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PICTURE FROM INDIAN EXPRESS

The Jan Lokpal Bill was accepted by the Congress government in 2013 with amendments and was renamed and passed as the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill.

GAURAV GOGOI | JANUARY 16 2017


With less than a week remaining before the retirement of the former director, the senior most officer in contention for the director’s post was shunted to the Ministry of Home Affairs as a special secretary. The seniormost officer had the requisite experience and was supervising high-profile cases. A Gujarat cadre IPS officer was appointed as interim director. The appointment was questionable because the selection committee was bypassed: The concerned officer’s history indicated that he was chosen by an earlier Gujarat government to probe the Godhra train burning incident. Many allege the appointment of the interim CBI director was deliberate. The alleged aim was to postpone the meeting of the selection committee to a date after January 4, 2017; after January 4, 2017, a new CJI took over.

Similar rumours cropped up when the appointment of the director to the Enforcement Directorate came up. The post had become vacant in 2015 and for an…THE INDIAN EXPRESS

What we need to guard

Fundamental rights are no gifts of the state, the Constitution only confirms their existence.

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SOLI J. SORABJEE | JANUARY 12 2017


Our freedom fighters and members of the Constituent Assembly who drafted free India’s Constitution attached great importance to fundamental rights. They did not subscribe to the fallacy that fundamental rights are a gift from the state to its citizens. They rightly believed that individuals possess basic human rights independently of any Constitution by reason of the fact that they are members of the human family. A Constitution does not “confer” fundamental rights. It confirms their existence and accords them protection. That is the rationale of fundamental rights.

A controversial issue is whether a court can deduce additional fundamental rights which are not expressly set out in the Constitution. The US Supreme Court has deduced rights of privacy and parenthood on the reasoning that the specific guarantees in the Bill of Rights “have penumbras formed by emanations from those…THE INDIAN EXPRESS

Why have India’s Reds now lost their wit?

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CARTOON FROM OUTLOOKINDIA via Google


Many of them spoke of the times they spent in jail and life when they went into hiding and were underground for months.

JAVED NAQVI | JANUARY 11 2017

It is their unalloyed universality that attracted us. Be they Buddha or Marx, Ghalib or Neruda, the Beatles or Frantz Fanon, in my younger days, there were people who could connect the absurdly diverse checkpoints of life, in which hope and justice were arterial. And these magical people were none other than the old-fashioned, wise and unassuming Communists.

They smoked cigarettes, or cigars after Che and Castro. And they read the newspapers scrupulously. Not unusually, they visited the libraries and scoured the archives to endorse or challenge their knowledge. They went to the villages and joined gate meetings at factories to test their ideas about change. They enjoyed theatre and mushairas. They easily toggled between good music and deafening coffee house debates, which could occasionally send a sworn right-winger home with a thought to mull over.

They knew how to drink but never allowed a cosy moment to interrupt their carefully curated quest for a just world. Many of them spoke of the times they spent in jail and life when they went into hiding and were underground for months. It was a delight to hear them speak to each other. It was a learning –THE DECCAN CHRONICLE

Central To The Market

Long-term investments in social sector are essential for growth, political stability.

Pranjul Bhandari | JANUARY 11 2017

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CARTOON FROM INDIAN EXPRESS via Google


The so-called social sector is not just for soft hearts; it’s a hard fact that it can create much-needed jobs and boost economic growth.

Financial markets and macro economists often look upon health, education and the wider social sector as a side show. They believe these services are a desirable “public good” but not central to markets, growth or even a stable economy. We believe this is wrong. Look carefully. Health and education play a vital role in the economy in more ways than you can imagine. Let’s start with what’s going to hit us as 2017 begins — the central government budget. India made great strides in 2015 when it channeled the extra fiscal resources made available by falling oil prices towards higher capital spending (roads, rails and bank recapitalisation). These kinds of things do much more for growth than so-called current spending, such as subsidies, because the benefits last for years. And indeed, through the year…THE INDIAN EXPRESS

With Trump and Putin, Europe is now between a rock and a hard place

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Natalie Nougayrède | JANUARY 2017

European uncertainty over the US president-elect’s strategy will make it easier for Russia to exploit cracks in EU solidarity

European capitals have been busy sending discreet emissaries to New York to sound out Donald Trump’s intentions. Angela Merkel, who on 9 November delivered a blunt warning to the US president-elect, sent her close adviser Christoph Heusgen to meet General Michael Flynn, the new national security adviser, in late December. François Hollande, who commented during Trump’s campaign that it made him want to “throw up”, sent his diplomatic adviser, Jacques Audibert. Now Theresa May has announced that she will travel to Washington to meet Trump directly in the spring. But European leaders are still at a loss as to what to expect from the man – hardly surprising when major foreign policy pronouncements are made via Twitter. “We’re in another world” one German official recently told me, after pointing to how closely Merkel had worked with Obama on Ukraine and other issues…THE GUARDIAN, UK

So many Shivajis

The 17th century Maratha king has been appropriated by diverse politicians for their gain. But in the hands of different interest groups, he has acquired several personas

GIRISH KUBER | JANUARY 05 2017

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi  performing a bhoomipoojan of the Rs 3,600 crore Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj statue, to come up in the Arabian Sea off Mumbai’s coast, was much more than the BJP’s current appropriate-national-heroes spree. The unstated aim behind the exercise could also be to market “Bharatiya” leaders versus those from “India”, such as Jawaharlal Nehru. But the question is, why does everybody these days love Chhatrapati Shivaji?

The 17th century Maratha king had many facets. Political parties of all hues, from red to saffron, have selectively picked one to further their agenda. The Left loves Shivaji’s pro-farmer, pro-poor image whereas the BJP likes to portray him as anti-THE INDIAN EXPRESS

India still has many shades, there is no one opinion

India hasn’t become a “Versus nation”, a place of polarity. If you live your life online or watch too much television news, shades of grey will be banished. But India holds multiple views and applies them contextually.

PATRICK FRENCH | JANUARY 04 2017


 

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I began 2016 on the edge of the desert in rural Rajasthan, and spent the closing days of this stark and often surprising year in the hills of rural Uttarakhand, with the plains falling away to one side and the mountains rising on the other. Away from Delhi and connectivity, at least 24 hours behind the times, and ignorant of all sorts of up-to-the-minute happenings about the capital’s politics and indeed about the world itself, I was struck by the possibilities of shading and nuance, and by the absence of obvious social antagonism and rage in the many villages of India.

Black and white — strict opinions expressed online in pithy bullets of zeroes and ones — were not part of the conversation. There were ancient and hidden feuds, to be sure, perhaps with a neighbour, a sibling, a shopkeeper, but they were not the stuff of day-to-day interaction. There were new frustrations too, principally over notebandi, since in this part of the hills, there was almost no cash available, forcing…THE INDIAN EXPRESS

We live with violent opposites, nuance is dead, so is dissent

The farce of TV “debates” shows us in the grip of matched opposites, good versus evil, black versus white. There is little civilised discourse. No question is open. This is the age of the slogan — and outright violence.

ALOK RAI | JANUARY 04 2016

 

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Is there a way back from this brink, this cacophonous desert of radical contrariety in which we find ourselves? Frankly, I’m not hopeful. Illustration: C R Sasikumar / PICTURE FROM INDIAN EXPRESS


“It was the best of times,” Dickens’s novel famously opens, “it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us… in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received…in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

The similarity to our own noisy time — here, now — is too obvious to be missed. The clamorous farce that passes for TV “debate” is an eloquent illustration of our predicament, in which we are in the grip of matched opposites, good versus evil, monster versus saint, nationalism versus sedition, black versus white. Both the poles of these dichotomous complementarities are clung to so vociferously that there is little possibility of civilised discourse. We are being hustled into a world of…THE INDIAN EXPRESS

America Becomes a Stan

I know that many people are still trying to convince themselves that the incoming administration will govern normally, despite the obviously undemocratic instincts of the new commander in chief and the questionable legitimacy of the process that brought him to power.

PAUL KRUGMAN | JANUARY 02 2017

We are, after all, about to hand over power to a man who has spent his whole adult life trying to build a cult of personality around himself; remember, his “charitable” foundation spent a lot of money buying a six-foot portrait of its founder. Meanwhile, one look at his Twitter account is enough to show that victory has done nothing to slake his thirst for ego gratification. So we can expect lots of self-aggrandizement once he’s in office. I don’t think it will go as far as gold-plated statues, but really, who knows?

Meanwhile, with only a couple of weeks until Inauguration Day, Donald Trump has done nothing substantive to reduce the unprecedented — or, as he famously wrote on Twitter, “unpresidented” — conflicts of interest created by his business empire. Pretty clearly, he never will — in fact, he’s already in effect using political office to enrich himself, with some of the…THE NEW YORK TIMES

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