|Britain first and Bharat Mata Ki Jai|
|Lethal ultra-nationalism infests all|
|The killer of the pro-Europe British MP, Jo Cox, shouted "Britain First" before shooting and stabbing her.
In India, pro-BJP tycoon and yoga guru Baba Ramdev regretted the existence of laws coming down from the British colonial days which prevented him from beheading those who refuse to say "Bharat Mata ki Jai" (Victory to Mother India).
The assassin and the would-be assassin will both claim to be driven by the supposedly admirable motive of nationalism, which brands in their eyes deviants from their creed as "traitors", the term Jo Cox's killer used in court to describe her.
In India, the students of JNU have been held under the colonial-era law of sedition for their rebellious chanting of "Azadi" when it challenged the country's unity. Their leader has also been threatened with death...|
|Draft Education Policy|
|Set up Univs in villages|
|The recently formulated draft education policy document has come at the right juncture given the need to improve educational standards and quality. The Committee's 217 pages recommendations has been critical of earlier policies even as some disapprove the recommendations as innovative ideas are missing.
Moreover, the creation of new bodies like Council for Excellence in Higher Education, Standing Education Commission etc in addition to the existing ones has not been taken kindly as these may end up as fiefdoms like the existing corrupt regulatory bodies.
Undeniably, reforms in higher education are needed and being discussed at various levels. The HRD Minister Smriti Irani is also discussing the draft with States before finalizing the document. However, educationists, scientists and...|
|Depressing developments hit economy hard; inflation up, production down|
|There is depressing news for those who are expecting interest rate cuts by RBI. Developments within the last ten days have poured cold waters on such hopes. For, the country's economy was hit by as many as three adverse developments during the period. After official data released last week showed lower industrial output came two more negative tidings earlier this week - higher retail inflation and as well as the Wholesale Price Index (WPI)-based inflation that rose to a 19-month high of 0.79% in May 2016.
On Monday, June 12, official data showed that India's annual retail inflation has shot up to a near two-year high of 5.76 per cent in May from 5.47 per cent in April. This was driven by dearer food articles, notably pulses, vegetables and sugar. Earlier to that, official data reveal...|
|Venezuela and Saudi Arabia: Sharing the Wealth|
|On Monday, hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans began the time-consuming process of validating their signatures on a petition demanding a recall referendum on the elected president, Nicolas Maduro. Food riots are breaking out all over the country, and the capital, Caracas, has the highest murder rate of any city in the world. Many citizens expect a revolution.
Half a world away, Saudi Arabians don't have to worry about referendums, or indeed about national elections. But no Saudi Arabian citizen goes hungry, and the capital, Riyadh, has a lower murder rate than Toronto. And nobody expects a revolution.
But why compare Venezuela and Saudi Arabia? They don't have anything in common, do they? Well, actually, they do.
The two countries have the biggest oil reserves in the world, and oil ex...|
|AIADMK is perfectly right in opposing GST Bill|
|Its provisions challenge decentralisation of powers|
|Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced recently that almost all states except Tamil Nadu are on board on the draft Goods and Services Tax bill that aims, among other things, to take away most autonomous taxation powers from the state governments. GST will replace almost all taxes that the state governments and the Union government now exact on goods and services. From being opposed by the then-Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi, to now being furiously pursued by the Union Government of India, led by its Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Goods and Services Tax bill has come a long way indeed.
And although its has come a long way, and it has picked up new converts to its cause along the way like the incumbent Prime Minister, the GST idea has not changed fundamentally. The GST still...|
|Justice difficult to deliver in riot cases delays|
|Witnesses turning hostile adds to agony of victims|
|Criminal intimidation, political interference, sloppy follow up, witnesses and even survivors turning hostile or altogether disappearing-- this has been the story of most of the riot cases in the country. Be it the 1992 Bombay riots or the 2002 Gujarat carnage or the 1984 anti-Sikh massacre or the 2012 Muzaffarnagr violence, the victims continue to suffer for years on end, with no justice in sight.
Take the case of the anti-Sikh massacre. It has been more than 30 years and victims are yet to get justice. Successive governments have failed to prosecute those responsible for the slaughter of more than 3,000 people in Delhi in the 1984 massacre, the worst in terms of scale since the partition riots.
Senior advocate H S Phoolka, who has been fighting for justice for the riot victims, says ...|
|SIGNS OF THE TIMES|
|What Yoga practice on Babri Masjid's demolition?|
|I'm the radio type. Sleep and wake up to those musical strains or news inputs coming through. Last Sunday morning as I switched on the radio it was relaying Murli Manohar Joshi's voice which in turn was relaying all possible positives to yoga, along the strain that it makes one a better human being. Well, why didn't Joshi practise yoga when the Babri Masjid was getting destroyed? Nah, I can't forget the particular shot of him gleefully hugging Uma Bharti and L K Advani when that masjid was getting destroyed by Kar Sevaks. With that backdrop as I heard him on the radio it was nothing but sheer hypocrisy that came through each one of those sentences he was uttering.
Exercise is great only if it comes from within; starts from the head and then travels on to the body …when pangs of all hues...|
|Three L's! |
"Some three L's you were talking something about…stopped when Mamaji came…say now, please."
"O yes, dear."
"Well, attention please. L, first, stands for: Learn from Past! Yes dear, of us one and all, the gone dead Past is the living Great Teacher. And, mind you, your personal Past is the Teacher greater still. Yes, be its true pupil. And 'Let your past make you better, not bitter (Unknown).'"
"Good Uncle, L second…what for?"
"Dear; L second stands for: Live in Present! 'Today is the Tomorrow we worried about Yesterday (Unknown)'. Yes, Present is the time for action for achievement. Even if your Past is somehow somewhat wasted, waste not any moments of Present. And never let your chores off from Present to Future. Instead, do your Past's left ov...|
|Reflections on Modi's Visit to the U.S: What's in it for Kashmir?|
|"Is it true Narendra Modi just boarded a flight to visit India?" Tweeted a critic of Indian Prime Minister's globe-trotting jaunts. "Welcome home, Pradhan Mantriji! How long will you be staying this time?" Modi has already been to 33 countries just this year alone. The Donald Trump of South Asia, the man out to make India great again, a nationalist and sectarian, divisive at home but the man with the grand plan on the global stage, on June 7, 2016 marked his fourth visit to the U.S. since taking office in 2014.
The joint statement of Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India and President Obama on the occasion, noteworthy for its lack of any real substance, in part says, "…the leaders reviewed the deepening strategic partnership between the United States and India that is rooted in sha...|
|Brexit: The long, loud silence|
|Parliament met in London Monday, so that MPs of every party could express their horror and disgust at the murder last Thursday of their colleague Jo Cox, MP for Batley and Spen in West Yorkshire. And on Monday everybody did, including the leaders of the Brexit campaign, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove. But here's the odd thing: up to that point, the Brexit leaders had said nothing about it.
Nothing. Not a word, for more than three days. The political campaign for the referendum next Thursday on Britain's continued membership in the European Union was immediately suspended for two days after Cox's murder, but other politicians didn't go to ground like Johson, Gove and their friends.
Prime Minister David Cameron, the leader of Johnson and Gove's own Conservative Party, Labour Party leader ...|
|Rajan exit no surprise in Modi milieu|
|BJP would prefer a pliant head in RBI|
|The Modi Government, and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in particular would have a sense of relief, with the decision of the globally-acclaimed Dr Raghuram Rajan, Governor of RBI, to return to academia, at the end of his three-year term on September 3, saving them embarrassment from a rejection of extension of his term.
His brief statement on his decision, "after consultation with Government" gives the case away, namely, that Modi Government was not inclined in his favour. Whatever the "good work" done by him, as Mr Jaitley puts in obligingly while also trying to make it appear that it is Dr Rajan's decision which Government "respects". The Finance Minister added that decision on Dr Rajan's successor would be announced shortly,
Dr Rajan's announcement late on Saturday afternoon came as n...|
|Mamata has galvanized state administration|
|Common people are getting quick benefits|
|Even her worst critics concede this: whatever her other drawbacks (and there are many!), West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has galvanised the usually somnolent state administration at all levels during 2011-16, her first tenure.
She achieved this the hard way, following a punishing work schedule herself and involving Government employees, too -- not an easy job in Bengal! In the process she earned some unpopularity among her staff, especially among the laggards. But her approach did ensure her success among millions of commoners who could see conditions improve. As her second term in power begins, senior government officials and employees remain apprehensive that she will be just as exacting as a taskmaster as before.
Confirming their fears, Ms Banerjee has already addressed he...|
|Election reform needs serious thinking|
|The last round of Assembly elections has revived two important issues that have defied solution so far. One is the feasibility of holding a one-day poll, instead of stretching it over months, and combining elections to the Lok Sabha and state legislatures to save time and money. The other is the all important question of curbing the use of money power to influence the outcome of elections and strictly enforce the statutory limits on candidates' expenditure. The abominable practice of purchasing votes -- the richer and more influential a candidate, better are the chances of his winning, as the recent Rajya Sabha elections have shown needs to be curbed.
Both these issues, discussed from time to time, are alive on the Election Commissions agenda Political parties, divided on a one-day pol...|
|Bengal opposition still unsettled|
|Debate over Congress continues|
|Over the next few months, the CPI(M) in West Bengal will function at two levels: it will continue to lead the Left Front (LF) and carry out agitations on different issues with its allies, the CPI, the Forward Bloc(FB) and the RSP, without involving the Congress.
However, it will also appeal to the Congress to join its proposed larger combination with parties like the JD(U), the RJD and the NCP, on an issue-to-issue basis.
LF Chairman Biman Basure affirmed the CPI(M)'s commitment to its allies at an acrimonious LF meeting recently. CPI, FB and RSP leaders sharply attacked their larger LF partner for allegedly forcing an unnatural alliance with the Congress for the 2016 state Assembly polls. The somewhat hastily crafted new arrangement, they said, neither inspired the opposition, nor me...|
|Greater scope for Work Ethics|
|The pulse of organic life in this motherly universe starts ticking as soon as it is created from unicellular to multicellular form. With this the work of a being with itself and its surroundings is triggered. As we grow from a child to adult and then to advanced age this work takes several forms of development. At each above life-stage, different development strategies unbundle, and more than often get influenced from where we are born and in which environment the growth takes place. In other words, our work is our actions we take to muddle through this world successfully or not so successfully, truthfully or untruthfully. Our self-development or that of any institution we work for, by any means would be static if we don't back our strategies, plans and ideas with credible actions. Like s...|
|Of Anantnag Assembly By-polls|
|Anantnag is going to pool on June 22, 2016. Mehbooba Mufti, the Chief Minister of the state Jammu and Kashmir is going to contest the Anantnag Assembly seat. Political analysts and commentators are divided on her decision to contest the seat. The political environment of the state is considered unfavorable for People's Democratic Party (PDP) and Mehbooba Mufti. It is argued that there is anti-PDP and Mehbooba, wave in Kashmir. However, there are opinions that political uncertainties in the state especially in the Kashmir valley are on collective cause and issues; while as people participate in elections for their personal and subjective issues and interests.
The sudden death of former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, on January 2016, created political impasse i...|
|VIEW FROM THE GALLERY|
|Farmers denied fair price but middle man make fortunes|
|India is a land of contradictions and no section of society or economy is immune from it. We are a poor country, but allow thirty percent of fruits and vegetables produced in the country go waste because we don't have enough storage capacity to preserve them. In season price offered by traders for tomatoes is ridiculously low. During periods of scarcity price touch a high of Rs 100 per kilo making fortunes for middle men.
This is not limited to tomatoes. It is true in case of items like onions, fresh vegetables and fruits. The present Government has talked of doubling the income of farmers in a short period, but no one has bothered to create infrastructure like cold storages to ensure that farmers get a reasonable price for their produce. It is no secret that price paid to farmers or or...|
|India must lead from the front at BRICS Summit in October|
|Major economic issues should dominate agenda|
|India has a big opportunity to show its leadership capability to address the major economic issues facing the world at the 8th BRICS summit in Goa on October 15 and 16 this year. As the Chairman of the BRICS-Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa group for the year 2016, India is the host of the summit and it can sponsor a number of proposals which will help in giving a new dimension to the course of economic collaboration among the BRICS group members. At the last Ufa summit in 2015, a number of important proposals were discussed and India has adopted the theme of the Goa summit as Building Responsive, Inclusive and Collective Solutions.
Indications so far suggest that during its chairmanship of BRICS in 2016, India would adopt a five pronged approach- institutionalising to furth...|