articles by Mridula Ramesh

India

Tanks are silver bullet for India's water woes; why they're disappearing, leaving us more vulnerable to a warming climate

A warming climate, bringing fewer rain days and more intense rainfall events in its wake, makes the role played by tanks even more critical.

India

Coronavirus Outbreak: India must develop lockdown playbook that prioritises all lives, building long-term resilience

India needs a coronavirus crisis response playbook that does not duplicate the lockdown choices of older, developed, more formal economies.

World

Coronavirus Outbreak: Four pivotal lessons for the world, from the unfolding pandemic

Over the past few weeks, the coronavirus pandemic has taught us four things about ourselves.

India

Coronavirus Outbreak: Aggressive testing, containment in small pockets — what India really needs to combat COVID-19

India’s handling of the crisis until now, barring testing, has been hard to fault. By aggressively acting, the hope is for the spread of coronavirus to be curtailed.

India

Coronavirus Outbreak: How effectively will policies of travel restrictions and social distancing control the spread?

In the second of a four-part explainer on the coronavirus pandemic, Mridula Ramesh writes: if we spread to Stage 4, where we have epidemic local transmission of COVID-19, hospital capacities would soon be overwhelmed, which may leave millions dead. Which is why policy action has been aimed at ‘flattening the curve’ or spreading out the infection trajectory to allow hospitals to cope.

Life

Coronavirus Outbreak: From origin to spread, who it affects and the factors that may halt its progress — a primer 

In the first of this four-part explainer, Mridula Ramesh answers essential questions about the coronavirus pandemic: Where did it come from? How does it spread? Who and how does it kill? What might stop it?

Life

The Sufi's stepwell: The Nizamuddin baoli as a symbol of medieval protest and potential source of modern-day job creation

The Hazrat Nizamuddin Baoli, where so many have visited for comfort, is in need of some help itself. The waters appear a murky, unappetising, algae-bloom green, and there is trash floating on it. Would the Sufi have tolerated his blessed waters, which have survived invaders and dynasties, to be laid low by the apathy of those who seek its blessings?

India

Volatility, thy name is onion: A deep-dive into water, markets and the great Indian onion story

At the heart of India's onion problem is the misalignment of risk and reward. In well-functioning financial markets, he/she who takes the greater risk, gets the greater reward. In onions, that is broken. The farmer takes the risk — of climate, of water, of market — yet shares very little of the reward.

India

Delhi air pollution crisis: Money, political will, clear data or steadfast public attention — what really matters?

India does not have hourly, source-apportioned data across cities and neighbourhoods in an accessible format, which obfuscates public understanding and dilutes political will. The kind of staccato concern we show on air pollution cannot compete with the sustained focus of lobbying efforts

India

Findings from Keeladi excavation site have a clear message for modern cities: Cherish your water, or perish

Today, as the peripheries of our cities experience a seasonal ‘Day Zero’ and our water future looks to become decidedly more temperamental, the Keeladi site almost serves as a ‘Back to the Future’ moment for our cities

India

Chennai water crisis: Way ahead could encompass decentralised sewage treatment, solutions matching pain with gain

If by some miracle, the population shrank, our water bodies were restored, our economic model changed, and citizens voted for water management — the Chennai water crisis would vanish.

India

Chennai water crisis: How 'great' teamwork, muddy data enabled poor management and engineered a disaster

Chennai is overdrawing its ground water 1.85 times. The false sense of plenty is one possible reason why we have managed our water so poorly. But the second possible explanation for poor management is the lack of a good incentive mechanism — either for our politicians or our bureaucracy.

India

Chennai water crisis: Why provision, while alluring, couldn't slake a growing city's thirst

Quenching Chennai’s thirst by leaning solely on provision is like trying to fill the fabled yaksha’s seventh pot of gold.

India

Chennai water crisis: Citizens' Day Zero experiences impacted by locality, income and consumption

In the Chennai water crisis, there are 50 shades of (Day) Zero: your personal crisis depends on where you live, how rich you are and how much you consume

India

Greta Thunberg is right; we aren't responding to climate change like the crisis it is

Strikes, such as those organised by Greta Thunberg, are a start — an important start. But the choices you and I make — who to work for, who to vote for, and who to buy from — will be what moves the world.

India

Lok Sabha Election 2019: Compelling local narrative, targeted income scheme could make water a voting issue

Today, popular narrative spins ‘provision’ (of water, versus 'management') as being poor-friendly. That must change if we want to make water management resonate with the voters.

India

Lok Sabha Election 2019: Voting on Delhi’s water crisis — the matter of time and scale

If those that are most affected by lack of water do not care to vote for its proper management, the future looks bleak.

India

Lok Sabha Election 2019: What polls in India have to do with winning the country's water crisis

At the heart of the politician-water nexus is the need to balance different interests — between groups and within the same group.

India

Indus waters: For both India and Pakistan, the choice is between provision vs management

Will securing the Indus secure India’s water future? To answer that question, we need to understand what use the water is put to.