Reflex Action

Kalyani Shankar
Just before the elections in 2004, I interviewed the DMK chief M Karunanidhi and asked him why he was becoming a part of the UPA. He paused for a minute and then explained that in his opinion there was space for the Sonia Gandhi-led UPA to emerge as an alternative. He could read the political situation so well and the UPA came to power in 2004 and also returned in 2009.  Has the time come for another opposition unity move? Karunanidhi has been part of several coalition governments including the National Front, United Front, National...

Harihar Swarup
Indian Muslims know their future lies in jamooriyat—democracy. “No one can change the Indian Constitution. And, till then we are safe”, they say. Even as alienation constitutes one element of the story of Muslims in contemporary India, political introspection constitutes another. They are thinking hard about political choices made in the past, and the political choices they ought to make in the future. All options are on the table. Four years ago, Manzar Islam was teaching social science at the Azad Academy in Bihar. During a conversation...

S. Sudhakar Reddy
Kashmir is again in the news. In fact, it always is. Mainstream media generally provides the official version, except in rare cases. Kashmir is really burning. The situation in Kashmir dramatically changed after the killing of Burhan Wani, the local Kashmiri youth, who had allegedly turned a militant. The second commander, a local Kashmir youth appointed in place of Burhan Wani, has also been killed and several thousand attended his funeral. Earlier militants or armed terrorists used to come from Pakistan as intruders but it is a matter of...

Arun Srivastava
Nitish Kumar, who stayed away from Congress president Sonia Gandhi's May 26 luncheon for Opposition leaders, was unconvincing in his clarification after his lunch with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, hosted in honour of visiting Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth, that no political meaning should be read into a meeting between a chief minister and the Prime Minister. His aides and colleagues might endorse what he said, but people who have been witness to his political intrigues emphasise that he was in fact preparing the ground for...

Arun Srivastava
The demonetisation might have boosted the credibility and stature of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and his NDA government in the eyes of the common Indian, particularly the urban middle class but it has miserably failed do enhance the economic standing of the country in the global arena. While pushing demonetisation Modi and his finance minister, Arun Jaitley had shown the green pasture to the people with a firm assurance that India was growing with a faster speed and would take over even China. They had fed the information that the GDP would...

Pralay Mondal
Till a few years ago, loan processing was more subjective in nature and inconsistent. However, with digitization, we are in a whole new world of instant credit and insta-loans. Credit processes coupled with technological initiatives has transformed the entire customer experience ecosystem with institutions relying more on credit reports generated by Credit Information Companies (CIC). These CICs are regulated independent agencies which collate and aggregate customer data.  At present, there are four Credit Rating Agencies which provide ratings...

G. Srinivasan
The irony of the United States President Donald Trump announcement during a White House Rose Garden briefing on Thursday that his country would exit from the historic Paris climate agreement designed to reducing carbon emissions to slow climate change is not lost on the rest of the universe. The world has been fully alive to this sort of  a bull in a China shop behaviour ever since Trump assumed office as he began systematically questioning the superpower  voluntarily shouldering responsibility for universal common good when the rest of the...

Romen Dutta
Patients of chronic kidney disease undergoing haemodialysis are at high risk of acquiring Hepatitis C infection because of paucity of safety protocols and unsafe practices, especially in rural areas of West Bengal. According to Dr. D S Ray, Consultant Nephrologist, Rabindranath Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences, Kolkata the process of dialysis requires high degree of safety standards with dedicated and separate units for infected patients. However, such safety practices are not adhered to especially in smaller centers and...

Amulya Ganguli
Going by numbers, the gathering of anti-BJP parties at Sonia Gandhi’s luncheon on May 26 was an impressive affair, for there were as many as 17. What is more, arch-rivals like the Samajwadi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party, and Trinamool Congress and the Left, decided to overlook their differences and sit at the same table. Evidently, the BJP juggernaut has compelled them to join hands to devise ways and means of countering the saffron storm-troopers. Unfortunately, however, the parties persisted with their negative approach which has been their...

G. Srinivasan
The NDA government is in the month-long mirthful mood, celebrating the completion of three years in office as it has been able to deliver a taint-free government for a nation that had been painfully inured to the sorry spectacle of a scam after scam tumbling out of the cupboards of the erstwhile UPA government that held office for more than a decade! Though comparisons could be odious between UPA and NDA, as the latter focused more on presenting a clean image even with an intimidating presence of a single leader at the helm in a democracy, the...

Arun Srivastava
With the parliamentary elections barely a fortnight away, Corbyn haters have become active and are joining hands to launch a tirade against him. Their basic allegation has been that Corbyn is a non-performer and cannot carry Britons with him. He does not understand their mood and aspirations. These people do not want to miss the opportunity as a misfire would place Jeremy Corbyn in a better position. But interestingly, one discernible trend since the election was called has been the increase in the Labour vote. Although the Conservatives have...

Kalyani Shankar
The situation in Kashmir is getting worse every day with the misguided and frustrated youth taking to streets and pelting stones at the armed forces, which are using force to quell the dissent. Due to continued hostility since the killing of Burhan Wani last July by security forces, militants and the youth have started targetting police and security forces. The situation as some Kashmir experts feel is worse than in 1990 when the militancy was at its height.  Almost three generations of Kashmiris have now seen militancy and most of their...

Arun Srivastava
India boycotting the Belt and Road Forum (BARF) meet in Beijing has sent the message across that while doing so, India has isolated itself both regionally and globally. The BARF meet was attended by all the South Asian neighbours of India. Even the countries identified as India’s partners in resisting Chinese aggression in Asia and South East Asia having territorial disputes with China, as India has, did not abstain from the meet. In this backdrop Prime Minister Narendra Modi attending the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia...

C. P. Chandrasekhar
On the economic front, it has indeed been an eventful three years under the Modi-Shah-led BJP government in India. In the policy realm, there have been two marked trends. First, the rapid rush to liberalization, almost as if to prove that this government is more “reformist” than the UPA and Congress governments that were largely responsible for introducing and taking forward the liberalization agenda in the country. An unflinching commitment to fiscal deficit reduction, a relentless pursuit of the GST, the return to the policy of ‘strategic...

Barun Das Gupta
In the second week of May, Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid an unusually low-key visit to Sri Lanka. No agreements were signed at the end of his visit, no joint declaration issued, no joint press conference held. New Delhi’s official position was that the Prime Minister had gone to attend the biggest Buddhist festival, Vesak Day, implying that it was of a non-official nature. But the fact that on the day the Prime Minister landed in Colombo, Sri Lanka let it be known that it had ‘rejected’ a Chinese request to dock one of its submarines in...

S Sethuraman
Undoubtedly, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has dazzled India and other parts of globe he is tirelessly going round, with a brand image of a doer, but a look-back on his first three years in office has little to show up on tangible outcomes to claim as major achievements for the ongoing frenzied trumpeting of BJP countrywide. This is not to belittle a consuming focus lately on decisive steps against black money and corruption and tax evasion with enactment of required laws, all designed to ensure a cleaner economy for the future, as well as...

Harihar Swarup
Has the Naxalite movement launched 50 years back failed? Five decades ago on May 24 Shanti Munda, in her twenties, led an uprising for a poor sharecropper who asked for larger share of the produce. With a 15 month baby strapped on her back, she fired the first volley of arrows and killed a policeman, triggering a wave of violence that shaped a generation’s consciousness. The uprising swept large parts of the country and those who took up arms came to be known as Naxalites after North Bengal’s Naxalbari where the first spark was lit. Mention...

Arun Srivastava
Global fraternity gradually getting disillusioned and frustrated with the America’s policy of hegemony and its economy always on the prowl to squeeze other economies, has been contemplating to put an end to its dollar hegemony by promoting a new currency to replace it. In fact some of the countries have been interacting with others to evolve a consensus. A feeling has gripped these countries that America has been using this mechanism to keep them under its thumb. Recent activities and wild actions of American President has strengthened this...

S. Sethuraman
Tamil Nadu remains mired in political chaos, into the sixth month since the death of AIADMK Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, who had scripted victory for a second successive term in the May 2016 Assembly election, and was sworn on May 23 last year. The party has now a tenuous hold on power, led by Mr E Palaniswami, with a strong dissident group headed by Mr O Panneerselvam, former CM, and the two factions, engaged in a no holds barred fight, have already been cultivating relationships with the BJP Government at the Centre. Their mutual...

Kalyani Shankar
Will the Tamil superstar Rajinikanth finally enter politics? Tamil Nadu is abuzz with speculation that the veteran actor might make a dramatic entry soon. Indeed it is quite hard to keep up with how many times this speculation has come up in the past 21 years as almost all the mainline parties have been wooing him before the Assembly and Lok Sabha polls. The renewed frenzy over whether the star will become a “neta” began since last week when Rajinikanth met his fans after eight long years for a greet-and-meet event and said: “God decides what...

P. Sreekumaran
The Left Democratic Front (LDF) stormed into power a year ago with a promise to set everything right. One year into its rule, the LDF Government is firmly set on the path to implementing its people-friendly agenda, hiccups and glitches notwithstanding. When it assumed power, the air was thick with the miasma of misrule, corruption and cynicism – a bitter legacy handed down by the thoroughly discredited United Democratic Front(UDF)-Government led by the Congress. The victory of the LDF in the bitterly fought assembly elections, therefore, came...

Nantoo Banerjee
Time and again, ruling political parties at the centre have used the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), to expose economic offences and corruption by chosen hi-profile members of political opposition and their associates more to make political gains than for any genuine desire to fight corruption. It seems the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) does not want to be seen as a laggard in this regard. In fact, CBI raids have been back with a bang and vengeance. Regional opposition parties, running state governments and having good presence in...

Amritananda Chakravorty
“The Indian Democracy cannot be a tyranny of the unelected.”  This remark made by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in October 2015 aptly sums up the relation between the current political regime, led by Narendra Modi, and the Judiciary, especially the Supreme Court, in the last three years. This comment by Arun Jaitley was made in the context of the Supreme Court striking down the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, which brought in Executive role and control in the appointment of Judges to the High Courts and the Supreme Court, as...

TSR Subramanian
Independent India is now nearly 70 years old. From the high hopes in the ‘40s that we will be a leading nation by the end of the millennium, the average Indian citizen is now worse off than in any other country of the world. Illiteracy is still rampant, nearly 50% of the population has anaemia, a quarter of the population does not get clean drinking water, income disparities are among the highest in the world, farmer suicides are rising, every state government is corrupt, elections are settled by large illegal spending – the dismal list can go...

Harihar Swarup
Time moves fast. The Modi government completes next week three years in office. In another two years, the country will go in for general election. What are the achievements and failure of the Modi Government? It may be called a mixed bag. On political front the BJP has revived many controversial issues like Ram Mandir, for which there is no cut and dry solution. The RSS dominates and its front organizations have sought to establish Hindutva supremacy. The Hindu-Muslim divide has been sharpened. The minorities appear to be scared. The Congress...