South Asia is looking at an energy abyss. Millions of its people have no access to electricity or any other energy. This has put the brakes on the high growth rates in what should have been a dynamic region. High dependence on petroleum import coupled with mismanagement of their energy sector has made the SAARC countries extremely vulnerable. Cooperation could be a way out. Latha Jishnu travels across Pakistan to find out if India and its largest neighbour can set aside their mutual distrust and find solutions for the energy security of the region.

There is something that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has in common with US diplomats—or at least the intellectual property (IP) attachés posted at various diplomatic missions: a dislike of NGOs. Both, the leader of the world’s most populous democracy and the diplomats of the most powerful democracy, make no bones about the fact that they find NGOs a stumbling block in implementing their various agendas.

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The GI craze in India is as inexplicable as the ways in which the Registry grants it

People of Hoovina Hadagali (population: 27,958), the taluka headquarters of Bellary district of Karnataka, are inordinately proud of their variety of mallige (jasmine). So are the growers from Udipi and Mysore, all of them claiming unique and distinctive features for their varieties of these sweet-smelling flowers which are offered to temple deities or used by south Indian women to adorn their hair.

A Supreme Court-mandated committee of technical experts comprising scientists from top public research laboratories and academic institutions has recommended a ten-year moratorium on field trials of Bt transgenics in all food crops that are directly consumed by people.

Fukushima is the latest spur for the campaign against the ambitious Kudankulum project in Tamil Nadu. Read this report on the sociology and politics of the 25-year old struggle and the status of nuclear eanergy a year after Fukushima.

Natural gas is a clean, cheap and efficient fossil fuel, giving India hopes of reducing its carbon intensity. But its shortage has left critical sectors in the lurch. Can India overcome the crisis?

Biotech firms object to states getting a say in approving GM crop trials.

The state links the PDS system with controversial unique identity project to plug leakages in food supply. But loopholes remain, Latha Jishnu and Jyotika Sood report in Down To Earth.




Multinational seed companies are luring farmers to grow hybrid maize with promises of high yields and high returns. The cereal is overtaking farms growing millets and other staples. Is it a threat to India’s food security? Read this report in Down To Earth.

Developing countries will now have to battle IP issues related to new agricultural technologies at WIPO instead of WTO.