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Across the aisle: Monumental mismanagement


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| DECEMBER 04 2016 |

Dr Manmohan Singh is a man of few words. He speaks softly and is careful not to offend anyone. These, in my view, are excellent attributes of a leader but, in a loud and raucous democracy, they are regarded as failings. Our democracy is poorer for encouraging lung power. Our debates are poorer because fact and logic are overwhelmed by falsehood and rhetoric.

Dr Singh spoke in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday, November 24, 2016. He spoke for barely seven minutes, softly, haltingly, almost apologetically for intruding into the business of the House! He said that in the implementation…THE INDIAN EXPRESS

Rabindranath Tagore in 1908: ‘I will never allow patriotism to triumph over humanity as long as I live’

Aniruddha Ghoshal | DECEMBER 02 2016

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In 1908, Rabindranath Tagore wrote a letter to his friend, A M Bose, and said, “Patriotism can’t be our final spiritual shelter. I will not buy glass for the price of diamonds and I will never allow patriotism to triumph over humanity as long as I live.” Three years after he wrote this letter — part of Selected Letters of Rabindranath Tagore, published by Cambridge University Press in 1997 — his composition, Jana Gana Mana, was sung for the first time at the Calcutta session of the Congress. Now, 105 years later, as a Supreme Court bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Amitava Roy makes it mandatory for movie halls to play Jana Gana Mana and for people present to stand up as part of their “sacred obligation” to the national anthem, Tagore’s composition has come to symbolise nationalism — something the Nobel laureate was not only critical of, but had famously described as “carnivorous and cannibalistic”.

Recently, Trinamool Congress MP Sugata Bose said in Parliament, “I sometimes fear that those who are defining nationalism so narrowly will end up one day describing…THE INDIAN EXPRESS


Class over caste in Gujarat




|DECEMBER 1 2016 |

Three leaders representing three different caste groups have decided to join hands in Gujarat: Sedition-charged Hardik Patel, who will soon be allowed to return to the state after six months in “exile”, Dalit activist Jignesh Mewani, who became famous in the post-Una mobilisation and Alpesh Thakor, an OBC leader at the helm of the Gujarat Kshatriya-Thakor Sena. All three have a common target, the BJP government, and a common cause, the fight against the land-related law adopted by the state assembly.

The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Gujarat Amendment) Act (TLARRA), that was passed on the last day of the 2016 budget session and promulgated in August, is identical to the ordinance that the Modi government had issued to dilute the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act that the UPA government had passed in 2013. The 2014 ordinance exempted the state from important provisions of the act, including an official assessment of the “social impact” of any land acquisition and the public consent of 80 per cent of local residents…INDIAN EXPRESS

Does India’s Right Wing Have Any Ideas?


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GOA, India — The three places to which I am connected by birth, origin and marriage — Britain, India and the United States — have now experienced revolutions at the ballot box. In each, an election has revealed that liberal, globalized coastal elites stand at a tremendous remove from heartlands in open revolt. The revolt does not look to the left for inspiration but to the right. Make no mistake: “Liberal” and “left” are now said in the same breath as “corrupt establishment,” and those with torches and pitchforks are nativists, populists and nationalists of every stripe.

In India, the left lost the battle. But this month, at what was described as “a conclave of ideas” organized by the Hindu right, I was reminded of a simple…THE NEW YORK TIMES

Team Modi Must Plan For These 4 Big Disruptors To The Economy


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When the Modi government assumed office, it assured the nation that it would create 250 million jobs over the next ten years. This works out to 25 million or 2.5 crore jobs per year. Vajpayee had similarly promised the creation of one crore jobs per year and we had ended up doing better than that. The present government is in the middle of its term and a mid-term review will be useful for the government also.

Image result for MONEY CARTOONThe latest figures of job creation released by the Labour Bureau of the government of India show that in the last quarter of 2015, there was actually a decline in job creation by 20,000 jobs. In the previous quarter, the figure of new jobs created stood at 1.34 lakh, in itself one of the lowest in the last six years. The total number of jobs created in 2015 stood at 1.35 lakh jobs only, compared to 4.93 lakh in the previous year and a high of 12.56 lakh in 2009.

Considering that figures of employment generation become available with a considerable lag in our system, one has to depend on other sources to glean these figures. Care Ratings recently carried out a survey of 1,072 companies in India to find out how many jobs were created by them. This figure is most discouraging and generally tallies with the Labour…NDTV

Across the aisle: No jobs, no credit growth, no private investments


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| NOVEMBER 27 2016

I made a list of the economic concerns of the average citizen, then I struck out each concern that was not as important as the remaining concerns. Ultimately, I was left with three and there was no way the list could be pruned further. In my view, the most pressing concerns that are uppermost in everyone’s mind are: jobs, credit growth and investment. The past is the view in the rear mirror — noticed but unalterable. The present is represented by the demand for jobs and for credit. The future lies in investments made today and in the following days.

Jobless growth

‘Jobs’ is a good starting point. Almost everyone is either employed or self-employed. The employed earn a wage or salary, the self-employed earn an income. The data on jobs created in the last 30 months is stark, revealing and worrying. I cannot do better than quote the words of a former finance minister: “Fresh job creation continues to suffer…INDIAN EXPRESS

Jakarta’s violent identity crisis: behind the vilification of Chinese-Indonesians

A protest by hardline Muslims against Chinese-Indonesian governor Ahok this month turned violent.

A protest by hardline Muslims against Chinese-Indonesian governor Ahok this month turned violent. Photograph: Oscar Siagian/Getty | PICTURE FROM GUARDIAN, UK


Chinese-Indonesians – estimated to make up 1% to 4% of the country’s 250 million people – have had an impact on Jakarta which is vastly disproportionate to their physical numbers. The economic success of the group’s small elite has led to repeated bouts of resentment, discrimination and even violent assaults.

Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnam, a Chinese-Indonesian known as Ahok, has proven that despite a history of political exclusion, high office is also achievable. He is running for election in February.

Yet a racially charged anti-Ahok protest this month has forced Jakarta to confront whether the minority has truly been accepted after three sometimes prosperous – but always uncertain – centuries.

A mini market was raided in a Chinese-Indonesian neighbourhood, bringing back painful memories of riots in 1998 in which more than 1,000 were killed.

Sibarani Sofian, an urban development specialist, says the city has since been divided into pro and anti-Ahok factions. While he is ethnic Chinese, he prefers the term Tionghoa, which means “of Chinese descent” and attempts to avoid assumptions of links…




A patient walks with a relative at the Palliative care center of the Moscow Healthcare Department.VALERY SHARIFULIN/TASS/GETTY

After an ambulance ride down potholed roads, Rún was placed in a hospital ward with moldy walls, filthy sheets and screaming nurses who crudely administered an intravenous drip. In the hospital’s corridors, patients sat or lay on grimy floors.

But it was the hospital’s restrooms that shocked her most. “The floor was soaking wet and muddy, and the toilet was jammed full of urine and feces,” she wrote in a blog post, since deleted, about what she called her “nightmare” in Penza. Holding her sweater over her nose to keep out the stench, Rún tried not to touch anything in the restroom: “The sink was full of blood,” she wrote.

After doctors suggested carrying out an operation to “make sure” her internal organs were “working properly,” Rún decided to leave. It later turned out she had been suffering from heartburn. Rún declined to discuss her hospital stay with Newsweek, but Icelandic and Russian media widely reported the story. “A foreign woman in a Russian hell” was how Ilya Varlamov, a well-known Moscow-based blogger, described the dancer’s experience.

Others saw it differently. “It’s possible it was difficult for her to adapt after hospitals in Iceland,” said Dmitry Zinovev, the head doctor at the Penza hospital. He suggested the much-discussed blog post was a deliberate attempt to discredit Russian medical facilities…NEWSWEEK

Plenty Of Emotion, But Not Logic, From Modi On Notes Ban

Post the currency ban the Prime Minister has chosen to use emotion as a substitute for logic in his justification for a policy decision which has resulted in an unprecedented meltdown of the economy, described by some as a financial emergency affecting all sections of the working people.

Days after announcing the ban on 500 and 1,000-rupee notes, he choked up addressing a public meeting in Goa when he said that he had left his hearth and home to serve the country. He would have been closer to the truth had he said that for most of his life, he has exclusively served the RSS, but no matter, the PM’s emotions were centre stage. Yesterday, those who attended the parliamentary meeting of the BJP also described his speech as being “emotional” after which the parliamentary party passed a resolution “unanimously” hailing his “crusade against black money.”

Why was this necessary at all? Did the leadership suspect that some of its own flock were wavering because of the contraindications of the emotions being expressed by their constituents? In any case, presumably the PM was gratified with the support he received

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