Reflex Action

Arun Srivastava
Pretense of a perfect camaraderie and bonhomie between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was shattered on the campus of the Patna University. The citizens of Bihar were made to believe that the visit of Modi to Patna University would usher the state into a new dawn of academic excellence that would change the dynamics as well as the dimension of the educational horizon in the state. But the Prime Minister had a rude shock for Bihar and its people. His snub to Nitish’s folded handed request sent the message that...

Subrata Majumder
Debaters wade in row over Indian economic growth and its impact on employment generation, after GDP growth slashed to 5.7 percent in the first quarter of 2017-18. Before election, Prime Minister Narendra Modi committed one crore (10 million) jobs a year. Despite economic growth in full strength during the forty month period of Modi regime, green shoots of job opportunities are not visible.   According to Labour Bureau statistics, job creation for 2015 and 2016 (April-December) were at much lower level than committed - 15.5 million and 23.1...

Harihar Swarup
Is the idea of holding Lok Sabha and assembly elections simultaneously possible? Presuming it is possible, will it be practical and will all opposition parties support it? The RSS-BJP combine that sets the agenda for governance of the country has floated the idea of simultaneous elections for the Lok Sabha and 29 states and seven union territories. Their contention is that simultaneous elections will save money and time and the elected representatives—MPs and MLAs—will be able to devote more time and energy for the task of governance. Prime...

B.K. Chum
English Daily National Herald established in Lucknow on December 9, 1938 with Jawaharlal Nehru as its first editor had carried on its masthead “FREEDOM IS IN PERIL, DEFEND IT WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT”. Had the legendary cartoonist Jimmy Friell been alive today, he would have re-captioned his cartoon “INDIA’S DEMOCRACY AND ECONOMY ARE IN PERIL, DEFEND THEM WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT”. The developments that have been taking place on political and economy fronts for the past few months would have justified the suggested change in the now resurrected Herald’...

V.Srinivas
Rapid agriculture growth and rapid rural employment growth were always the focus of India’s policy makers. Mahatma Gandhi envisaged India as a Nation of self-sufficient autonomous village republics. Land - the summum bonum of rural existence, and agricultural structure was the most important determinant of India’s development. Highly skewed distribution of land was responsible for agricultural backwardness. As land was the critical income generating asset of rural India, changes in agricultural holding structures were necessary to ensure...

Arun Srivastava
Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s comment “anti-national forces can't appreciate economic trends” betrays the acute compulsion of survival in the BJP. It also signifies a desperate attempt to distance himself from the remarks of his senior leader Yashwant Sinha. The use of the term anti-national for Sinha is indeed shocking. While Rajnath has been quite ecstatic of the growth of the economy, the chairman of the newly-reconstituted Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC), Bibek Debroy and other members of the council, which includes...

Mrinal K Biswas
There is no more any gain saying that the Indian economy is caught up with falling growth, failing business and stalled employment generation. Discontent is brewing and government appears clueless as to how it can address the problems but claims nonetheless that there is nothing much to worry about. Of the two schools of thought, that one which sounds alarm over the present state of affairs is weighing heavily over that of the other that holds out bright prospects of the Indian economy not very far off. The issues are primarily the fall-out...

Arun Srivastava
Going by the government standard, the success of the prime minister’s exalted agenda Swachh Bharat Mission has been quite commendable.  The Establishment has been putting out its best to make the programme a landmark. Since the mission involves a huge investment, the officials have been ebullient and not tired of claiming success. While launching his lofty programme on October 2, 2014 Narendra Modi appeared before a battery of cameras to sweep the courtyard of a police station in a Dalit residential colony in Delhi. “A clean India would be...

Nitya Chakraborty
After more than forty months of the NDA rule led by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the eco-politics of the country is at a crossroads. The Modi bubble is steadily bursting. All sections of the population are aggrieved -- from the poorest section in the rural areas to the major sections of the industrialists who have no tie ups with the BJP leadership. The BJP leadership is still is dreaming to come back to power once again in 2019 Lok Sabha elections depending on the organizational power of the party, the RSS muscle power and the disunity...

Amulya Ganguli
No one says any more that the “achhe din” are here, while those like Omar Abdullah and Nitish Kumar, who claimed that Narendra Modi faced no challenges, have fallen silent. Even the boasts about the BJP ushering in a Congress-mukt Bharat have died down. Instead, we have seen the unusual spectacle of the redoubtable Amit Shah breaking away from his Jan Raksha (save the people) padayatra in Kerala to rush to Delhi for a round of consultations with Modi and others to save the party from a critical political and economic situation. What is...

S. Sethuraman
As India wallows in the post-demonetisation mire, the global growth is accelerating to 3.6 per cent in 2017 and 3.7 per cent in 2018 with pickups in investment, trade, and industrial production in advanced and other emerging economies, coupled with strengthening business and consumer confidence. India is singled out among leading emerging market economies with a downward growth projection for 2017 at 6.7 per cent and 7.4 per cent in 2018. According to IMF’s October WEO, the revision is due to slowing growth, reflecting the “lingering impact...

Barun Das Gupta
Last week, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was in Dhaka on a three-day visit to sign a $4.5 billion letter of credit to Bangladesh. The decision in this regard was announced last April during Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Delhi visit. India’s aid package to Bangladesh has increased steadily. This is the third LoC India has signed with Bangladesh. The first one was for $862 million, while the second one was for $2 billion. The latest deal is more than double the size of the second. Indian assistance has been primarily for the...

Ollie Hopkins
Half a century ago, on October 9 1967, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, was assassinated by Mario Teran, a Bolivian army officer, following orders from the CIA. The Argentinian-born Cuban revolutionary hero died leading a guerilla struggle against the US-backed Bolivian military regime of Rene Barrientos, eight years after playing a leading role in the Cuban revolution. Commemorations are taking place in Cuba and in Vallegrande, Bolivia, where Che’s remains were buried before being returned to Cuba in 1997. Cuban first vice-president Miguel Diaz-Canel...

Kalyani Shankar
So, at last Rahul Gandhi is ready to take over the 132-year-old Congress Party next month.  There is a sigh of relief in the party that at last the suspense will be over. This might end the “will he, won’t he” suspense and open a new chapter for the party. Though he chose the US to announce that he was ready to be a challenger to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the 2019 polls, the young Gandhi has his task cut out to build the organization in the next 18 months and keep it poll ready. The party has been on a steady decline since 2014. The...

Nantoo Banerjee
In its fourth year in the government, the top brass in the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party may be finding it quite embarrassing as more and more senior party members are becoming critical about the country’s sudden economic slowdown, especially since November, 2016. The big dip in the 2017-18 first quarter (April-June) GDP growth figure to 5.7 per cent has provoked an intense debate on the state of economy from both the opposition and some of BJP’s own senior party members and economists. The latest to publicly express his concern over the...

Amritananda Chakravorty Mihir Samson
For the first time ever, the collegium of the senior most judges of the Supreme Court has begun to make the minutes of the meetings at which the appointment of judges to the High Courts and Supreme Court are made, available on its website. The move comes a few days after the Collegium decided to transfer Justice J. Patel from the Karnataka High Court to the Allahabad High Court, leading to his resignation. The decision had attracted criticism from lawyers across the country, calling for more transparency in the decision making process. Major...

K. Raveendran
Finance minister Arun Jaitley keeps repeating at monotonous regularity that the benefits of demonetisation and GST would be realised in the long term, although he has no problem in acknowledging that short term pains, the manifestations of which are now visible in terms of lower growth rate, job losses and problems with the informal sectors of the economy, are unavoidable. He may or may not be right. But how long is his long term? There needs to be clarity on that. Long term, as understood today, is much different from what it may have been a...

Arun Srivastava
It may sound bizarre but the day is not far when a married couple would have to produce the Aadhaar card for seeking permission to live together. This fear is strengthened by the manner in which the Aadhaar card is being made compulsory for survival in India. Already Aadhaar has become mandatory for admission, burial, hospital, marriage; name anything in the life of common people. The latest, but the most dangerous, proposition is to link the mobile phone with Aadhaar. A closer look at the linking of Aadhaar card with various personal...

Dr Arun Mitra
The study on the health status of people living near Jadugoda uranium mining operation area confirms that health problems related to uranium mining, such as congenital deformities, sterility and cancer, were affecting the indigenous people disproportionately in the studied villages as compared to reference villages. The study also suggests that increased numbers of people living near uranium mining operational area are dying at a younger age (before completing 62 years) as compared to the reference village. The health of indigenous people...

Nitya Chakraborty
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has set the right tune at a programme in Delhi on Thursday when he said that the coming election is not going to be Opposition versus BJP-it is going to be the BJP versus the rest of the country. Kejriwal was in the stage along with the Congress leader Manish Tewari and the former finance minister Yashwant Sinha. The maverick CM who earlier strongly shunned the company of the Congress Party due to his objection to the GOP’s record of corruption said ‘the people are going to fight the 2019 elections. Parties...

Jigar Khunt
Words of Narmada or Ganga bring images of entire life to our minds. As rivers, they reflect flow of life too. Structuring rivers or life brings consistency, sustenance, productivityand prosperity. Narendra Modi government at the centre had been thinking on such structuring of rivers for prosperous sustenance of life. The Sardar Sarovar Dam has been the dream project of the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. When he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, he gave the utmost priority to the project. Despite hundreds of hurdles, he showed a strong...

Arun Srivastava
This is a rare but classical somersault performed by Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar. In April 2016 he had called upon all non-BJP parties to unite for a "Sangh-mukt Bharat", an India free of the RSS. But now he would be sharing the stage on October 5 with RSS sarsangchalak Mohan Bhagwat at a huge congregation organized in village Chandwa of Arrah, the native place of dalit icon and former deputy prime minister Jagjivan Ram in honour of the 11th century Hindu theologian Ramanujam. This meet of the Sangh parishioners has attained importance...

Amulya Ganguli
Politics, like nature, abhors vacuum. Although the BJP may feel relieved because of the absence of a credible opposition, it is perhaps realizing that this vacant space is being filled by forces other than political parties. These include, for one, the younger generation, represented in the main by students. For another, the ordinary people unhappy over the failure of focused governance resulting in the deaths of scores of children in hospitals and a series of railway accidents. For a third, not only is the economic downturn now an...

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...