Archives  >  2019  >  July  >  3rd

Waterworld (Not)

1. What’s the story?

India is an agrarian nation. 50% of its farms depend on the rains for irrigation, and 70% of the nation’s rains fall during the monsoons. But this year, rains have been scarce, 43% of the country has been facing drought-like conditions, there was a 33% deficit in rainfall in June, and a major metropolitan area ran out of water just last month. (Though Carnatic singers tried to help, really.) Experts have also warned that 21 other cities around the country are set to face the same fate by 2020.

Tell me more.
The numbers paint a grim picture. Nine out of the past 15 years have been bad. South West monsoons have failed frequently, and more than 100 districts have been affected every year. Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Bihar seem to be the states most particularly affected. “This year, the situation is comparatively grim as those states that produce about two-third of country’s foodgrain are severely impacted and may lead to a food crisis.” According to some, however, India is facing the inevitable fallout from dismantling its age-old defenses against a water crisis.

So, what now?
It seems like the government is finally taking this seriously, and Prime Minister Modi has strongly pushed for sustainable water management. The central government launched it nationwide scheme for water conservation earlier this week, focusing on 268 districts where groundwater is the most scarce. In the meantime, here are some steps you can take to conserve water, no matter where you live.[In a cruel twist of fate, the monsoons have finally hit Mumbai. The city is literally drowning, with 30 already dead from the torrential overnight downpour. Climate change is real, y’all!]

2. Who else should I be looking at?

Vijay Mallya, that’s who. The disgraced Indian (former?) tycoon has been living in London for the past few years, after having failed to repay his business loans. He owes Indian banks about 9000 crore rupees. India wants to bring him back to face the nation’s courts, where he is set to be tried for money laundering and fraud (among other things). So far, however, he has proved to be a slippery customer. The UK high court has now permitted Mallya to appeal against his extradition order, which means that his case will now get full hearing at the court. Mallya has said that he feels “vindicated”. He will presumably proceed to relax with a cricket match.

3. What more?

A couple of days ago, Zaira Wasim, actor extraordinaire and a major rising star in Bollywood, announced that she wanted to take a step back from acting. Her career was at odds with her faith, she said. And because she is a famous person of the female persuasion, people, of course, had OPINIONS.

4. Anything else?

Sunny Deol, and his heavy hand. Or…umm…the lack thereof. Deol currently holds the Lok Sabha seat from Gurdaspur, after having won the seat in May. On Monday, however, the 62-year-old former actor and current politician announced that he had appointed a “representative” to do his job. Congress, of course, was not happy. But then, Deol had promised to “withhold” the sovereignty of this country during his oath-taking ceremony in the parliament. So, should we be surprised?

5. Is that all?

Keep your eyes peeled for India’s union budget announcement this Thursday. According to some, Nirmala Sitharaman, the finance minister in the spotlight, has her work cut out. The economy isn’t looking that good due to government blunders, and she has “one arrow, with two targets.”

6. Before you leave …

Take a look at the Hong Kong protests. Citizens in Hong Kong have been protesting for weeks against a controversial extradition bill. Critics of the bill say that it might make it easier for China to interfere in Hong Kong’s “internal” matters. (Quick recap: Hong Kong is a former British colony that was formally handed back to China in 1997. However, the deal was that it would have some amount of autonomy for fifty years, after which it would be fully a part of China.) Here are some stunning pictures of an extraordinarily powerful movement that’s been sweeping this city state.

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