Reflex Action

S. Sethuraman
The post-Jaya era in Tamil Nadu has begun with ruling AIADMK facing a tough transition amid emerging fissures within, while a fluid situation kindles hopes for re-energised rival DMK to play its game. More ambitious seems to be BJP, inconsequential in the state, but powerful at the Centre to apply the necessary levers and shepherd AIADMK for its own political advantage. All these calculations are on when the State is going through troubled times with an unprecedented drought, crop failures mainly in paddy-growing Cauvery delta and farmer...

Nantoo Banerjee
Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi is absolutely right. Presentation of national budget by a government is a “constitutional work”.  Selection of state election dates by the Election Commission can’t disturb or disrupt the government’s annual budget presentation, authorizing its annual expenditure and collection of tax and non-tax revenues, including borrowings, to pay for the expenditure. Budget making by the government is a constitutional process. Under the constitution, budget proposals, once passed by Lok Sabha, constituted of direct...

P. Sreekumaran
On the face of it, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury did a deft balancing act while tackling the organizational problems the Kerala CPM faced in the wake of the Polit Bureau Commission report against party veteran VS Achuthanandan. That it was a consummate act of an astute politician is clear from the reaction of VS himself to the action against him. The veteran quickly went on record that he was pleased at the action. The official faction is also happy that at least some action has been taken against VS who, the PB Commission found was ‘...

Harihar Swarup
Coming assembly elections in five states from February 4 is a high stake poll, seen as a test for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policies. Voting to elect new assemblies in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh will be held over next two months. The polls are being watched to see if Modi can reap political dividend from the move to scrap 500 and 1000-rupee bills to fight black money as well as the decision to strike militant hideouts across India’s border with Pakistan. The elections are also crucial for smaller parties. The vote comes at a times when the...

Arun Srivastava
Power plant of Gujarat’s Adani group has emerged as the focal point of Adivasi anger in Jharkhand. The Government of Jharkhand wants thousands of farmers to give up their multi-crop fertile lands for a power plant that Adani Limited will set up. The plant which will sell its entire electricity produce to Bangladesh. On February 17, the state signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Adani Limited. It pledged to invest Rs 15,000 crore to set up the thermal power plant. It was with the aim to help the Adani group to get the required amount...

G. Srinivasan
That India’s export segment is afflicted with infrastructure inadequacies and the cognate cost it exacts in the export of merchandise goods where it commands competitive advantages in the overseas markets, are quite passé. But down the decades both the Centre and the States with the former markedly making strenuous efforts to capture new products and incentives to product diversification through its various export promotion schemes and its periodic Foreign Trade Policy (FTP), the results had not been commensurate with the efforts. ...

L S Herdenia
On an average, three farmers are committing suicide in Madhya Pradesh every day and the state has also the second highest deaths state wise in the country during pregnancy. With 625 deaths, MP is also fourth in student suicides I the country. What is worrying is that Madhya Pradesh records most suicides due to mental disorders - 1227 deaths. Apart, MP is second in the country for accidental deaths while Bhopal tops among megacities for crimes, rise in rapes and vehicle thefts. The latest figures on accidental deaths and suicides in India,...

Devsagar Singh
At a time when domestic airlines are becoming unhelpful in pushing forward the Government’s regional connectivity scheme (RCS), the NDA regime has found a way that is bound to create tension among the Indian carriers. The government is considering allowing operational and management control to non-airline foreign entities after they put in 100 percent FDI in a domestic airline. According to existing norms, non-airline foreign entities/ companies can put in 100 per cent FDI in an airline business in India, but the management and operational...

Through this Scheme, banks also got an opportunity to tap the saving potential of the common man. Apart from this, provision has also been made that accounts opened under this scheme are connected with mobile phones so that account holder can directly get information about transactions in their accounts. Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) has proved to be a major job creator. Empowering people by financial inclusion, and creating self-employment by increasing the availability of credit is one aspect of the scheme. This Scheme also enabled...

Nitya Chakraborty
India will be participating in the coming summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) as a full member in the middle of 2017 after the completion of the procedural full membership formalities. This new role of India offers the Modi Government big opportunities to play a dominant role in the affairs of the Eurasian region, especially focusing on the expansion of the economic and trade collaboration among the member countries.SCO had originally six members- apart from China and Russia, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan...

Purnima Sharma
Sogada, a small village of Jashpur district in Chhattisgarh, is beautifully nestled in the lap of nature. The picturesque settlement is surrounded by green hills which make the village somewhat difficult to access. Not surprisingly, this inaccessibility has added to the difficulties being faced by the villagers in this region. Ask Roshni Bai, a resident of this village who says that the nearest bank to this village is 15 kilometer far, and for this very reason, the banking services were beyond the reach of villagers. Even after 69 years of...

Barun Das Gupta
Bangladesh has acquired a new importance in India’s foreign policy in the context of China’s determined efforts at spreading its influence in India’s neighbourhood. The recent acquisition of two Chinese submarines by Bangladesh made the expected impact in South Block. How important a development it was for India is underlined by the fact that for the first time in 45 years since Bangladesh’s independence, India sent its Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to Dhaka in late November for discussion on a wide range of subject relating to defence....

B.K. Chum
Whither Punjab? The question arises in the backdrop of the unabated downslide in state’s governance and economy, which gained some momentum during 2016. With less than two months to go for 2017 assembly elections, uncertainties continue to mar Punjab politics.  The yardstick of good governance is law and order. In Punjab, it has lately been deteriorating. Home minister Sukhbir Singh Badal’s boastful claim that Punjab is among the safest states in the country has been exposed by the widespread lawlessness prevailing in the state. Print and...

Nantoo Banerjee
Government economists may disagree, the country’s GDP growth in 2016-17 may show a big drop by nearly one per cent, mainly due to the current cash shortage that has badly hit the small and medium scale industry. The year-end measures announced by the prime minister, including three to four per cent interest relief for low cost housing, full interest relief for loans for Ravi crop for 60 days and credit guarantee for small traders, followed by big lending rate cuts made by the State Bank of India and a few other nationalized banks may help...

In fact, Trump wants that Improved US-Russia relations should lead President Putin also to be more independent of China in the coming days and Trump also is looking for loosening of ties between Russia and China in the coming days to the benefit of USA. In fact, a section of the foreign ministry in India believes that Trump might be quite unconventional in his foreign policy and he can recommend phased withdrawal of US support from NATO. The new secretary of state does not highly rate the NATO-US relationship and he is of the view that Europe...

Kalyani Shankar
There are winds of change in Tamil Nadu politics with both the Dravidian parties – the AIADMK and the DMK opting for a leadership change as the old leadership is fading away. While the DMK has its second - generation leaders in place, the AIADMK has none in the aftermath of the death of Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa last month. So it is clinging to her long time companion Sasikala Natarajan in an emotional moment. Whether Sasikala could transfer that moment into a political moment is yet to be seen. Almost after five decades, the DMK...

Nitya Chakraborty
2017 can unfold as a dramatic year completely changing the existing pattern of global alliances and the relationship between the major global powers. With Donald Trump taking over the reins of US administration on January 20 after eight years of Barack Obama’s rule, the US foreign policy is sure to undergo dramatic changes calling for unconventional measures which have not been so far the hallmark of the Republican Party’s global views. The policies of the new regime so far announced by Trump indicate that Trump will certainly improve US...

Amulya Ganguli
Irrespective of how the family feud in the Samajwadi Party (SP) ends – and it is bound to be messy – one thing is clear. It is that the era of feudalism in Indian politics is coming to an end. If Narendra Modi’s assumption of power marked a shift from a party extolling family lineage to a more broad-based organization, the events in Lucknow have shown that stifling patriarchy and clannish loyalties are losing their primacy in the post-liberalization period. Since the emphasis is now on economic growth and not the exploitation of caste,...

Ashis Biswas
Researchers in West Bengal have succeeded in developing a new strain of rice capable of resisting arsenic contamination in vast areas where the groundwater has been affected by chemical poisoning. According to Agriculture department sources, scientists working on the project for over a decade have reported their findings to the central Government, which asked for certain clarifications. Responses have been sent. It is hoped that the centre will give its permission towards the promotion of the arsenic-resistance strain of rice, to be called ‘...

Ashok B Sharma
India’s exports are facing the challenges of global recession and protectionist measures in the developed world. After two consecutive years of drought, this year’s good monsoon rains came as a blessing to the farmers. Farm production revived, but the farmers could not get the advantage as the domestic prices of produces have fallen and particularly after government’s demonetization of high value currency notes the traders are reluctant to purchase perishable commodities from farmers at remunerative prices and as a result the farmers are...

Priyadarshi Dutta
The UNESCO instituted the World Philosophy Day in 2005 to be observed on the third Thursday of November. This year the day falls on November 17. What was the need for dedicating a day to a discipline believed to be divorced from reality? “Philosophical reflection is above all a call to humility, to take a step back and engage in a reasoned dialogue, to build together the solutions to challenges that are beyond our control”, says Irina Bokova, the UNESCO’s Director General. She adds “The greater the difficulties encountered the greater the need...

Devsagar Singh
Decades of turmoil and bloodshed have made Jammu and Kashmir insensitive. Why else would there be such a divide on the issue of granting domicile certificates to some 20,000 families who crossed over to India from Pakistan in the aftermath of partition in 1947? While Kashmir centric parties such as National Conference and separatist groups like Hurryat are opposing tooth and nail the state government’s decision to grant domicile certificates to these hapless people, the BJP is supporting it. Reports suggest that the situation is getting...

Sarita Brara
According to the Census 2011, there are 2.68 crores (2.21%) persons with disabilities in India, though according to some estimates, the actual number may be as high as five per cent of our population. However, there has been a paradigm shift in the approach towards the persons with disabilities (PWDs) during last some years. The government’s focus now is on rights based economic empowerment of PWDs as we observe the International Day for Persons with Disabilities on 3rd of December this year. In India the first step in moving towards rights...

S. Sethuraman
In the world’s largest democracy, the people’s concerns, even touching daily life, may hardly matter when heady governments can do anything at their will, whether or not proclaiming a war on social evils like black money and corruption. There can also be momentary assaults on constitutional rights and liberties, some of which could become permanent conveniently for the life of that majoritarian government. These grim thoughts were evoked in the bitter experience the people had to undergo in the last quarter of 2016.As much as 86 per cent of...

GARGI PARSAI
Agriculture was at the centre-stage of priority sectors for the government in 2016, upstaged only at the fag-end of the year by the demonetisation drive of the government. Significantly two consecutive droughts did not dampen the indomitable spirit of Indian farmers who, as per the fourth advance estimates for 2015-16 crop year, produced 252.22 million tonnes of foodgrains as against the output of 252.02 million tonnes last year. There was a marginal dip in the output of rice, coarse cereals, oilseeds, pulses and cotton due to monsoon...