Weekend Reads

  1. A government officer spent three days staring at a kachori shop in Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh to figure out whether the owners should be included in the tax net. The government eventually sent the owners a tax notice, reports Somya Lakhani in the Indian Express.
  2. “Today, with growth having slowed and macro-economic challenges in every direction, would the government have benefited from the advice of ‘Harvard’ economists?” asks TN Ninan in the Business Standard. “Perhaps, but judging by past record, it probably would not have paid much heed.”
  3. In Varanasi, you can find people whose jobs are to take photographs of bodies as they head down to the burning ghats. But, because of the advent of the smartphone, this profession could – like its subjects – soon be dead, reports Asmita Bakshi in Mint Lounge.
  4. Even afforestation can be problematic. India requires projects that involve using up forest space to compensate by growing trees on non-forest land (which the government then counts as forest. But this afforestation ends up threatening the indigenous communities that live where trees are suddenly being planted, reports Chitrangadha Choudhury for IndiaSpend.
  5. As if the water crisis is not difficult enough, caste discrimination in Uttar Pradesh’s Bundelkhand villages makes getting access to water even harder, finds Khabar Lahariya.
  6. Secret Desi History tells the story of Babu Bheem Roy, an Indian man who in the early 1900s married an Irish woman, became a single father, worked as a traveling preacher lectured on India, married again, got arrested for incest, and died in a California prison.
  7. “There is a real risk here that the rule of law will be replaced by the rule of web design. Meanwhile, the right of welfare claimants to an effective remedy when mistakes are made is in serious jeopardy,” write Philip Alston and Christiaan van Veen, referring to the way Britain’s welfare state has been overtaken by tech consultants, in the Guardian.
  8. Apple’s celebrated designer, Jony Ive, announced his departure from the company this week. In 2015, Ian Parker wrote a fascinating profile for the New Yorker of the man who came to define Apple after the death of Steve Jobs.

Plus, two must-reads from Scroll.in this week, in case you haven’t already gotten to them.

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