Editorial

Foreign Ministers of India, Russia and China are meeting in New Delhi next week at a time when, China apart, India’s growing proximity to the United States is causing discomfort to Russia – our traditional all-weather friend. The meeting is also taking place at a time when relations between China and some of her immediate neighbours are in a flux. In the recent past, three of China’s neighbours – Pakistan, Myanmar and Nepal – have refused to accept Chinese financial assistance to build ambitious hydro-electric projects in their countries,...

The Centre has set up the 15th Finance Commission to determine the ratio of the distribution of the divisible tax pool of the Centre between the Centre and the States. The Commission will have to submit its report by April 1, 2020, and its formula for distribution will remain in force for the next five years beginning April 1, 2020. A problem that is outside the remit of the Finance Commission(s) but very relevant for the States is the mounting debt burden of the States to the Centre. Even if the share of the States is increased – there is an...

The CPM appears confused over whom to unite with and against whom. The party has gone on record to say that the BJP is its main enemy and that to fight the battle against the BJP the unity of all secular and democratic forces is a must. By any definition, the Congress is both secular and democratic. Some CPM leaders like Prakash Karat realize this but the anti-Congress sentiment in them is so strong and has been ingrained over such a long time that despite knowing that the Congress cannot be left out in the fight against communalism, they find...

Rahul Gandhi has taken the baton of India’s Grand Old Party from her ailing mother at a time when not only is the Congress perceived to be in an existential crisis, .but the values and traditions built by the party over the decades from pre-Independence days seem to be in danger of being permanently discarded from the country’s political discourse. The morale of the party workers is at its lowest ebb following defeat after defeat in one election after another. Rahul has been at the receiving end of the most vicious and venomous attacks by the...

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his government are working hard to bring more investment to UP as promised in the pre-election vision document. In the last eight months, the Yogi Government has interacted with large number of business delegations from within the country and abroad as well as diplomats from various countries in connection with bringing investments into the state. During his interaction with a 50-member US delegation last month, the chief minister assured that the state will ensure a business friendly atmosphere and a single...

Under strong US pressure, Pakistan has put Hafeez Saeed, the mastermind of the 26/11 serial terror attacks in Mumbai, under house arrest again, according to a TV channel report. The Judicial Review Board of Pakistan had set him free a few days ago because the prosecution (the Pakistan Government) had failed to produce evidence strong enough to justify his continued detention. And this, despite India having provided to Pakistan incontestable evidence to secure Hafeez Saeed’s conviction. Pakistan has always rejected the evidence provided by...

The hysteria carefully whipped up over the yet-to-be-released film Padmavati is acquiring fearful dimensions. Awards of ten crore rupees have been announced to behead the film’s director Sanjay Leela Bhansali and to mutilate the film’s heroine Deepa Padukone. The threat was issued by a person who has just resigned as Haryana BJP’s media coordinator. He has resigned not because he is repentant or been reprimanded by the party for giving incitement to murder but in protest against Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s unwillingness to...

The Law Minister of Pakistan, Zahid Hassan, has resigned. The resignation came as a sequel to the change made in the form of affirmation of oath by a member of Pak Parliament relating to the finality of Prophet Muhammad. The phrase “I solemnly swear . . .” was replaced by “I believe…” The change saw a little known organization Tehreek-i-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLY) come out in the streets of Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore and Karachi. Numerically they were in small groups but these groups brought life to a standstill in the main cities of the...

The West Bengal Government has made public the draft code of conduct for school teachers. An important restriction that is proposed to be introduced is that not only teachers but also the non-teaching staff of schools shall not give private tuition. Indeed the necessity of private tuition is an admission that the students are not getting adequate teaching from the school. Quite often the students are given subtle hints that to pass in a particular subject they have to take private tuition from the teacher concerned. Otherwise they may not pass...

The advent of winter in the North is normally greeted with an abundance of green vegetables in affordable price to the aam aadmi but what is now visible in the local vegetable market is the vertiginous rise in the prices of popular vegetables such as peas (matar) and the widely consumed common people protein, the onion.  The bulbous root which is a part and parcel of the indigent people’s wonted daily diet is now woefully absent as its cost at the retail level is swinging between fifty to sixty rupees per kilogram. In the past too, onion price...

With the nation facing considerable economic difficulties and outgoing president Michele Bachelet of the Socialist Party seeing a sharp drop in her popularity, a major reversal for the left was expected in November 19 elections in Chile. Considering these headwinds, however, the left-center forces did not fare too badly. Citizens voted for a new president as well as senators, congresspersons, and local officials in the November 19 poll. The presidential race will now head to a runoff to take place December 17. In the legislative elections (...

There was much hope that the National Health Policy 2017 (NHP) would give a new impetus to the healthcare delivery system in our country. The Health Policy is a document for assessment of the contemporary health situation, the issues involved and the way forward to ameliorate the prevailing problems so that citizens get the required health care. The NHP 2017 has to be analyzed in that context. The vast majority of our people are devoid of basic healthcare, what to talk of advanced quality tertiary care. The government of India has been a...

Former Afghan president Hamid Karzai snapped fingers at his successor Ashraf Ghani for committing treason by permitting the US military to drop the largest-ever conventional bomb in combat operation against Islamic State militants in the violence-ridden state. According to Afghan defense sources, the Americans dropped the 9,797-kg GBU-43 on 9 November in the eastern province of Nangarhar and killed about an estimated 100 suspected militants. At a public meeting in Kabul, Karzai, who has considerable influence among the Pashtun ethnic group...

Election campaigns are now turning more and bitterer. Undignified language, slur words and crude personal attacks on candidates or party leaders have become the order of the day. Electronic media has opened up new fronts of attack – trolling, morphed videos, even sex videos – to denigrate and stigmatize opponents. One’s personal life is being viciously intruded into and what is most personal and intimate between two adult individuals is being shown in the electronic media to titillate people with prurient taste. The Election Commission has...

Pakistan has told China that it will build the proposed 14-billion dollar Diamer-Nhasa Dam (which is located in Pak-occupied Kashmir) on its own. It has declined China’s ‘offer’ of financing the project (which forms part of the ambitious $60-billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor) because the Chinese companies which were to build the project had set very tough terms for advancing loans. This is nothing new. Chinese companies do business in a businesslike manner. They advance loans on very rigorous terms. Often the recipient nation is unable...

Kerala Transport Minister Oman Chandy has resigned following allegations of his involvement in a land grab case. He belongs to the NCP. What should be more embarrassing for the NCP leadership is that Chandy’s predecessor A. K. Saseendran who had to resign after a sex scandal surfaced, also belonged to the NCP. Indeed a full-fledged cabinet crisis developed over the Chandy resignation issue after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was found to have given more time to Chandy to ‘consult` his party. The CPI, a constituent of the LDF Government, was...

As the winter sets in, vegetable prices instead of coming down are shooting up. According to data released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, inflation increased rapidly from 3.92 per cent in September to 7.47 per cent in October, mainly because of rise in food prices. The reason is known to all – manipulation by the intermediaries who buy vegetables from the peasants and bring to the urban markets for sale. The remedy is also known – taking deterrent action under the provisions of the Essential Commodities Act. Why no...

Xi Jinping’s China must thank herself for having India, Japan, US and Australia arrayed against her in a Quadrilateral agreement. If India totally abandons her age-old foreign policy of not aligning with any major Power and finds herself aligning every more closely with the United States, the credit for such a development should also go to China. Beijing wanted to encircle India with her ‘string of pearls’ policy. It is now boomeranging on itself. India is busy forging an alliance with her East Asian neighbours to counter the growing menace of...

Violence is the antithesis of development. While the Prime Minister continuously harps on development – his main plank in poll campaign in Gujarat is Vikaas or development – his followers indulge in violence. The form of violence varies from physical to verbal to legal. The primary targets are non-Hindus but liberal Hindus are not being spared either. Hindus have to accept unquestioningly the Hindutva as defined by the bigoted. Despite the Prime Minister’s repeated warnings that nobody will be allowed to take the law in his own hands,...

Unlike Ramnath Kovind, who was a model governor before he became the president since he hardly spoke a word out of turn when in the Patna Raj Bhavan, Tathagata Roy has been one of the most voluble holders of the gubernatorial office. More than all the other governors who have been elevated to the post because of their association with the ruling dispensation, as is the custom in India, Roy, who is the governor of Tripura, has been holding forth freely on whatever catches his fancy. Moreover, in doing so, he adheres unerringly to the party...
Amulya Ganguli

It is common knowledge that the entire edifice of the power structure of the BJP built by the Modi-Shah duo rests on Gujarat where the party has been in power for the last 22 years. Gujarat was the launching pad for Modi for Prime Ministership. So, at the beginning of the assembly poll campaign in Gujarat, when party president Amit Shah claimed his party would win 150+ seats out of the 182 seats, nobody questioned it. The Congress was in doldrums. Senior Congress leader Shankersingh Vaghela, who was the Leader of the Opposition in Gujarat...

Pradyuman Thakur, a seven-year-old student at the Ryan International School at Gurgaon, was found killed in the toilet of the school, with his throat slit on September 8. The Haryana police arrested the conductor of the school bus on suspicion. Later, the Haryana police said the conductor had committed the murder and the knife, the weapon used in the crime had been recovered. As there were many discrepancies in the Haryana police’s version, the case was handed over to the CBI. Now the CBI has come out with a sensational report that the...

The Indian Medical Association, the largest non-official body of doctors, has declared a Health Emergency in Delhi, in view of air pollution in the national capital reaching toxic levels, far above the permissible level of toxicity defined by the World Health Organization. The entire capital remains enveloped in a very thick fog or smog which has reduced visibility considerably and made inhaling dangerous. Air and railway traffic has been greatly disrupted. Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has ordered the closure of all schools in...

The country is passing through a critical period when the rights enjoyed by citizens in every country which claims to be democratic – the right to privacy, the right to free expression, the right to criticize who wield enormous powers over the life of citizens, the right to question decisions or remarks by men in authority – are coming under assault, are being abridged. Those in power are getting intolerant of criticism which is the essence of democracy. The arrest of a cartoonist in Tamilnadu is the latest instance of this assault. Cartoonist...

President Ramnath Kovind has completed 100 days in the highest office of the land. Though this is a short period, it brings out many facets of his personality. Firstly, he has given the impression that he is an independent minded person and may not turn out to be rubber-stamp President. He may have been a BJP man all his life but now, in the highest office, he is not following the party line and acting independently. Many eyebrows were raised in the BJP when, contrary to the party’s line, he described Tipu Sultan as a hero who died “a heroic...