Editorial

The truth is out at last. It was not the Reserve Bank of India which proposed demonetization and the Centre merely agreed to it. It was the other way round. It was the Centre which was dead set on demonetization and rammed its decision down the throat of the RBI. Despite the careful language in which it is couched, the seven-page reply sent by the central bank of the country to the Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance makes that clear. In fact the Government was secretly and silently preparing for demonetization for full six months. It...

With the announcement of elections to five State Assemblies, campaigning by the parties is rising in a crescendo. The first temptation of the parties is to endear themselves to the voters by emphasizing on the interests of the castes, communities and religions they are committed to protecting and defending. This has now been strictly banned by the Supreme Court. But old habits die hard. The twin urges of winning the voters’ sympathy for one’s own party and creating an aversion in them for rival parties become aggressively manifest during...

India and Vietnam are strengthening their strategic ties in the backdrop of increasing Chinese belligerence. Sino-Vietnamese relations started turning sour even when the Vietnamese were fighting against US aggression. There were reports that the Chinese had put up obstructions to the flowing of Soviet military assistance to Vietnam. In 1979, Chinese troops had entered Vietnam. The Vietnamese army gave them a good drubbing and threw them out. In recent times China’s hard line on South China Sea has not only further antagonized Vietnam but has...

Satellite images have confirmed the presence of Chinese nuclear submarines in Karachi port last year. Nuclear subs have several advantages over the conventional electric-diesel subs. First, they can launch nuclear missiles. Secondly, they can remain under water for a far longer period than the conventional subs. And lastly they are practically undetectable. In peace time, the primary job of submarines is intelligence gathering like photographing of ‘enemy’ naval installations. The chief of Indian navy, Admiral Lanba, has said that our navy is...

Satellite images have confirmed the presence of Chinese nuclear submarines in Karachi port last year. Nuclear subs have several advantages over the conventional electric-diesel subs. First, they can launch nuclear missiles. Secondly, they can remain under water for a far longer period than the conventional subs. And lastly they are practically undetectable. In peace time, the primary job of submarines is intelligence gathering like photographing of ‘enemy’ naval installations. The chief of Indian navy, Admiral Lanba, has said that our navy is...

A team of scientists of the California University have claimed to have received unusual and rare cosmic radio wave bursts coming from a dwarf galaxy some three billion light years away from the Earth. There is speculation whether these waves were sent by some extra-terrestrials. As light moves at the velocity of 1,86,282 miles per second (and Einstein has put a permanent ban on anything in the Universe moving at a velocity higher than that of life) finding the actual distance of this dwarf galaxy in miles (or kilometres) will be a mind-...

When the Prime Minister announced on the night of November 8 that he was unleashing a war on black money and black money hoarders by demonetizing 500 and 1000-rupee notes, the people thanked him profusely. But doubts and disillusionment began the very next morning as unending queues for unending days started before the bank counters and ATMs. The people found they could not withdraw their own hard-earned and tax-paid money from their savings accounts. Critics of demonetization were dubbed supporters of black money and opponents of the drive...

The graph of crimes against women is rising across all metropolises in the country. From stalking to groping to molestation to rape – the ‘macho’ mentality of the modern male satisfies itself in many ways.  Objectionable behaviour with women which was unthinkable even a few decades ago has now become commonplace. What is more, such incidents have ceased to disturb social conscience. Society seems to have got inured to such crimes. What is more regrettable, the police also usually take a callous attitude to the victims. In a particularly...

The Election Commission has announced the schedule for the polls to the five State Assemblies. The longest will be in Uttar Pradesh – spread over seven days. The result will be known on March 11, when counting for all the five States will be taken up. Whatever the outcome, one thing can be predicted confidently. If the BJP wins hands down, especially in UP, the party will claim to have won a massive referendum on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetization decision. On the contrary, if there is an adverse or a mixed result then the defeat...

The Election Commission has announced the schedule for the polls to the five State Assemblies. The longest will be in Uttar Pradesh – spread over seven days. The result will be known on March 11, when counting for all the five States will be taken up. Whatever the outcome, one thing can be predicted confidently. If the BJP wins hands down, especially in UP, the party will claim to have won a massive referendum on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetization decision. On the contrary, if there is an adverse or a mixed result then the defeat...

The Samajwadi Party is a strange political animal that takes a morbid pleasure in making a laughing stock of itself again and again in full public view. What has been going on in this party in UP for the last few days has earned it no end of sound bytes in the TV news channels and no end of column centimetres in newspapers. An unending battle seemed to be going on between the party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and his brother and State Party president Shivpal Singh Yadav on the one hand and son and chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and his uncle (a...

The Samajwadi Party is a strange political animal that takes a morbid pleasure in making a laughing stock of itself again and again in full public view. What has been going on in this party in UP for the last few days has earned it no end of sound bytes in the TV news channels and no end of column centimetres in newspapers. An unending battle seemed to be going on between the party supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav and his brother and State Party president Shivpal Singh Yadav on the one hand and son and chief minister Akhilesh Yadav and his uncle (a...

That China would once again stall India’s move at the United Nations to have Masood Azhar declared a terrorist was quite expected in view of its growing collaboration with Pakistan in defence and economic development. China is unperturbed by the fact that as chief of the terrorist outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed, Masood Azhar is directly responsible for a number of major terror attacks in India. But what should cause worry to India is the emerging Pakistan-China-Russia axis which seeks to woo the Afghan Taliban and use it as a counterweight against...

The father versus son fight for control of the Samajwadi Party on the eve of the assembly polls is now out in the open with the father expelling his chief minister son from the party. Unless something miraculous happens the Samajwadi Party is heading for a vertical split. Mulayam Singh’s son and the incumbent chief minister Mulayam had earlier refused to name his son as the next chief minister. Akhilesh has decided to field his candidates as independents to fight the party’s official nominees. So Uttar Pradesh will see a four-cornered contest...

President Pranab Mukherjee’s speech at the Indian History Congress at Thiruvananthapuram is significant not only because of its content but also because of its timing. He regretted the ‘unfortunate tendency’ to express ‘intolerance’ at every view perceived to be ‘hostile’. As the head of the State he could not be more explicit about the quarters from which the hostility came. But his reminder that the essence of democracy lay in the ‘freedom to doubt, disagree and dispute’ left no doubt that it was meant for those who are trying to impose a...

The Union Cabinet has decided to sell out four public sector drug manufacturing companies to the private sector. One of these has a sentimental association with the Bengalis for more than a century. It is the Bengal Chemical and Pharmaceuticals Ltd., founded by Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray, one of the few internationally reputed scientists produced by an India held in bondage. The other three are the Hindustan Antibiotics Ltd., the Indian Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Ltd., and the Rajasthan Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Ltd. With this, the Indian...

The Centre has, in one fell swoop, revoked the permission to 20,000 NGOs to receive foreign contribution by cancelling their licences under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). One report says that there are 33,000 NGOs working in the country in different fields. But the number is rather confusing because last year the CBI came out with a report that the number of NGOs operating in the States and Union Territories was 31 lakh. The NGOs started getting targeted during the UPA regime which alleged that some of the foreign-funded NGOs...

The winter session of Parliament saw an unprecedented unity of the Opposition parties against demonetization and a series of arbitrary acts of the Government to implement it. From TMC to CPM, from Congress to JD (U), all were united in articulating the distress of the common man that demonetization had caused. It was logical to expect that the unity would be maintained and further consolidated and widened after the Parliament session was over. However, the hope has been belied, at least for the present. Tuesday’s meet of Opposition parties...

The fourth test-firing of the nuclear capable Agni V missile is a major stride in India’s defence capability. Though officially the range of the missile is stated to be 5000 kms, some defence experts say it has an effective range of up to 8000 kms. Two more tests may be required before the missile’s induction into our armoury. India has already made it known that it is working on another longer range missile which will have a range of 8000 to 10,000 kms. It may take a few more years to have that capability but Agni V goes a long way in...

Undeterred by jibes and taunts, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is repeating his allegation of corruption against the Prime Minister in meeting after meeting. As the Prime Minister and his men pooh-pooh the Gandhi scion but cautiously avoid straightaway denying the charges, the size of the crowd attending Rahul Gandhi’s meetings continues to swell. The BJP has now started reacting to Rahul. Shahnawaz Hussain says Rahul is making ‘uncalled for rhetoric’ only to weaken the fight against black money. In BJP-ruled Rajasthan where the AAP is...

At a time when the world is striving for nuclear disarmament, US president-elect Donald Trump is talking about his intention to start a fresh nuclear arms race by expanding the nuclear arsenal of the US. Ever since he shot himself into limelight by standing for the US presidency, he has not stopped scaring the American people and the world at large by one reckless utterance after another. Driving out immigrants, banning outsourcing of jobs, driving out and banning the entry of Muslims in the US, imposing heavy fines on US companies that...

The Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, Najeeb Jung, has done what many think he should have done long ago. He has decided to call it a day and demit his office. An appointee of the previous Congress Government headed by Sheila Dixit, Jung endeared himself to the BJP Government with great aplomb and embarked on the path of a running battle with the elected government of Delhi, headed by Arvind Kejriwal. He chose to confront the Union Territory Government all along the line, rescinding almost every administrative decision taken by Kejriwal. Jung...

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has publicly accused the Prime Minister of corruption, making specific allegations against him. No other prime minister in free India’s history had to face such accusations while in office. In a way there was nothing new in Rahul Gandhi’s allegations, because these had earlier been reported in the media and repeated by the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. What is rather surprising is the weak response of the BJP to Rahul’s charges. Instead of refuting the specific allegations straightaway, the BJP...

There have been media reports that the Centre is toying with the idea of making digital payment compulsory for across-the-counter sale of medicine by pharmacies. But now it is not a matter of speculation. The Drug Controller-General of India (DGCI) has ‘requested’ his West Bengal counterpart to introduce the cashless system in all wholesale and retail medicine shops. In fact, he has gone a step ahead and directed that the progress made in this direction be reported every month. This is thoughtlessness run riot. To take a simple example, the...

The Centre has decided to exempt the bank deposits and property of the political parties from the purview of income-tax. Also, anyone can deposit any amount of money in demonetized 500 and 1000-rupee notes in bank accounts of the parties, with no questions asked. In view of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s jihad against black money (which prodded him to demonetize high denomination currency notes), his government’s discrimination between the common people and the political parties is inexplicable. It is common knowledge that dubious donations...