Reflex Action

K R Sudhaman
Globalisation was at cross roads at the turn of the century due to East Asian currency meltdown and the failure of Seattle WTO ministerial in 1999. There was an UNCTAD meeting in Bangkok in the early part of 2000 to put globalization back on track. At the concluding news conference of the UNCTAD meeting, a reporter observed that as per Hindu philosophy, only thing that is certain in this universe is death and has it become a certainty for globalization. But pat came the reply from UNCTAD that globalisation was irreversible and that the world...

Arun Srivastava
Vladimir Putin’s re-election as the President of Russia, encompassing his decree over the world’s largest country for another six years, that too at a time when his ties with not only the Western world but also with other parts of the globe, including France and EU, are on a hostile trajectory, has certainly not come as a surprise. That Putin will get elected was a certainty, but how the world fraternity would react was a matter of conjecture though the perspective of western hostility was on the cards. In this backdrop it is really...

Alan Simpson
It is four years since the death of my friend and mentor, Tony Benn. I could argue that he turns up in every article I write, but that’s a poor substitute for the daily conversations into which he poured tea and optimism in equally copious quantities. Benn would be as excited as anyone about Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell’s leadership of today’s Labour Party — but he would be no less anxious about the bigger canvas upon which a new politics needs to be written. Many of Benn’s post-parliamentary reflections took account of the time he had to...

Gyan Pathak
India is increasingly losing happiness by the year. World Happiness Report 2018 of the United Nations reveals that Indians are increasingly becoming unhappy. It scored only 4.190 on a scale of 0-10 in 2017, which is only a little more than the passing mark of 3.3 if life would have been an exam. It fell in global happiness ranking by 11 places in comparison to its fall in 2016 by four places. Only 23 countries out of 156 surveyed are unhappier than India, which ranked 133rd in the world. It means 84.61 per cent countries are happier than we...

Nantoo Banerjee
Had the Friedmans, Milton and Rose, the last of the laissez-faire doctrine proponents, been alive today, they would have probably called the capitalist realtor-turned US president, Donald Trump, a pseudo socialist. In true capitalism, there is no place for government interference in economic affairs beyond the minimum necessary. The champions of capitalism support the Darwinian theory that talks about the survival of the fittest. Nobel laureate Milton Friedman and his wife Rose co-authored ‘Capitalism and Freedom’  asserted that “our (US) free...

Arun Srivastava
Sonia Gandhi reaching out to the opposition parties and their leaders has been an astute move. Her dinner diplomacy reminisces her initiatives that had culminated in the formation of the UPA against the NDA. It was expected of Congress chief Rahul Gandhi that he would initiate the process to reach out to the opposition parties and interact with them for evolving a strategy to counter the BJP. Notwithstanding his taking command, the fact remains that during these months he has not initiated any imaginative step which could strengthen the...

Sankar Ray
Jam Saqi, former general secretary of the Communist Party of Pakistan passed away on March 5. Suffering from multiple ailments, he died of renal failure. He was 73. Saqi led the CPP delegation at the 12th Congress (Calcutta, 1989) of the Communist Party of India. Just released after nearly seven years in jail during the dictatorship of Zia-ul Haq, when the CPI leadership brought him at a press conference at the venue of the Congress, Salt Lake Yuba Bharati Stadium,  Saqi got emotional and mentioned of the unity of the underprivileged in the...

Nitya Chakraborty
The resounding success of the BJP in the assembly elections in Tripura by trouncing the CPI(M) which ruled the state for the last twenty five years, has led to an unprecedented churning in the top echelons of the CPI(M) leadership. The magnitude of the success of the BJP in the three states of the North East signifies the big advance of the saffron forces in this region which was a weak zone for the BJP till three years back. The vandalism resorted to by the pro BJP elements in the wake of the Tripura victory, also signals to the CPI(M)...

Dr. Arun Mitra
The transfer of Bhupendra Singh, Chairman National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), has evoked strong reaction from the medical fraternity as well as civil society groups working for affordable healthcare to all. This reaction has come in the wake of several positive steps taken by him to bring down and streamline prices of drugs, which include medicines and medical devices. His order to drastically cut down the price of coronary stents in February 2017 has been seen as a bold initiative on his part. The NPPA in its order notified on...

Aditya Aamir
Statues are sitting ducks. Lenin, Periyar, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee… Toppled, battered, blackened, statues can do nothing. Statues everywhere are game for pigeon, crow, and vandal. And if a BJP office in Coimbatore gets petrol-bombed, that is not enough retaliation for the statue in the Statute. That being said, there are not many wise men in the BJP. Post-Tripura-Lenin-Statue-Topple, Subramanian Swamy, Kiran Rijiju and H Raja went after Leftist bust. And a little-known Tamil Nadu BJP small-fry called Muthu Raman took a hammer to Periyar’s...

Suresh Babu
Leadership is the most crucial aspect of change management. Without effective leadership, cooperative organisations will be a victim of change rather than a master of change. It is strongly believed that with the right kind of leadership, the cooperative can serve a place for itself in the global economy. Centered leadership. “Leadership is about creating about what is not…..while it should be about managing is.” Leaders make change happen because they are guiding and encouraging others to bring to life their vision for something better....

Amulya Ganguli
Behind the defeat of the Left in Tripura lies the failure of the communists to realize that capitalism is no longer regarded by the ordinary people as an ogre as envisaged by Marx when he said that “capital comes into the world soiled with mire from top to toe and oozing blood from every pore”. This gory perception may have prevailed in the time of the German philosopher, but as the recent business conclaves organized by various state governments show, such a view no longer exists. Instead, there is a race among the governments to persuade...

Gyan Pathak
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is right in his insistence on implementing universal financial inclusion programmes in the country to improve the living conditions of our people, but has proved himself ignorant of the brewing crisis in India’s financial sector, particularly the banking sector. He should have tried first to strengthen the banking sector, which dominates the financial sector by making it scam and corruption free, and compelling it to improve its beleaguered balance sheet having persistent deterioration in the asset quality. He was...

K Raveendran
Most corruption cases have a political connection in one way or the other. So whenever a new scam is unearthed, there are allegations and counter allegations. Invariably, the party facing the embarrassment accuses those arraigned on the other side of politicising the issue. When Congress blamed political connections for the escape of Nirav Mody, uncle Mehul Choksi and families with their loot of over Rs12,600 crores, the BJP and the government went on an offensive, terming the allegation politically motivated. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder...

S. Sethuraman
India’s stagnant economy will be entering fiscal 2019 on the back of relatively poorer performance for two successive years (FY16-18), and well below 7 per cent growth in real terms in fiscal 18, amid global headwinds of market volatility, rising inflation and interest rate hikes charted by US Fed. Can we smartly overcome all these to let growth shine at 7.5 percent in the new fiscal year and rightly claim the tag of fastest-growing economy, not gloating over a single quarter growth recovery? The latest economic data on the third quarter of...

Sushil Kutty
Monday midnight Delhi Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash goes to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence. Kejriwal is not alone. Deputy CM Manish Sisodia is there. So are some AAP MLAs. Among them Amanatullah and Prakash Jarwal. Next day Prakash alleges assault at the CM’s house. AAP refutes charge. The police arrest Jarwal. Amanatullah surrenders to the cops. Kejriwal scraps Aadhar requirement for ration procurement in Delhi. What is Kejriwal up to? Is this another example of AAP breaking free of the shackles of the Centre? Prakash says...

Subrata Majumder
Controversy roared when Prime Minister Narendra Modi sneered at protectionism and sided with Chinese President Xi Jinping to advocate globalization in Davos. Nevertheless, China too towed protectionism in the early stage of development. Its strategy helped to push the country as the global hub for manufacturing behind the wall of protectionism and swamped the world with cheap goods. In contrast, Indian protectionism languished and manufacturing, despite giving protection to the domestic economy, accounts for merely 18 percent of GDP in India...

G. Srinivasan
At a time when the country’s ailing banking industry, particularly the proverbial public sector banks (PSBs) suffering from balance sheet woes, is being bandaged by the first tranche of a capital infusion of Rs 88.139 crore as part of a jumbo Rs 2.11 lakh crore rescue package, the murky affairs in the country’s second biggest bank, the Punjab National Bank of India (PNB), has surfaced to the dismay of the authorities. The gargantuan chicanery involving an 11,500 crore rupees smartly but silently executed by a maverick diamond merchant Nirav (...

S. Sethuraman
The biggest scandal in India's banking sector - an alleged 11,400 crore fraud involving Punjab National Bank and diamond merchant Nirav Modi and associates -- coming to light in January  2018 -- will  pep up the state poll campaigns, leading to Lok Sabha elections 2019. A highly embarrassed Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had been proudly claiming that no major scam had occurred under his watch, will certainly find ways to pin all the ills, past and present, afflicting the country on his arch-enemy, the Congress, which led the UPA...

K. Raveendran
Congress and the BJP are playing hide and seek with the people of India by blaming each other for the massive banking fraud by Nirav Modi, the diamond dealer to the world’s glitterati. Originally estimated to cost Rs 12,300 crore, the value of the plunder is now scaled up to Rs 30,000 crore. The BJP has added it to the infamous UPA scam list, and is even claiming credit for the ‘alertness of the banking system introduced by the Narendra Modi government’, which according to the party unearthed the fraud. NDA ministers have fished out a 2013...

Aditya Amir
So who should hang from the rafters for the massive PNB Nirav Modi Scam – the UPA or the NDA? That is apart from nephew Nirav Modi and uncle Choksi and the one or two or scores of PNB officials who enacted the scam for the diamond merchants of India-New York-London-Antwerp-Hong Kong-Singapore-Macau-Malaysia… Clearly, unlike diamonds, scams cannot be ‘forever’. Fact 1: The scam was detected only recently, maybe last year or early this year. Fact 2: The scam was running for years, definitely from 2011, probably from even earlier. Media reports...

G. Srinivasan
The apex bank, while unveiling the sixth bi-monthly annual monetary policy statement for the current fiscal on February 7 in Mumbai, justified its neutral policy stance for the present, contending that crude oil prices have firmed up sharply since August 2017, driven by both demand and supply factors. Neutral policy provides the flexibility to move either direction if the situation warrants a gear change in the meanwhile. Even as the country’s merchandise exports bounced back in November-December 2017 to the immense relief of the authorities,...

Dr. Arun Mitra
The standing committee on health headed by Ram Gopal Yadav had called various stake holders to put forward their viewpoints on National Medical Commission (NMC). Since health is an issue of concern to all, such consultative process is a welcome step. The process to revamp medical regulation started after the Supreme Court took cognizance of malfunctioning of the Medical Council of India (MCI) and directed for a new system, which would redress the ills in the MCI with a view to streamlining the medical education and healthcare in the country....

Amulya Ganguli
It will be unwise to dismiss BJP M.P VinayKatiyar’s warning about converting the Taj Mahal to “our temple”, the Tejo mandir, as the hate rant of a well-known rabble-rouser. It has to be acknowledged that the Sangh parivar generally gives advance notice of its game plans. For instance, the first indication that it was targeting the Babri masjid was given by the VHP in 1985 when it spoke of how Babur had a mosque built by demolishing a temple marking Lord Ram’s birthplace to humiliate the Hindus. Four years later, the BJP took up the issue –...

Dr. S. Ganesan
Women’s and gender studies are emerging and growing areas of academic enquiry today. To have a deeper under studying of formulation of empowerment, one must be exposed to cultural, literary, political and socio-economic dimensions within gender frame works. There is a need to deconstruct the complex power hierarchies and relationships operating in society, from the perspective of women and gender. Development policies and practices have a different impact on women and men. This necessitates an understanding of the ‘gender gap’ in access to...