The debate over food security is becoming an exercise in callow dissimulation, where we devote our energies to ensure that food security remains a mirage. The core objective should be simple. It is a scandal that after two decades of high growth, India still does not make adequate nutrition available to large sections of the population.

The verdict in the Bhopal gas tragedy has caused considerable outrage. It seems to provide little recompense to the victims, and little assurance to the public at large that the legal system is up to protecting us from the risks that make us all vulnerable.

The institution of the BPL list has probably become the most potent symbol of the self-defeating approach of the Indian state towards poverty. Ostensibly this list, that identifies households below the poverty line so that benefits can be directed towards them, was meant as an instrument of poverty alleviation.

Climate change poses particularly difficult challenges for India. On the one hand, India does not want any constraints on its development prospects. On the other, it also wants to be seen as an emerging global power that requires a leadership role on key global issues like climate change.