Reflex Action

Subrata Majumder
Farmers’ suicides are back in the limelight and have become a major political weapon for political parties. Since 2010, farmer’s suicides have been a perennial problem for the ruling parties. Even the biggest loan waver by UPA-2 in 2008 failed to prevent suicides by farmers. Surprisingly, the rich states were more susceptible to farmers’ suicides than poor states. In other words, agricultural distress was more prevalent in the rich states than in poor states .A National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) report revealed that Maharashtra – one of the...

Amritananda Chakravorty
In the last one week, the country has been rocked by the reports of two horrific rapes, one in Kathua, Jammu & Kashmir, and the other one in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh, which indicate the considerable complicity of the State/politician machinery with the accused persons, and the impunity with which law is violated. In Kathua, Jammu, an eight year old girl, from the Bakarwal (nomadic) community was kidnapped, sedated, gangraped, tortured for over eight days in a temple and eventually killed. The crime was apparently masterminded by the Sanji Ram...

Dr. Arun Mitra
Way back in history when the knowledge of causation of illness and remedy was primitive, cause of disease was attributed to some divine powers. The same powers were looked for salvage. With the passage of time the human race tried to find the causes responsible for poor health in surroundings and thus they searched for remedy also in nature. This led to the development of various systems of medicine in different parts of the world. Modern system of medicine advanced further in a scientific manner through intensive research to find pathogenesis...

Arun Srivastava
Prime Minister Narendra Modi made two important statements on a single day, that too within a couple of hours; he accused the Congress of killing democracy by not allowing parliament to function even for a day and second, he accused the Opposition, especially the Congress of disintegrating the society by fanning communal tension. On a day the BJP government was trying to invoke the Gandhian message, curiously Modi was being projected as the new Gandhi of modern India, striving to resuscitate as the New India. When he snatched the power from...

Barun Das Gupta
Nepal Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli came to New Delhi on a three-day visit last week. The tone for the talks he had with the Indian side was set by Oli himself. Three days before he left for Delhi, Oli told the Nepali Parliament that he would not sign any agreement with India at the cost of Nepal’s pride and prestige and national interest. Also, that he would not sign any new agreements but urge the implementation of the ongoing projects. Oli emphasized that Nepal’s relations with its neighbours would be based on “mutual benefit,...

L.S. Herdenia
Whatever steps Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister takes to win over voters prove counterproductive. He decided to raise the retirement age of government servants from 60 to 62 years. He expected that this decision will add the votes of state government employees and their families to his vote bank. But this decision did not please a substantial number of government servants themselves. Besides, the government had to face the wrath of unemployed youth, whose number runs into several lakhs. The raising of the retirement age has jeopardised chances of...

Harihar Swarup
Smriti Irani has been media unfriendly since she took over the charge of the sensitive Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Her order a couple of months back was to cancel forthwith the allotment of a small room occupied by the Press Association, oldest organization of accredited journalists to the government of India, in the National Media Centre. The room to the Press Association was allotted years back when Press Information Bureau was in Shastri Bhavan. The successive I & B ministers never thought of throwing out the office...

G. Srinivasan
The changes incorporated in the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill 2017 after a Parliamentary Committee made its recommendations that were mostly endorsed by the Union Cabinet on March 28 has still left many a serving doctor community sore and sullen. In a country of continental size and vastness such as ours, the importance of keeping the populace in the pink of health so that the productivity of the economy is kept up at least half of its potentials can seldom be gainsaid. Still, down the decades and despite the touted benefits of India’...

Amulya Ganguli
The restiveness among the BJP’s former and present allies has spread from the Shiv Sena, which was the first to say that it would not align with the BJP in 2019, to Telugu Desam and Hindustani Awam Morcha’s Jitan Ram Manjhi to Nitish Kumar and perhaps even Ramvilas Paswan. While the Shiv Sena was the first to sense that Narendra Modi’s magic was fading, the Telugu Desam realized that being with the BJP was becoming more of a liability than an asset and, therefore, used the denial of a special package for Andhra Pradesh as the reason for its...

Gyan Pathak
National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRlM), launched in June 2011, was one of the flagship programmes to eradicate rural poverty in India. By the 7th year of its implementation it was to cover all the districts and blocks of the country. Only after two months the time will be over, but the government has failed to achieve the target. It succeeded only in renaming it Deendayal Antyoday Yojna (DAY) in November 2015. It shows the commitment of the ruling establishment to the sectarian view of nationalism and lack of commitment towards poverty...

John Wojcik
Five decades have passed since the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. In that city this week, thousands gathered to commemorate the civil rights icon’s life. From symposia hosted by the National Civil Rights Museum to rallies under the auspices of the new Poor People’s Campaign, Memphis was filled with activities marking the King legacy. The Mountaintop Conference, organized by AFSCME, the union that represented the striking sanitation workers King was in Memphis to support in...

Arun Srivastava
The marriage of deceit and intrigue is on the verge of cessation. Publically both the partners, JD(U) and the BJP have been claiming to enjoy a successful and happy connubial, the reality is they have ceased to be a perfect bed partner. The major partner BJP has been systematically resorting to arm twisting and giving a bad name to JD(U). The relation between the two has dipped to such a low in the wake of communal clashes in Bihar that for last two days the JD(U) general secretary KC Tyagi have been sending warnings to BJP by way of...

Arun Srivastava
The marriage of deceit and intrigue is on the verge of cessation. Publically both the partners, JD(U) and the BJP have been claiming to enjoy a successful and happy connubial, the reality is they have ceased to be a perfect bed partner. The major partner BJP has been systematically resorting to arm twisting and giving a bad name to JD(U). The relation between the two has dipped to such a low in the wake of communal clashes in Bihar that for last two days the JD(U) general secretary KC Tyagi have been sending warnings to BJP by way of...

Kalyani Shankar
No one should be surprised at the newspaper and primetime TV headlines that the current session of Parliament is heading towards a washout. This is the 12th straight session wasted so far. In fact we see almost the same headlines at the close of every Parliament session in the past two decades with the result people are getting disenchanted with the M.Ps for not doing their duties. What are the functions and duties of an elected Member of Parliament? There are four important functions: budget scrutiny, protecting the interests of the...

Sushil Kutty
Without doubt there are the twisted caste-oriented who are the scum of the earth and wouldn’t blink a jaundiced eye while committing atrocities against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. It is a centuries old practice and no doubts. Thirty years ago, realizing this, Parliament gave cover to the marginalized Dalit and Adivasi with the promulgation of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. But man, no matter whether he is Dalit, Adivasi or Manuvadi, is prone to take advantage of a law to avenge...

Barun Das Gupta
March 19 was a big day for the Indian Air Force as its heaviest transport aircraft, C-17 Globemaster, landed at Tuting Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) in Arunachal Pradesh, very close to the Chinese border. India has been upgrading the old and disused landing strips in Arunachal to ALGs for handling big aircraft as part of its larger programme of strengthening defences against China. Last year’s confrontation at Doklam ended after 72 days when China, for reasons of its own, decided not to further escalate the tension. It chose for the time being...

Sushil Kutty
All CBSE question papers should henceforth – like film Censor Board certificates, which carry no-smoking and no animals were used in the making of the film claims – carry the legend ‘This Q-paper was not leaked at any step of its making process.’ That requires a ‘foolproof’ system in place. As of now there is no such system. Or else the class XII Economics paper and class X Mathematics q-papers would not have been leaked, placing lakhs of students in the difficult situation of sitting for the two tests all over again. The fact remains that if...

Dr. Arun Mitra
Saddened and disturbed on hearing about the devastation caused by the atom bombs thrown on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Mahatma Gandhi had said "I regard the employment of the atom bomb for the wholesale destruction of men, women and children as the most diabolical use of science”. "What is the antidote? Has it antiquated non-violence?" No. On the contrary, non-violence is the only thing that is now left in the field. It is the only thing that the atom bomb cannot destroy. I did not move a muscle when I first heard that the atom bomb had wiped out...

Gyan Pathak
With the approaching general elections in 2019, the political establishment has become more vociferous in the hope of covering up their failures of performance. High sounding schemes are being launched to avert possible anti-incumbency by mesmerizing the people of India in their favour. The new Integrated Scheme for School Education just approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is such an example which is to be implemented from April 1, 2018. It is nothing but a cover-up operation of the...

Dr T Sujatha
The meat and egg of ducks are merely the major source of poultry producefor the rural people residing in various isolated Andaman Islands and in particular North &Middle Andaman where in ducks is the choice of poultry. However, their major constraint is non- availability of ducklings for farming in time. Very few hatches of ducklings are obtained through natural hatching with broody hen. Hence, need based specific programme was formulated by a team of Scientists of ICAR-CIARI comprising of Dr.T.Sujatha, Dr.A.Kundu, Dr.Jai Sunder and Dr....

Sushil Kutty
If you notice the cows have all been put to pasture, sort of. No more cow vigilante justice and beef in fridge. Instead, there is data leak and the cool stuff that can be done with smartphones: move data of the cattle-class into the folders of the ruling class. Time was when the Internet was the superhighway to freedom; the Arab Spring, and how a phased out superpower could not get away with blasting a Malaysian Airline out of Ukrainian airspace with a missile. Like Mark Zuckerberg said, “Facebook gives people the power to share and make the...

Amulya Ganguli
The Karnataka government’s decision to grant minority status to the Lingayat community is clearly intended to boost its prospects in the forthcoming Assembly elections. However, the assertion that the Lingayats constitute a religious community separate from the Hindus is yet another instance of how religion continues to play a major role in politics although secularism is supposed to be a cardinal feature of the polity. One reason why the secular concept was given such importance was as a reaction to the traumatic experience of Partition...

Mike Phipps and Liz Davies
Nearly three years since Jeremy Corbyn became Labour leader, his standing has drastically changed. His opponents in the parliamentary party are a lot quieter. The Labour Party apparatus is at last being reshaped to match the new reality. Recent polls indicate Labour has a real chance of winning a general election. Today millions of people are invested in the idea of a Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour government. That raises a new challenge — how to maintain and strengthen the unity of the diverse forces that got us this far. Trade unions, social...

Victor Grossman
After nearly six months of haggling, the three-party German coalition puck is in the goal box. The suspense is over. For the fourth time in a row the country will again be run by Angela Merkel. Not a few feathers have been ruffled. Until January 2017, stout Sigmar Gabriel was head of the Social Democratic Party (SPD). Because of the party’s disastrous popularity nosedive, he was shoved out but given the prestigious job of foreign minister as consolation. Martin Schulz succeeded him as party leader, chosen by an amazing, unanimous 100 percent...

Kalyani Shankar
Whoever thought that Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is touted as a strong leader leading an expanding BJP will face a no confidence motion after four years? When Modi rode into South Block in 2014, the BJP believed that the party and its leaders are invincible and is now enthused by the successive poll results, which enabled the BJP led NDA ruling in 21 states. So the first no confidence motion brought against the Modi government by the two regional parties TDP and YSR Congress from Andhra Pradesh this week has come as a rude shock to the...