Reflex Action

Nantoo Banerjee
Official data are like audited corporate financial accounts that hide more than they reveal. Just as some of the latest top level governments statements that claims 80 percent of the mobile handsets are now manufactured in India and the country “was able to save around Rs. three trillion in cell phone import bills during the last four years”. They reveal, at best, only one side of the story. The real story is that the so-called high domestic production led to much higher telecom imports, mostly components, during this period. Records show that...

Aditya Aamir
The media and political build-up was cut short abruptly. Almost laconically, CJI Ranjan Gogoi read out the order. The matter will be listed in January to decide which court and when this matter will be heard. It can be heard in January or February or May whatever. Which means, what? It means a decision on Ram Mandir will overshoot general elections 2019 by when the next government will be in place, maybe led by Modi, maybe not! The Congress – especially Congressman Kapil Sibal who had sought exactly such a directive – must be loving it, but...

Harihar Swarup
Sadly, the Central Bureau of Investigation, India’s premier investigative agency, has been described as “Comical Bureau”, “Bureau of Intrigues” and headlines in newspapers, reflecting internal tussle inside the CBI, screamed “CBI vs CBI”. Why this prestigious agency has come to such a pass? Possibly, its misuse by the political parties—Congress or the BJP— when in power, to meet their political ends. The agency has been losing its credibility. The latest is — ostensibly, in a bid to end the war between two top officers of the CBI, the...

Arun Srivastava
The Lok Sabha elections for 2019 in Bihar promise to be a significant political battle between the backward and upper castes. There is simmering discontent in all the caste groups, irrespective of their class character and economic profile that the coalition governments have failed to improve their conditions. While the backward castes and dalits with leaders like Nitish Kumar, Sushil Modi, Ram Vilas Paswan etc feel that all the benefits have been conned by the upper caste people, who, however, the opposite to be true. After the upper caste...

Ian Goodrum
“The Opportunity Costs of Socialism,” published on Tuesday by the White House’s Council of Economic Advisors, attempts to smear socialism—worker ownership of production—as a bankrupt ideology. The 72-page paper uses the 200th anniversary of socialist thinker Karl Marx’s birth as a jumping-off point for condemning everyone who doesn’t pray at the altar of the free market. Not even capitalist social democracies like Norway and Sweden are spared from blistering attacks. The paper itself is nothing new. It’s a regurgitation of old narratives...

K. Raveendran
We know how the world views Taj Mahal as a beautiful monument of love. We also know that the world considers Bangalore and Hyderabad as Indian versions of Silicon Valley. But we never knew that there is a world famous stretch of land near an airstrip in Nagpur and it happens to be owned by Anil Ambani. The discovery has been made possible by the Rafale deal with Dassault Aviation. In a reported conversation with CNBC-TV18 in Paris, Dassault CEO Eric Trappier says his company picked Reliance as its partner because the Anil Ambani-led company...

B. Sivaraman
Apprentices, badlis, casuals, probationers and temps—one thing common to all these five categories of workers, besides contract labourers, is their precarious existence as workers. Not only they have no job security, they are also invariably underpaid, often doing the same work as regular workers usually at a fraction of their earnings. In fact, apprentices are not even officially considered as workers. Textile industry now has policy sanction to employ badlis for fixed-term contracts sans all other statutory entitlements. The Modi government...

Sonali Huria
While the Rafale fighter jet deal will entail huge financial losses for the country, the agreement for the world’s largest nuclear power project at Jaitapur in an ecologically diverse and fragile region like Konkan, along with attendant concerns of the safety of EPRs, an unsteady French nuclear industry and its inexperienced Indian counterparts, will pose serious challenges to the environment, biodiversity, health and livelihoods of lakhs of people in and around the region. While the Rafale deal has already seriously undermined the...

Dr.S.Ganesan
The entire Andaman and Nicobar Islands population has already seen the significant role(s) played by Social Workers and NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) during post-Tsunami operations.  More than hundreds of NGOs from various part of world have visited here and established their camp office for community work for the affected population of ANI.  We all know that the problems of the individuals who stay in temporary and short stay homes are diverse in nature.  For the migrant and disaster affected, the needs of providing immediate basic ...

Arun Srivastava
Lynching and urban naxals have the same ideological background. While lynching was resorted to by the RSS and its frontal organisations to terrorise Muslims, Dalits and other minorities, traditionally anti-saffron and secular forces, the phrase urban naxal is the latest weapon designed by the RSS to frighten the progressive voices. Urban naxals have proved to be a major stimulating force to counter communal forces. In a backdrop where the urban middle class has been lured by the tricks of RSS and BJP to act like, a vanguard to usher India...

Nitya Chakraborty
Come December. It can be the cruellest month for the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party BJP. If the present trends continue and the Congress and the other opposition parties can meet the electoral challenge of the assembly polls in the five states-Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram and Telangana, the results on December 11 might be devastating for the saffron forces. If the BJP loses MP, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh, the ant- BJP forces will be getting such a momentum that the most powerful government of the BJP at the...

B. Sivaraman
If the ability of the state to protect its citizens—be they religious minorities or migrant workers from other provinces—from mass atrocities is the test for democracy, then Gujarat has failed the test again and again. In 2002, it was a failed communal state. In 2018, it has again proved itself to be a failed chauvinist and racist state. On 28 September 2018, a 14-month old girl child gets raped. A heinous act, no doubt. But what followed was no less heinous. The police arrest the alleged culprit, a migrant worker from Bihar. For about a week...

K R Sudhaman
India, which imports 80 per cent of its oil in requirement, has at last woken up to the reality and embarked upon a plan to attract investment of up to $1 trillion in the oil sector to bring about much needed energy security. This includes investment opportunities of $300 billion in the hydrocarbon sector over the next 10 years to keep pace with India’s energy demand. Indicating this, petroleum minister Dhramendra Pradhan said at the recently held India Energy Forum organized by CERA Week that an exchange platform is also being set up to have...

B. Sivaraman
First it started as a trickle of bold expose by a few. Then it opened up the floodgates of years of pent-up frustration and anger of numerous women. The ‘Me Too’ phenomenon then literally turned into a deluge. The true colours of many big guys—from Bollywood celebrities to top-notch media barons, from reputed academic dons to NGO bosses—got exposed. Their credibility is lost beyond salvage. Some technical and legalistic objections were raised, of course: “Why not then and why now?”, “Why you didn’t follow the due process of law and file a...

Arun Srivastava
Barely a month after JD(U) chief Nitish Kumar announced that an honourable agreement had been reached with BJP, some senior JD(U) leaders have expressed unhappiness with the BJP's proposed formula for seat sharing in Bihar for the 2019 general elections. The party resolved at a meeting of the senior leaders recently held in Delhi that it would be the major partner of NDA in Bihar and Nitish Kumar will be its face in the state. With the office of the prime minister out of reach, Nitish and his aides are now concentrating on Bihar. Nitish had...

Kalyani Shankar
Telangana, the country’s youngest state, will face elections on December 7 for the second time since its birth in 2014. Chief Minister Chandrashekhar Rao took a big risk by advancing the polls by eight months. It was also his bravado to announce the list of 105 candidates on the same day even before the Election Commission announced the polling date. Will he succeed in his gamble? Though it was the Congress government at the Centre, which agreed for bifurcation of the state in 2014, the TRS came to power riding on the Telengana wave. Contrary...

Amulya Ganguli
Since offence is the best form of defence, it is not surprising that Union minister of state for external affairs, M J Akbar, lost no time on his return to India from a foreign tour to launch defamation proceedings against one of those who had accused him of sexual misconduct when he was an editor. The Union minister’s response is likely to become the standard riposte of some of the others who have faced similar charges from the followers of the #MeToo movement by women directed against lascivious men. This is just as well, for the courts...

Arun Srivastava
During the 2014 general election campaign in his Varanasi constituency Narendra Modi had said; “Ganga Maa has called me to serve her”. But after becoming prime minister, he conveniently forgot his words and promises. A true son of Ganga, Prof G D Agarwal, lost his life after 111 days hunger strike for protection of Ganga, but it failed to move his conscience. After Agrawal’s death the local people came to realise his sacrifice. They reminisced Modi’s words during the campaign and started searching her son; but he was not to be seen anywhere...

Ashok B Sharma
Tourism has become a mantra for Uzbekistan to bolster its economy. There is a steady rise in the contribution of travel and tourism to the Uzbek economy. With a number of sites in the country designated by UNESCO as heritage sites, the Central Asian Republic has drawn up a perspective plan to market tourism in a big way on a global scale. As most of the UNESCO heritage sites belong to the Islamic period, the country is planning to expand its basket of tourism products by including sites of pre-Islamic period, namely ancient Buddhist sites. It...

Arun Srivastava
In a late-night encounter in Salarpur diara (a small island) on the Ganga River on the outskirts of Khagaria, a young police officer Ashish Kumar was shot dead by dreaded gangster Dinesh Muni while Nitish Kumar was hauling up his police officials at a seminar for their abject neglect of citizens’ lives. The remote Salarpur diara is known to be the hiding place for notorious criminals. Almost all the top criminals of the region operate from the reverine belt. Last year Muni had survived a bullet injury after he was shot during an encounter...

Nantoo Banerjee
The US trade and economic sanction against Iran and Russia opens an opportunity for the country to explore the possibility of trading in Rupee not only with these two countries, but also with other likeminded nations, including Venezuela, Indonesia and, even, China. India is among the world’s top 10 importing countries. Cumulative value of imports for the period April-March 2017-18 was US$ 459.67 Billion (Rs. 2962897.70 crore). India is the world’s third largest oil importer, after China and the US. India is also the world’s third largest coal...

Nitya Chakraborty
The Supreme Court’s Directive to the Modi Government on October 10 asking it to provide the details of the decision making process on the Rafale deal to the Court in a sealed cover by October 29, has rattled the Modi Government. The Prime Minister’s Office which in fact spearheaded the revised agreement that was announced by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 10, 2015 in Paris is in jitters as the entire process of decision making is marked by violation of the standard procedures of defence procurement. The Supreme Court has set the...

Harihar Swarup
The coming elections in the five states—Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Mizoram — have been rightly described as the “semifinal” to 2019 Lok Sabha polls. With the announcement of these elections, India has well and truly entered the poll season. Doubtless, the stakes are higher for the Congress but the popularity of the BJP too will be put to test in the coming assembly elections of the five states. The Congress hopes to rejuvenate the party by romping home in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh where it is pitted...

L S Herdenia
Congress has received a big boost with the Sadhus and Sants of the state assuring the party of support. A delegation led by Mahendragiri Maharaj Dandewale and Mahant Ramdas paid a visit to PCC chief Kamal Nath at his residence on the day Congress announced the launch of its poll campaign for Madhya Pradesh. They blessed the former Union minister, who is leading the Congress into 2018 battlefield. They also promised Nath that Sadhus and Sants will not only participate in the Congress’ ongoing Ram Van Gaman Path Yatra from Chitrakoot to...

Arun Srivastava
In Nitish Kumar’s Bihar it is the rule of criminals and goons that prevails, with the lives of the common people, especially women, who are supposed to be his trusted vote bank, being decided by them: certainly not sushasan as claimed by the chief minister and his supporters. Leaving aside the first five years of his NDA government, Nitish has not succeeded in providing a good governance in the state, despite tall claims of Bihar having the most fair and good governance. But the fact remains that the state suffered administrative epilepsy and...