Notes on Corona – 5


When we went out for extracting coconut oil last week , I had also gone to the Electricity Board office to pay the electricity bill of our house owner. It is shocking that the government which asks us not to collect house rents is still collecting electricity bills. When people can’t step out of their houses, how can they pay their EB bills? Not everyone can be expected to pay their bills online. When I enquired, they said taking the readings door to door has been cancelled and we could pay the same charges as the previous month.

They had kept a bucket of water and liquid soap outside the office. Everyone was expected to wash their hands before entering the office. We had visited this office last month with the house owner. They had started this practice even before the lock down. They had kept a soap bar then [கட்டி in Tamil means both a solid bar and hug. Hence the ‘hug soap’ 🙂 ]. The house owner went inside while we stayed in the car. A person came on his motorcycle. When others instructed him to wash his hands and enter, he was very reluctant and kept grumbling.

“If I keep on washing my hands like this, my palm prints are going to vanish,” he mumbled.

He somehow managed to bend over his large paunch and washed his hands.

Meanwhile, our house owner returned and I started the car. The motorcycle was blocking the way a little. The person came running to move his vehicle.

“If you touch your motorcycle, you’ll have to wash your hands again,” I said and started driving away to the vegetable shop.

“What, yet again?” He was standing there, stunned.


Even in the middle of major disasters, or perhaps, especially during such disasters, governments and politicians and the police cannot curb their urge to clamp down on the freedom of expression. Even a small media outlet in a small city is not spared for the smallest of criticisms.


Arogya setu is mandatory for all employees? Gosh, I have never felt more relieved that I am not employed.


This report came up on my timeline and is slightly dated but the situation could not have changed much by now.

The impact of such a skewed representation in the highest layer of bureaucracy on the various decisions taken by the central government (this and the previous ones) that affect all sections of the society, especially in situations like the current one, cannot be ignored. When over 50% of the central ministers also belong to the upper castes, the problem is exacerbated. No wonder the central government did not anticipate or, if it did, did not care about something as huge as the migrant crisis and has responded to it poorly.

Among the English-speaking elite, caste is an issue that is discussed the least in the open. But it remains a huge factor in our country at all levels. It maybe subtle or crude, covert or overt, conscious or subconscious, but it pervades everywhere.…/of-89-secretaries-in-modi-go…/271543/…

/Only one of the 89 secretaries posted at the Centre belongs to the Scheduled Castes (SC), while three belong to the Scheduled Tribes, latest government data tabled in Parliament shows. None of the secretaries belong to the Other Backward Classes (OBCs), according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions. /

/The representation of SC/ST/OBC officers in central government ministries/departments is lopsided even at the additional secretary, joint secretary and director levels. For instance, of the 93 additional secretaries in central government ministries, just six are SCs and five are STs, while there are no OBCs of this rank either.

Among the 275 joint secretaries, 13 (4.73 per cent) are SCs, nine (3.27 per cent) are STs and 19 belong to the OBC category./




Wow, India is such a happy and prosperous place to be in during lock down.

Interview with the Chief Economic Advisor of India.


P.S.: It was unbearable to watch the full interview. Those who care for the nuances can do it here . There are enough indications that the next stimulus package (note: stimulus, not relief – though M.S. Ahluwalia objects to this word for different reasons) will focus on the big industry. Both of them keep talking about stimulating demand. This sort of economic approach and jargon sounds so vulgar and insensitive in these times of distress. Oh, but the Jan Dhan data proves there is no distress. People just have to withdraw money from their accounts and spend. Direct benefit transfer to the poor is merely to exploit the high marginal propensity to consume among these sections, and not exactly to help them survive. [To me the JDY data just shows that the relief money of 500 and 1000 that the government gave to the women did not reach them fully.] M.S. Ahluwalia also does not have any radical solutions.

There are questions to the CEA from industrialists. How about some questions from the migrant workers?


Covid has shown us that we don’t need much money to live and that money is not everything. The demand for suspension of labour laws and the deliberate, sinister attempts to detain migrant labourers have shown us that the suave, modern industrialists are no different from the caricatured greedy industrialist villains of yesteryear movies who crushed union leaders through conspiracy. It has exposed their self-serving idea of growth. Jobloss is the threat with which they try to rollback hard-won labour laws.

The industrialised economy as we know it was raised on the foundation of slavery and imperialism. The champions of this economic model still clearly believe in soft slavery.

It is an opportunity for us to reimagine and recreate our world. Big industry is not essential for our wellbeing, and if anything, is only detrimental to our survival, as the climate emergency has shown. To save our economy, the failing exploitative industries should be saved at any cost is a politically sacrosanct idea which needs to be challenged. It’s time for the alternative ideas regarding decentralisation and self-sustained local economies to be mainstreamed.


Homework before 8 p.m. Please watch this.

/t was past one in the morning. I was on the road in our car trying to make it our next stop. Suddenly, near Bhiwandi, in Maharashtra, I was woken up by the sound of a child crying. This is what I saw-in the dead of the night. Haunting.
– Barkha on Twitter/


I wish the year was 200200. We would have got 200 lakh crores.

200-200. 200 lakh crores.
100 percent of GDP.

Now, FMji, go figure. No typos.


A large number of migrant workers have started walking back towards home from Chennai too 😦

These friends are genuine people doing more than what they can. Anyone who wishes to help, please reach out to Anantha Sayanan.

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