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.

80 Articles published

Top Comments by Seema Singh

It’s Operation Diplomacy for India as Covid vaccine preparedness hots up

Thank you for a considered comment, Mr Sinha. While it has made us think (and debate internally on Slack), I don't think we deliberately seek or leave out 'empathy' from our stories. I think most often it's due to the nature of the stories we pick to write. If a startup or a large company refuses to engage for an article, there's only so much we can do to get their point of view or get inside their thinking. While I agree, it's absolutely essential for journalists to get the other side of the story which adds a whole different perspective, I'd also argue that anything contrived is better avoided. Your point on a mix of 'sweet and sour' is well taken. We'll try to do better.

Seema Singh

The elite VC-founder club riding Aarogya Setu to telemed domination

Rohan, since you are admitting that you "know almost nothing about these rules and regulations", it'd be fair to say you don't get the import of the article. There can be no data flouting at this stage because the Data Protection and Privacy Bill is in draft stage. Not yet approved. But yes, "who cares." Sorry that you found this a mere "thaali banging' and you wasted 15 min of your time :) I hope you find at least other stories more useful.

Seema Singh

The elite VC-founder club riding Aarogya Setu to telemed domination

Bhavin, you are right. Healthcare is not particularly an engineering problem, esp not the way many Indian health-tech startups have looked at it. They are all merely trying to address a tiny, tiny part on the access side, that too for urban dwellers. Which is why hundreds of millions of dollars have gone down the drain - none of these companies have found a viable business model and are throwing VC money at growth. No one is looking at the supply side or the science side of it— more doctors, more nurses, more technicians, more data scientists. Or more primary care, better cheaper diagnostics, better epidemiology, and so on. The story does not assume that this "cabal will dominate all this." It just narrates HOW it's all playing out. That's what journalists are supposed to do. Especially when the NHA, looking to help 500 million people, will end up relying on this 'cabal' for building its products. It's for this reason that one should care.

Seema Singh

The elite VC-founder club riding Aarogya Setu to telemed domination

Sachin, this is as neutral as it can get. We heard one side of the story, we investigated, went to the other side, asked specific questions and after nearly 50 hours they sent us a 2-page 'About Us' note. We've reproduced that note in the story. That said, what we report on The Ken is truth. In journalism, there's nothing like negative or positive. There's truth and falsehood. Which truth we pick to write is something you can complain about. But something that may have a wide impact — good or bad, we don't know — needs to be reported from all sides. As for your 'paid platform" reference, all the more reason that we publish truth and no cheerleader-kinda stories, right?

Seema Singh

BSNL’s Rs 8,000 crore tender—Make for India, not Make in India

Amitabh, to your first point, why should BSNL be forced to source locally. BSNL had all the freedom all these years to run the business it wanted to run. It certainly did not do a good job of it. So now that the taxpayers' money is going to revive it, it's fair to ask it to also contribute to industry-building. Today if BSNL dies, I don't think Indian consumers will be adversely affected. The three private operators will serve the need. I agree that BSNL would want to use what its rivals are using — tested and widely used equipment. That's one argument. The other argument is by keeping 10-20% of that requirement to local manufacturers, creating a mechanism of transparent tech evaluation & procurement, it can show a higher ROI on the public money. Every big sector is built that way. Even the Oracles and Microsofts of the world were built that way, with govt acting as the anchor customer for a while. Telecom is a notch higher on the complexity level because it is a highly regulated industry. BSNL should have done it in 2G, 3G or 4G. It'll be a shame if it doesn't change its ways on the cusp of 5G. Why Airtel gave $1B to Nokia is a telling example of how innovation of one era — managed services that Bharti innovated — doesn't remain the innovation for all times. That model let Bharti become lazy and complacent. It allowed itself to be totally locked in with big vendors. If you remember, that model also killed the telecoms industry in the US when the Lucents, Nortels, and Alcatels of the world disappeared. It becomes clunky, high-cost and low-agility in the end. 70 Cr as Earnest money is used just to make a point that small and medium telecom cos can't even afford that. If DoT or MeITY or Govt at large wanted to help SMEs overcome this, they'd have found a way. In all this, DoT has come out as short-termist, tactical and lacking a vision.

Seema Singh

If science is Covid-19’s exit strategy, could India build its immunity shield on it?

Who do you think has been approving the tests, PCR & rapid, in the Indian market so far? NIV, which is part of ICMR. Who do you think will approve these kits from IISc or any new place? NIV. So why do you call them 'dubious'? The story is relaying what is being developed. I'm not championing any particular kit. And when the story talks about large scale testing, if you have read the story, it is about "planned studies", exactly what Germany is doing. Not sure what 'wishful thinking' you are talking about. Antigen Tests tell you: Do you now have the disease and do you need looking after? It absolutely has to be 99-100% sensitive. Antibody tests tell you: Have you had the disease? If yes, then you could be in a position to go out & look after others. Both serve their purposes in the current environment and both provide good data. EOM

Seema Singh

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