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Time for the good fight

The 2019 edition of Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people, published this week, features Indian supreme court advocates, Menaka Guruswamy and Arundhati Katju. They led the fight to read down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which had the effect of criminalizing consensual homosexual sex. Actor Priyanka Chopra Jonas, who was on the cover of Time in 2016 herself, wrote their profile. “Arundhati and Menaka have helped take a giant step for LGBTQ+ rights in the world’s largest democracy," she writes. “Their perseverance and commitment led an entire community to a historic win by humanizing their struggles and giving them the freedom to love." —AB

This unemployment figure would be higher if women were taken into account, the report adds.
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This unemployment figure would be higher if women were taken into account, the report adds.

An unemployment crisis

A new study released on 16 April suggests that demonetization, GST, along with other policy changes, might have impacted more than just bank balances. According to the “State of Working India 2019" report—released by the Centre for Sustainable Employment at Azim Premji University in Bengaluru—five million Indian men lost their jobs between 2016 and 2018. This unemployment figure would be higher if women were taken into account, the report adds. The beginning of the decline in jobs, the report says, coincided with demonetization (November 2016), although “no direct causal relationship can be established based only on these trends". The study used data from the Consumer Pyramids Survey of the Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy, a national survey that is conducted every four months and covers around 160,000 households and 522,000 individuals. Another startling conclusion is that India’s unemployed are mostly the higher educated (men with a diploma or degree beyond class XII), with the age group of 20-24 hugely “over-represented" among the unemployed.—NS

Double tragedy

The global outpouring of grief over the fire at the Notre-Dame in Paris shows that historic monuments belong not to one nation, but to humanity as a whole. It’s doubly tragic that a chorus of “whataboutery" has punctuated the shock at the fate of the cathedral that hosted Napoleon’s coronation (1804), Joan of Arc’s beatification (1909), and inspired Victor Hugo’s classic novel, The Hunchback Of Notre-Dame. There are worthier ways of drawing attention to worthy causes—not at the expense of a calamitous accident.—SG

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The spice in your shoes

What’s in a sneaker? A sprinkling of spices, says Masala Box Mindblower, the result of a collaboration between Fila India and Indian multi-brand sneaker store VegNonVeg. Haldi stains are never desirable, but this limited-edition sneaker takes the familiar turmeric hue, mixes it up with a generous splash of mirchi red and orange (that looks a lot like garam masala, if you ask us) and gives us a pair that’s all va-va-voom. Launched amidst much fanfare on 18 April, only 100 pairs of these shoes are up for grabs, in VegNonVeg stores (in Delhi and Mumbai and online; 9,999).—SD

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