July 29, 2023

Good morning. Every Saturday, we publish the results of polls from feature stories that were published the past week. We also give a brief overview of the topics that were discussed.

🗳️ POLL RESULTS – Week 135
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Should F&B companies discontinue using aspartame?

Daily | 24 July 2023

Aspartame, a popular artificial sweetener, has been under scrutiny ever since it entered the market. It’s 200 times sweeter than sugar with a fraction of the calories. It powers the most popular diet foods, like Diet Coke, Coke Zero, Trident, and Mentos’ sugar-free chewing gums. The scrutiny intensified when on July 13, an agency associated with the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced that aspartame is possibly carcinogenic. Does that mean food and beverage (F&B) companies will discontinue its usage? Not necessarily. Well, should they? The verdict is split. Read more on this here.

Can geoengineering help tackle climate change?

Daily | 25 July 2023

We need to cut emissions fast to slow down global warming. We also need to ensure countries and economies continue to grow, trade, and be hospitable to human and animal species. What scientists are finding out about near-term climate change is concerning, to say the least. Is geoengineering the answer? We discuss it here.

Will the Indian economy benefit from banning rice exports?

Daily | 26 July 2023

Last week, the Centre once again banned cereal exports. It has amended the Export Policy from “free” to “prohibited” to target the export of non-basmati white rice this time. The move comes in response to concerns over domestic rice availability and cereal inflation. Given India’s position in the global rice trade, it has naturally caused an uproar. We unpack this here.

What’s the verdict on the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao initiative?

Daily | 27 July 2023

In 2015, the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) initiative was launched. It’s one of the government’s flagship schemes aimed at improving, among other things, the sex ratio across the country and ending gender discrimination. Prime Minister Narendra Modi even touted its success on the 100th episode of his Mann Ki Baat radio address. Should we take him at his word? Has the scheme changed things for the better, or do we need to look deeper? Find the debate here.

Ten years of China’s Belt and Road Initiative – What’s the verdict?

Daily | 28 July 2023

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), introduced in 2013, was heralded as one of the most ambitious connectivity and cooperation initiatives. But recent studies show that the BRI’s path over the last ten years hasn’t been entirely smooth. It has run into trouble in many areas, not the least of which is its inflated bailout lending. It has been a decade since the BRI’s beginnings. What should we make of it? More on this story here.