Reflex Action

P. Sreekumaran
Timing is of utmost importance in politics. If your sense of time fails you, it could exact a heavy political cost. The ruling CPI(M) finds itself in an extremely difficult situation on the Thomas Chandy issue due to  its failure to act in time. What makes it all the more embarrassing for the party is the fact that it had a golden chance to redeem itself, but failed to do so because of its poor sense of timing. The opportunity was provided by Transport Minister Thomas Chandy, who is facing serious allegations of land encroachment and...

Nantoo Banerjee
Jumping 30 steps in one year in the global perception parameter on ‘the ease of doing business’ by India is undoubtedly a remarkable achievement. Yet, the country has a long way to go to be recognised by investors across the world as among the most desirable places to do business. The 15th edition of the World Bank's Doing Business Report, 2018, projects the country as a substantially easier place to do business than it was a year ago.  India’s progress in this regard looks exceptional. The World Bank’s annual study rates 190 countries on the...

Dr. Arun Mitra
Health is a concern for all the people. Only a healthy person can contribute to productivity. That is why the saying, “Health is Wealth”. Lifestyle diseases have been added to the disease pattern in the last few years. New types of communicable diseases like Dengue, Chikungunya, HIV and many new types of viral infections have come up, which need serious consideration in addition to the already existing communicable diseases. As most of the healthcare in our country is in the private sector, the burden of the disease is manifold on our people....

K R Sudhaman
After the welcome move to spend Rs 6.9 lakh crore on roads and carry out a mega Rs 2.11 lakh crore recapitalisation of banks, the Narendra Modi government needed to step on the peddle to tackle farm distress in the country, which is real and shattering. Father of India's green revolution M S Swaminathan is right in saying India cannot eradicate poverty without tackling the woes of farmers, who formed 50 per cent of the population. Demonetisation had virtually crippled the farming community, which largely depended on the cash economy. That too...

Sankar Ray
US President Donald Trump’s ‘new Afghanistan policy’ has been hailed by the ruling group in Afghanistan, especially Trump’s nod to sending additional troops, apparently in keeping with the Afghan government’s perspective as its goal is to step up increased pressure on the Taliban. But the belligerent shah-en-shah of White House also pulled up Pakistan by routinely blaming the latter for its failure to wage a decisive counter-warfare against the terrorists, ideologically committed to ‘Political Islam’, although turning terrorism into a money-...

Amulya Ganguli
Three of President Ramnath Kovind’s speeches since he assumed office have shown him to be an ideal head of state. In a parliamentary democracy, the President or the governor have no more than a ceremonial function in accordance with the Westminster model. Although the government is run in their name, they take no part in decision making. Their functions are limited to cutting ribbons to open a school or hospital or delivering speeches which are vetted by the government. If they have personal views which contradict the ruling party’s position...

Arun Srivastava
Despite threats of stringent actions, Nitish Kumar has failed to domesticate the rebel JD(U) leaders, who are  going ahead with their plan to hold their national conference on March 11 in Delhi. The rebels led by Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar, both MPs, have already announced the constitution of their Bihar state committee, which will be headed by senior dalit leader Ramai Ram. He was a minister in Nitish government.    The day Nitish parted company with the grand alliance and decided to go back to the BJP fold, the JD(U) stood vertically split...

S Sudhakar Reddy
The centenary of Great October Socialist Revolution is being celebrated not only in Russia and the erstwhile countries of the disintegrated Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) but by the toiling masses throughout the world. Ten days shook the world, in November 1917, because the working class, the peasants, and the soldiers threw out the exploiting class from power and established their own state, a socialist state where there is no exploitation of man by man. The very idea that the ‘labour’ will be ruling a state was till then...

Ben Chacko
November 7, 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution and the establishment of the world’s first socialist state. In this centenary year of the Russian Revolution, books are being published, op-eds written, and programs broadcast about the dramatic events of 1917 and their impact on the 20th century. In the mainstream media, few look at whether the “Ten Days that Shook the World,” when Lenin led the first successful socialist revolution, have helped shape the planet we live on today, or whether they retain the power to shake...

K. Raveendran
India’s IT power has evolved into its current pre-eminence because the government, meaning bureaucracy, could not do anything to stop it despite their best efforts. The government and the bureaucracy had virtually no clue as to what was happening. Otherwise they would have stalled it through various means, including labour-related and administrative issues. By the time they realised the reality, technology had grown beyond them, although they have not given up the bid to overwhelm it through regulations. Essentially, government, or more...

S. Sethuraman
Does God-fearing Prime Minister Narendra Modi really believe that by 2022, India would have attained ‘developed’ status? Holding out this vista from holy Kedarnath, one should not belittle his religious faith but the record in economic governance so far suggests more of skepticism than of presaging a realisable outcome. Though well-acknowledged as a political magician, Modi had looked more harassed in recent weeks, with a mounting challenge to the ruling BJP in his home state he had held tight as Chief Minister for three terms. Obligingly...

Arun Srivastava
Chinese president Xi Jinping has written new political history by elevating himself above legendry Mao Zedong and making the Chinese people accept his observations as his ‘Thought’ like Mao’s postulations at the 19th Congress of the Chinese Communist. The resolution on his elevation, however, does not mention that he was superseding Mao, but by implication the resolution made it apparent. At the closing ceremony in the Mao-era Great Hall of the People it was announced that Xi’s Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era...

Arun Srivastava
Jharkhand’s PDS Minister Saryu Roy, though acted late, however in one stroke demolished the myth of the government diktat of Aadhaar card being indispensable. On September 28 Santoshi, the girl belonging to an extremely poor family from Simdega, died of starvation after chief secretary Rajbala Verma’s directive to render the ration card of the family ineligible as they were not linked to Aadhaar. The family had not received any ration since February but subsisted on doles from villagers and the mid-day meal Santoshi got at her school. Roy was...

Amritananda Chakravorty Mihir Samson
i. Ill-Equipped fake hospitals to be granted harsher punishments – The Andhra Pradesh High Court has observed that as per provisions of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, the punishment  for running a medical establishment without a license is only a fine, which is not deterrent enough. The Court pointed out that the act does criminalise abortions not performed in accordance with the Act but there are no consequences for the hospital that allows for such abortions to be conducted in it. [Sri Krishna Nursing Home v State of Telangana,...

W. T. Whitney Jr
Annually for 25 years, the United Nations General Assembly has voted overwhelmingly for an end to the U.S. economic blockade against Cuba. The nations of the world vote again on November 1, 2017. Last year, the United States and Israel abstained, but all other nations voted “No” to the blockade. In preparation for the vote, Cuba’s foreign ministry every year prepares a report detailing adverse effects of this U.S. policy. The report for 2017 is a 47-page document.   It begins: “The economic, commercial, and financial blockade imposed by the...

Amritananda Chakravorty Mihir Samson
A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court challenging Rule 2(b) of the Prevention of Money-laundering (Maintenance of Records) Second Amendment Rules, 2017 which seeks to amend Rule 9 of the Prevention of Money-laundering (Maintenance of Records) Rules, 2005 (‘PMLA Rules’’). Submission of an Aadhaar Number has been made mandatory for individual clients, companies, partnership firms and trusts for opening of bank accounts; maintaining existing bank accounts; making any financial transactions of and above Rs. 50,000; and crediting foreign...

Amulya Ganguli
The timing of Rahul Gandhi’s ascent is propitious. It can even be said that it is just as well that the Congress waited till now for the coronation of the crown prince because for the first time since the party’s humiliating defeat three years ago, its supporters can afford to wear a faint smile. The reason is that there are signs that the dark clouds which hung over the party are slowly lifting. One silver lining was its massive victory in the Gurdaspur by-election in Punjab and another was the success of the party’s student wing in the...

Nilanjan Banik
The recently appointed Economic Advisory Council (EAC), led by economist Bibek Debroy, has a tough job in hand - to propel economic growth in a manner that will create job. During the first quarter of 2017-18, India’s growth rate has slumped to 5.7 percent, a three-year low. Popular press attributed the slowdown as an aftermath of demonetisation, implementation of GST, and sluggish export growth. However, the problem is more than meets the eye. Per-capita income in India is $1,700 per year which is around 16 percent of the world average....

Nantoo Banerjee
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s latest charge against BJP president Amit Shah that his business entrepreneur son Jay Shah struck it rich after BJP came to power in 2014, alleging a high-level corruption, only exposes his political naivete, if not a deliberately mischievous intent. According to the Congress, Jay Shah’s sudden rise is an "excellent example" of crony capitalism. The fact that Jay Shah had enjoyed a upswing in his business since 2014 can no way be held against his father or the ruling party until Rahul Gandhi is able to...

K Raveendran
The data-driven slugfest over the performance of the Modi government in the first three years between its loyalists, led by Narendra Modi himself, and detractors, both in the ruling party and Opposition, saw an important piece of statistics that should have pricked India’s collective conscience pass off as a non-event, except for some noise created in the social media. The data related to the ranking of India in the latest Global Hunger Index, released by the Washington-based International Nutrition Research Institute, which said that the...

K R Sudhaman
Seeds of resentment against Indian National Congress were sown in South India much before Independence because of the so-called national party increasingly becoming a pro-cow belt party even though many leaders of national stature have emerged from South India. The pro-Hindi stance under the garb of nationalism in the BJP and periodically in the Congress had given birth to regionalism, which took roots first in South India. The very first general elections in India in 1952 saw Congress struggling to form a government in the then Madras...

Harihar Swarup
Political leaders after they retire from the high office they were holding, take to writing their biography or memoirs. There are some leaders who take to writing after they have fallen in bad times and see no ray of hope. Biographies and/or autobiographies of many of the top leaders reveal lot of unknown facts that eventually become part of history. Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Rajendra Prasad, among others, have written their autobiographies, and they are worth reading. In recent times, among others, Arjun Singh and ML Fotedar have...

Emile Schepers
Candidates allied with the left-wing government of President Nicolas Maduro won in 17 of Venezuela’s 23 states in regional elections on Sunday, October 15.  Results in one state (Bolivar) have not been announced yet at writing.   The turnout of eligible voters was 61.1 percent. The results indicate a recuperation of support for the government since its heavy loss in the legislative election of December 6, 2015. A recent poll had indicated that President Maduro’s approval rating, which had been low, had been improving.  However, the size of...

Barun Das Gupta
Certain changes are taking place in Nepal, both in its internal politics and in its external relations with China. For one thing, ever since the monarchy ended a decade ago in December 2007, Nepal has failed repeatedly to pass and implement a constitution. The latest constitution, adopted in September 2015, is still to be formally promulgated. Minister for Information and Communication Mohan Bahadur Basnet has gone on record saying the constitution will come into force only after the provincial and parliamentary elections to be held this...

Arun Srivastava
A series of unprecedented political and military developments are taking place in China contiguous to holding of the 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China which began on October 18. While the CPC is well set to mention President Xi Jinping as a mentor, an honour reserved so far for Communist stalwarts Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping, this would be the first ever Congress which will have participation of military delegates on an unprecedented scale. Amazingly the former presidents, Jiang Zeming and Hu Jintao, who jointly ruled for two...