and minimize the spread. Mumbai has been doing this exercise on a smaller scale for some time, and he’s had some success. Door-to – door screening results in early identification of suspected outbreaks, thus reducing the number of individuals to which the virus can be spread. This exercise could theoretically halt or delay the growth of Delhi events.

Door-to – door surveillance is now expected in Madhya Pradesh as well as starting July 1. The test is part of a fortnight-long program to step up measures to curb the virus’ spread. The disease has also accelerated dramatically in the state. Indeed, Madhya Pradesh is the slowest growing country among major states, with growth rates below 2%.

One city which was lauded for its efforts to monitor the spread of the virus until quite recently is Bengaluru. It had succeeded in avoiding the fate of Delhi , Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Chennai , Hyderabad, Pune or Kolkata. Over the last few days, though, the situation has improved somewhat, but it is better than the other big cities. More than 1,000 new cases have been identified this month in the region, while about 70 people have died. Local officials are now considering a partial shutdown to curb the rise.

In Chandigarh, a weekend shutdown is also being considered, but it is more to do with people who do not follow basic laws of physical distance than any big surge in cases. Chandigarh has only 420 confirmed illnesses, many of which didn’t meet physical distancing rules. Nevertheless, merchants and shopkeepers have resisted any attempt to enforce a weekend lockout. Punjab also follows the pattern of lockout at the weekend.

On Wednesday about 17,000 new cases were reported across the country bringing the overall number of infections above 4.7 lakh, of which about 2.6 lakh have recovered. Close to 15,000 people have died in India so far because of the disease.