Reflex Action

K Raveendran
The BJP’s disconnect with Dalits is well-known. So, nobody can be faulted for seeing a sinister move in the I&B ministry’s advisory to media units not to use the term Dalit while referring to Scheduled Castes. The Dalit word has been posing the ruling establishment a challenge of unprecedented proportions, even threatening the chances for a second term for the Modi government. The word symbolised an emerging new identity for India’s oppressed people, seeking to catch up with an order that perpetrated centuries of exploitation and injustice...

Mark Gruenberg
Two of the Senate’s top supporters of workers, Vermont Independent Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Democrat Elizabeth Warren, have gone on the attack against corporate subsidies and irresponsibility. And though their legislation will go nowhere in the GOP-run 115th Congress, the two lawmakers are laying down markers for future legislative action to help workers. Sanders’ bill is a direct attack on corporations – with Walmart and Amazon in the lead – whose wages are so low their workers must also use federal subsidies to survive. It would...

Sankar Ray
There is no denying that Pakistan’s charismatic Prime Minister Imran Khan Niazi will leave no nerve unstrained to carve a niche to prove that he is not just another premier while it will be naïve to speculate that he plans to get out of the cocoon of rightwing populism. Nonetheless, the impression is that the kaaptan will not indulge in dynastic or nepotistic politics nor give in to the lure of corruption. Some decisions, already announced, are unprecedented. Ban on foreign trips for ministers and bureaucrats for the next three months (likely...

P. Sreekumaran
The sexual harassment complaint against P K Sasi, the CPI(M) MLA representing the Shoranur constituency, has put the party in a tight spot. What has invited people’s wrath is that the party took almost three weeks – that is the public perception although the party has denied it – to look into the complaint. Whatever the truth, it ultimately took a directive from CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury to the state CPI(M) to stir the party into action. The complainant woman, a DYFI member, had written to Yechury as her complaint to the state...

Dr. Arun Mitra
A ‘senior citizen’ means any person being a citizen of India who has attained the age of sixty years or above. Population Census 2011 revealed that there are nearly 104 million elderly persons (aged 60 years or above) in India; the number of elderly persons is expected to grow to 173 million by 2026. Growing age has several new challenges. Physical capacities come down; mental faculties too start facing a downward trend. The person is more prone to fall prey to various types of diseases. The list of the risks, including illnesses, disorders,...

B. Sivaraman
Nearly five lakh employees were stunned early this year when the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) responded to their demand of 25 percent wage increase with a counter offer of a mere 2 percent. It took a two-day strike on 30 & 31 May 2018 to push the management to come up with a revised offer of 6 percent. Even this was too low that it was summarily rejected by the employees. The IBA was dilly-dallying and the bank employees had to go on a second 2-day strike on 22 & 23 August 2018 to force the managements to return to the negotiating...

L.S. Herdenia
From the manner in which incidents of political nature are being reported from various areas of Madhya Pradesh there is every reason to apprehend that November Vidhan Sabha elections may not be entirely peaceful affair. Things are taking such a serious turn that even ministers and important leaders of BJP are not allowed to attend their public engagements. Perhaps because of security threat, security Chief Minister Shiv Raj Singh Chouhan has stopped using his “Rath” for the Ashirvad Yatra and is now using helicopter and highly secure...

Chauncey K. Robinson
History continues to be made across the United States of America as an unprecedented number of women of color, particularly Black women, are running for and winning public office. Ayanna Pressley has added her story to this game-changing moment in time, with her victory against House veteran Michael Capuano to secure the Democratic nomination to the U.S Congress in a Massachusetts district that covers much of Boston and some of its suburbs. Pressley will not face a Republican opponent in the November midterm elections, thus securing her place...

G. Srinivasan
If health is wealth, are we spending sufficiently to maintain the basic health needs of millions of our citizens in the world’s fifth biggest economy as our politicos make braggadocio with little qualms? In his Independence day speech delivered with fervent zest Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared the world’s humongous government-funded healthcare programme designed to provide insurance coverage of five lakh of rupees per family annually to benefit more than 100 million poor families in a country of one billion plus population. The...

Emile Schepers
On Saturday, September 1, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) of Brazil voted six to one that former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the presidential candidate of the Workers’ Party (Partido do Trabalho) in the October elections this year, must be barred from running because of a dubious conviction earlier for corruption and money laundering. The Workers’ Party is now appealing this decision to the country’s Supreme Court. The TSE also forbade Lula from participating directly in the electoral campaign and instructed the Workers’ Party...

Nitya Chakraborty
It will be having adjustments with the smaller parties but finally the responsibility will be with the Congress as the leader. But in the states, where the regional parties are the rulers like West Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, the regional parties naturally will not leave space to the Congress in the name of anti-BJP alliance and there the figyt6s between the regional ruling party and the Congress can take place in Lok Sabha poll, but the understanding will be to be a part of anti-BJP alliance in post poll situation. Even under...

Anjan Roy
The country’s patience is being tried by the rising price of petroleum and diesel. As the prices are scaling higher, the one question almost on every lip is: what is the government doing? Can’t the price be brought down? The rising prices are being encashed by the politicians. The all-time buffoon among them, Derek O’Brien, was heard screaming on TV discussion sets “It’s a loot, it’s a loot, it’s loot”. But he was careful about underlining the exact nature of the loot: the central government’s take by way of excise duty on petrol and diesel...

L.S. Herdenia
While Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is continuing his Ashrivad Yatra, two controversial events have hit the headlines. One relates to the supply of shoes to tribals and the other about the dispatch of over one crore letters addressed to women voters of the state. The state government had gifted shoes and chappals to tribals. It is alleged that a banned chemical has been used in theses footwears. It is learnt that Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI) has reported the use of azo, a banned chemical in the inner sole of...

Dr Arun Mitra
For the last several years dense smog engulfs large part of north India, including Punjab, Haryana, western UP, parts of Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and NCR Delhi. This happens during the months of October and November when summer has ended and winter is about to set in. During the summer season the air tends to go up in the atmosphere. But during October and November because of fall in temperature the particles do not rise, but get suspended and mix with the vapours. Source of these particles are mainly vehicular emissions, industrial...

Nitya Chakraborty
An 8 year old girl dies in Uttar Pradesh’s Mahua village after being allegedly deprived of timely medical attention after demonetisation in November 2016 as her family had only old notes and had no time for exchange. On November 10, 2016, Teerthraji, 60 died in Gorakhpur after she collapsed in front of a closed gate of a bank. Vishwanath Vartak, 73 collapsed and died on the spot after having waited in a queue at a SBI branch for more than five hours that very month. All of them belong to that 100 odd people(nearly 120 as per the latest...

Sushil Kutty
Arnab Goswami is easy to place. He is out-and out 'nationalist’. Rajdeep Sardesai is difficult to make. When he claims he’s ‘anti-national’, he could be joking, sarcastic. The ‘five’ in the eye of the storm give contradictory signals. Sudha Bhardwaj is ‘inherently good’ and just doesn’t fit the ‘assassin-profile.’ Fiery poet Varavara Rao is confirmed ‘revolutionary poet.’ Gautam Navlakha devotes his pen to the separatist. To hordes of people that makes him a slime. Lawyers Arun Ferreira and Vernon Gonsalves are allegedly true-blue ‘Maoists...

Dr. S. Ganesan Regional Director, IGNOU
As per medical sciences, the good health indicators are many and we also normally come to know those quantitative data through master health check-ups. In simple way, we can ourselves know the status of health in day-today activities.  For example, while • Not able to eat all eatable items as per our wish (food restriction) • Giving order for tea / coffee in a hotel  ( blood sugar) • Not able to eat outside food at functions / hotels (stomach upset) • Taking tablets before taking food or after taking food (health maintenance through...

Raman Swamy
Varavara Rao is 77 years old – he is a well-known Telugu poet, college principal and human rights activist - his house in Hyderabad was raided on Tuesday morning.  The reason, according to the police, is that he is suspected of plotting to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Sudha Bharadwaj is a lawyer specializing in tribal welfare cases - an engineering graduate from IIT Kanpur, she renounced American citizenship despite being born in Massachusetts and has spent the last 30 years fighting against MNC mining companies usurping adivasi...

Amulya Ganguli
The basis of the Opposition challenge to the BJP in the forthcoming State Assembly elections and next year’s general election is the formation of an alliance of regional parties. As is known in political circles, this togetherness will not be easy to achieve in view of the mercurial temperament of some of the leaders and the conflicting demands of the various parties. Only in Uttar Pradesh has a credible combine emerged comprising the Samajwadi Party, the BSP, the Congress and the Rashtriya Lok Dal. Even then, their well-wishers will keep...

B. Sivaraman
How do you rate a report released in August 2018 by an authoritative UN agency like ILO exclusively on the wage scenario in India that makes no scrutiny of the Code of Wages, 2017 that was tabled in parliament in August 2017 itself and on which the country has been debating for the past one year? And what to make of a 2018 report limiting itself only to the dated 2011–12 data and falsely blaming India for not collecting labour-related data on a regular basis? If the ILO report relies solely on 2011–12 NSSO aggregate wage data and ignores...

G. Srinivasan
The Modi government is heading to seek a renewal of mandate before long to implement its triple credo of perform, reform and transform for another five years beginning the summer of 2019, having subjected the economy to disruptive demonetization of high denomination currencies in 2016 and the perfunctory placement of the goods and services tax (GST) in July 2017 as the acme of its economic reformist credentials in its maiden tenure. Though admirers and critics of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) have their own binary view of...

Subrata Majumder
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day speech surreptitiously missed the Make in India story, while he was exuberant about all other major schemes. Make in India was supposed to be his flagship scheme, as it was projected as the main driver of job creation in the country. Observers are at a loss over the real reason for omitting the Make in India report card, when the Lok Sabha elections are nearing. According to a recent opinion poll survey, job creation topped the list for Modi’s failures. Analysts wonder why Modi is silent on Make...

Aditya Aamir
Congress is like 'Get off my lawn' since May 2014. Congress without power is like jail without parole. Jailbreak, the only option. Overpower the jail superintendent. That is Mani Shankar Aiyar and Salman Khurshid in 2015. They crossed the border to lay out the plan – 'Get off my lawn, Pakistan please help'. Last week Navjot Sidhu took the turn. He hugged Gen Qamar Bajwa, felt the electricity run up his spine, ‘Qayanat Mil Gaya!’ “Pakistani's have large hearts, Indians’ are ‘small’,” he told scribes shouting in Motherland. Imran tweeted back...

Arun Srivastava
While India grieves the demise of its beloved statesman-leader Atal Behari Vajpayee, political leaders, ruling elites and the corporate board rooms are weighing its implications for the electoral prospects of BJP and Modi in the 2019Lok Sabha polls. This is particularly in view of the perception that Modi is losing his touch and charisma. Modi, who was particularly popular with the urban middle class till a year ago, has been finding it a tough proposition to convince the people of his continued appeal. There has been a widespread feeling...

Kalyani Shankar
With the BJP leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi advocating ardently ‘One Nation, One Poll,’ there are questions in the political circles whether it is possible or feasible before the next Lok Sabha polls, and if not, why are they talking about it. Senior BJP leader Prabhat Jha says: “We also know it is difficult but we are preparing the nation slowly to accept the idea and that is why we are raising it in every forum.” Speculations about advancing the Lok Sabha polls for this purpose have been put to rest after the BJP chief Amit...