Reflex Action

L.S. Herdenia
Farmers continue to protest in some form or the other in Madhya Pradesh, though no violence has been reported since June 10, the day on which Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan ended his 28-hour-long fast to “restore peace”. Chouhan has taken some steps to heal the wounds of the families who lost their kin in police firing at Mandsaur on July 6. He visited them and handed over cheques of Rs one crore each to all the six families. Luckily, his visit to Mandsaur and the nearby villages passed off peacefully and he did not face a hostile crowd...

Anjan Roy
Ever since, former governor Raghuram Rajan had underlined the need to clear up the air over sticky loans of India’s public sector banks, the issue has come out of the closet. Earlier, bad debts were usually swept under the carpet and not openly talked about. The banking secrecy laws were invoked and no actual references could be made. No names were disclosed of those who had taken loans and were not returning, whether wilfully or accidentally. Now that seems to be over. There is open talk about those who are defaulting. This in itself is a...

Amulya Ganguli
A few months earlier, Narendra Modi and Donald Trump would have had more in common than at present. They would have been of the same mind, for instance, in their castigation of Islamic terrorism. More than any other US president, Trump has been severely critical of the threat posed by the jehadis, which made one of his spokespersons name Pakistan as a country which might be placed on the list of those whose citizens were being forbidden to enter America. In recent times, however, much has changed in this respect. For one, the travel bans on...

Amulya Ganguli
Rajnath Singh has seen the light, but will his party and the Parivar see it? “Our party is not telling anyone what to eat, what to wear,” the Union home minister has said in an interview. The reason, he explained, is the country’s “pluralism”, adding that “we understand the reality that there is cultural diversity”. This realization, however, counters the Sangh Parivar’s concept of cultural nationalism, whose motto is “one people, one nation, one culture”. It is the drive to impose the idea of “one culture”, which, ipso facto, means Hindu...

Kalyani Shankar
Father of the Green revolution Professor MS Swaminathan tweeted last week: “If agriculture goes wrong nothing else will go right. That's why@AgriGoI should make farmers’ wellbeing centre of all programmes & policies.” The renowned agricultural expert took to the social media soon after the farmers in Mandsaur, (Madhya Pradesh) resorted to widespread arson pressing for better price and loan waiver on June 1 after which five of them were killed and several injured. The Swaminathan Committee’s report of 2006 had highlighted unfinished agenda...

G. Srinivasan
With barely a fortnight to go, the lingering question with a significant import on the efficient functioning of the domestic economy pertains to whether the much-ballyhooed Goods and Services Tax (GST) is wrapped and ready for rollout on the deadline of July 1 as devoutly desired by the Centre? This is particularly so today as still a couple of States/UTs including major producer State like Tamil Nadu and West Bengal with the latter demanding the postponement for at least a month of this important indirect tax reform that potentially unifies a...

John Wojcik
Senator Bernie Sanders told thousands gathered at Chicago on June 10 for the People’s Summit, that President Trump poses an unprecedented threat to democracy and to the very lives of 99 percent of the U.S. population. To a standing ovation, he declared a political revolution is underway to replace right wing Republicans across the nation with progressives who represent the people rather than a handful of oligarchs. “Trump campaigned as a supporter of the working class, but within hours of assuming office he put the president of Goldman Sachs...

Nantoo Banerjee
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is undoubtedly one of the most efficient performers in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet.  And, at the moment, Jaitley is also probably the most over-worked minister, implementing a total budgetary expenditure of Rs 21.47-lakh crore proposed for 2017-18. Jaitley looks after the corporate affairs ministry as well. And, since Manohar Parrikar was sent to Goa after the state election to form a BJP-led government there, the defence ministry came under Jaitley’s care. The defence function of the world’s seventh...

Harihar Swarup
If we look back in history it’s apparent that prohibition, wherever practiced, has created parallel problems while failing to achieve its intended objectives. Not only are the facts of prohibition misunderstood, it is also misapplied by the government and the judiciary in India. Our nation is now in the forefront of bans, with the government banning anything and everything that goes against its understanding of nationalism and cultural ethos, and the courts imposing bans based on judicial prudence. From alcohol to TV programmes and social...

Nitya Chakraborty
US President Donald Trump is facing his biggest political battle in less than five months of presidency after the testimony given by the fired FBI Director James B. Comey on June 8 that President Trump put pressure on him at one to one meeting to drop the investigations against his former national security adviser Michael T Flynn. He also said that Trump and White House spread lies against him and FBI. The unequivocal manner in which Comey mentioned of the US President’s continuing insistence on him to let Flynn go meaning dropping the...

Amulya Ganguli
In all these years, only one Indian scientist has received the Nobel Prize. He was Sir C.V. Raman who won it in 1930. There hasn’t been anyone else from India since then although Indians living and working abroad like Hargobind Khorana, Subramanyam Chandrashekhar and Venkataraman Ramakrishnan have won the prize. The reason is obviously the indifferent quality of the education which is imparted in Indian schools, colleges and universities. But there is probably another explanation. It is the absence of what is called the “scientific temper”, a...

Arun Srivastava
Mocked and derided from the beginning of his career as the leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn has transcended expectations. He has achieved the unexpected. The individual who began his campaign to be Labour leader as a 100-1 outsider, and was systematically despised and derided as unelectable, not only increased the number of Labour seats, a prospect seen by many as unthinkable when the election was called on 18 April, but even made the powerful prime minister, May to bite the dust. Jeremy may not have achieved the unthinkable, to...

K R Sudhaman
The negotiations on the much-touted India-European Free Trade Agreement had reached a dead end in 2013 after hard bargaining by both sides on some of the contentious issues. The resurrection of the stalled FTA talks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent visit to Europe has raised new hopes to push globalisation especially when more advanced nations like USA were inclined toward protectionism triggered by global recession and mounting unemployment. Modi's visit to Germany and talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel have given a boost...

L.S. Herdenia
Since its formation in 1956, Madhya Pradesh has never witnessed violence at such a scale. Over the last seven days, dozens of trucks, buses, cars and other vehicles, petrol pumps, shops and factories have been set ablaze, causing loss to the tune of tens of crores of rupees. Six farmers have been killed in police firing and more than 50 policemen injured. Lakhs of rupees worth milk, vegetables, fruits and eggs have been dumped on the roads and anger and resentment against the government seem to be pervading the air. The magnitude, the...

Arun Srivastava
With India turning towards America during the last 15 years and virtually becoming its ally, the nature of its relations with Russia has become suspect. Uncertainty loomed over India’s future relations with Russia. But the International Economic Forum summit at St. Petersburg provided a new thrust, dimension and dynamics to India-Russia relations. India and Russia marked 70 years of diplomatic relations with a successful summit, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin reaffirmed their "trust-based" special...

The survey mentions that UBI can replace several subsidy-based social welfare schemes which idea is not to the liking of social scientists like Jean Dreze. Most of all the current large number of beneficiaries unjustly pass the eligibility marks because of bureaucratic inefficiency and corrupt practices. The gigantic Public Distribution System (PDS), which subsidizes food for poor households, is just an example. The government estimates that 36 per cent of subsidies never make it to any household and another 36 per cent finds way to non-poor...

Mrinal K. Biswas
The idea of universal basic income has dawned on the country’s horizon. An opportunity has opened up to apply a measure of UBI solely for the adult women to cast aside the gender curse in addition to bestowing  upon them a sense of dignity, a real feeling of equality, an autonomy all together prodding the society towards poverty alleviation. With this singular social security measure a female child will no longer remain a liability to the family but may be considered as an asset like that of her baby brother. The age-old idea of uniform basic...

K Raveendran
The diplomatic crisis that engulfed the Arab world last week, with Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and a few other Saudi minions severing diplomatic ties as well as land and air connectivity with Qatar, is the culmination of several proxy wars  being fought together, although its abruptness may have surprised everyone, including the Qataris. At the outset, it is a proxy war between Trump’s United States and President Rouhani’s Iran. It is no coincidence that the concerted punitive action led by Saudi Arabia, which considers itself as the...

P. Sreekumaran
He came He saw. But he failed to conquer. That broadly sums up the much-hyped-up three-day mission of BJP president Amit Shah to Kerala. In fact, it was a rude reality check for the BJP president. Shah realised, much to his chagrin that his polarize-the-people-on-religious-lines tactics, which enabled him to conquer states like Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, simply won’t work in the southernmost secular bastion called Kerala. No wonder, Shah returned a frustrated and angry man, his mission having come a cropper. Not surprisingly, the BJP...

Nitya Chakraborty
India and Pakistan will be attending the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit on June 8 and 9 at Astana in Kazakhstan for the first time as full members. This will give an opportunity to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to meet his counterpart of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif after a gap of one and half year and it is in the interests of both the countries that they hold serious political discussions at this summit to defuse the tensions in the region. This SCO meeting is crucial for Modi as he will be meeting the Chinese President...

Nitya Chakraborty
India and Pakistan will be attending the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit on June 8 and 9 at Astana in Kazakhstan for the first time as full members. This will give an opportunity to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to meet his counterpart of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif after a gap of one and half year and it is in the interests of both the countries that they hold serious political discussions at this summit to defuse the tensions in the region. This SCO meeting is crucial for Modi as he will be meeting the Chinese President...

Nitya Chakraborty
India and Pakistan will be attending the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit on June 8 and 9 at Astana in Kazakhstan for the first time as full members. This will give an opportunity to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to meet his counterpart of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif after a gap of one and half year and it is in the interests of both the countries that they hold serious political discussions at this summit to defuse the tensions in the region. This SCO meeting is crucial for Modi as he will be meeting the Chinese President...

Nantoo Banerjee
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s four-nation Europe tour that ended on June 3 couldn’t have possibly been better timed. A series of global events — from deadly terrorist attacks in the UK and Afghanistan and President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement — coinciding with the prime minister’s diplomatic mission only strengthened his resolve seeking stronger bi-lateral and multilateral cooperation on security, economy and environment protection. Almost toeing Modi’s meeting with German Chancellor...

Kalyani Shankar
Just before the elections in 2004, I interviewed the DMK chief M Karunanidhi and asked him why he was becoming a part of the UPA. He paused for a minute and then explained that in his opinion there was space for the Sonia Gandhi-led UPA to emerge as an alternative. He could read the political situation so well and the UPA came to power in 2004 and also returned in 2009.  Has the time come for another opposition unity move? Karunanidhi has been part of several coalition governments including the National Front, United Front, National...

Harihar Swarup
Indian Muslims know their future lies in jamooriyat—democracy. “No one can change the Indian Constitution. And, till then we are safe”, they say. Even as alienation constitutes one element of the story of Muslims in contemporary India, political introspection constitutes another. They are thinking hard about political choices made in the past, and the political choices they ought to make in the future. All options are on the table. Four years ago, Manzar Islam was teaching social science at the Azad Academy in Bihar. During a conversation...