Seema Singh

CO-FOUNDER AND EDITOR • India Edition

Seema has over two decades of experience in journalism. Before starting The Ken, Seema wrote “Myth Breaker: Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and the Story of Indian Biotech”, published by HarperCollins in May 2016. Prior to that, she was a senior editor and bureau chief for Bangalore with Forbes India, and before that she wrote for Mint. Seema has written for numerous international publications like IEEE-Spectrum, New Scientist, Cell and Newsweek. Seema is a Knight Science Journalism Fellow from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a MacArthur Foundation Research Grantee.

76 Articles published

Top Comments by Seema Singh

The two Indian companies expanding the scope of Covid-19 testing

Kalpesh, this article came on Thursday morning and was written based on Wed reporting. By which time there was no evidence of community transmission. Since other than the Centre and ICMR, no one else has field data — most of which is on their website — so we have to rely on what they say. Even today, they say there is no evidence of community transmission. That said, there are scientists who have begun questioning the assumptions behind this claim of "no community transmission" simply because we are not testing enough. I will go only by ICMR for now and not trust where this "40%" figure from.

Seema Singh

The ping pong of 5G telecoms lobbying, from Geneva to Delhi and back

Niranjan, I'm sorry to hear that. Perhaps I should have given a little more background in the story. I think if you read the earlier story, which is more background, then it'd be easier to understand. The use case is for rural coverage so that you install fewer base stations (BTS). If today a handful BTSs are required for a small village, then with LMLC, one BTS can take care of the coverage in that village. The signal can travel longer/wider. It's less attractive to OEMs because they sell fewer BTS, which are expensive and for 5G can cost upwards of Rs25L/BTS. Operators are sitting on the fence because they don't see a neat business model in the countryside. On how regulators decide: This is a very complex and technical issue. Let me try to simplify. The standards body is 3GPP where there is a technical group which discusses all technologies and decides on what needs to be included in every generation or G of telecom. This body is dominated by OEMs. And by extension commercial interests. Whatever standards are approved, they get picked up for product development by the OEMs. No poor country has any representation in that and only what is presented in those meetings get picked up for discussion - you see the vicious cycle. India has been ragged there. There's no Indian OEM of any stature to back the Indian tech. In contrast, China and Korea have advanced much further from 4G. In 5G, these Asian countries have several high quality patents and Huawei and Samsung are very powerful in 3GPP. India neither has great R&D, nor any OEM.

Seema Singh

Google, Microsoft circle as India mulls extracting value from health data of 1.3 billion citizens

Agree with you, Rahul. This article is an attempt to call out that— few meaningful public health, or even private health for that matter, interventions are expected out of this AI hype. Esp in healthcare, and esp from companies like Microsoft. In the interim, hospitals will make some money, stock prices will rise and some patient data will get digitised. Will it solve a key prob in healthcare? I don't think so, for precisely the reasons you mention above. Therefore it makes sense for India to use this opportunity to free up this data so that those who are genuinely interested in building a full-stack product, and there are a few small cos figuring out the business/monetisation model, at least have the data to train their model on. Quality and large data sets is the biggest barrier to entry for AI product companies in healthcare.

Seema Singh

Google, Microsoft circle as India mulls extracting value from health data of 1.3 billion citizens

Sorry about a late response, Srikanth. Last week was crazy for us. I agree, PDP Bill is no silver bullet. To be honest, my worry is it will complicate things more in the current form because far too many details and decisions are left to the Data Protection Authority, whose composition is also not ideal going by the draft doc. This article is making a limited point— that in the absence of a large payor system in India, it makes sense for India to ask for all anonymised health data to be made public good. It will require some resources to host/manage/update it but it's wroth all this trouble. Benefits will far outweigh the costs and resources. The idea of a nominee looks good, someone must convey this to the folks in New Delhi :)

Seema Singh

The $100M that graduated Ashoka University in higher education

Ronak, The story set out to tell the truth. 5 years is a blip in an institution's life and not enough to write a report card on it. Please understand, as a journalist I report and I write what my reporting tells me. Of course, it has my analysis but I cannot manufacture 'cons'. Re placements, when you read every year IITs disclose their placements to the newspapers, do you go and tell the publication to give you more because their article is misleading? They also just mention the top recruiter brands. If you are interested, please go and engage with the University. Ask them for more data or details and make your own decision.

Seema Singh

The $100M that graduated Ashoka University in higher education

Ronak, I'm amused that you call it advertisement. Did you read the second part? In 6000 words, how much information and perspective should one expect? It's not a research report. The story was meant to give readers a flavour of what's happening at this University and why. And then if you are curious, please dig deep and reach out to the University to figure out what their placements and curriculum actually look like. This was not a recruitment story; I'd not dissect the recruitment, roles, processes or salaries in such a story.

Seema Singh

The $100M that graduated Ashoka University in higher education

Amit, you can check out their application process on their website. It's a little like SAT, with students having to submit a few essays. It takes some effort and thinking to fill the application form. So my sense is they filter out non-serious students there. Then shortlisted students are called for an interview which involves a short, on-the-spot essay writing. I haven't looked at the process closely so this brief answer is based on what I've gathered from my conversations with teachers there and some parents.

Seema Singh

Apollo Pharmacy demerger: More than what meets the eye

Roshan, what you are telling me here is what the company has told everyone, including the shareholders. So there's nothing new. What I am writing here is an alternate outcome. And it's a new way of looking at things. I don't have to explain why that new way is logical because the article argues that in detail. If the company buys back at a guaranteed IRR, what will it do with that business to realise its value? List, right? Can it just list the B2C? No. How will it list? By making it a wholesome business and integrating it with distribution. Do the math then.

Seema Singh

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