Reflex Action

Priyadarshi Dutta
The Padma Awardees List for 2017 has come as a whiff of fresh air.  The ‘unsung heroes’ have captured the imagination of the people. They include a) Meenakshi Amma (76), India’s oldest women exponent of Kalaripayttu b) Girish Bharadwaj (66), who have built over 100 suspension bridges in villages of Karnatka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh c) Bipin Ganatra (59) who is a voluntary fire fighter for the last 40 years in Kolkata d) Dr. Bhakti Yadav (91), the nonagenarian gynecologist from Indore who treats patients for free e) Daripalli Ramaiah (68) who...

Kalyani Shankar
At no time did UP witness so many stake-holders fighting for their prestige as in the 2017 Assembly polls. Stakes are indeed very high for them and their parties. It is a fight for survival for the two regional parties SP and the BSP, last ditch battle to remain relevant for the congress and a test on the BJP’s central leadership of Modi and Amit Shah. It could be the end of the road for the SP patriarch Mulayam Singh, fading away for the supremo chief Mayawati and RLD chief Ajit Singh, if they fail. Many believe that wining UP could advance...

Barun Das Gupta
Assembly elections are scheduled to be held on March 4 and 8 in Manipur. The State has now turned into a virtual battleground of the Meiteis and Kukis on the one hand and the Nagas on the other. It has also become a battlefield for the ruling Congress and the Opposition BJP which has thrown the gauntlet to Chief Minister Okhram Ibobi Singh. As the Congress prospects do not seem encouraging, many Congressmen, in true Congress tradition, are deserting what they think is a sinking ship and joining the BJP. There is another factor too which is...

S. Sudhakar Reddy
We have been celebrating January 26 as the Republic Day. The Constitution of India, which has come into existence on January 26, 1950 abolished the dominion status of India, rejected the British crown and declared India as a full-pledged Democratic Republic. Indian Constitution is one of the biggest constitutions in the World. It has become necessary to overcome the painful colonial past. The Constitution has given directive principles for the nation, with definite goals to be achieved by implementing them. It has given us democracy,...

Amulya Ganguli
Since the Narendra Modi government wears patriotism on its sleeves and recently threatened to shut down a TV channel for a day for its coverage of the terrorist attack on the Pathankot airbase, it had to take the Sri Lankan minister for mass media to call upon the media houses to stop promoting nationalism by saying that such news becomes “part of the conflict”. According to Gayantha Karunathilaka, since the “market value” for nationalism is “very high”, the “politically and commercially driven media have to be replaced by good ethical and...

G. Srinivasan
With less than a week to go before the Narendra Modi government presents its penultimate budget to Parliament on February 1 for the fiscal year 2017-18, the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley appears to be satisfied with the finer details he has dovetailed into the budget when he posed for the traditional halwa ceremony! Now that the budget is prepared and is under print with more than a hundred officials from the North bloc cooped up in the Raisina Hill, there is no point in speculation as to what would be the contours and colors of this...

Nilanjan Banik
India is perhaps the only large economy in the world which is growing at a 6.5 plus per cent, and yet this growth rate is not supported by some fundamental micro and macro-economic indicators. The million-dollar question these days is can India sustain its rapid economic growth.  Importantly, in this phase of de-globalization, and disruption post-demonetisation, it will be a miracle if India can achieve a 7 per cent growth. President Trump has already signed an executive order to pull USA out of Trans-Pacific Partnership deal. In India, common...

Harihar Swarup
What a high-pitched drama was enacted in Lucknow! One day it appeared that the Congress-SP alliance has been reached. The second day what looked a certainty took an unexpected turn and talks of an alliance broke down. Those who wrote their columns on the assumption that the talk of alliance between the two parties is finally dead woke up to find next morning in newspapers that the poll pact between Congress and SP has been reached. Strange are the ways of politics. After two days, the Congress and ruling Samajwadi Party sealed a poll alliance...

Nantoo Banerjee
The 2017-18 national budget to be presented in Parliament shortly before the process of assembly elections starts in five states, including heavyweight Uttar Pradesh, is most unlikely to be a soft or a populist one. The reasons are simple: the government can’t afford to be in a giving mode with its expenditure in the coming financial year set to go up by over Rs.2,50,000 crore to be close to the Rs. 23,00,000 crore mark. And, the government has to raise lots of additional resources to meet the income-expenditure gap. The sources of revenue are...

S. Sethuraman
India awaits the fourth budget of the Modi Government on February 1, against the backdrop of the disastrous demonetisation, growth decline, and heightened global risks and uncertainties. Fiscal 2018 is set to go through another difficult year in growth recovery toward a probable official projection of 7.5 per cent, after a three-year low in the current year. The new Trump Administration in USA, more inward-looking, could also hurt India’s growth, especially in the most productive IT sector, at a time our economy is exposed to rising oil and...

P. Sreekumaran
The Rashtiya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has firmed up its hold on the Kerala unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). That is the most significant outcome of the three-day conclave of the State BJP.  What happened at the the party meeting, held in Kottayam, illustrates the point. First is the manner in which the BJP has acted against the two leaders, former BJP state president and a popular leader from North Kerala, C K Padmanabhan, and party general secretary A N Radhakrishnan. While the BJP has sought an explanation from Padmanabhan for his ‘...

S. Sethuraman
For a full week now, Tamil Nadu is in the grip of a mass upsurge in support of a call for revocation of the Supreme Court's 2014 ban on "Jallikattu"- a traditional bull fight- a demand strongly backed by both Dravidian majors and smaller parties, including lately BJP, which is desperately seeking a strong foothold in the state. No matter the legal hurdles thrown in its way in recent years, Jallikattu, deeply ingrained in Tamil culture, has also been associated with 'Tamil pride". This indeed became the rallying cry for the current state-wide...

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...

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...

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...