This is the world today

Ambedkar’s armies

Saharanpur’s Bhim Army is part of the tradition of organisations for the self-defence and cultural assertion of the Dalit community

Raja Sekhar Vundru |JUNE 09 2017

The Bhim Army in Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh has brought movements of Dalit assertion to the forefront once again. In fact, it is being seen as an alternative politics for the community. However, the outfit is, in fact, one in a long line of pan-Indian Ambedkarite assertions. Coinciding with B.R. Ambedkar’s 77th birth anniversary in 1968, the Bhim Sena was born in Gulbarga, Karnataka, created by an Ambedkarite Dalit leader in the Nizam’s Hyderabad, B. Shyam Sunder. Bhim Sena was a volunteers corps, seeking equality and self-defence. Soon, it was able to strike terror amidst the perpetrators of atrocities against Dalits. Shyam Sunder was Khusro-e-Decaan,


Across the aisle: CSO calls the government’s bluff

I have been making the arguments for weeks — that the government has totally failed to address the issues of declining investment as a proportion of GDP; sluggish credit growth; and non-creation of new jobs. These trends were visible in early- and mid-2016.


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There are three kinds of people who claim to have some knowledge of the state of the economy — economists, quacks and students of economics. I believe I am a student learning economics every day since Eco 101 in 1967-68. Most of my learning was on the job as Commerce Minister or Finance Minister.

My first teacher was Dr Simon Kuznets. I am proud to count among my teachers Dr Manmohan Singh, Dr C Rangarajan, Mr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Dr Venugopal Reddy, Dr Bimal Jalan, Dr Parthasarathy Shome, Dr Saumitra Chowdhury, Dr Jahangir…


No tears for Ummer Fayaz

A human shield in Kashmir received voluble support. A slain soldier did not


Recently, two Kashmiri men were assaulted. One man was tied to an army jeep and paraded about villages, labelled — via a placard — a stone-pelter. The other man lost his life. The first man, understandably traumatised, received an outpouring of support, angry editorials, incensed articles, TV outrage, online fury. The other man received barely a tweet. There hangs a tale.

By now, the story of Budgam’s shawl weaver, Farooq Ahmed Dar, who stepped out to vote on April 9 and found himself strapped to an army jeep, is well-known. Anyone with a…THE INDIAN EXPRESS

The real beneficiary

Aadhaar doesn’t empower people, only the state


Ironically, in the week that the UIDAI revealed its draconian face, serving a legal notice to those who exposed flaws in the Aadhaar eco-system, Ajay Pandey (CEO, UIDAI), wrote, “The critics tend to forget that Aadhaar empowers the people, not the state” (‘Criticisms Without Aadhaar’, IE, May 13). However, government data reveals that Pandey is wrong to believe that “Aadhaar empowers the people”.

Peddling long-debunked assertions on savings as facts without any proof is an old UIDAI strategy. Pandey’s strongest claim, “an independent study by the World Bank”, reportedly estimates that “Aadhaar can potentially save Rs 72,000 crore every year…


An Anti-farmer Proposal

Suggestion to tax agricultural income shows gap between policy makers, farmers

pune civic elections


K.C TYAGI | MAY 31 2017

When the farming community across the country lives in precarious conditions, certain statements by members of the Niti Aayog have shocked farmers. The opinion of the members is even more important as the PM presides over the Niti Aayog. The suggestion of bringing agricultural income into the income tax structure was proposed by a Niti Aayog member: Bibek Debroy recently said that the number of taxpayers must be increased by eliminating exemptions on agricultural income. According to him, the removal of exemptions on personal income tax and bringing agriculture under the tax net will increase the government’s revenue. This recommendation is part of a 15-year perspective plan circulated among the states at the Niti Aayog’s governing council meeting.

Fully aware of its sensitivity, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had to issue a statement from Moscow; he had to clarify that there is no intention on the government’s part


Modi Government Seeks To Impose A Food Code On Indians


The attempts to impose a food code on Indians by the saffron brigade has now been taken forward by the central government in the form of an atrocious amendment to the Rules under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. Issued on May 25, on the eve of the celebrations of the completion of three years of the Modi Government, it symbolizes the irrational and warped priorities of this government.

As has been widely reported, the notification number 396, called Regulation on Livestock Rules 2017, imposes a ban on sale of cattle for slaughter all across India. Cattle in this notification are defined as bulls, cows, bullocks, buffaloes, steers, heifers, calves and camels.

What are the implications and consequences of this notification?

The jurisdiction to decide on policies related to a ban on cattle slaughter lies with the state governments. It is for this reason that in January this year, a bench headed by the Chief Justice…NDTV

The Problem Isn’t Food Stamps, It’s Poverty


Food stamps work. Each month they help feed 43 million poor and low-income Americans, most in families with children and working parents. Food stamps, officially the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, keep millions of people from falling into poverty each year and prevent millions of poor people, many disabled or elderly, from falling deeper into poverty.

They also improve the future prospects of poor children by fostering better health and graduation rates.

Benefits average only $1.40 per person per meal, ineligible recipients are rare and incorrect payments are few. Into the bargain, food stamps support the farm economy and the broader economy by creating a bigger market for…THE NEW YORK TIMES

Stop All The Clocks

Leila Seth wanted to be here, push back at the evil of the day, be part of the healing


Why does every one want me to write about Leila Seth: What do I want to share? Nothing really. She was life’s private gift to me. My private lucky chance friend: Valued all the more because she had come to me so late in my life and I into hers. I want to hold her in my heart without having to give away any part of her.

Why do we use moments of loss to acknowledge so much that we willingly ignore in life? Why does she have to be forced, through more and more words, into some devised pantheon of the greatest and goodest when it is enough to be just good. God knows it’s hard enough.

I don’t know if she was wiser than Portia, I only know she was a slow, deliberate and thoughtful judge. The first time I came before her was in a custody matter where the husband had played every dirty trick in the book to get a five-year-old away from his mother. She spent a long time with the child in chambers to arrive at…


Look at the facts of demonetisation, not politics

Six months later, it is clear that it achieved next to nothing, and inflicted a large cost on the poor and the informal sector.

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It was six months ago, on November 8, that India hit the headlines the world over, with its sudden demonetisation. It was announced in the evening that, at the stroke of the midnight hour, all bank notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 would cease to be legal tender. People would have the option, till December 30, to deposit these notes in the bank or change them for other notes, including newly-minted 500 and 2000 rupees.

Since then, a wealth of analysis and data have become available. Demonetisation’s half-anniversary is a good time to take stock of this historic decision. The verdict is clear. It was a monetary policy blunder. It achieved next to nothing, and inflicted a large cost on the poor and the informal sector.

India’s GDP growth rate of around 7 per cent over 2016-17 is commendable; tribute goes to policy initiatives such as the GST and the new bankruptcy law. However, these policies, coupled with two global trends, should have propelled India to a…


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