JayEnAar Profile picture
Public health physician. Arriving at the right answer is important, but getting the question right is vital. The self-proclaimed expert is likely a charlatan
N.V.Ramanan Profile picture 1 added to My Authors
18 Mar
Just heard @JaiveerShergill on an LSE Students Union panel discussion on the informal sector and the pandemic. He and @priyankac19 had some very interesting observations to make, @NalinSKohli was his usual prickly defend-BJP-at-all-costs self. A few points:
@JaiveerShergill made the useful point that even in the so called formal sector the vast majority of workers DO NOT enjoy the most important things of being in the formal sector, a contract, employment benefits, and a pension/providend fund.
@NalinSKohli beat the drum for JAM - janDhan, aadhaar and Mobile, with which the #Modi Govt, he claimed, helped 420 million beneficiaries (fact check, anyone?) He was challenged about how demonetisation had destroyed the MSME and informal sectors.
Read 6 tweets
17 Mar
Next time some #Bhakt dolt asks you. What did they do for 70 years? refer them to this, by Dhruva Jaishankar (his father is the Ext Affairs Minister) from Oct 2017. brookings.edu/opinions/india… let me attach a few choice extracts in this thread
"Indeed, most Indian cultural diffusion to overseas audiences—from yoga to Bollywood—has occurred without the involvement of the Indian government,"
"...the establishment of the Indian Institutes of Technology, which formed the backbone of India’s software boom in the 1990s, and the Green Revolution in the 1960s that helped make the country agriculturally self-sufficient."
Read 6 tweets
17 Mar
The last time something simikar happened was during the Indian famine before World War 2. Scores of Millions in India starved while grain was exported to Britain.
Let me build on that.
@ShashiTharoor in #IngloriousEmpire page 160 writes:
"..by the time it ended, nearly 4 million people in Bengal had starved to death in the 1943 famine. Nothing can excuse the odious behaviour of Winston Churchill, who deliberately ordered...
the diversion of food from starving Indian civilians to well-supplied British soldiers and even to top up European stockpiles in Greece and elsewhere. 'the starvation of anyway underfed Bengalis is less serious' than that of 'sturdy Greeks', he wrote.
Read 4 tweets
15 Mar
A tweet thread
Subj: Another #WhatsApp #propaganda Lie from the #Bhakt brigade
Picked this up on a family group WhatsApp message. Apparently, the Prime Minister has now matriculated to being a Roll-On-Roll-Off ferry operator!
So what's the truth?
Read On.
Pic 1 is the map of the South Gujarat coastline, Pic to is a zoomed in map of the Gulf of Khambhat. Both Bharuch Road and Bhavnagar are somewhat inland, so the Ferry actually runs between Ghogha and Dahej.
This ferry service was inaugurated by PM Modi in October 2017, according to this report in thebetterindia.com/118970/gujarat… See pic.
Read 14 tweets
12 Mar
A Thread
Subject: #India's Union Govt Accounts
Headline: Dramatic IMPROVEMENT between the December and January position.
How?: Not as they would have you believe but by a standard accounting trick.
Read on to know more.
Hint: A ratio has a Numerator AND a Denominator.
At the end of Q3 of FY 2020-21, the Union Govt accounts reported the following: Of course the Jan 2021 numbers are for 10 months of the FY, while the Dec 2020 numbers are for 9 months of the FY. Even so, it's great improvement. Or is it?
Data Source:
cga.gov.in/index.aspx Image
The clue is in the change in the denominator. In Dec it was the Budget estimate, i.e the numbers estimated in the 2020-21 budget way back in March 2020. In Jan it is the REVISED estimate. So take Total receipts. They were 11.2 trllion as at Dec2020 (= 49.9% of what wa
Read 6 tweets
23 Feb
I am delighted beyond imaginable that #DishaRavi has been granted bail. But I find a few aspects of the Court's order both inexplicable and worrying.

Let me explain,
First, @NDTV reports that the Judge said, "...it cannot be presumed by resorting to surmises or conjectures that she also supported the secessionist tendencies or the violence caused on 26.01.2021.."

Q. What evidence did the Judge have to label the violence as "secessionist".
If the Judge was relying on the police charge that the violence was by #Khalistani agents then he should have been careful to qualify it as "allegedly secessionist violence".
Read 6 tweets
23 Feb
A Thread.
My column in @newslaundry criticised the RCT of Coronil done by Patanjali on, among other grounds, its small sample size. Many have asked me to say what sample size I would have recommended. So here is a #Tweetorial in RCTs and sample sizes. newslaundry.com/2021/02/22/pat…
Imagine a conversation between an Ayurvedic Researcher (R) and a Statistician(S) . It might go something like this:

R: "hey I need a sample size calculation. In my last trial I had 100 patients and the critics laughed, ‘it’s too small’, they said. "

S: Okay lemme help.
S: What is the outcome measure you seek to study?

R: Virus clearance at Day 3

S: I see. So, what is your best guess of the virus clearance rate at Day 3 in the absence of any treatment?

R: I dont know. We think its is 50%
Read 21 tweets
21 Feb
Those bemoaning the rise in #PetrolPrice in India shd know that @nsitharaman can do nothing about it. You see, India's public finances are in a dire state. We now have the accounts to Dec 2020 - i.e. 9 months of FY 2020-21. Let's focus on the receipts. See this pic. Image
Start with the last line:Total receipts. Pro-rata to the Budget estimates for 2020-21 of 22.46 Lakh crores (LC) at 9-month mark, the receipts are short by 5.6 lakh crores. That is a 34% shortfall. looking at the detail of Line 4. Non-debt capital receipts we get this information Image
Effectively, there has been ZERO disinvestments of the Gvt's stake in Public sector banks and financial institutions, a 77% shortfall in the disposal of Govt's equity holdings.
Read 6 tweets
6 Feb
@Barristotle and I have formally written to the MP for Harrow East to point out the falsehoods and misleading statements in the infographic tweeted below. We asked him to consider the facts, and withdraw the tweet and apologise. Unacceptable for a British MP to spread falsehoods
It is an open letter so I shall tweet the contents of the letter as screen shots:
Read 7 tweets
6 Feb
Aaji Shukla in a remarkable, eye-opening analysis on the enormous political significance of Modi's Farm Laws miscalculation. Screenshots follow. thecitizen.in//index.php/en/…
Read 6 tweets
5 Feb
A tweet thread.
Re: #FarmersProtest There is a great deal of ignorance and misinformation about the freedoms currently available to Indian farmers and big business houses., even before the #farmLaws were dreamt up by the #ModiGovt that is causing so much turmoil in India.
Take one example. When McDonald's (NYSE: MCD; Market Cap USD 158 Bn) opened in India, they found the Indian potato was not the right kind for their french fries. The Govt did not allow the import of American or European potatoes. What did they do?
Read on:
McDonald India went to the enterprising Indian farmer and did a deal "Grow this variety of potato, to these specs and we'll guarantee to pay this price and what's more we'll pick up your crop come what may". No #mandis no #APMC. #ContractFarming with guarantees.
Read 16 tweets
4 Feb
When looking at financial numbers the context and change over time is important. So a fiscal deficit in Year 20X1 of 5% can only be understood by looking at the time trend over a few years. So here's some time trend charts about #Budet2021 for #India.
1st the fiscal deficit Image
The fiscal deficit is the gap between A)Total expenditure by the Government and B) the sum of revenue receipts (tax + non tax), loan recoveries, other receipts(these are mainly PSU disinvestments). This is the gap that has to be plugged by the Government borrowing money
#Budget2021 forecasts that the interest the Govt expects to pay for accumulated Govt debt (+ any new borrowing in-year) at 8.1 lakh crores). This makes most sense when seen as a proportion of revenue expenditure. Image
Read 5 tweets
25 Jan
Writing a column, 12-15 00 words is never easy. especially if you want to be factual, comprehensive, fair, and logical. And especially if you want it to be read widely. I faced this difficulty in rising to the challenge posed by @1amnerd when he invited me to explian this:
This was the Lancet paper of 21 Jan from an @BharatBiotech and @ICMRDELHI team reporting their phase 1 trial of BBV152 (#Covaxin). Ordinarily, a technical paper of this kind would excite interest only among PhDs and others in the same field of science.
The reason there was a story in it at all was that it was widely misrepresented on both social and mainstream media. The subliminal suggestion was that the 03 jan decision to authorise #Covaxin was after all vindicated.
Read 18 tweets
16 Jan
Having said what I did in this tweet thread linked below, it may well be the case that #Covaxin would have proved itself in a proper trial. But we'll never know now.
If the phase 3 trials do come up with an efficacy estimate it will be tainted by the #Bhopal trial centre irregularities. Hopefully they will scrap that centre and sequester all the trial data from Bhopal. If they start including data from this "clinical trial mode" roll-out...
They'd have a problem judging whether any protective effect is due to #Covaxin or due to the low number of cases reported from India anyway. That is the fundamental reason why efficacy can only ever be measured in placebo RCTs anyway.
Read 4 tweets
16 Jan
I actually have sympathy for @BharatBiotech's scientists and the volunteers who took part in their clinical trials so far. They have been let down by bad science and poor regulatory processes. The company should never have submitted #Covaxin for regulatory approval w/o Ph 3 data
That mistake -the original sin, if you like- has led to a series of mis-steps, errors, cover-ups, linguistic contortions, and lack of clarity. The regulator shd have held the #Covaxin approval request and said, "we'll look at it when you have at least some preliminary ph 3 data"
Instead, they clubbed their approval of 3 separate products into one press release. That was Mistake No 3, driven I suspect by the desire to have a wholly Indian offering (Covishield though made in Pune was already labelled, don't forget as an #Angrez product.
Read 13 tweets
13 Jan
In one of my earliest columns in 2020 I looked critically at the 30 patient trial of Itolizumab in severe Covid-19 and found it scientifically statistically deficient. It is here: science.thewire.in/the-sciences/b…
I concluded that Op-Ed piece as follows: "The irony is that Itolizumab may well be a breakthrough. If it is and if its real effects can be shown conclusively in a large trial, then Biocon would be able to boast of an unbeatable product."
and with the last sentence: "As things stand, it is unlikely to make that breakthrough without much greater rigor in the science of clinical trials. India’s pharmaceutical industry cannot become world-class on the back of shoddy clinical trials."
Read 13 tweets
9 Jan
Here is the text of the Resolution of impeachment of #DonaldTrump in the US Congress. - 4 pages in 4 tweets.
Read 4 tweets
8 Jan
I am deeply disappointed at T Jacob John. It is a smear to say that everyone who asked Qs of #DCGI when they 'approved' #Covaxin was anti-Indian is such patent nonsense as to be unworthy of rebuttal. To bring 'nationalism' into science is disgraceful.
I now learn that the "emergency-use approval" of Covaxin means, iot cannot be generally used but if someone desperately needs it then he can get it under trial conditions. This is disingenuous and garbled nonsense. No one desperately needs a vaccine except PEP in HepB or rabies
PEP is post-exposure prophylaxis. @BharatBiotech has in fact completed its planned recruitment of 26k subjects and within 12 weeks we will have the first cut efficacy data. Where was the need to rush with this spurious disingenuous play on words?
Read 6 tweets
4 Jan
The shambles and confusion about the regulatory approval for @BharatBiotech's #Covishield #vaccine will have serious consequences for the #Indian #biopharma industry. The real tragedy is NOT that an unsuitable or ineffective vaccine has been approved.
The real tragedy has been that the scientific process of basing decisions on data has been ruptured. Today nobody has any idea of the efficacy (as judged in field trials) of the efficacy of #Covaxin. This is as much a slap in the face for the scientists in @BharatBiotech
as it is a betrayal of the 22,000 subjects who had been enrolled in the as yet on-going phase 3 clinical trials. Their altruism in volunteering for the trial has been trashed, as has the painstaking work of the trial doctors been devalued.
Read 8 tweets
3 Jan
Will @MoHFW_INDIA or @CDSCO_INDIA_INF put out an explanatory note to deal with all the questions about the differences in approval for
a) @SerumInstIndia's #Covishield
b) @BharatBiotech's #Covaxin
For Covishield:
"restricted emergency use of vaccine, subject to multiple regulatory conditionalities"
For Covaxin
"restricted use in emergency situation in public interest as an abundant precaution, in clinical trial mode, specially in the context of infection by mutant strains
One interpretation of the Covaxin approval is that it is essentially approval to continue their phase 3 trial. In which case, what's new?
Then, a day later, i.e. today we learn: pib.gov.in/PressReleseDet…
Read 7 tweets
3 Jan
Re Bharat Biotech Covaxin.
1. We have a rregulatory approval process that approves vaccines on the basis of data demonstrating safety and efficacy.
2. The trustworthiness of this process is shown when approval is NOT granted in the absence of such data.
Memo (continued)
3. We trust a licensed vaccine not because it has been approved by the regulator.
We trust it when the regulator and the manufacturer are open and transparent with the data on which the approval is based.
4. We should no more accept an opaque regulatory process that we would accept a kangaroo court that delivers its verdict in a closed court.
Read 8 tweets