Reflex Action

G. Srinivasan
Even as the NDA government is being pilloried for generating growth sans job for legions of job-seekers of both formal and informal sectors, the employment situation as it exists in the country even in organized and new activities that cover the gig economy extensively using technology, is quite unenviable. It is not as if the known problems like demonetisation of high denominational notes on November 8, 2016 that played havoc with the informal sectors pushing many a wage earner to impoverishment but also cognate ones like the advent of the...

i. Vodafone’s appeal against fixation of inteconnection usage charges dismissed: A Division Bench of the Delhi High Court has held that the consultation process adopted by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) for fixing interconnection usage charges (IUCs) between cellular and fixed line operators suffered from no infirmity. IUCs are charges paid by operators of telecommunication services on whom the call originates to operators at whose end the call terminates. Vodafone had approached the Court after it was denied the cost models used...

Kalyani Shankar
Two Tamil superstars – Rajinikant and Kamal Haasan are all set to enter politics. There have been intense speculations about their entry since the AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa’s death in December last although Rajinikant has been keeping his fans under suspense for almost two decades. The question is whether they will succeed. While the ruling AIADMK is battling to sort out its internal problems with different factions pulling in different directions, the entry of two more players might add to the confusion. In Tamil Nadu, there has always...

In what was considered a test case for the amendments brought to the rape law after the Nirbhaya gang rape in 2013, Mahmood Farooqui has been acquitted by the Delhi High Court on appeal of charges of raping a US research scholar. The judgement has attracted sharp criticism from a number of quarters, most importantly womens’ groups, on many counts, including the fact that the court disbelieved the rape survivor and went on to hold that a “feeble no” could, in fact, mean “yes”. Farooqui had been convicted of rape by the trial court under Sec...

Arun Srivastava
With expansion of the sakhas losing momentum in recent months, the RSS is worried about the future of its Hindutva agenda. After the Narendra Modi government coming to power the RSS sakhas have mushroomed and a large number of individuals got enrolled as members. But for the past one year stagnancy has crept in. Even some of the sakhas have been disbanded as the turnout at the congregations has been poor. The Sangh bosses nurse the feeling that this was a manifestation of Modi losing charm and his government shedding sheen. For the RSS this...

K. Raveendran
Berkeley is easily Rahul Gandhi’s best performance so far. The Congress vice president has come a long way since his first interview with Arnab Goswami for his former Times Now channel, which put the social media on fire accusing the interviewer of being a paedophile for asking tormenting questions, and the Bangalore University address where the students nearly heckled him for his unacceptable observations. At the University of California event, though he has been criticised for making statements that sounded uncharitable to India as a nation...

K R Sudhaman
Critical to any business is stability especially in prices to enable easy planning and execution. When there is volatility in the rupee exchange rate, exporters or importers usually demand stability in exchange rate even if there is sharp depreciation. It is no different when it comes to oil prices in the country as volatile prices hurt not only industry but also agriculture as every activity is dependent on oil. The daily revision of petrol and diesel prices is certainly disruptive to the economy and the worst aspect is that the prices have...

S. Sethuraman
It is now official - the call given by RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat for amending the Indian Constitution to make it reflect "Indian" values. But Mr Bhagwat leaves no one in doubt that Hinduism being "the only true religion" in the world, our constitution and legal system should be aligned to its (Hindu) ethos, whatever it could mean for secularism or inclusiveness. In short, a "Hindu Rashtra", which RSS gloated to be within reach when BJP swept the 2014 Lok Sabha poll and took over the Central Government. Be it said to the credit of RSS Chief...

Subrata Majumder
After winning the bullet train battle in Indonesia, China has become suspicious of Japan in terms of the development of African economy. It suspects that the real aim of Indo-Japan joint partnership for Asia-Africa –Growth Corridor (AAGC) initiative to be an attempt for disruption of the Chinese Belt & Road initiative (B&R). Neither Japan nor India is a member of B&T. According to Chinese daily Global Times, “the two countries are trying to counterbalance the Belt & Road initiative with the AAGC plan”. During the visit of the...

Amulya Ganguli
The ghoulish glee expressed in the celebratory tweets put out by Hindu “patriots” over the journalist Gauri Lankesh’s murder in Bengaluru, underlines the insane hatred against what a saffronite calls “Leftist, Naxal sympathizer, anti-establishment and anti-Hindu” people. Although assassination of political adversaries is not the monopoly of the Hindu Right, it is doubtful if the killers identified with, say, the Maoists or the CPI(M) or any other party would have gloated over their “achievement” as the saffron lobby has done, although there...

L.S. Herdenia
All India Muslim Personal Board after its two-day meet here seems to have chosen the policy of no-confrontation with the government or judiciary on the issue of triple talaq. Reiterating its well-known stand of no interference in matters of Shariah, the Board gave a call for reform to end the practice of instant triple talaq. The Board adopted a novel method to refute the Supreme Court's claim that the majority of Muslim women are against triple talaq. It organised an exclusive meet of Muslim women in an open maiden where several women...

Nitya Chakraborty
One year has passed since Brazil’s first woman President Dilma Rousseff of the Brazilian Workers Party(PT) was removed from office by an unconstitutional coup by the right wing parties  with the  encouragement of the corporate media and the US  business interests .During this period, the new president  Michel Temer who is known as one of the most corrupt politicians, has made all  efforts to undo all the pro-people measures introduced by the left wing government under Rousseff and earlier by Lula de Silva during his  two terms as President,...

Sankar Ray
Nuclear power financing is embroiled in a global bankruptcy with top two, Toshiba-Westinghouse, US subsidiary of Toshiba of Japan and its French equivalent, the state-owned AREVA facing financial debacle. Toshiba Westinghouse, afflicted with   technical problems, time and massive cost overruns at construction projects V.C. Summer and Vogtle in the USA, filed for bankruptcy protection of its American subsidiary. AREVA went technically bankrupt as a sequel to a cumulative six-year loss of US$12.3 billion. The French government came out with a...

K. Raveendran
In a strange coincidence, a report of the Reserve Bank of India published on August 24, the day the Supreme Court delivered its historic judgment upholding the right to privacy as fundamental, shares almost identical views on privacy and the use of personal data by financial institutions. In its Report of Household Finance Committee, the RBI observed that technological solutions to household finance problems often rely on households sharing personal data with financial product providers and this raises obvious issues of privacy. “While this...

The Supreme Court on September4 has stayed the insolvency proceedings against real estate firm, Jaypee Infratech, going on at the Allahabad National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), initiated by the IDBI Bank for a default of a loan of Rs. 526 Cr. Thousands of homebuyers have not yet received possession of their flats booked with the company. The bench has also sought the replies of Reserve Bank of India and others on a PIL filed alleging that they have not received the flats, and the insolvency proceedings initiated against the company will...

Arun Srivastava
Infrastructural projects are integral parts of transformative politics. No doubt the roads are essential projects for the growth and development of the society and the country, but at the base the roads are the mechanism to reach out to the aggrieved population. Roads are generally perceived as the initiative to bring disconnected places together. A look at the development map of countries would point to the fact that the governments have paid attention to construction of roads only when the people of the areas have been up in arms. The...

Harihar Swarup
It is a mark of strength in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s functioning that nothing ever gets leaked unless deliberately done. This is amply reflected in recent expansion of the Union Council of Ministers. For days before the expansion and reshuffle, the TV channels and news papers ran extensively speculative stories of what is going to happen but almost all of them went wrong. With one possible exception (the inclusion of former Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh), nearly every prediction went off the mark. Even after new ministers...

Nitya Chakraborty
India is passing through treacherous times. There is no Dickensian dual scenario-it is one way- it is the worst of times. Indian democracy is at peril. The voice of dissent is being throttled. The ruling establishment is encouraging the most heinous type of abuses and abetment to violence in social media.; Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is considered as the darling of the online netizens, has found no time to send any condolence message on the brutal murder of  one of the most respected journalists in the country Gouri Lankesh. Rather, he is...

Dr. Arun Mitra
The National Health Policy 2017 document commits itself to culturally appropriate community centered solutions to meet the health needs of the ageing community in addition to compliance with constitutional obligations as per the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007. This policy recognizes the growing need for palliative and rehabilitative care for all geriatric illnesses and advocates the continuity of care across all levels. The question, however, is how all this is going to be met with. Social security schemes...

Arun Srivastava
Nearly 80 officials of Khunti administration, including SP Ashwini Kumar Sinha, were held hostage for 12 hours by tribal villagers 60km from Ranchi on August 25 in protest against a move to amend the Tenancy Act and give their arable lands to Adanis.  Though it had been announced earlier that the law will not be amended, the government came out with a new land acquisition bill which made the tribals suspicious, leading too the protest. The villagers dug trenches and put up barricades to trap the officials. The incident underlined the...

Emile Schepers
On Friday, August 25, President Trump announced the imposition of tough new sanctions on the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, as punishment for the establishment of a new National Constituent Assembly in that country. But the Constituent Assembly is not taking Trump’s latest attacks lying down, but rather is forging ahead with a full program of reforms on the heels of military threats against the South American country. Threats against Venezuela by the United States are not new. President Obama had already declared Venezuela to be an unusual...

Amulya Ganguli
None of the attempts by the BJP’s opponents to pose a serious challenge to the ruling party at the Centre, including Lalu Prasad Yadav’s “BhaJaPa bhagao, desh bachao” (oust BJP, save the country) rally in Patna, is likely to give the BJP sleepless nights. It isn’t only that the Opposition parties lack a leader with a pan-India appeal; one of their main disadvantages is that they are hobbled by the taint of corruption. The Congress, for instance, is yet to get over the calumny of the scams which cut the ground from under its feet in 2014. And...

Arun Srivastava
A fortnight back I was in Jaffna, the main city in the north dominated by Tamils. Though the city and its people are yet to come out of the trauma of the 30- year old ethnic war, the compulsion of survival has made them catch up with the time. Shop owners or small traders felt that while the financial condition of the people of the city is yet to make a substantial improvement, the area has undoubtedly attained a comparatively good economic growth rate. They shared the perception that soon the area will witness comfortable growth as the people...

P. Sreekumaran
The induction of Alphons Kannanthanam into the Narendra Modi Cabinet betrays the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) desperate attempt to expand its vote base by wooing the Christian community. But the move is seen unlikely to yield the desired results as the ground reality is entirely different. Unless there is a radical change in the attitude of the BJP, RSS and its fringe organizations, the Christians do not seem to be in a  mood to reach out to the Modi dispensation at the Centre. In other words, the BJP will have to go beyond tokenism to...

The Delhi High Court is currently considering a batch of petitions challenging the validity of the exemption of marital rape in the rape law of India, i.e., marital rape is not a crime, as per Section 375, Indian Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC’). The writ petitions have been filed by the RIT foundation and the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA). A marital rape victim has also joined as an intervener. The petitionschallenge the exception provided to marital rape in the IPC on the ground that the exclusion of marital rape violates the...