Editorial

The Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has floated a tender inviting private parties to devise a software platform which will be able to collect and store information from all types of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, etc.) as well as e-mail. In other words, the Centre wants to arm itself with an instrument that will be able to track and store conversations across the digital media platforms as well as disseminate their content. A PIL petition challenging the floating of the tender has been filed in the Supreme Court of...

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has warned the land mafia which is active in the State. She must be aware that the mafia work in cahoots with sections of the police, the middle and lower level bureaucracy and above all, with influential local leaders of her own party. She has admitted that even government land is being sold out to private parties by the mafia. This would not be possible without collusion with a section of the police, the bureaucracy and political leaders. Almost all vacant plots near Kolkata and other cities have been sold out...

According to a recent survey conducted by the Centre’s Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), West Bengal has moved up five places in ranking in two years from 2016 to 2018 and now occupies the 10th spot in ease-of-doing-business list. The DIPP conducted the survey in collaboration with the World Bank and took feedback from the ‘users’. The credit goes to the government of Mamata Banerjee and refutes the charge often made by her political detractors, especially the BJP and the CPM, that West Bengal has made little progress in...

It is a little over five and a half years that a 22-year paramedic student who has come to be known as ‘Nirbhaya’ was brutally gang-raped by a group of fiends in capital Delhi.  She died in a Singapore hospital a few days later. Our judicial process is such that it has taken the ‘due process of law’ such a long time for the apex court of the land to confirm the death sentence passed on the guilty. One of the rapists who was a minor at the time escaped with three years’ confinement in a correctional home. It is a moot question whether a ‘minor...

Even as the Congress gears itself up for the next general elections at the national level, regaining a good deal of its elan under Rahul Gandhi’s leadership, its West Bengal unit is sinking deeper into internecine quarrels and organizational dystrophy. Many senior leaders of the Pradesh Congress do not see eye to eye with the PCC president and usually stay away from meetings called by him. The differences between the party chief and the chief of the party’s legislative wing are well known. Two of the party’s traditional strongholds,...

The judgment delivered by the Supreme Court on Wednesday on the powers of the Lieutenant Governor and the democratically elected government of Delhi  is a historic one in that it restores the primacy of the elected representatives of the people and their right to govern. The apex court has said that except three subjects which are under the Union Government, namely, Land, Police and Public Order, all other powers are exercisable by the elected government of Delhi.  By sternly asking the LG “not to play an obstructionist role”, blocking the...

Ninety years ago, in 1928, the Royal Commission on Agriculture in its report pithily commented: “The Indian peasant is born in debt, lives in debt and bequeaths the indebtedness to his successors.” Nearly a century later, and seventy years after Independence, has the situation changed? The answer is an emphatic “No.” In retrospect, it seems the peasants were in a relatively better position then. They only ‘bequeathed’ their loans to their offspring. Farmers’ suicide had not become as endemic as it is today, so much so that the newspaper reader...

The US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, who is now in India, has issued a fresh warning to Pakistan for its promotion of terrorism. She has said that the US is now “approaching its relationship with Pakistan differently from the past” and that the “US could no longer tolerate the Pakistan Government giving a safe haven to terrorists.” Washington has issued such warnings to Pakistan umpteen times in the past with no effect. Even the reduction of US aid flow to Pakistan and holding in abeyance contracted arms deliveries to Pakistan have had no...

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, has caused widespread fear and consternation in Assam in particular and the North-East in general. The Bill, if and when it becomes an Act, will give Indian citizenship to all persons belonging to all religions, except the Muslims, emigrating from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan to India. For this purpose, the Third Schedule of the original Act of 1955 will be amended to reduce the period of residence in India from eleven years to six years. The proposed Bill militates against the secular...

Indira Gandhi as Prime Minister had imposed national emergency on the country on the midnight of June 25-26, 1975. Nobody supported it. In fact, the people opposed it. Even the Congress later admitted it was a mistake. But the opposition, especially the BJP, ‘observes’ the day every year for targeting the Congress and the deceased Prime Minister. This year was no exception. The Prime Minister, while recalling the Emergency, launched a fresh tirade against the Congress party and the ‘family’ which is perceived to be ruling it. The Congress had...

Delhi has become one of the most polluted cities of the world. There is a heavy pall of dust and toxic smoke covering its sky. What is needed desperately is to have more trees, more greenery, a lush cover of green. Even a school student knows that trees clean the air; they absorb pollutant gases like nitrogen oxide, ammonia, sulphur dioxide and ozone. They filter suspended particulate matters out of the air by trapping these on their leaves. Right at this moment somebody has come up with the insane idea that 16,500 trees in the capital city...

The National Digital Library of India, which has just started functioning, is nothing short of opening a knowledge highway for everyone who is interested in any subject. At present 17.5 million books and journals in 200 languages on every subject under the sun will be available to the readers. A team of 50 scientists and technicians led by the Director of Kharagpur IIT, Partha Pratim Chakraborty, made the creation of the Digital Library possible. Sponsored by the Union Government, many people at many levels helped in making the dream project a...

Even as monsoon has just started to set in, large parts of India are suffering from an acute water crisis. It is a problem which has long been in the making and growing in intensity. It is a crisis the magnitude and seriousness of which was hardly ever understood by our city-based planners and administrators. As some experts have said, it is a “time bomb that is ticking away”. The facts are, indeed, terrifying. Take Bengaluru, for example, the silicon city of India. The water table in this city has shrunk from 10 to 12 metres to an alarming 76...

As was expected, the Centre had ended the temporary respite in search operations by the security forces in Kashmir after the end of Ramzan. Apparently, it will make no difference to the ground situation. Local separatist elements and terrorists sent into the Valley by Pakistan will continue their attacks and killings. The merit of the cease operations (the Government insists that it was not a ‘ceasefire’) lay in its political message. It was an expression of intent of the Government to have a period of peace. Everyone in the Valley welcomed...

The current India-Pakistan cold war has now degenerated into harassment of each other’s diplomats. Both New Delhi and Islamabad complain that their diplomats have been harassed by different State agencies. Diplomats are supposed to enjoy diplomatic immunity and are allowed free movement in each other’s country according to the Code of Conduct of 1992. It is a normal diplomatic practice all over the world that when a person enjoying diplomatic immunity is found to be engaged in spying (in diplomatic parlance engaged in “activities not...

Shujaat Bukhari, editor of Rising Kashmir and a journalist who was highly respected not only in Kashmir but all over India was riddled with bullets by “unknown assailants” on Thursday evening at Srinagar just as he came out of his office. The bike-borne assailants were waiting for him outside his office without being noticed by the Intelligence people. Bukhari’s was a voice of reason, of sanity, of peace. He worked tirelessly for bringing peace in the Kashmir Valley, for putting an end to the unending cycle of violence, terror and death. His...

The two-judge bench of the Madras High Court has given a split verdict on the case challenging the disqualification by the Speaker of eighteen legislators of the AIADMK, belonging to the TTV Dinakaran faction. The case will now be heard by a third judge of the High Court.  This gives a reprieve to the EPS Government for the present. The ruling AIADMK has 116 legislators in the present House with an effective strength of 216 members, after the disqualification of the eighteen dissident MLAs. The Opposition DMK has 89, Congress 8 and IUML one....

In the last few days several cases of innocent people being beaten to death on the mere suspicion of their being child lifters have been reported – from Uttar Pradesh to Karnataka to Assam. This expression of mob fury leading to lynching is a recent phenomenon and can take many forms. The mob may target someone suspecting he has stored or eaten or was carrying beef. The mob may target couples of different religions who are legally married. Defenceless women and girls are often the target of the deviant or hate-mongers. The rape and murder of a...

What was unthinkable even a couple of months ago has happened. The joint statement signed by President Donald Trump of the US and President Kim Jong-un, the “Supreme Leader” of North Korea, at the end of their historic summit meeting at Singapore, said that President Trump had “committed to provide security guarantees” to North Korea while Kim “reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”  The world has heaved a sigh of relief as both nuclear-power countries were talking of destroying...

Within days of snatching victory out of the jaws of defeat, dissidence has surfaced in both the Congress and the JD(U) in Karnataka. Some legislators of both parties have started fighting for the spoils of office. They want to be made ministers. Several Congress and JD(U) legislators   have threatened to quit their parties if their personal ambition is not satisfied. The BJP has reacted quickly. B. S. Yeddyurappa has asked them to leave their parties and join the BJP. Now Mallikarjun Kharge of the Congress and H. D. Kumaraswamy of the JD(U)...

Ever since he assumed the US presidency in January last year, Donald Trump has been following a hard protectionist policy. He has raised import duties on a number of items like aluminium. The protectionist policy has hurt most the European allies of the US and alienated them from Washington. France, Germany and Italy are very bitter about Trump and his policy. As things stand, there is little possibility of a joint statement being issued after the coming two-day G7 summit meeting at Quebec in Canada. Ignoring the resentment of his European...

It is an open secret that those who run private schools are interested more in minting money that in imparting quality education. The fees are hiked regularly on one pretext or another. The hapless parents of the wards are made to pay through their nose. The Centre, at long last, is going to put an end to this money-making business. The Centre is contemplating to bring in legislation to regulate school fees. As the murder at the Ryan International School last year exposed, despite charging exorbitant fees, few schools have adequate security...

Former President Pranab Mukherjee’s speech at an RSS function at Nagpur on Thursday was on expected lines and belied the apprehensions of those critics who were angry at his having accepted the saffron outfit’s invitation, without even waiting for what he told his audience. Mukherjee reiterated that the soul of India resided in its pluralism, in tolerance and in its composite culture. He voiced his concern at the ‘increased violence around us’ – both physical and verbal. He quoted Nehru and Tagore to underline the fact that throughout its five...

The opposition parties and the ruling NDA give two contrasting pictures. With every passing day, the opposition shows its intention to sink its differences, come together and throw a challenge to the NDA in next year’s general elections. A significant straw in the wind is the cabinet formation in Karnataka. The lone BSP MLA has been made a minister. It is a message to Mayawati and shows the intent of the Congress to fight the NDA unitedly in Uttar Pradesh where the BSP is a strong player.  Lately, Akhilesh and Mayawati have started coming...

The result of elections for four Lok Sabha and ten Vidhan Sabha seats held across the country has not brought good tidings for the BJP. Out of four Lok Sabha seats it has won only one and out of ten Vidhan Sabha seats it has been able to retain only one.  It has won the Palghar Lok Sabha seat in Maharashtra while the Nagaland LS seat has been won by its ally NDPP. In Palghar, its ‘victory’ in fact conceals its defeat. The vote polled by the Shiv Sena, the BahujanVikas Aghadi and the Congress fighting separately is much more than that polled by...