Trafficked babies, black money and India's values

  • 9 December 2016
  • From the section India
People walk past replica prints of the demonitised 500 and 1000 rupee notes as part of a street art exhibition in Mumbai Image copyright INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images

We all know that the price of something doesn't always indicate its true value, but prices can still be very revealing.

Two very different sets of prices demonstrate that in India this week.

One lays bare with ice-cold precision the profound prejudices that still exist here, the other is powerful evidence that the government's dramatic attempt to root out tax evasion by cancelling the nation's cash will not work.

Let's take the most shocking first, the price of babies.

Last week I travelled to Kolkata (Calcutta) to report on a child-trafficking ring the police in West Bengal have just cracked.

Read full article Trafficked babies, black money and India's values

IR8: The miracle rice which saved millions of lives

  • 1 December 2016
  • From the section India
Mr Subba Rao harvesting the first IR8 harvest Image copyright IRRI
Image caption Mr Subba Rao harvesting the first IR8 harvest

Last week I received a very unusual invitation indeed. It was to a 50th birthday party in a swanky Delhi hotel, but the party was for a plant: a strain of rice known only by its initials, IR8.

A celebration for an angry rice variety; who could refuse?

Read full article IR8: The miracle rice which saved millions of lives

Modi's money medicine: Kill or cure?

  • 22 November 2016
  • From the section India
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi Image copyright Getty Images

This week will be decisive for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's audacious experiment in tackling tax evasion and corruption in India.

Two weeks ago he gave the world's seventh biggest economy four hours notice that he was going to cancel 86% of its cash - $220bn (£176bn) in total.

Read full article Modi's money medicine: Kill or cure?

Gates's advice for the world's most cash-strapped nation

  • 18 November 2016
  • From the section Asia
Bill Gates was interviewed by the BBC's Justin Rowlatt Image copyright Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,

The world's richest man is visiting the world's most cash-strapped nation.

In an address to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his cabinet on Wednesday, Bill Gates said: "The bold move to demonetise high value denominations…is an important step to move away from a shadow economy to an even more transparent economy."

Read full article Gates's advice for the world's most cash-strapped nation

Why India wiped out 86% of its cash overnight

  • 14 November 2016
  • From the section India
An Indian resident holds 500 and 1000 Rupee notes Image copyright PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images

India is in the middle of an extraordinary economic experiment.

On 8 November, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave only four hours' notice that virtually all the cash in the world's seventh-largest economy would be effectively worthless.

Read full article Why India wiped out 86% of its cash overnight

Indian tea workers' conditions remain very poor

  • 12 November 2016
  • From the section India
A woman picks tea outside Siliguri, in West Bengal Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The traditional image of tea workers can mask the very difficult conditions some face

If you are drinking tea, I suggest you put down the cup right now because I've got bad news for you.

You can forget those pretty pictures of happy women in saris on rolling green hillsides that you see on some tea packets. That is not the reality for most tea workers.

Read full article Indian tea workers' conditions remain very poor

Will India dash UK trade deal hopes?

  • 5 November 2016
  • From the section India
3D mapping projections display the Indian tricolor national flag on the India Gate Image copyright MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images

On Sunday Theresa May will land in smoggy Delhi with a large entourage of diplomats, advisers, business people and press in tow.

This is an important visit. It is the new British prime minister's first bilateral meeting outside Europe, the first step in her mission to "forge a new global role for the UK".

Read full article Will India dash UK trade deal hopes?

India's Diwali fireworks: Nazis and fighting elephants

  • 31 October 2016
  • From the section India
Picture shows Coronation Nazi Green box Image copyright Justin Rowlatt/BBC
Image caption The Green Nazi - "a psychedelic, pop-art nightmare"

Diwali is famous as the festival of lights, but it is also a festival of fireworks.

Every evening the streets ring with explosions and there is a thrilling whiff of sulphur in the smoggy air.

Read full article India's Diwali fireworks: Nazis and fighting elephants

Why India's water dispute with Pakistan matters

  • 28 September 2016
  • From the section India
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Is Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi using water as a diplomatic weapon against Pakistan?

For years, strategic analysts have warned that future conflicts would increasingly be over one of the essentials of life itself - water.

A series of standoffs in South Asia in recent weeks suggests their predictions are now coming true, with worrying implications for peace in the region, and the world.

Read full article Why India's water dispute with Pakistan matters

How did Scarlett Keeling die? A mother's fight for justice

  • 23 September 2016
  • From the section India
Media caption'Thinking of Scarlett still really hurts'

"I know she's not still here, but it feels like a part of her is," Fiona MacKeown says when we return to the place on a Goa beach where her daughter died.

Scarlett Keeling's body was found just after dawn on the morning of 18 February 2008.

Read full article How did Scarlett Keeling die? A mother's fight for justice