Reflex Action

Nantoo Banerjee
It is good to notice that foreign investors — in the both primary (FDI) and secondary (FPI) markets— have renewed their interest in India. For the first time, FDI-boosted foreign exchange reserves with RBI are being used to fund India’s current account deficit. The stock market is witnessing fresh FPI raids. BSE’s 30-share sensitive index (Sensex) is hovering around 30,000. With stocks rallying to record peaks and the rupee appreciating to a 20-month high on the back of $13 billion moving into the stock and bond markets this year so far, India...

Harihar Swarup
Presidential election is due in three months; In July this year, President Pranab Mukherjee completes his five-year tenure and retires. The exercise to choose a new President has already begun but, this time; the presidential elections are going to be most difficult and toughest. The BJP which rules the centre and has absolute majority in the Lok Sabha, does not have requisite numbers in the Rajya Sabha and on its own, the BJP cannot ensure the victory of its candidate without getting the support of others. The new Rashtrapati will have to be...

Priyadarshi Dutta
The centenary of Mahatma Gandhi’s first Satyagraha in India is being marked this April. It was undertaken in the erstwhile undivided Champaran district in northern Bihar. He went there in April, 1917 on learning about the abuses suffered by the cultivators of the district, forced into growing indigo by British planters/estate owners. ‘The Champaran tenant’, informs Gandhi, ‘was bound by law to plant three out of every twenty parts of his land with indigo for his landlord’. This system was called Tinkathia. Agrarian issues rarely formed the...

L.S. Herdenia
The election campaign has come to a halt in two constituencies of Madhya Pradesh where voting will he held on April 9. The two constituencies are Ater and Bandhavgarh. In the last election Ater was won by the Congress. The Ater voters elected Satyadev Katare, who was installed as the leader of the opposition. However he died after a prolonged serious decease. The Congress has chosen to sponsor, Hemant Katare his son. The other constituency is Bandhavgarh which was represented by Gyan Singh. Gyan Singh was a member of the Shivraj Singh Chouhan...

P. Sreekumaran
The hallmark of a genuine politician is the ability to turn even adversity to account. But there are others who have an uncanny knock for courting controversies. One should have thought that it would be extremely difficult to break the record of former chief minister Oommen Chandy in creating controversies. But given the pace with which his successor, Pinarayi Vijayan is lurching from controversy to controversy, the former’s record is in real danger of being broken. The latest controversy relates to the utterly inhuman police excesses on a...

Sankar Ray
Opposition from the Baloch national parties to the   Sixth population and housing census of Pakistan that began in mid-March is problematic. Most of the Baloch political parties expressed their displeasure with the manner the census is being carried out. They apprehend that untrained officials would count the illegal Afghan immigrants living there ever since they had fled the war-ravaged hearth and home in Afghanistan. According to a rough estimate (not by Statistical survey) those immigrants number more than three million. They came pouring...

Devsagar Singh
If all goes well, the first flight of the much awaited regional connectivity scheme (RCS) of the civil aviation ministry will take off any day this month. Expectedly, it will be the PSU carrier Alliance Air, a subsidiary of Air India, which will begin the operation between Bathinda (Punjab) and Delhi for a ticket price of Rs 2500 one way. Among other routes the Alliance Air will fly include Ludhiana-Delhi, Shimla-Delhi, Agra-Jaipur, Bikaner-Delhi and Gwalior-Delhi – all business or tourist hubs with immense potential. There is no question of...

P. Sreekumaran
Whatever spin the government may put on, the conclusion inescapable is that the unceremonious exit of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau director Jacob Thomas constitutes a major setback to the Left Democratic Front (LDF) Government’s battle against corruption and nepotism. It may be mentioned that the battle against corruption was the top priority item on the LDF’s manifesto. And the exit of Jacob Thomas, a bold officer known for his commitment to the job on hand, from the post would weaken the Government’s determination to root out...

G. Srinivasan
The Trump Administration of the United States (US) is bent upon a hot pursuit of unilateralism on the trade front, refashioning its extant trade laws to “Make America First”, ignoring its post-war avowed commitment to bolster multilateralism and rule-based model for conduct of commercial engagements. Besides showing scant regard for reviving Doha Development Agenda of the World Trade Organization, it was able to make the WTO conform to its own agenda by getting Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) accepted by all members of the WTO sans much ado...

Nitya Chakraborty
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has once again strongly come out in favour of a grand alliance of opposition parties to stop the surge of the BJP evident in the saffron party’s sweeping victory in the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. Nitish has underlined the need for a mahagathbandhan on Bihar pattern to meet the challenge of the Hindutva forces in 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Nitish’s call has been immediately endorsed by the RJD president Lalu Yadav who has been consistent in his opposition to the BJP all through. Nitish has appealed to the...

Amulya Ganguli
The frequently criticized Air India deserves a round of applause for letting the Shiv Sena MP Ravindra Gaikwad and his party know that they cannot get away with outrageous behaviour all the time. When the MP used his slippers 25 times to beat an elderly Air India official – the “honorable” lawmaker apparently kept count – for failing to provide him with business class facilities in an all-economy class aircraft, he was acting in keeping with what may be called the Sena’s established code of conduct. There have been innumerable occasions when...

Nitya Chakraborty
More than 34 months after the installation of the Narendra Modi Government at the centre, the employment generation scenario in the country has turned pathetic with no signs of concrete programmes of job generation to employ the lakhs of youth who are joining the new workforce every year, fresh from schools, colleges and the technical institutes. On the other hand, the existing job opportunities are shrinking leading as a result of lay-offs and job cuts in both organized and unorganized sectors. In addition to this, the Hindutva policies of...

Kalyani Shankar
When Narendra Modi took over as Prime Minister on May 26, 2014, he surprised everyone by inviting the heads of state from the neighbouring countries for his swearing in ceremony sending a signal that he is keen on ‘neighbours first’ concept. He had also taken it forward by visiting most of the neighbouring countries and improving the neighbourhood ties. . After seven and a half years of gap, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will be visiting India from April 7 to 10. For both Hasina and Modi this will be an important visit to showcase...

Alok Deshwal
National Service Scheme (NSS) was introduced in 1969 with the primary objective of developing the personality and character of the student youth through voluntary community service. Initially it was launched in 37 Universities involving about 40,000 volunteers. However, with the passage of time and as a Pan Indian programme, the number of educational institutions covered under NSS has been increasing year after year. Currently more than 36.5 lakh volunteers are enrolled in 39,695 NSS units spread over 391 Universities/ +2 Councils, 16,278...

Nantoo Banerjee
Of late, public sector banks are being accused and abused almost daily by one government body or the other for running huge non-performing assets or bad loans although the accumulation of such large stricken loans has not taken place overnight — not certainly during the 34-month-old BJP-led government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Quizzically, the campaign is being orchestrated by the very owners of these banks, the government. On the face of it, this is unusual and also unnerving. Ministers, Reserve Bank officials, finance ministry,...

B K Chum
India is being turned into a theocratic state which the BJP’s ideological mentor RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has been ‘euphemistically’(?) describing as “Hindu Rashtra”. Signs of the ‘radical change’ have been emerging since Narendra Modi’s assumption of prime ministership three years ago. The situation took a worrisome form last month with the elevation of the extremist saffron cleric Yogi Adityanath, head of the Gorakhnath Math as Chief Minister of India’s most populous heartland state of Uttar Pradesh. The controversial Yogi has been facing...

Arun Srivastava
Prime Minister Narendra Modi envisions a new and reconfigured India after the clean sweep of the Uttar Pradesh assembly election by the BJP. Though he foresaw empowerment of dalit, poor and youth workforce as the basic components of the New India, he was quite ambiguous and did not elucidate the basic character and basis of the proposed New India. What would happen to the tenets and ethos that India has been practising and following during these years. How it would be different from the old India?  What should be the components and ideals that...

Harihar Swarup
Can Hindutva deliver development in the long run? Perhaps not. Let us examine this question in the context of BJP’s landslide victory in Uttar Pradesh. The BJP’s staggering win in UP is supposedly the result of a message of Hindutva plus economic aspirations. Hindu consolidation by the Singh on the ground and economic aspiration embodied by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the winning formula. Modi in Delhi, Yogi in Lucknow is the slogan. Three years back Modi ran a Hindutva plus development model in Gujarat for 12 years but as the Hardik...

S. Sethuraman
India has entered a penultimate fiscal year on April 1, 2017, which may largely determine the shape of things to come in 2019, as the triumphant Modi Government steps up its relentless majoritarian drives in every sphere while the country lacks an effective and credible opposition to assert civil rights and safeguard constitutional values, wherever necessary.. A feeble and divided opposition in the Rajya Sabha, led by Congress with powerful voices, and though commanding majority, has had little impact on arresting authoritarian moves of...

L.S. Herdenia
A grand show was organised at Jait, home village of chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to mark the completion of 100 days of Narmada Yatra. It was a mega show attended by politicians, bureaucrats' eminent persons and thousands of party workers. Morarji Bapu was the star attraction of the event at Jait. After Simhastha the Yatra has given another opportunity for nationwide projection of Chouhan. Narmada Yatra has aroused nationwide interest. Chouhan succeeded in involving many religious and spiritual leaders in the Yatra. They include Dalai...

Dr. K Narayana
As per news reports, the RSS chief Mohan Bhagawat has invited university teachers from all over the country in order to hold a seminar on "Parting with Colonial Ways-Imbibing Nationalism." The RSS and its off-shoot organizations had never raised a finger against British Colonialism and remained aloof from the freedom struggle. They had in fact actively collaborated with the British authorities to sabotage the struggle for freedom. None of their founders was a part of freedom struggle anytime. People of this country wonder whether in the name...

Amulya Ganguli
There was an element of subterfuge in the BJP’s selection of Yogi Adityanath as the UP chief minister. Throughout the campaign, the party maintained a deafening silence on its chief ministerial candidate. Various names did the rounds like those of Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha and others, but there was no mention of the firebrand mahant of the Gorakhnath math, credited with being the most popular BJP leader in the state. Was the party scared that an announcement of his name would frighten not only the...

Arun Srivastava
The chasm between the two partners of Mahagathbandhan has widened considerably. The difference is more of the personal nature than having the ideological or political contour. The RJD boss Lalu Yadav is not happy at the way Nitish Kuma tries to portray himself as the leader of the secular forces in India. Nitish has been quite inconsistent in his approach. While he has been trying to be cozy with the BJP, particularly Narendra Modi, he is also trying to appear as the architect of the unity of the secular forces. He does not miss an opportunity...

Mrinal K Biswas
The Teesta river water sharing will surely dominate the talks between the Bangladesh and Indian Prime Ministers at their April Delhi meet but a final decision concluding in a treaty will remain only a remote possibility. The Indian approach at this venture will be to buy time till West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is ready for such a pact. Bangladesh is impatient as a final Teesta pact strike is hanging fire far too long. At the two-nation summit Prime Minister Narendra Modi  will no doubt assure his Bangladesh counterpart Sk Hasina...

G. Srinivasan
The 2017 Finance Bill as passed by the Lower House on March 22 which was subsequently discussed and debated in the Rajya Sabha on March 29 with the Union Finance Minister responding to the concerns of members in both the houses is a unique but unsettling piece of legislation.  After its introduction on the budget day on February 1 till its passage in the Lok Sabha, members from the disparate Opposition parties were rightly agitated over the government’s move and successful passage of as many as 40 amendments as part and parcel of the Finance...