Reflex Action

Gyan Pathak
The ambitious reform agenda under implementation since 2014 in India, if carried forward without modification, may push the country into great trouble. The country is going to be the world’s most populous country within ten years, and by 2050 even China’s population will be only around 65 per cent of the population of India. Demand for food is to rise sharply putting great pressure on agriculture and food supply of the country. This stark reality cannot be allowed to terrorized the people of the country, but it should not be allowed to veil...

Harihar Swarup
The Supreme Court is rightly concerned over the “apathy” of the Centre and the U.P. government towards preserving the Taj Mahal. It gave an ultimatum to the government--- either restore the pristine beauty of the Taj or demolish it. The apex court has been monitoring preservation of the world heritage site for 31 years and has passed a slew of orders from time to time for preservation of the monument. But the court’s efforts seem to be futile with the Taj being damaged by rising pollution level. The monument is becoming green and blue in...

Arun Srivastava
The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday but the verdict was passed at the get together of some senior BJP leaders at the residence of a national leader a couple of months ago. The BJP leaders attending the session demanded that the government water down provisions of the Prohibition law. They agreed to a common precept that the law was detrimental to their party’s interest. The decision to remove some of the most stringent provisions of the Prohibition law in the state was announced by chief minister Nitish Kumar just a day...

Nitya Chakraborty
The monsoon session of Parliament which kick-started on July 18 has already become a political battleground. The session was marked with no-trust motion resulting in a high-pitch drama involving the Prime Minister. The opposition parties determined to go ahead with the vexed labour issues resulting the the NDA government’s bid to privatise most of the public sector including banks. The Congress will spearhead the thurst to throttle the government’s anti-labour plans. There are thirteen bills listed for Parliament’s monsoon session. Apart,...

Sankar Ray
The cowardly assassination of two functionaries of the Awami National Party in Peshawar in a suicide attack just a fortnight before the national elections, including Haroon Bilour, one of the polity. The three embraced martyrdom in their struggle against terrorists and feudal-military interests that are committed against the gradual opening up of a transparent parliamentary democracy. The tragic incident that killed at least 19 and injured 65 – mostly in their twenties and one aged 12 - happened at Qissa Khwani when Bilour and others were...

John Bachtell
The Trump administration’s declaration of a trade war with China has implications for that country’s latest round of ambitious economic reforms as well as for global economic development generally. China refuses to be bullied by Trump’s imposition of $34 billion in tariffs and the threat to impose $500 billion more. China has swiftly retaliated with its own $34 billion in tariffs on U.S. goods. The purpose of tariffs is not chiefly to overcome the trade imbalance between the two countries and protect American workers. Trump’s real goal,...

S. Sethuraman
BJP's master strategist Mr Amit Shah has seemingly laid the groundwork for an effective entry for his party in Tamil Nadu into the impending electoral games, during his visit to Chennai on July 10. The immediate goal for the BJP President is to make up in the South, to some extent, for the expected losses in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, in some of Northern and Western states. Tamil Nadu assumed urgency after the Party’s debacle in Karnataka, which was earlier conceived as gateway to the south, to help the saffron party shed its Northern image....

Mark Gruenberg
Blasting his consistent record against workers’ rights to unionize and women’s rights to reproductive choice, progressive groups swung into action against President Donald Trump’s nomination of federal appellate judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court literally minutes after Trump’s nod on July 9. But not all the groups who blasted Kavanaugh promised to mobilize now. Instead, some appealed for money for the fight, without saying how they would use it to derail and defeat him. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said members would...

Kalyani Shankar
The last Monsoon session of the current Parliament is scheduled to begin from July 18 and last till August 10. Already there are speculations that this too will be a wash out session as in the past as the Parliament has not been functioning, as it should in the past two decades and more.  For instance, this year’s budget session was the least productive since 2000 according to the PRS Legislative research, a Delhi-based think tank. The entire annual budget of over 24 lakh cores was guillotined and even the Finance Bill 2018 was passed without...

Aditya Aamir
Naming a place Nala Sopara and, then, asking, “Why has Nala Sopara turned into an overflowing gutter?” defeats the purpose of the moniker. “It’s raining cats and dogs in Chembur,” says the reporter, holding on to an umbrella to keep his head dry as swift-flowing rainwater swirls past his not visible feet. Any moment he could step into a pothole and that will be a ‘stumble’ caught on TV! Sunday, a woman riding pillion on a two-wheeler lost her hold on a shoulder when the motorbike went wheel-first into a pothole. She pitched sideways into the...

G. Srinivasan
India and China do not enjoy natural bonhomie due to historic and legacy issues that range from border disputes of bygone decades to the latest crop of problems originating from the dumping of the Middle Kingdom’s cheap products into the Indian markets. Yet as the adage goes, enemy’s enemy is a friend, India and China have warmed up to espousing the common cause of hitting the rich world where it hurts their strong domestic interests. As the trade majors in the WTO such as the United States and the European Union have questioned India’s...

Kalyani Shankar
Of the three BJP ruled states going to polls at the end of the year, the party is really worried about Rajasthan. It is more so after it lost to the Congress two parliamentary and one Assembly seats recently, which had proved the anti-incumbency factor was working against Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. The BJP is desperate to retain Rajasthan and so is the Congress – which wants to return to power. The Congress and the BJP have been alternating in power in the state for the past three decades and more.  Vasundhara hails from the Gwalior...

Arun Srivastava
After Nitish Kumar walked out from the grand alliance, Rahul Gandhi, then Congress general secretary, had accused him of sacrificing his credibility and rules for power. Power makes a man lose his credibility, he had stated. Annoyed with Nitish’s shifting of loyalty, Rahul had even remarked; “I knew about this planning of BJP and JDU and it was under discussion for 3-4 months and that Nitish Kumar has forgotten all the rules and regulations of politics.” He had remarked; “Satta ke liye vyakti kuch bhi kar jaata hai, koi neeyam, credibility...

Ajay Kumar
The United States of America has left the United Nations Human Rights Council. This news came as a shock to some and as an eventuality to many. This latest decision is part of a broader foreign policy shift that is being witnessed under the Donald Trump administration in the White House. A greater disengagement by the United States when it comes to multilateral instruments. The US leaving the Paris Agreement is perhaps what set it off. The US has also been imposing protective tariffs on goods from certain countries. A protectionist policy...

K Raveendran
Astrology columns are often seen to forecast subjects of certain planets facing the risk of grave danger from fire and water, sometimes even life-threatening. It is not known if crude oil has a ruling planet of its own, but geo-political developments on the earth have been found to cause wild swings in oil prices. There seems to be something in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s horoscope that brings him luck by way of oil. One does not know if it is due to his Ghanchi caste, which has traditionally been a community engaged in selling oil, just...

Barun Das Gupta
Nepal Prime Minister K. P. Sharma Oli paid a five-day official visit to China from June 19. Before going into an analysis of that visit and its import and impact on Nepal, India and China relationship, it may be useful to take a brief look at an important development in the internal politics of Nepal in the immediate past. The two communist parties engaged in working out the modalities of their merger into one communist party ever since the last parliamentary elections in December last year ultimately concluded their unification process on...

Dr. Arun Mitra
July the 7th will always be remembered as a historical day. On this day in 2017 the world community decided to vote for complete nuclear disarmament and save the world from catastrophe that could threaten the very existence of mankind. It wasn’t an easy task. The UN General Assembly passed a Treaty Prohibiting Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) with 122 countries voting in favour of the resolution. Only one country, the Netherlands voted against while Singapore abstained. It is an irony that none of the nuclear armed countries, the USA, Russia, China,...

Arun Srivastava
For BSP supremo Mayawati the 2019 Lok Sabha election is an opportunity to consolidate her grip on the dalits and untouchables of Uttar Pradesh and resuscitate her own image as a dalit champion. Unfortunately her impulsive political actions of the past have given her a negative hue. But this time she does not intend to lend credence to the common impression about her of being a self-centred game spoiler. Notwithstanding other issues, which obfuscated the political scenario and equations in Uttar Pradesh, her hatred towards Samajwadi Party was...

Nantoo Banerjee
The constant downward journey this year of Indian Rupee compared to major world currencies -- fully or partially convertible -- should be a major cause of concern. On January 1, this year, the spot inter-bank market saw the US Dollar opening at $1 = Rs 63.8027. In just six months’ time the value of the Indian currency dropped by almost eight per cent to Rs. 68.80 for a US$. According to international currency market forecast, the Rupee to US$ exchange rate is likely expand further to $1=Rs72.78 by November, this year. That would mean almost 14...

G. Srinivasan
The central bankers’ central bank, the Basel-based Bank for International Settlements (BIS) has sounded the bugle of manifest vulnerabilities in the global financial system in particular and the world economy in general even as the near-term prospects remain ‘bright’. In its Annual Report, released at its annual general meeting (AGM) on Sunday in Switzerland, the BIS contends sans frills that the vulnerabilities are ‘worrisome’, given the more limited room for policy manoeuvre relative to pre-crisis of the Great Financial Crisis (GFC) that...

Dr Arun Mitra & Dr GS Grewal
Admission to medical colleges has been a contentious issue for quite some time. At one time medical education in our country used to be within the reach of students from ordinary families too. This was the time when medical colleges were in the state sector. Going by the information from the website of Medical Council of India, at the time of Independence, there were 20 medical colleges out which only one was in private sector. Most of the new additions were in the state sector till late eighties. But after the shift in economic policies the...

Subrata Majumder
USA President Donald Trump’s initiation of protectionism to insulate America First policy set off a global trade war, and China and India have become the first victims. Both were accused for indulging in unfair trade practices, causing to damage to American industries and employment. President Trump was severe against China on the plea that while the exporting nations treated USA unfairly and reaped the benefits of the open and large American market, these countries were reluctant to reciprocate by opening their own market on equal terms. But...

Barun Das Gupta
China is clearly outmaneuvering India in the diplomatic war to win over India’s neighbours. Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made several visits to China, apparently to keep Beijing in good humour, reduce tension between the two countries and to promote that vague thing called ‘confidence building’. The sincerity of the Prime Minister’s efforts to better Sino-Indian relations cannot be questioned. But what can be questioned is the response it has evoked from China. Let us look at the hard facts. After an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation...

Amulya Ganguli
In deciding to support Arvind Kejriwal in one of his customary skirmishes with those whom he regards as his enemy, the chief ministers of West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala may be backing the wrong horse. The sight of Mamata Banerjee, Chandrababu Naidu, H D Kumaraswamy and Pinarayi Vijayan sitting side by side in Kejriwal’s house and calling for the prime minister’s intervention in the dharna being observed by the Delhi chief minister against the Lt. Governor, Anil Baijal, may be seen as yet another example of a united...

Amritananda Chakravorty
The National Capital Territory of Delhi is not new to political spectacles or drama as they say, especially since the last three years when the AAP Government came to power with Arvind Kejriwal at the helm, but the developments of the past one week have surprised even the weary political experts. Since last one week, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, along with his Ministers, including Deputy Chief Minister, Manish Sisodia and Satyendra Jain, have been doing a ‘sit-in’ protest at the waiting room of the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, Anil Baijal...