Reflex Action

P. Sreekumaran
Kerala has heaved a collective sigh of relief with the resignation of controversial minister Thomas Chandy at long last amid high drama and after much humming and hawing, and fretting and fuming. The political drama that preceded the resignation of Chandy had all the ingredients that go into the making of a Bollywood potboiler: suspense, theatrics, confrontation, retreat and a climax. The Minister, who exhibited a mulishly headstrong attitude till the very end, threw in the towel only after the Communist Party of India (CPI) toughened its...

S. Sethuraman
Economic data for the first seven months of fiscal 2018 (April-October) present an overall dreary picture -  low growth, price surge, weak exports, job losses and rise in fiscal and external deficits. This sombre outlook is set to continue into the next fiscal year (2019) as well, with all the glitches in GST and other structural reforms announced by Modi Government with a bombast. Persistent weaknesses in real sectors (manufacturing, mainly) and stressed banks choking credit flows are the afflicting factors for the medium term. These would...

Nitya Chakraborty
With just three weeks left for the first phase of the crucial state assembly elections in Gujarat, the political situation at ground level in this   traditional stronghold of the BJP is steadily shifting in favor of the Congress Party which has been out of power for the last twenty two years. Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi who is single handedly spearheading the election campaign for the last two weeks, is getting big response from all sections of Gujaratis in his   meetings and road shows sending alarm signals to the BJP. Prime Minister...

K R Sudhaman
A year after demonetisation, economic pundits have spoken for and against the measure. Economists toeing the line of the ruling BJP have spoken in favour of it saying the measure was needed to cleanse the economy of black money and the ensuing digitisation will help in the long run to root out corruption, a major factor in generation of black money. But economists, particularly those airing the Opposition view, say that it has only pushed down the economy and virtually crippled the informal sector that account for majority of economic activity...

G. Srinivasan
In less than a month from now, members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) numbering 164 would gather for the biannual ministerial to take stock of how far and fair the liberal trade regime of the post-war era has been shaping up. The 11th WTO Ministerial Conference, scheduled to be held at Buenos Aires (Argentina) in the second week of December, has already evoked winter woes among trade envoys as the WTO was not able to gather its scattered wits since the collapse of its ministerial in Cancun (Mexico) way back in 2003. This is particularly...

Amulya Ganguli
Tamil Nadu continues to flounder in the political confusion caused by Jayalalithaa’s death. As may have been expected in a one-person outfit which the AIADMK was in her time, the party is yet to find its feet. The situation has been made worse by the influence which Jayalalithaa’s companion, Sasikala, who is now in jail, continues to wield over the shaky organization via her nephew. Seeing the political vacuum in the state, ambitious outsiders like the ageing filmstars, Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth, have been trying to enter the field...

Amritananda Chakravorty Mihir Samson
i. SC Dismisses Plea Which Questioned Delay In MOP And Appointments Of Judges Before It’s Finalisation – The Supreme Court dismissed a petition, which sought an explanation from the Centre for the delay in finalizing the memorandum of procedure (MOP) for appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and High Courtsand which also questioned continuing appointments even when the MOP had not been finalised.The petition was earlier listed before the bench of Justices A.K. Goel and U.U. Lalit, who though dismissed the prayer challenging the judicial...

Arun Srivastava
There is no more ambiguity: India has finally agreed to act as an ally of the US by joining the new regional coalition ‘Quad’, an abbreviation for ‘’quadruple’ or four. The other members of the Quad are Japan, America and Australia. India’s stand towards Quad could be deciphered from the remarks of Prime Minister Narendra Modi which he made just before leaving for Manila: “India’s commitment towards deepening engagement with ASEAN and India-Pacific region.” After the meet, the government claimed that ‘open’ and inclusive regional vision and...

Amritananda Chakravorty Mihir Samson
Last week the Supreme Court witnessed one of the most controversial events in itsentire history. The Chief Justice of India, Mr. Dipak Misra, annuled an order of the second seniormost judge of the Court, Justice J. Chelameshwar and Justice Abdul Nazeer passed on 9th November, 2017, thereby bypassing constitutional and judicial norms and propriety. The present controversy is traced to a FIR filed by CBI in September, 2017 against some accused, including a retired High Court judge from Orissa, Justice I.M. Quddissi, on the basis that they...

Kenny Coyle
Nearly 30 years ago, the “death of communism” was announced following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall. In the much-quoted words of the right-wing commentator Francis Fukuyama, it was “the end of history,” marked “the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.” Now it appears that, maybe after all, just like the great anti-imperialist writer Mark Twain, reports of communism’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. Last...

Branko Marcetic
A year ago, on November 8, Hillary Clinton lost the presidency to Donald Trump. Ever since then, the Left’s refrain has been: “Bernie would have won.” In the face of pundit after pundit after pundit warning Democrats to embrace Wall Street, move to the center, and abandon policies like Medicare for All and tuition-free college, the Left has insisted that the only way to fight Trumpism is to to embrace an unapologetic message that appeals to all working people. That was the theory. And the evidence from nationwide Democratic sweep in last week...

Anjan Roy
On the first anniversary of demonization, it has been demonised. Politicians and commentators pointed out a litany of woes that afflicted India and its poor from the decision to cancel 85% of circulating currency bills. It has been held guilty by high-minded economists for the subsequent slow down of the India economy – to a mere 5.7% in the last as a culmination of the process of deceleration. It has been found useless as most of the cancelled currency had come back into the system through banks. There is this last issue – return of the...

Harihar Swarup
Corruption thrives whether it is the rule of the Congress or the BJP. Both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party President Amit Shah have been claiming that in three-and-half years of the BJP rule, not a single case of corruption has come to the fore. But the point is whether the BJP is carrying out its crusade against corruption with leaders like Narayan Rane, Sukhram, B S Yeddyurappa, Mukul Roy and Hemanta Biswa Sarma. Most of the BJP leaders have called Mukul Roy corrupt. He is involved in Sarada Chit Fund scam and CBI is probing charges...

Subrata Majumder
West Bengal’s geopolitical situation has a distinct advantage which makes it possible for it to become the gateway to East and South East Asia. Its geographical proximity to eight states of North East and four nations (Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Myanmar) opens up ample opportunities to become the grandstand for Act Asia policy. Its land proximity to North East can act as a potential axis to North East – Myanmar connectivity, which emerged as a new dimension of Indo–Pacific outreach after Myanmar attained full democracy in November 2016....

Nilanjan Banik
November 8 marked the one-year anniversary of the great Indian demonetization move. India's demonetization move should not be looked in isolation. One can find instances of demonetization elsewhere as well. In October 2014, Singapore got rid of its1000 dollar note; in 2011 Canada stopped issuing 1000 dollar notes, and in 2013 Sweden did the same with the1000-Krona note, all as a way to stop financial crimes. Economists Larry Summers and Kenneth Rogoff also suggested doing away with high denomination 100 dollar notes to prevent money laundering...

* Dr. S. Ganesan
The human interest for movement from one place-to-another has been expanding day-by-day. Like open sea, surrounding all sides of Island, the scope of tourism is also wide open in all its dimensions. The pleasure of tour and travel is enjoyed by people, for a range of one-day tour to long duration (few months) tour stay. To meet the growing demands of tourists, in both the organized sector and unorganized sectors of tourism industry, all the possible steps are being taken both government and private orgnaisations. Imparting training and...

Dr. Arun Mitra
The dense smog, which has engulfed large part of north India, including Punjab, Haryana, western UP, parts of Rajasthan and NCR Delhi is a matter of serious concern. It is a result of polluting material mixed with vapours. The pollutants mainly come from vehicular emissions, industrial effluents and smoke coming out of burning of paddy straw in the fields. With fall in atmospheric temperature these get suspended near to the ground level. Low wind speed and no rain have aggravated the problem. As a result, the air quality has dropped to...

Arun Srivastava
US President Donald Trump wants India to join his team of Japan and Australia to contain the rising China, but inconsistently he is outright opposed to protecting the interest of Indians living in America. This duality has been shocking. Trump wants India to perform the task as an ally of America. But he is not willing to help India and Indians. For him the utility of India remains restricted to pitting it against China and not more than that.   Notwithstanding his diatribes against Muslim countries, he is quite soft and caring towards...

Subrata Majumder
The success of Modinomics, or say Make in India, has been endorsed by World Bank in its recent Ease of Doing Business (EODB) series of 2017. It ramped up India’s ranking from 130 to 100 in the survey. Though it is abysmally low, the spurt in score was a significant achievement. India was the first nation which could get such a big leap within a year in the survey. But, EODB was silent on job creation. Significantly, EODB 2017 is entitled ‘Reforming to Create Jobs’. The report included measures for labour market regulations, which were not...

Arun Srivastava
While Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar introduced quota provision in the outsourced government jobs, he also strongly argued for bringing in the private sector under the ambit of the reservation policy. With this Nitish could boast of Bihar being the first state in India to have reservation in the outsourced government services. This decision of the state government would mean that now the jobs of class III and class IV outsourced to private agencies will have to be filled according to the legal provisions of reservation. But his move has...

P. Sreekumaran
Timing is of utmost importance in politics. If your sense of time fails you, it could exact a heavy political cost. The ruling CPI(M) finds itself in an extremely difficult situation on the Thomas Chandy issue due to  its failure to act in time. What makes it all the more embarrassing for the party is the fact that it had a golden chance to redeem itself, but failed to do so because of its poor sense of timing. The opportunity was provided by Transport Minister Thomas Chandy, who is facing serious allegations of land encroachment and...

Nantoo Banerjee
Jumping 30 steps in one year in the global perception parameter on ‘the ease of doing business’ by India is undoubtedly a remarkable achievement. Yet, the country has a long way to go to be recognised by investors across the world as among the most desirable places to do business. The 15th edition of the World Bank's Doing Business Report, 2018, projects the country as a substantially easier place to do business than it was a year ago.  India’s progress in this regard looks exceptional. The World Bank’s annual study rates 190 countries on the...

Dr. Arun Mitra
Health is a concern for all the people. Only a healthy person can contribute to productivity. That is why the saying, “Health is Wealth”. Lifestyle diseases have been added to the disease pattern in the last few years. New types of communicable diseases like Dengue, Chikungunya, HIV and many new types of viral infections have come up, which need serious consideration in addition to the already existing communicable diseases. As most of the healthcare in our country is in the private sector, the burden of the disease is manifold on our people....

K R Sudhaman
After the welcome move to spend Rs 6.9 lakh crore on roads and carry out a mega Rs 2.11 lakh crore recapitalisation of banks, the Narendra Modi government needed to step on the peddle to tackle farm distress in the country, which is real and shattering. Father of India's green revolution M S Swaminathan is right in saying India cannot eradicate poverty without tackling the woes of farmers, who formed 50 per cent of the population. Demonetisation had virtually crippled the farming community, which largely depended on the cash economy. That too...

Sankar Ray
US President Donald Trump’s ‘new Afghanistan policy’ has been hailed by the ruling group in Afghanistan, especially Trump’s nod to sending additional troops, apparently in keeping with the Afghan government’s perspective as its goal is to step up increased pressure on the Taliban. But the belligerent shah-en-shah of White House also pulled up Pakistan by routinely blaming the latter for its failure to wage a decisive counter-warfare against the terrorists, ideologically committed to ‘Political Islam’, although turning terrorism into a money-...