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The Big Story

The Quint

Description

The Big Story podcast - Where we dissect headline-making news with analysis and inputs from experts.
875 Episodes Play All Episodes
617%3A+What+Does+Faruqui%E2%80%99s+Arrest+Say+About+State+of+India%E2%80%99s+Policing%3F
access_time12 hours ago
Stand-up comedian Munawar Faruqi has been in jail for more than two weeks. Why? Did he crack a wrong joke? Well, as the top cop of Madhya Pradesh says "it doesn't matter".

Munawar was arrested along with four others by Indore police midway during a show held at a cafe in Indore, on the basis of a complaint filed by a fringe right wing group's leader for allegedly making objectionable remarks against Hindu gods and Home Minister Amit Shah.

But is there any evidence of him insulting Hindu sentiments or Amit Shah?

As Indore East Superintendent of Police Vijay Khatri justified, they wanted to catch Mr Faruqui in action based on "oral evidence" from his rehearsal that was overheard by the complainant. Khatri indicated that Faruqi was arrested for the jokes he intended to make, rather than what he actually said in his comedy set.

But strangely even as many people criticised the arbitrary nature of his arrest, Mr Faruqui's legal ordeals are far from over. Although Faruqui is looking to getting an bail hearing in Indore, it's the UP Police is all prepared to re-arrest him in connection to a case against him from May 2020.

While some say India can't take a joke anymore, others have criticised the police for Munawar's arrest saying that he's behind bars for being a Muslim. But what does this indicate about the state of policing in the country?

Host: Shorbori Purkayastha
Guests: 
Shreyas Manohar, Comedian

Agrima Joshua, Stand-up Comedian
Vakasha Sachdev, Legal Editor, the Quint

Producer: Shorbori Purkayastha

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

Listen to The Big Story podcast on:

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616%3A+Should+I+Take+The+Vaccine+if+I+Had+COVID%3F+All+Your+Queries+Answered
access_time4 days ago
Oh 16 January, India is rolling out one of the biggest vaccination programmes in the world. 2 crores health workers and frontline workers will be vaccinated over the next several weeks. And by 30 July, the government aims to vaccinate 30 crore people.

This is a milestone in India’s fight against the COVID pandemic and our readers and listeners have sent us their questions about the vaccines and the whole process involved. And to answer some of these questions we’ve invited Dr Shahid Jameel who’s a virologist and the Director of the Trivedi School of Biosciences at Ashoka University, to join us in this podcast. Tune in!

Host: Vaishali Sood
Guests: Dr Shahid Jameel, Virologist and Director of Trivedi School of Biosciences at Ashoka University

Producer: Shorbori Purkayastha

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

Listen to The Big Story podcast on:

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615%3A+How+The+Special+Marriage+Act+Judgment+Sends+A+Message+to+The+State
access_time5 days ago
Amid reports of rampant harassment and arrests of interfaith couples over anti-love jihad legislations, came an important judgment from the Allahabad High Court which allows interfaith couples to have a safer registration of their marriages under the Special Marriage Act.

On 14 January, a single-judge bench of Justice Vivek Chaudhary held that there is no need to mandatorily publish notices for marriages under the Special Marriage Act as is currently required.

The court observed that such mandatory notices for would invade the fundamental rights of liberty and privacy and also affect a couple's freedom to marry a person of their choice, due to interference from state and non-state actors.

With these observations what this judgment does, is uphold right to privacy and individual autonomy by leaving it up to the couple if they want to request a marriage officer to publish the notice of their union or to not publish it.

This coming at a time when fringe right wing mobs and even the police have started interfering in unions of interfaith couples in states like Uttar Pradesh, makes it a significant judgment.

While this is legal pushback against interference in interfaith marriages under Special Marriage Act, will this be able make a change on ground as well? And can this judgment in anyway also be able to challenge love jihad ordinances? Tune in!

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha
Guests: Vrinda Grover, Lawyer & Human Rights Activist

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

Listen to The Big Story podcast on:

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614%3A+What+Challenges+is+India%E2%80%99s+Covid+Immunisation+Drive+Likely+to+Face%3F
access_time6 days ago
Vaccination drives, that are taking place across the world, are giving some hope that perhaps we'll overcome the COVID pandemic soon.

As India prepares for what is being touted as a historic immunisation drive, it is the efficacy of the inoculation programme that will rebuild confidence among people, but what kind of challenges are likely to come up along the way?

The country's first vaccination drive, that is set to commence on 16 January, aims to immunise three crore healthcare workers. But given the uncertain circumstances, and the absence of a detailed data before the emergency approval of Covishield and Covaxin, can the government implement a successful vaccination programme? Tune in!

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha
Guests:
JVR Prasad Rao, Former Union Health Secretary
and Prof. NK Ganguly, Former Director-General of the ICMR

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

Listen to The Big Story podcast on:

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613%3A+SC+Stays+Farm+Laws+But+What+Does+it+Mean+for+Ongoing+Protests%3F
access_time6 days ago
Months after the three contentious farm laws were passed by the Centre, the Supreme Court decided to step in and stayed the implementation of all the three laws until further notice on 12 January.

But what does this mean for the ongoing farmers' protest?

As the Centre failed to find a breakthrough so far in this problem, the top Court also announced its decision on constituting an expert committee which will talk to relevant stakeholders regarding the farmers’ concerns.

This development comes just a day after CJI SA Bobde expressed extreme disappointment with the centre's approach on the ongoing farmers' protest saying that the court doesn't understand "why there should be insistence on implementation of the laws at all costs".

While some BJP leaders like Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar have welcomed this decision, what do farmers have to say about this order? Tune in!

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

Listen to The Big Story podcast on:

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612%3A+WhatsApp+Privacy+Update%3A+Unpacking+the+Core+Concerns+%26+Alternatives+at+Hand
access_time7 days ago
What's up with WhatsApp? WhatsApp’s update to its privacy policy has been causing a great deal of concern, confusion and cacophony among users since its release on 4 January.  

The in-app notification alerts users that they have time till 8 February to accept the terms or risk having their accounts rendered inactive. WhatsApp’s coercive ultimatum has only added to user dilemma about staying on in a potentially less secure app but one that has all their friends, family and work contacts.  

So, how much of a threat to our privacy is the new update? What kind of data would be shared with Facebook? Does one continue to stay on WhatsApp? Or should one migrate to a different platform? The Quint spoke with Anivar Aravind, a senior software engineer and public interest technologist who has been a vocal proponent of open software digital rights. He explains the core issues at hand and what’s exactly at stake.
611%3A+%E2%80%98Cow+Science%E2%80%99+Exam+Study+Material+Not+So+Scientific+After+all%3F
access_time11 days ago
The government wants to hold a countrywide free online test to pique people's interests in the desi cow. But it's the study material that's piquing all the interest instead.

“Indian cows are hygienic, hardy and clever enough not to sit at dirty places."
“Jersey cows are lazy and not as emotive."
“Indian cows have traces of gold in their milk."
“Panchgavya is a panacea for health and wellness."

These are some lines from the syllabus for the Kamdhenu Gau-Vigyan Prachar-Prasar Examination.

'Gau Vigyan' literally translated means cow science, but in its scientific pursuit of the value of Indian cows, the Rashtriya Kamdhenu Aayog — which is the government body behind this exam, seems to have provided many dubious observations with little evidence.

While the exam will be held free of cost on 25 February, for anybody who is interested, in this episode we fact-check a few excerpts from the study material.

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha
Guest: Aniket Sule, Associate Professor at The Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

Listen to The Big Story podcast on:

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610%3A+What+Are+The+Possible+Consequences+of+US+Capitol+Siege+for+Trump%3F
access_time12 days ago
The glory of American democracy turned into a horror show on 6 January, as thousands of Trump supporters breached barricades and stormed into the US Capitol while the US Congress had met to certify the Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden.

This was one of the last formalities remaining for Biden to be confirmed as the President of US, when Members of the Congress found themselves taking cover from this violent scene instead. But hours after the event, US Congress went ahead and affirmed Biden and Kamala Harris's victories.

Even though the brief siege wasn't really about changing the results, it did what it was set to do: interrupt a democratic process.

Shocking videos and photos poured in from Washington DC showing MAGA hat wearing protestors flying the Confederate flag as they attempted to break into the House Chamber, smashing windows and occupying legislator's offices.

And as the unprepared Capitol police struggled to hold back the mob of insurrectionists, four people were reported dead including a woman who was shot by the police.

As many as 52 people were arrested in the aftermath, while a string of resignations also came in from the outgoing Trump administration.

But even as both GOP and Democratic lawmakers were urging Trump to call off his supporters, he made only but a weak effort to end the siege.

In fact, in a video message he continued to claim that the US elections were stolen, prompting social media platforms to get proactive and do something never done before: suspend his social media accounts temporarily.

But as DC remains in a state of public emergency for the next 15 days, the question is, what are the consequences of this attack on democracy for America and most importantly for Trump? Tune in!

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

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609%3A+Bird+Flu+Infections+Rare+in+Humans+Yet+a+Public+Health+Concern
access_time13 days ago
While we deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, some Indian states are also reporting an outbreak of the Bird Flu now with nearly 25,000 birds being reported dead in a fortnight.

In Himachal Pradesh, close to 3,000 migratory birds — most of them being the endangered bar-headed goose were found dead. Over 600 crows have died in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, in Kerala at least 20,000 ducks died. And Haryana reported around 4 lakh poultry deaths in 10 days, but the state is yet to confirm the outbreak.

How serious is the recent outbreak? How does the infection spread? Are humans at risk? What measures should we take to stay safe? Tune in!

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha
Guest: Dr Mala V Kaneria, Consultant, Infectious Diseases at Jaslok Hospital

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

Listen to The Big Story podcast on:

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608%3A+From+Moderate+to+%E2%80%9CDangerous+Mood%E2%80%9D%3A+MP+CM+Chauhan%E2%80%99s+Political+Shift
access_time14 days ago
Over the past two weeks Madhya Pradesh has been witnessing a spate of such communal clashes, during fund collection drives organised by right-wing groups for the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya. There been reports about chanting of provocative slogans that lead to violent clashes in Ujjain, Indore and Mandsaur.

In fact, a viral video showed a mob attacking a Mosque in Mandsaur district, where people were seen mounting a saffron flag atop the dome. But despite such incidents, there’s been reports of fresh violence in Rajgarh district, as people gathered outside a mosque bearing saffron flags and wielding hockey sticks while chanting slogans.

In several of these episodes, eyewitnesses claim that the police remained "mute spectators"; in one case, authorities even razed down the house of a Muslim daily wage earner.

But curiously the MP state government's focus amidst all this seems to be on punishing stone pelters. On 3 January, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan announced that his government is looking to implement stringent laws against stone pelters that will include a provision to auction their assets to repay for any damages.

For the most part of his political career, Shivraj Singh Chauhan has enjoyed the goodwill of his people, maintained a peaceful status quo in the state, and garnered praises for his graceful political demeanour (which is said to be lacking in the BJP's new guard), but is his response to the violence in the state suggesting a shift towards a communal rhetoric?

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha
Guest:
Kashif Kakvi, MP-based Journalist
Javed Alam, MP-based Journalist

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

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607%3A+What+Are+The+Concerns+About+Covaxin%E2%80%99s+Approval+for+Emergency+Use%3F
access_time15 days ago
The new year has begun with a significant event in India's long fight against COVID-19. On 3 January, Covishield and Covaxin became the first Coronavirus vaccines in the country to get emergency approval by the DCGI.

Covishield, as we know, is Oxford-AstraZeneca’s vaccine candidate being manufactured by the Serum Institute in India. But it is the conditional approval of Covaxin — India's swadeshi vaccine candidate that is raising some questions and controversies.

Well firstly, Covaxin is still in its Phase III trials which triggered concerns of safety. And unlike the other vaccines that have received emergency authorisation worldwide, we don't exactly know its level of efficacy right now, which can only be determined after it has gone through large scale phase III trials.

While experts are pointing out some of the gaps in this decision for emergency authorization, an infuriated Dr Krishna Ella, the MD of Bharat Biotech responded to the criticism saying that their method has been transparent and that this vaccine is in no way inferior to the international ones.

So what is it that do we know about Covaxin so far? How does this vaccine work? What are the concerns being raised by experts? And how is the vaccination drive going to be implemented if it's yet to conclude its trials? Tune in to The Big Story!

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha
Guest:
Dr Randeep Guleria, Director of AIIMS,

Dr Anant Bhan, Adjunct Professor & Researcher in Bioethics at Mangaluru’s Yenepoya University
Interviews: Vaishali Sood, Devina Buckshee

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

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606%3A+Meet+The+Quint%E2%80%99s+Reporters+Behind+the+Challenging+Stories+of+2020
access_time19 days ago
The 2020 news cycle without any doubt will be an unforgettable year full of unexpected cataclysmic events.

Started with the North East Delhi riots in February, plunged right into a pandemic in March, took a sharp turn into an appalling migrant exodus crisis seen in the highways around cities in April triggered by unemployment. As the infections rose across India once the lockdown got lifted, so did an acute shortage of hospital beds in most cities, along with fake news, misinformation, and a growing stigma around the virus.

While super cyclone Amphan rocked Kolkata in May, the horrific custodial deaths of father-son duo Bennicks and Jeyaraj in Tuticorin in the month of June and the gangrape of a Dalit woman in Hathras that got reported in late September shook the very core of humanity.

And as this long year finally ends with the ongoing farmers' protest against the Centre's agricultural legislations, one can safely say that nothing but this year itself could have prepared journalists on how to go about reporting in these challenging times.

Pursuing facts and the truth becomes crucial in a crisis and The Quint's reporters dived right into the middle of all these incidents that summed up 2020 to bring you people's voices and the ground reality behind every story. In this episode of The Big Story meet the quint's reporters who brought you the stories that matter.

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

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605%3A+2020%3A+The+Year+of+Indian+High+Courts
access_time21 days ago
Eminent lawyer Prashant Bhushan posted two tweets criticising the Supreme Court for which he was held guilty of contempt of court. One said that the court had failed to ensure access to justice during the time of the pandemic, the other said that the court had played a role in the destruction of democracy.

While of course the case ended up being one of the top highlights from the Supreme Court this year – but do the questions at the heart of it truly represent the state of the Indian judiciary in 2020?

Tune in to The Big Story where we bring you a legal roundup of 2020 and what essentially defined the judiciary this year.

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha
Guests: Vakasha Sachdev, Legal Editor, The Quint

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

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604%3A+Is+the+BJP-JDU+Alliance+in+Bihar+Showing+Signs+of+Discord%3F
access_time22 days ago
Although the parties are still in an alliance in the state, recent reports from the JDU's national executive committee are triggering speculations about a growing rift between the allies.

As Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar picked Ramachandra Prasad Singh to lead the party in the meeting , he reportedly made a pretty strong statement and said that he had no desire to become the CM but had to continue with the responsibilities due to pressures.

What is interesting to point out, is that this statement comes barely a week after six JDU MLAs defected to the BJP where the party is in opposition, leaving the JDU with all but one remaining MLA in the state.

Even as Renu Devi, one of the Deputy CMs from BJP in Bihar asserted that her party had not poached the JDU MLAs, after the JDU meet party spokesperson KC Tyagi said that such activities are not good signs in any alliance.

What is the JDU hinting at? Tune in!

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha
Guests:
Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, Senior Journalist
Amitabh Tiwari, Political Commentator

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

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603%3A+From+AAP+to+BJP+%E2%80%94+Political+Developments+to+Watch+Out+for+in+2021
access_time26 days ago
2020 has been anything but a usual year with an unforeseen pandemic throwing the whole world into uncertain and challenging circumstances. But Indian politics has been adapting and improvising to work its way through the this 'new normal'.

Even as more than a few dozen countries like France, South Korea, Australia, Botswana and others postponed elections that were scheduled this year, Bihar pulled off one of the biggest state elections replete with full-fledged campaigns and rallies (more often than not flouting social distancing norms as well).

While the BJP made a successful foray in Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav's territory, the party is slowly inching into a new territory in Southern India as well. After a high-octane campaign in Hyderabad, the party managed 48 seats, up from the 4 seats it had in the city's previous civic polls.

But BJP is not the only one on an expansionist mission, a smaller party like Aam Aadmi Party, after its huge success against the BJP in Delhi, is eyeing to contest in Uttar Pradesh next. Although its previous attempts in Haryana, Goa or Rajasthan was anything but a success, the AAP is hoping to pitch the Delhi model against UP's “corruption and underdevelopment”.

The Congress on the other hand, is looking at some serious introspection and reforms, to be able to address its leadership crisis. After below par performances in elections, this year saw several meetings between the G23 and the party's post holders to smoothen the widening schism within the party.

While there's surely a vaccine to look forward to in 2021, in this episode let's take a look at the major political developments that is anticipated in the coming year. Tune in!

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha
Guests: Aditya Menon, Political Editor, The Quint

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

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602%3A+What+Do+DDC+Polls+Results+Mean+for+Gupkar+Alliance+%26+BJP%3F
access_time27 days ago
The Farooq Abdullah-led Gupkar Alliance has swept the most number of seats, while the BJP has emerged out to be the single largest majority, in the first major local elections to be held in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, since the abrogation of Article 370 and the bifurcation of the erstwhile state in 2019.

This was the first time that District Development Council elections for 280 seats were held across 20 districts in Jammu and Kashmir. Most importantly, this is the first exercise of democratic rights for the people of Kashmir, after more than a year of a serious clampdown in the valley.

Out of 278 seats where results have been declared, the 7-party Gupkar Alliance secured 110 seats, interestingly as many 49 seats were bagged by Independent candidates, the Congress party won 26 seats, and as expected, the BJP won most of the Jammu province with 74 seats.

While NC leader and former CM of the erstwhile state Omar Abdullah said the results indicate how the people rejected the centre's decision to revoke Kashmir's special status, the BJP which bagged 3 seats in Kashmir for the first is seeing it as a sign of the lotus blooming in the valley.

But what does this result mean for the People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration and the BJP? Does this open up new political avenues in Kashmir? Tune in!

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha
Guests: Aditya Menon, Political Editor, The Quint

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

Listen to The Big Story podcast on:

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601%3A+Modi%E2%80%99s+AMU+Speech%3A+Positive+Words+for+Muslims+But+Lacks+in+Action%3F
access_time27 days ago
Almost a year after the incident of police violence over anti-CAA protests that left at least 60 students in AMU injured, Prime Minister Narendra Modi delivered a speech on 22nd December, on the event of Aligarh Muslim University's centenary celebrations.

Apart from India's first and second Prime Ministers – Jawaharlal Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri – Modi is only the third PM to deliver a speech here since 1964.

But contrary to the anti-Muslim rhetoric pitched by the BJP which is indicative in some of the laws passed by the BJP government since 2019 such as NRC-CAA or the Love Jihad legislation, PM Modi interestingly stressed on unity in diversity.

While he steered clear of making any reference to the AMU attack, he showered praises on the university and its history of education.

He also highlighted the rich heritage and legacy of the university, calling AMU a "mini India" that has allowed a diversity of languages and cultures to thrive together in its small cosmos.

But at a time when there’s a general sense of insecurity among Muslim students and the Muslim population at large, what do we make of this symbolic gesture from the prime minister? Is he trying to reach out to the Muslim population? Do his words indicative of a shift in the political tone in BJP? Tune in to The Big Story!

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha
Guests:
Professor Irfan Habib, Historian of ancient and medieval India
Sudheendra Kulkarni, Columnist and BJP politician
Dr. Hilal Ahmed, Author and Associate professor of CSDS

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

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600%3A+Should+We+be+Worried+About+UK%E2%80%99s+New+Contagious+COVID+Mutation%3F
access_time29 days ago
Just as vaccines are being rolled out for emergency use, the news of a new and more contagious strain of coronavirus is spreading in the UK, raising alarms across the world.

While India and several other countries have imposed a travel ban to and from UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson reversed his decision to ease rules for the festive season and imposed an even harsher lockdown on London and most of southeast England, banning large Christmas gatherings starting 20 December.

With Christmas festivities dampened, people are now concerned about what this new and doubly infectious strain means for the COVID-19 pandemic. Are these kind of mutations normal? What does it mean for the ongoing vaccine drives? Tune in to The Big Story!

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha
Guests: Vaishali Sood, Editor, Quint Fit

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

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599%3A+Are+COVID+Vaccines+Safe+and+Efficient%3F+All+You+Need+to+Know
access_time1 month ago
While vaccine companies rush to seek authorisation for emergency use in India, there are quite a few people who are skeptical about taking a vaccine against COVID-19.

‘Vaccine hesitancy’ is the buzz word and this hesitancy is different from anti vaccine sentiments. People genuinely have questions about safety, efficacy, adverse events, and the speed with which developments have taken place.

So far, three vaccine groups — Serum Institute's Covishield which is the Indian name of the vaccine being developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca, Covaxin — India's swadeshi vaccine being developed by Bharat Biotech, and the vaccine candidate developed by Pfizer and BioNTech have sought emergency approval in India.

Russia which is also readying to seek the DCGI's approval, has tied up with Dr Reddy's Lab to conduct trials in India.

But before some of these vaccines hit the market, we take all the questions around ‘vaccine hesitancy’ to virologist Dr Shahid Jameel. Tune in!

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha
Guests: Dr Shahid Jameel, Virologist
Interview: Devina Bakshee, Quint Fit

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

Listen to The Big Story podcast on:

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598%3A+Resignations+Pour+in+from+TMC%3B+Will+Party+Rift+Impacts+2021+Polls%3F
access_time1 month ago
Cracks within the Trinamool Congress Party is getting wider and visible ahead of the 2021 Bengal Legislative Assembly elections.

On 17 December, former Minister of Transport in the state — Suvendu Adhikari who's been the face of Nandigram protests which practically catapulted the TMC into power for the first time in West Bengal in 2011, resigned from the party amid speculations of him switching over to the BJP.

A day later, five other district-level TMC leaders also handed over their resignations. And the list of disgruntled TMC MLAs and senior leaders who are speaking out against the party is only growing longer.

What is triggering the in-party turmoil? What does the loss of TMC heavyweight Suvendu Adhikari mean for the party and what does the BJP have to gain from it all ahead of the upcoming elections? Tune in to The Big Story!

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha
Guests: Aditya Memon, Political Editor, The Quint

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

Listen to The Big Story podcast on:

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597%3A+Players%2C+Stats%2C+Injuries+%26+Records%3A+India-Aus+Tests%27+Preview
access_time1 month ago
Virat Kohli called it a bigger achievement than winning the World Cup!

Yes, the 2018-19 Border Gavaskar test series win over Australia ranks that high for the Indian cricket captain and now he and his team are in Australia, having shared the spoils in the T20 and ODI series, and it’s the the eve of the start of the four-match border Gavaskar series.

Steve Smith is back this time. David Warner will return later. Tim Paine is still Australian captain and after starting his team India career as an opener on the last trip Down Under, Mayank Agarwal was the only shoe-in for the opening spot come 17 December.

So, now that you know just how important this series really is, tune in to The Big Story where we’ll take you through everything else you may want to watch out for on before you tune in on 9am Thursday morning for that big toss.

Producer and Host: Mendra Dorjey
Guests: Ayaz Memon, Sports writer and Journalist

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

Listen to The Big Story podcast on:

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596%3A+Nirbhaya+to+Shakti+Laws%3A+Why+Preventing+Rape+Not+on+Agenda%3F
access_time1 month ago
16 December brings back memories of the heinous Nirbhaya Gangrape Case of 2012 that shook the very core of the nation and the seven long years that it took to bring justice.

It was only nine months back earlier in 20 March 2020 that this case got finally got closure with all four convicts being hanged to death. It was said to be a victorious day not just for Nirbhaya but women generally, yet as we think about Nirbhaya's justice a lot of other factors also come to mind.

Why is it that crimes against women have risen further by 7.3 percent in the just the last one year? Despite death penalties being awarded in some cases, why is it that India is not being able to prevent violence against women?

With the Maharashtra state cabinet recently approving a draft for the Shakti Bill on 9 December to protect children against sexual violence — it's raising a lot of questions on whether the governments are being short sighted with rape laws.

Among other things, while the bill proposes death penalty for rape, gang rape and penetrative sexual assault against children and women, it also seeks to add an ‘explanation’ on 'implied consent' suggesting that in circumstances that point to ‘consent or implied consent,’ consent will be presumed.

While lawyers, women's rights activists and children's rights activists are outraged and are viewing this bill as regressive, an old but persistent argument against death penalty for rape is also back in focus.

Are such draconian laws more reactionary in nature rather than creating a process to help survivors and victims? Is India's focus on punishment rather than prevention of rape and sexual crimes doing more harm than good? Tune in to The Big Story!

Producer and Host: Sushovan Sircar
Guests:
Veena Gowda, Advocate
Maharukh Adenwalla, Lawyer and Child Rights Activist

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

Listen to The Big Story podcast on:

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595%3A+A+Year+Since+CAA%2C+Revisiting+Assam+%26+UP+To+Meet+Families+of+the+Dead+%26+Detained
access_time1 month ago
The Citizenship Amendment Act, passed by Parliament on 12 December 2019 triggered waves of protests all across India. Be it Kerala, Delhi or Assam angry agitations and a dogged opposition to new law that seeks to provide citizenship to non-Muslims from neighbouring countries gripped the country.  

 

A year on, The Quint went back to the ground in Assam as well as in Uttar Pradesh to find out what happened to those who found themselves directly affected by the CAA-NRC laws as well as the violent crackdown on the protests.  

 

The Quint revisited 104-year-old Chandradhar Das in Assam who moved to India in 1950 but was declared an illegal immigrant in 2018 and is still struggling to has his citizenship amended. We also went back on the ground in UP’s Bijnor and Kanpur, two cities where the protests turned particularly violent. 

 

In Kanpur, families of Raees, Aftab and Saif are still struggling to have an FIR registered. Meanwhile in Bijnor, the family of 21-year-old UPSC aspirant Suleiman who was killed in a police firing is yet to come to terms with his demise and the police denying any responsibility. 

Producer and Host: Sushovan Sircar

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

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594%3A+How+PM-Kisan+Scam+Highlights+Loopholes+in+Govt+Scheme+for+The+Poor
access_time1 month ago
How did Lord Hanuman, the ejected ISI spy Mehboob Rajput and actor Riteish Deshmukh end up being farmers eligible to receive funds from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship welfare scheme — the PM-Kisan scheme which is meant to aid poor farmers?

In a two-part (https://www.thequint.com/cyber/pm-kisan-scam-aadhaar-riteish-deshmukh-hanuman-pakistan-spy-get-cash-as-farmers#read-more) exclusive investigative report by The Quint, it was found out that scamsters successfully registered for the scheme on the PM-KISAN portal using publicly available Aadhaar numbers of Lord Hanuman, Mr Deshmukh and Mehboob Rajput, a bank account number, land record details and a phone number to receive Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) instalments worth Rs 12,000.

This despite the government repeatedly assuring that Aadhaar cannot be used to commit fraud. What does it say about the loopholes in our govt schemes meant for the poor? Tune in!

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha
Guests:
Sushovan Sircar, Cyber Policy Reporter, The Quint
Vakasha Sachdev, Legal Editor, The Quint

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

Listen to The Big Story podcast on:

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593%3A+How+Karnataka%27s+Blanket+Beef+Ban+Law+Violates+Privacy+%26+Abets+Cow+Vigilantism
access_time1 month ago
Widening the ambit of an already existing anti-cattle slaughter bill, the BS Yediyurappa-led Karnataka government on 10 December passed a controversial legislation to enforce a blanket ban on cattle slaughter in the state.

Among other things, the contentious Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill, 2020 widens the definition of cattle to include “cow, calf of a cow and bull, bullock and he or she buffalo”. Secondly, it provides for a rigorous punishment for those held guilty of slaughtering, smuggling or illegally transporting cattle with 3-7 years of imprisonment along with steep fines of ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 5 lakh or both.

Before tabling the bill, Karnataka Animal Husbandry Minister Prabhu Chavan travelled to Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat to study and gather information on how to formulate the "most stringent" anti-cow slaughter legislation.

But the law that has been approved raises several questions. Is this level of punishment justified? At a time when there has been a marked rise in cases of cow vigilantism over mere suspicion of beef consumption and illegal cattle transportation, does this law abet cow vigilantism? Does it ignore food habits and livelihoods? And most importantly, what does it say about the Karnataka government's intentions?

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha
Guests:
A Narayana, Political Analyst
Maitreyi Krishnan, Advocate with Manthan Law
Vidya Dinker, Social activist
Dr Sylvia Karpagam

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

Listen to The Big Story podcast on:

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592%3A+Why+is+Govt%E2%80%99s+Ambitious+Central+Vista+Project+Facing+Objections%3F
access_time1 month ago
Despite a lot of controversies around the Central Vista re-development project, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be laying the foundation stone for the new Parliament building on 10 December.

The project which involves creating a bigger parliament, revamping the North and South Blocks and demolishing the existing structures on the Rajpath boulevard, has been given to Tata Projects Limited. This is estimated to cost around Rs 971 crore but experts say that it comes at an even bigger cost to the environment and the history of Delhi and India.

Although the Centre has been fast tracking approvals, the Supreme Court earlier this week, expressed a strong displeasure over how the Centre is "aggressively" rushing through everything, even as a batch of petitions regarding the matter is pending hearing.

While it allowed the government to lay the foundation stone, it warned that no construction, demolition, or felling of trees can be carried out in the site, until the pleas are heard by the court.

What are the ramifications of the Centra Vista Re-development project? Why is the government's ambitious project raising questions? And what do historians and conservationists have to say about it? Tune in!

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha
Guest: Sohail Hashmi, Historian

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

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591%3A+How+Did+India+Respond+to+Agitating+Farmers%E2%80%99+%E2%80%98Bharat+Bandh%E2%80%99+Call%3F
access_time1 month ago
India's farmers who have vowed to carry on with their agitation for as long as it takes the Centre to scrap all the three farm laws gave a nationwide shutdown call on 8 December, Tuesday, a day before the sixth round of talks between the farmer leaders and the ruling party.

While the whole protest has been spearheaded by farm unions and farmer organisations, several Opposition parties from across India also joined in to lend their support. Early in the day the Aam Aadmi Party even alleged that the Delhi Police had placed Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal under house arrest since his visit to the Singhu border a day before, although the Delhi police denied doing so.

And by no means was this protest limited to Delhi, several BJP and non-BJP ruled states like Karnataka, Maharashtra, Bihar, Odisha, and Tamil Nadu also saw similar demonstrations of blocking roads and rails by farmer organisations.

What kind of response did the call for Bharat Bandh evoke in different parts of India?After weeks of continuous protests, what do farmers have to say? What is delaying the resolution between the Centre and farmers? Tune in!

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

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590%3A+Farmers+Protest%3A+How+%E2%80%98Alternate+Media%E2%80%99+is+Dispelling+Propaganda
access_time1 month ago
While farmers from Punjab, Haryana, UP and other states have dug their heels into the ground in Delhi until their demands are met by the Centre, social media is rife with conspiracies — largely unproven conspiracies about the ongoing protests being orchestrated at the behest of 'Khalistani supporters' or the Opposition parties or being the handiwork of lobbyists or the ‘award wapsi returns gang’.

Despite the lack of evidence to back these claims, several mainstream news channels accused by many of being pro-government have actually gone onto amplify such claims in their coverage. And where the mainstream media has been failing, an alternate media comprising of independent activists, photographers, YouTubers and Instagrammers have stepped in and taken up the responsibility of holding up the truth.

Lakhs of the protesting farmers have a clear strategy — mobilise on social media on a never-before-seen scale with protesters, especially the youth and create an awareness about the challenges faced by farmers to counter what they claim to be a biased representation of their protest on mainstream media.

Who is this alternate media? And how is it working with farmers to debunk propaganda? We spoke to some emerging young activists and instagram influencers doubling up as reporters and photojournalists.

Producer and Host: Meghna Prakash

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

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589%3A+GHMC+Results%3A+TRS+Gets+Single+Largest+Majority%2C+But+BJP+is+The+Star+of+the+Show
access_time2 months ago
After a high-octane campaign in Hyderabad, even though the TRS is the single-largest party in the city's civic polls, it's the BJP that seems to have emerged out as the star of the show.

At the time of the recording of this podcast, out of the 146 seats whose results had been declared, the TRS has won 56 seats — that's down by almost half of what it had in the last elections, the AIMIM pretty much held on its seats with 42 wins. But the BJP seems to have gained some foothold where it had none before. From 4 seats in the last elections, it has won 46 seats in the GHMC election.

What message is Hyderabad sending with this mandate? With the BJP now making inroads into Telangana's state politics, what does it mean for the TRS government? What lessons does it have to learn from this election? Tune in!

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha
Guest: Sriram Karri, Resident Editor of Deccan Chronicle

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

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588%3A+CCTVs+in+Police+Stations%3A+A+Much+Needed+SC+Ruling+to+Check+Custodial+Deaths+%26+Torture%3F
access_time2 months ago
States have to install cameras with audio recording equipment at interrogation rooms, lock-ups, entries and exits of every police station — that’s what the Supreme Court said in a landmark judgment on 2 December.

And not just police stations, but also in offices of central agencies, including the CBI, the National Investigation Agency, the Narcotics Control Bureau and the Enforcement Directorate.

The footage recorded using these cameras, the SC bench said, could be requested by courts and the Human Rights Commissions while dealing with complaints against the police relating to custodial torture and custodial deaths. This, the court said was in keeping with Article 21 of the constitution on the fundamental right to protection of life and personal liberty.

But will this judgment actually help checking human rights abuses in custody? What does the current data on custodial torture show, and what does this mean for any attempts like this move with the CCTVs? Tune in to The Big Story!

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha
Guest: Vikram Singh, Former DGP of UP

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

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587%3A+From+Resistance+to+Negotiation%3A+How+Farmers+Shook+Up+the+Govt
access_time2 months ago
For more than a week now, the farmers' protests against the Centre's new farm laws have continued unabated.

In what seems to be the second massive protest against the Centre in the capital, after the anti-CAA and NRC protests from 2019, thousands of farmers have been staging protests at Tigri, Singhu and Ghazipur borders amid heavy police deployment leading to the shutdown of the Delhi-Noida link road.

As the protest fast turns into a movement with support from all quarters, it also gained prominent international attention. From Canadian PM Justin Trudeau to British and Australian MPs – a lot of foreign leaders have vocally extended their support and said that the situation in India is concerning.

Other than politicians, English international Sikh cricketer Monty Panesar, film director Gurinder Chadha have raised concerns about farmers' treatment at the protest site where they were tear gassed and water cannoned.

Around 30 ex-sportsmen from Punjab have decided to return their medals in solidarity with the farmers.

But, even as they resist the calls to repeal the farm laws, the government is now down to negotiations.

Even as the first round of talks remained inconclusive, the Centre is now ready to hold a fresh round of talks with the protesters on 3 November.

What changed the government’s outlook and what have been the recent developments to add to the government’s woes? Tune in!

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

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586%3A+Covishield+Controversy%3A+India+Vaccine+Trials+Lack+Transparency%3F
access_time2 months ago
At a time when the Serum Institute of India is seeking emergency authorisation of Covishield (which is what the COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Oxford and AstraZeneca is called in India), the company has found itself embroiled in a big controversy over allegations of side effects from trials.

While on one hand, the company CEO Adar Poonawala has dubbed the vaccine to be "highly effective" against coronavirus and already announced plans of manufacturing a million doses by December 2020, a 40-year-old man from Chennai has filed a Rs 5-crore worth lawsuit against the company on 21 November alleging severe neurological impairment in aftermath of the trial shot.

In a legal notice, the volunteer has also asked for the trials and further manufacturing plans to be suspended, failing to do which he warned of more legal action.

The company in turn sued the volunteer back, on 30 November, with a 100 crore rupees worth lawsuit claiming his allegations to be “malicious and misconceived.”

But how did this controversy start and in this mesh of lawsuits and counter lawsuits, what does this development mean for us? In this podcast you'll hear from Bioethics experts Dr Anant Bhan and Dr Amar Jesani talk about their concerns around the Serum Institute controversy. Tune in!

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

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585%3A+Hyderabad+Civic+Polls%3A+What+at+Stake+for+The+BJP+and+TRS%3F
access_time2 months ago
Greater Hyderabad is going for civic polls on 1 December and the BJP is leaving no stone unturned to gain some ground.

From deploying political heavyweights like Union Ministers Amit Shah, Smriti Irani, UP CM Yogi Adityanath to raising the communal rhetoric — the party seems to be fighting this election tooth and nail.

While the BJP has promised to free Hyderabad from the "Nawab Nizam culture" and rechristen the state to "Bhagyanagar", Chief Minister KCR is feeling the heat of this high-octane campaign in his own turf and has been compelled to give it as much importance as the BJP is giving. In his rallies, KCR urged people to not get influenced by what he describes as "outsider politicians" and “to save Hyderabad from divisive forces”.

But why is the BJP stressing so much on the municipal elections — what is the game plan here? And what it at stake for the TRS? Tune in!

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha
Guests:
Aditya Menon, Political Editor, The Quint
Sriram Karri, Resident Editor of Deccan Chronicle

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

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584%3A+Farmers+Enter+Delhi+With+Their+Protest%2C+Will+The+Centre+Yield%3F
access_time2 months ago
It seems that the Centre is ready for talks as thousands of farmers from Punjab marched into Delhi against the three Central farm laws, on 27 November.

Although the Centre hasn't formally commented, or reached out to farmer organisations, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal tweeted, “The central government is always ready for talks.”

After a few tense days at the Delhi-NCR border, the Delhi police spokesperson Aish Singhal announced in the late afternoon of 27 November that the protesting farmers will be allowed to hold their protest at the Nirankari Samagam Ground in North-West Delhi.

In the past couple of days, over 30 farmer bodies including several thousands of women have been attempting to stream into Delhi through different routes with their trucks and trolleys carrying rations and other essentials determined to hold the protest for as long as it takes to get the government's attention. They have demanded for the three new farm laws to be scrapped and MSP be legalised.

But before the farmers were let in, barricades, barbed wires, water cannon and tear gas shells were used to deter them from entering the capital. From Tikri to Singhu to Faridabad to Kalindi Kunj — all borders were sealed off.

Hundreds of police personnel from the RAF, CRPF and the Delhi Police were deployed and what was supposed to be a peaceful march to the capital got violent in the outskirts of Delhi as water cannons and tear gas shells were countered with stone pelting.

As the farmers carry on with their protest, in this podcast we'll bring you farmer voices from ground zero. Tune in!

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha
Guests:
Shadab Moizee, Correspondent Reporter, Quint Hindi
Sanjay Pugalia, Editorial Director, The Quint

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

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583%3A+%E2%80%98Chaos%2C+Disbelief+and+Rumours%E2%80%99%3A+Journalists+Recount+26%2F11+Attacks
access_time2 months ago
There's perhaps still a lingering sense of disbelief as we talk about 26 November 2008.

In the past years, a lot has been said about how the 26/11 attacks upended the bustling city of Mumbai. Those who survived to tell the tale, journalists who were out in the streets reporting, books, movies that tried to document people's stories, have all tried to capture the horror show that was unleashed in city down to the minutest details.

And so even more than a decade later, the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai remains an unforgotten event.

As 10 Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists lay siege to the city over three days, more than 160 lives were lost including policemen, Indian citizens and foreign visitors. More than 300 were left injured. Those wounds may have healed and the damaged buildings may have been rebuilt, but the bloodbath and the sheer terror of 26 November 2008 still remains raw.

On the 12th anniversary of the 26/11 attack, we bring you first-hand accounts of three journalists who covered the attack from ground zero. In this podcast you'll hear from Raksha Shetty, Mahrukh Inayat and Shai Venkatraman talk about how they went around covering the attack. Tune in!

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha
Guests:
Raksha Shetty, Principal Correspondent in the Mumbai bureau of CNN-IBN
Mahrukh Inayat, News Editor of Times Now
Shai Venkatraman, Former Mumbai Bureau Chief for NDTV 24/7.

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

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582%3A+How+UP%E2%80%99s+%22Love+Jihad%22+Ordinance+is+Detached+from+Facts
access_time2 months ago
Despite mounting criticism, Yogi Adityanath's government in Uttar Pradesh approved a very controversial ordinance on 24 November – which is seemingly against unlawful religious conversions, but has been repackaged as a way to combat ‘Love Jihad’. This law declares marriages after a conversion without permission to be null and void.

As much as love jihad continues to be an unproven conspiracy not just in UP but in India generally, this law provides for up to five years of rigorous imprisonment and Rs 15,000, as penalty. But the punishment is stricter for 'conversions' of minors and women of the SC/ST communities. It comes with up to 10 years of imprisonment and Rs 25,000 as penalty.

But this move shockingly comes around the same time when the Allahabad High Court struck down two previous orders by single judges of the same court that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had previously quoted as a basis for the anti-love jihad laws.

Those verdicts had held that religious conversion purely for the sake of marriage was illegal, but on 11 November, a division bench of Justices Vivek Agarwal and Pankaj Naqvi held that neither of the two rulings were "good law" as they don't consider the "liberty of two matured individuals in choosing a partner or their right to freedom of choice as to with whom they would like to live with."

What kind of a precedent is the Yogi government setting with this law that even in the court's view goes against the fundamental rights of citizens, that too without enough evidence to support the government's claims on love jihad? Tune in to The Big Story!

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha
Guests:
Mihira Sood, a Supreme Court lawyer
Vakasha Sachdev, The Quint's Legal Editor

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

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581%3A+Why+is+Oxford-AstraZeneca+Vaccine+Looking+Like+India%E2%80%99s+Best+Shot+for+COVID%3F
access_time2 months ago
Even as India battles a big spike in COVID cases, forcing some states to reimpose certain restrictions on people's movements, the good news is that vaccine developers are inching towards success in a rapid pace.

Recently, the COVID-19 vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford and Swedish-British pharma AstraZeneca was announced to be 70 percent effective after a large-scale trial. This of course comes on the heels of a string of announcements from other research groups:

Pfizer's announcement from 9 November, of the interim results of its candidate vaccine proving to be more than 90 percent effective (which they later revised to 95 percent),

Russia's announcement that came on 11 November, on Sputnik V showing 92 percent efficacy in late-stage trials,

And Moderna's announcement from 16 November about its candidate's 94.5 percent efficacy.

And not to mention India's very own candidate — COVAXIN being developed by Bharat Biotech, who on 23 November said that the vaccine is expected to be 60 percent efficacious.

What do these different levels of efficacy mean for us in this vaccine race? Why is the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine looking like India's best shot? Tune in to The Big Story!

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha
Guests: Dr Shahid Jameel, Virologist and Director, Trivedi School of Biosciences at Ashoka University
Interview: Vaishali Sood, Editor, Quint Fit

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

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580%3A+Why+is+Allowing+Ayurveda+Doctors+Surgery+a+Contentious+Move%3F
access_time2 months ago
In what is being seen as a contentious move by some members of the medical fraternity, the government has issued a notification that allows Ayurvedic doctors to be trained and legally authorised to perform 58 surgeries — this includes 39 general surgical procedures and 19 procedures involving the eye, ear, nose and throat.

This came as the Central Council of Indian Medicine which is a statutory body that comes under the AYUSH Ministry, amended the Indian Medicine Central Council (Post Graduate Ayurveda Education) Regulations, 2016, to include the regulation to allow PG students of Ayurveda to practice general surgery.

Although the AYUSH ministry has denied allegations of any policy shift, many are looking at this move by the Centre as a sign of an impending paradigm shift in healthcare from modern medicine to the traditional form, or an attempt to mix both strains of medicines.

The Indian Medical Association or the IMA was one of the first to come down heavily against this decision saying that this "retrograde step" of mixing modern medicine with tradition systems will be resisted at all costs.

Why is the move garnering controversy? What are the concerns with this move? Tune in to The Big Story!

Producer and Host: Meghna Prakash
Guests:
Vaishali Sood, Editor of Quint FIT
Dr Ashwini Setya a Gastroenterologist and Programme Director in Delhi’s Max Super Speciality Hospital

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

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579%3A+Why+Varavara+Rao%E2%80%99s+Treatment+Raises+Questions+on+Civil+Liberties
access_time2 months ago
The Bombay High Court finally allowed 80-year-old Varavara Rao to be shifted from Taloja Jail to Nanavati Hospital for 15 days for medical treatment on 18 November.

Senior advocate, Indira Jaisingh who is representing Rao in this matter appealed to the court seeking medical bail for Rao on the basis of Section 437 of the CrPC, which allows for releasing sick people and noted the detention of Varavara Rao was "cruel, inhuman and degrading" and violated provisions of Article 21 of the Constitution.

Jaising said that his death may be inevitable, but his exit must be “dignified” to which the HC court bench noted, “Ultimately, the man is on almost death bed. He needs some treatment. Can the state say no we will treat him in Taloja? We are only saying transfer him to Nanavati for two weeks. We will further see after two weeks.”

But why did it take so much active intervention in order for Rao to be treated and transferred to Nanavati Hospital? At a time of a pandemic are states acting responsibly with prisoners? Tune in to The Big Story!

Producer and Host: Meghna Prakash
Guests:
Venugopal Rao, Nephew of Varavara Rao
Mihir Desai, Senior Advocate at the SC & Co-founder of Human Rights Law Network

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

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578%3A+Can+a+Localised+Lockdown+Help+Delhi+Rein+in+COVID+Spread%3F
access_time2 months ago
Is Delhi going to have another lockdown? At a time when the capital is logging the maximum COVID spike in the country and the highest number of fatalities in a day that's the question on everybody's mind.

After a record daily spike of more than 8,000 cases on consecutive days ahead of the festive season, the COVID situation in Delhi is quite grim, even as new cases are falling in other states. As of 19 November, Delhi recorded 7,486, while also seeing 131 new fatalities — which is the highest number reported within 24 hours so far.

As the capital struggles to get its infection numbers under control, the Delhi state government is trying to prevent overcrowding. They've limited the number of guests for weddings again and have written to the Centre as well seeking permission to shutdown markets for a few days, prompting fears that Delhi could be preparing for another lockdown in the coming days.

While Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has himself clarified that they're not looking to re-impose another lockdown, we talk to experts about whether or not a lockdown can help the city get a rein on its infections and what kind of measures should be taken beforehand. Tune in to The Big Story!

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha
Guests:
Dr Shahid Jameel, Virologist and Director, Trivedi School of Biosciences at Ashoka University
Aunindyo Chakrabarty, Former senior managing editor NDTV

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

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577%3A+Haryana+%26+MP+Plan+to+Enact+%E2%80%9CLove+Jihad%E2%80%9D+Laws+But+On+What+Basis%3F
access_time2 months ago
Less than a year after the Centre said there was no data on ‘love jihad’, Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra announced that the state government is considering tabling a legislation against ‘love jihad’ in the next Assembly session which will provide for a 5-year rigorous imprisonment.

And barely one day after Mishra's announcement, Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij also followed suit and said that a committee will be set up in the state to draft a strict law against 'love jihad'.

With these announcements coming one after the other – love jihad – which so far has only been a conspiracy theory may soon be formalised with legal provisions in these states.

But Haryana and Madhya Pradesh aren't the only states that are mulling over enacting this controversial law. Other states like Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh – have also recently proposed introducing laws against 'love jihad’.

But what does enacting a law on 'love jihad' entail for inter-faith couples? If the Constitution grants the freedom to profess, practice and propagate religion and to marry a person of one’s choice, can states enact a law against 'love jihad'? Does such a law undermine women's choices and religious liberties of minorities? Tune in to The Big Story!

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha
Guests:
Madhu Mehra, Lawyer, Founding Member of Law in Development (PLD)
Vakasha Sachdev, Legal Editor, The Quint

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

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576%3A+LSR+Student%E2%80%99s+Suicide+A+Glimpse+Into+Deep+Digital+%26+Social+Divide+in+Education
access_time2 months ago
On 2nd November, Aishwarya Reddy — a second year BSc Mathematics student from Lady Shri Ram College for Women hanged herself at her residence in Telangana’s Ranga Reddy district. What forced the 19-year-old meritorious student from a prestigious college in Delhi to take her own life?

She left an apologetic note behind in Telugu saying “Because of me, my family is facing many financial problems. I am a burden for my family. My education is a burden. If I can’t study, I can’t live."

As this prompted a demand for justice outside the college gate, and fundraising initiatives from students to help their lesser privileged peers, this also perhaps is a moment of reckoning for the educational system to acknowledge how the pandemic has widened an already existing deep divide in the education sector.

There have been many more cases of student suicides in the pandemic months that directly resulted from the same circumstances that Aishwarya had to face — a lack of access to digital devices even as digital education gets an ardent push, or from the lack of a state-funded support for students who come from lesser privileged backgrounds.

Yet, as thousands and thousands of students in India face extreme difficulties in keeping up with their education currently, have the state and educational institutions treated the right to education as a matter of urgency in the pandemic? While the concerned administrations now try to evade responsibility for the circumstances that led to Aishwarya's suicide, where does the buck stop? Tune in to The Big Story!

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha
Guest: Ambarish Rai, National Convener, Right to Education Forum

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

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575%3A+Nitish+Back+as+Bihar+CM+But+With+Two+Deputies%2C+Is+BJP+Set+to+Expand+Base%3F
access_time2 months ago
Despite the massive anti-incumbency that he faced in the state, Nitish Kumar took oath as the chief minister of Bihar for a historic fourth consecutive term but with two deputies from the BJP. 

The saffron party that emerged out to be the big brother in the alliance with 74 seats interestingly replaced Sushil Modi who had been Kumar's deputy for more than a decade with Tarkishore Prasad and Renu Devi — who won from the Katihar and Bettiah seats respectively.

According to reports, the post of Speaker in the Bihar Assembly will also be given to the BJP. And while so far 4 JDU leaders, 2 BJP leaders, and 1 leader from the HAM and the VIP each have been sworn-in to the cabinet, some reports even suggested that eventually when all appointments are made the JD(U) may get a lesser number of ministerial berths than the BJP this time owing to its "junior" position in the alliance.

But what does the appointment of the two deputies say? Even though it is Nitish Kumar who continues to be at helm of the governance, is the BJP all set to solidify its grip over the state governance? Tune in to The Big Story!

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha
Guest: Aditya Menon, Political Editor, The Quint

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

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574%3A+As+Streaming+Platforms+Come+Under+I%26B+Ministry%2C+What%27s+Their+Journey+Been+Like%3F
access_time2 months ago
Online streaming platforms and news portals will now be under the jurisdiction of the Union Information & Broadcasting ministry. Essentially, streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar, Zee5, Sony LIV and others will now be under the administration and governance of the Union I&B Ministry. 

But before we look ahead to what could happen and whether content will be regulated by the government let’s look at how streaming ecosystem has evolved in India? What led to the previously unregulated space of OTT platforms to come under the Ministry? 

Producer and Host: Sushovan Sircar

Editor: Shelly Walia
Guest: Udhbhav Tiwari, Public Policy Advisor, Mozilla

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

Listen to The Big Story podcast on:

Apple: https://apple.co/2AYdLIl (https://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=https%3A%2F%2Fapple.co%2F2AYdLIl&redir_token=G9sQMbbppKv-LEFD29gDyTmPMzt8MTU3MTM4MDU5NkAxNTcxMjk0MTk2&v=xkpX1V6aUFo&event=video_description)

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Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2IyLAUQ (https://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=https%3A%2F%2Fspoti.fi%2F2IyLAUQ&redir_token=G9sQMbbppKv-LEFD29gDyTmPMzt8MTU3MTM4MDU5NkAxNTcxMjk0MTk2&v=xkpX1V6aUFo&event=video_description)

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573%3A+Why+The+Pfizer+COVID-19+Vaccine+Development+Is+Reason+for+Optimistic
access_time2 months ago
As the total cases of coronavirus in the world touch 52 million, with India's overall tally alone standing at 8.6 million, in this dire time, the progress in the COVID vaccine candidate being developed by American drugmaker Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech is certainly a very welcoming news.

The pharma giants have revealed that their COVID-19 vaccine candidate — BNT162b2 was more than 90 percent efficient against infections in participants without prior infections.

Although the results are yet to be approved by US drug regulator FDA, the pharma company said it was hopeful about being able to produce up to 50 million vaccine doses globally by the end of 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021.

But what does this announcement exactly mean? Are we close to developing a COVID vaccination? How long before it becomes available in India? Tune in to The Big Story!

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

Listen to The Big Story podcast on:

Apple: https://apple.co/2AYdLIl (https://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=https%3A%2F%2Fapple.co%2F2AYdLIl&redir_token=G9sQMbbppKv-LEFD29gDyTmPMzt8MTU3MTM4MDU5NkAxNTcxMjk0MTk2&v=xkpX1V6aUFo&event=video_description)

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Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2IyLAUQ (https://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=https%3A%2F%2Fspoti.fi%2F2IyLAUQ&redir_token=G9sQMbbppKv-LEFD29gDyTmPMzt8MTU3MTM4MDU5NkAxNTcxMjk0MTk2&v=xkpX1V6aUFo&event=video_description)

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572%3A+How+Did+The+BJP+Manage+A+Comeback+in+State+Elections%3F
access_time2 months ago
After facing a series of losses in the last few state elections, the BJP finally landed a stellar victory for themselves.

Despite the glaring unemployment problem and the weakened economy due to the pandemic, if the Bihar elections and the bypolls results tell us anything, it's this that BJP knows how to manage elections.

Although the party couldn't become the single largest party in Bihar, they made a noteworthy expansion into the state on their own, by winning 31 more seats than the JD(U). In the bypolls held across 11 states, it was a BJP sweep in 40 out of the 59 seats that went to polls.

And all this comes as a major boost for the party at a time when it was looking like they had lost their winning streak after their resounding 2019 Lok Sabha victory.

While they were practically decimated in Delhi, and Jharkhand, their overreaching expansionist tactics cost them dearly in Maharashtra, and in Haryana they retained power but with a weakened vote share. So, how did the BJP make a comeback in the states this election season despite the unfavourable conditions? What worked for them? Tune in to The Big Story!

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha
Guests: Aditya Menon, Political Editor, The Quint

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

Listen to The Big Story podcast on:

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571%3A+Bihar+Election+Results%3A+NDA+Ahead+But+Game+Still+Open
access_time2 months ago
Can Nitish Kumar retain power? Will the BJP make history for itself in Bihar to become the single largest majority in the state for the first time? Will the Grand Alliance be able to topple the NDA alliance?

The counting of votes for Bihar election has been keeping us all on our toes. More than 12 hours into the counting, it's still not crystal clear who is it that Bihar wants at the helm of the government.

But even as trends flipped and the RJD and BJP came to be engaged in a neck and neck fight with wafer-thin margins between its candidates in some constituencies, the Election Commission informed that the counting would go on till late evening of 10th November.

In a usual year, it wouldn't have taken so long to guess who will be taking the final lead, but owing to the pandemic the wait will be longer.

But what does the current trend tell us about the performance of the parties? As JD(U) seems to be left behind the RJD and BJP, what are the possible choices before Nitish Kumar? Tune in to The Big Story!

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha
Guests:
Yogendra Yadav, Psephologist and Swaraj Party leader 
Sanjay Kumar, Former CSDS Director
Pawan Verma, Ex-JD(U) Leader

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

Listen to The Big Story podcast on:

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Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2IyLAUQ (https://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=https%3A%2F%2Fspoti.fi%2F2IyLAUQ&redir_token=G9sQMbbppKv-LEFD29gDyTmPMzt8MTU3MTM4MDU5NkAxNTcxMjk0MTk2&v=xkpX1V6aUFo&event=video_description)

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570%3A+From+H1B+Visas+to+China%2C+What+Does+Biden-Harris+Admin+Mean+for+India%3F
access_time2 months ago
As Joe Biden and Kamala Harris got confirmed as the President-elect and the Vice-President elect of the United States of America on 7 November, thousands and thousands of kilometers away, India has also been closely watching the election results.

Beyond India-US ties, the Indian diaspora both in the US and in the homeland has been quite heavily invested in this election owing to Kamala Harris' candidacy especially. They have been rooting for Harris — the daughter of an Indian immigrant mother, but now that Biden-Harris will be replacing the Trump-Pence admin in the White House, the question is what will this new US presidency bring for India?

Now the geniality between Trump and Modi — both right wing leaders — had extended to the point where Modi not only featured in Trump's campaign, but also became one of the only foreign leaders to be holding big rallies like the Howdy Modi event in Houston.

While it's too early to tell how much the Modi government has to gain or lose from the Biden-Harris presidency, what can be expected from the Biden admin's foreign policy vision for India? Tune in!

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha
Guests: Sanjay Pugalia, Editorial Director, The Quint

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

Listen to The Big Story podcast on:

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569%3A+Controversies+and+Legal+Hurdles%3A+What+Delayed+WhatsApp+Pay+Launch
access_time2 months ago
After two years of being stuck in regulatory hurdles, WhatsApp finally rolled out its payment option. As the NPCI or the National Payments Corporation of India gave the green signal, India became the first country to have this feature live on WhatsApp.

But the WhatsApp Payment service is only available to 20 million users as of now and will be scaled up bit by bit. That’s because the NPCI has put a 30 percent cap on the total UPI payments made via every third-party payment app from January 1, 2021.

What will be the impact of such a measure? What took so long for WhatsApp to launch this feature? How can the payment feature be used by WhatsApp users? Tune in to The Big Story!

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha
Guests:
Cyrus John, Special Correspondent Tech & Auto, The Quint
Sushovan Sircar, Senior Corresponding Reporting on Tech & Cyber Policy

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

Listen to The Big Story podcast on:

Apple: https://apple.co/2AYdLIl (https://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=https%3A%2F%2Fapple.co%2F2AYdLIl&redir_token=G9sQMbbppKv-LEFD29gDyTmPMzt8MTU3MTM4MDU5NkAxNTcxMjk0MTk2&v=xkpX1V6aUFo&event=video_description)

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Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2IyLAUQ (https://www.youtube.com/redirect?q=https%3A%2F%2Fspoti.fi%2F2IyLAUQ&redir_token=G9sQMbbppKv-LEFD29gDyTmPMzt8MTU3MTM4MDU5NkAxNTcxMjk0MTk2&v=xkpX1V6aUFo&event=video_description)

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568%3A+Arnab%E2%80%99s+Arrest%3A+Govt+Questions+%22Press+Freedom%22+But+What+About+Other+Cases%3F
access_time2 months ago
Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami is making headlines again — from being accused of manipulating TRP channels just last month, the allegation now is of abetment of suicide for which he has been taken under arrest and sent to judicial custody for 14 days.

But not without some high drama. In an unexpected development, the Raigad police along with the Mumbai police arrived at Goswami's Worli residence to arrest him on Wednesday morning.

But the police teams faced what they called 'extreme resistance' from arrest by Goswami along with a volley of questions — all of which was captured on a now viral video. Once arrested, the TV anchor was taken to Alibaug, about 100 kms from Mumbai, where the abetment of suicide case against him was registered.

The case relates to the suicide by 53-year-old interior designer Anvay Naik in 2018. The architect and his mother committed suicide over alleged non-payment of dues by Republic TV.

As some journalists spoke out to condemn this act, irrespective of their differences with Goswami's brand of journalism, this arrest turned into a political row between the Shiv Sena-NCP-Congress government in Maharashtra and the BJP-led Centre.

But what is this old case about? Why has it re-surfaced now? As we talk about all that, let's also look at how the state of the fourth pillar of democracy has been under attack since the past few years.

Producer and Host: Shorbori Purkayastha

Editor: Shelly Walia

Music: Big Bang Fuzz

Listen to The Big Story podcast on:

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