Editorial analysis: Taming cervical cancer; Inflation mildly eases; Opposition unity in tatters

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In ‘Editorial analysis’, The Raisina Hills critically reviews comments of India’s top five English newspapers – The Indian Express (IE), The Hindu (TH), The Times of India (ToI), The Economic Times (ET) and Deccan Herald (DH).


Vaccine inequity is the harsh reality of the world. Developed world has faster access to vaccines against some of the critical ailments, including cervical cancer, which kills 60,000 women in India each year and many more in the other developing and low-income countries.

IE has lauded in its Edit ‘A shot in the arm’ the report that the Pune-based Serum Institute has got the regulatory market authorization approval for the indigenous vaccine ‘Cervavac’, against the human papillomavirus (HPV), which accounts for 95 per cent cervical cancer cases.

The daily noted that the vaccine which has been in the making for four years would be rolled out by the year-end. This will indeed give a boost to the vaccination efforts to eliminate some of the killer diseases.

There are about four lakh cervical cancer in India at any time, noted IE, while reminding that adoption of a vaccine, which had been available in the developed world for a long time, was recommended but the prohibitive cost worked against its inclusion.

The cost of the vaccine manufactured by the big global pharma companies roughly comes to about Rs 4000, which is indeed unaffordable for developing and low-income countries.

The Serum Institute has already stamped its leadership in vaccine development by gaining global recognition for its anti-Covid-19 Covishield, which has been widely accepted by several countries.

The Covid-19 pandemic also exposed the deeper profiteering malaise of the large pharma companies, and in this context the reforms in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) is most needed to ensure that life-saving drugs and vaccines don’t remain only with the large pharma companies and the countries can authorize their productions by giving exemptions to the intellectual property rights.

Indeed, Serum’s vaccine against cervical cancer will be a game-changer, noted IE. But it’s to be seen if the Central government incorporates the vaccine in its umbrella scheme for easy access to all since the World Health Organisation has set an ambitious plan to vaccinate 90 per cent of girls below 15 years of age against cervical cancer by 2030.

The world is battling the stings of inflation, which threatens some of the economies to slip into recession.

ET and TH have in their Edits commented on the mild easing of the retail inflation, which came to 7.01 per cent for June against 7.04 per cent in the last month.

The slight easing, rightly noted by two dailies, is on account of the government giving away part of its tax revenue on petro-products, while also curbing export of wheat.

In fact, prices of petrol and diesel haven’t been increased since April this year, as they are already at a level where any further rise would only break the backbone of the economy.

However, ET has warned that wholesale inflation, a better measure of price pressures in the economy, hasn’t yet peaked. It was 15.88 per cent in May, a high in three decades.

TH rightly cautions that nine of the 12 food items in the consumer price index showing price momentum, the government shouldn’t drop guards against inflation.

The progress of Monsoon is expected to cool off food inflation, but some of the large states such as Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and Kerala haven’t yet got enough rains even while the Kharif sowing season is at its peak, which is worrisome.

ToI has carried an Edit on the Presidential election, which has already been widely commented upon, capturing the utter disarray in the Opposition camp after the former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced support of the Shiv Sena for the National Democratic Alliance nominee Droupadi Murmu.

The Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren and his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal remain the only two fence-sitters, weighing options and political costs of their possible choices.

DH has run a timely Edit on the election expenditure ceiling, which in any way is a mockery in the country. The daily with reference to the upcoming Bengaluru municipal elections has noted that the expenditure ceiling of Rs 5 lakh by each candidate is clearly a pittance when anything around Rs 2 crore is spent.

The daily strikes right notes when it argues that the election expenditure ceiling of Rs 95 lakh and Rs 75 lakh in parliamentary elections for big and small states respectively is also out of sync with reality. For Assembly polls, it’s Rs 40 lakh and Rs 28 lakh respectively.

The candidates are widely known to field dummies to get around the expenditure ceiling, and this remains a blot to the electoral reforms in the country.

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