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Dodgy economics of the rural boom - Mint
The resurgence in rural incomes over the past decade seems to have been the greatest success of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. Buoyant rural consumption has partly absorbed the negative impact of slowing urban consumption on the economy. Yet, there are early signs of warning that the rural economy may be running out of steam after years of steady growth. The UPA’s neglect of rural investments in favour of short-term palliatives to prop up consumption could impose a heavy toll on rural India now.
1984: A reckoning awaits - Minhaz Merchant, Times of India
Arvind Kejriwal has demanded a Special Investigation Team (SIT) be set up to probe the genocide of Sikhs in 1984 following Indira Gandhi’s assassination. Rahul Gandhi in his interview to Arnab Goswami on TimesNow said “some Congressmen may have been involved” in the genocide. Clearly, the 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom deserves far more media, public and legal scrutiny than it has received. Let me quote from a piece I wrote on these pages on September 3, 2012 to provide the background to the genocide.
Bare facts of Khursheed Anwar case - Madhu Purnima Kishwar, Manushi
Let me state at the outset that till 19 September 2013 I had never heard the name of ISD (Institute of Social Democracy) or its Director Khurshid Anwar. I am deeply saddened by his death and wish to extend my heartfelt condolences to his family. But since wild allegations have been made against me, I do need to put the record straight. The first time I heard Khursheed Anwar’s name and got to know of ISD was on 19 September 2013 when seven members including the alleged rape victim of recently formed NGO called Boond came to my office.
RBI & the Rupee: Own goals, broken limbs and band-aids - Rajeev Malik, Bus Std
It has been anything but a boring summer for Indian policy makers. The preference for a desperate orthodox (IMF-style?) interest rate defence of the rupee hints that they have been feeling the heat despite the cooling effect of a good monsoon. It also suggests that they are running out of lasting, non-disruptive and inexpensive options.
A contrived hyphenation - Jaideep A Prabhu, Centre Right India
For decades, it has been an article of faith in Washington’s South Asia policy that India and Pakistan form the key rivalrous dyad in the region. By implication, India’s fear of China is misplaced and Delhi’s nuclear programme, its continued development of longer ranged ballistic missiles, and nuclear submarines, antagonises Beijing while hindering reconciliation with Islamabad. The brief gap in such thinking during the George W. Bush administration, when the United States offered India a deal on civilian nuclear cooperation, has since been sealed again.
BJP don’t give up on Bengal - Saswati Sarkar, CentreRightIndia
It is an irony of history that BJP has all but disappeared from Bengal, the birth place of its ideological founder. The quest for political alternative in Bengal may however provide an opportunity for its resurrection. As it turns out Bengal has encountered a comprehensive decline, be it in governance, administration, law and order, industrial growth, infrastructure, education or health care.
Bhagwati vs Sen: The economics behind the politics of 2014 - Niranjan Rajadhyaksha, Mint
Bhagwati versus Sen may not have the same resonance as Modi versus Gandhi, but behind the political fight scheduled for 2014 is a duel of economic ideologies. The protagonists of this cerebral combat are Jagdish Bhagwati and Amartya Sen, without a shred of doubt two of the finest Indian economists ever.
Delhi on Kabul: All bluster, no bite - Sumit Ganguly, AsianAge
India’s ministry of external affairs has now formally rebuffed Afghanistan’s request for the transfer of lethal weaponry arguing that it is neither able nor willing to meet such a request. There may well be sound political or strategic reasons underlying this demurral.
Losing currency - Ila Patnaik, Indian Express
The sharp decline in the value of the rupee in recent days has led to a clamour for the government to do something. But there are few easy options available. RBI intervention is likely to have limited impact in the face of the huge pressure on the rupee caused by global capital movements.
How Modi undoes the political math - Pranab Dhal Samanta, Indian Express
His mere presence has sent parties scrambling away from the middle ground, rushing to occupy the 'secular' space. Could the BJP turn this to its advantage? The power of perception is central to any political space. And, it's not just about constructing an image...
Missing the woods for the trees - Deepak S Parekh, Financial Express
Today, India’s growth rate is recovering, but at a slow pace. Clearly, India is not immune to global economic turmoil, but much of India’s problems were brought upon itself. However, today there is more certainty that the worst is probably behind us and that India will slowly get back to its former growth trajectory.
In the age of the Internet, everyone is a journalist - Jeff Jarvis, Guardian
When Bradley Manning's defense attorneys wanted someone to explain journalism to the court trying him, they did not call on a journalist, they called on a legal scholar and expert in networks: Yochai Benkler, co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard and author of The Wealth of Networks.
India, US: Let us get down to some big business - Nancy J Powell, Economic Times
On July 12, the United States of America will host the US-India CEO Forum. This annual meeting of government and industry was launched by President George W Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2005 and is designed to enhance bilateral trade and strengthen economic cooperation between our companies and our people. We look to the forum to develop new approaches in enhancing the economic and people-topeople ties that drive our bilateral relationship, and that have already led to $100 billion in bilateral trade along with significant increases in employment and cultural engagement. 
When did Centre abandon Ram? - K N Bhat, AsianAge
Last Saturday, when Amit Shah, BJP national general secretary and in-charge of Uttar Pradesh for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, told reporters, “I have prayed that we together build a grand Ram temple in Ayodhya as soon as possible and restore Lord Ram to his rightful place,” there were frenzied reactions and comments by self-appointed secularists, and this was reflected in the media as if a heinous offence had been committed.
Food Bill: Amartya Sen’s charlatan economics debunked - R Jagannathan, FirstPost
Amartya Sen, the intellectual patron of many of the UPA’s economic follies, of which the latest – the Food Security Bill – is on the cusp of ruining things further, deserves to be debunked. Once lauded for his work on famine and hunger, Sen today is a practitioner of charlatan economics that has very little to do with helping the poor.
Rupee's slide: Some band aid - Indian Express
The RBI and SEBI have taken a number of measures to curb the size of the rupee market. In a large and liquid market, the RBI's intervention has little impact. So the RBI has taken steps to reduce its size. Now when it intervenes, its intervention will have greater impact. It can shore up the rupee and make it stronger for some time. But will the RBI's moves have an enduring effect?
UPA: A story of destructive governance - Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Indian Express
First, the UPA came for the roads sector. They destroyed contracting. They slowed down road construction. They left highways half built. We did not speak out. After all, the only reason the NDA could have started the golden quadrilateral is because they wanted to spread Hindutva.
When expedience trumps expertise - Ramachandra Guha, Hindu
In the early 1980s, while doing research on the environmental history of Uttarakhand, I sometimes visited the library of the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology in Dehradun. Most of the journals in the library dealt with geology and earth sciences, but there were a few on conservation policy relevant to my work. One day, the librarian pointed to a man with glasses leafing though some journals. ‘Valdiya Saheb ayé hain, Nainital sé’, he said.
Unintelligent way to handle intelligence - Gautam Mukherjee, Pioneer
There is not much one can say to a Government which is nearly at the end of its tenure. But the new regime, hopefully an NDA one, must restore the dignity of our intelligence and security apparatus. From time to time politicians tend to sharply subvert the working of the nation’s intelligence agencies to achieve narrow political purposes. Rajiv Gandhi, protected with crack SPG troops when Prime Minister, with every intelligence mechanism watching him, was killed on the campaign trail when he was out of power.
For a manufacturing revolution - Amitabh Kant, Times of India
The world's largest contract electronics manufacturer, Foxconn, is holding trade union "elections" at its gigantic factories in China which employ 1.2 million workers. This is a radical change demanded by an increasingly restive workforce. The company had moved from Taiwan to Shenzhen at the end of the 1980s. They are beginning to reverse the process and are now opening factories in Brazil and Indonesia.
Food security act: A recipe for disaster - Uttam Gupta, Financial Express
The Cabinet has approved promulgation of an ordinance to give effect to the Food Security Act (FSA). Far from providing food security, the Act will crack at its very foundation. The FSA guarantees availability of 5 kg of cereals per person per month at R3 per kg rice, R2 per kg wheat and R1 per kg coarse cereals to 67% of India’s population (75% rural and 50% urban).
4 reasons to let rupee be - Ajay Shah, Economic Times
Nifty and the rupee are the two most important numbers telling us how India is faring. We may not like the message, but we should not attack the messenger. At a time like this, what India needs most is risk-taking speculative capital: blocking this capital is not in our interests. We are a mostlyopen middle-income economy with a floating exchange rate — but our policymaking capacity is still designed for the old India.
Shrinking India - Shankar Acharya, Business Standard
Yes, the Gandhi-Singh government appears to have achieved this through its disappointingly bad economic and social policies. The toxic brew of fiscal populism, crony capitalism and bad economic management has ensured the collapse of economic growth, industrial stagnation, stubbornly high consumer inflation, declining savings and investment, shrinking employment opportunities, and a dangerously vulnerable external financing situation.
Open parties to public scrutiny - Amrita Joshi, Anjali Bhardwaj & Shekhar Singh, Times of India
The government's widely reported intention to promulgate an ordinance to nullify a recent order of the Central Information Commission (CIC) confirming that six national political parties are subject to the Right to Information Act, is condemnable on many counts. It is also amusing that the government proposes to bring in an ordinance, bypassing Parliament, even on a matter that seems to have the support of all major political parties.
Quattrocchi’s death brings no closure to India’s ‘open secret’ - Venky Vembu, FirstPost
Former Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao, it was often said, could speak 13 languages – and remain silent in all of them. When one of India’s foremost journalists, who had a convivial relationship with him, entreated him to reveal some of the sensational political dope that he’d accumulated in a long political career, Narasimha Rao is known to have patted his tummy – and said that the “secrets” that he had ingested would die with him.
An unfair tirade against Modi - Venkat Goli, Hindu
Perhaps, as Chairperson of Prasar Bharati, Mrinal Pande has not read the Prasar Bharati (Broadcasting Corporation of India) Act, 1990. Section 12 under “Functions and Powers of Corporation” states: “safeguarding the citizen’s right to be informed freely, truthfully and objectively on all matters of public interest, national or international, and presenting a fair and balanced flow of information including contrasting views without advocating any opinion or ideology of its own.”
The Exit of the Middle Class - Sandipan Deb, Mint
It has now become the rule. Any conversation with friends, when it turns to the state of Indian polity and governance, quickly degenerates into either despair or derision. Of course, middle-class disenchantment is hardly new. But in recent times, I do believe it has grown to fierce proportions.
An overdue cleansing has begun - Soli J Sorabjee, Indian Express
Democracy is a basic feature of our Constitution. The entry of people with colourful criminal antecedents in Parliament or statelegislatures is a menace to our democracy. The figures for criminals in Parliament and state legislatures are staggering. They touch 30 per cent of the members in the Lok Sabha and 31 per cent of members in state legislatures.
How many ordinances are too many? - Mani Gupta & Abhishektripathi, IE
While the merits of the food security law were being debated, the government moved to promulgate the National Food Security Ordinance (hereafter, FSO). Reports suggest that the government also plans to promulgate ordinances to undo a recent Supreme Court verdict on the AICTE's powers to regulate technical education and the CIC order that brings certain political parties within the ambit of the Right to Information law.
Modi does it TIME and again! - BS Raghavan, Business Line
Under the title, “Modi means business — But can he lead India”, it extols the achievements of Modi in such glowing terms as to make any Indian reader and wonder whether it is really all about a State or a politician in his own country. It talks about the State’s phenomenal success story in all-round development, its emergence as the auto-hub of India with an expected capacity of 700,000 cars in 2014, the 24-hour uninterrupted power supply guaranteed to both business enterprises and farmers in the field, and a streamlined and efficient bureaucracy.
Globalised dollar, dollarised world - S Gurumurthy, Business Line
The rupee has been on free fall for 18 months now. From Rs 45 to a dollar in January 2012 to over Rs 60 now — 33 per cent fall. The cause is India's current account deficits for a decade. Economic theory says that borrowing abroad to fund current account deficit and servicing the debt depreciates currencies, causing capital flight. The theory evidently works on the rupee. But, shockingly, it works on the dollar the other way round. Recall the debate in US in 2005 on the issue of current account deficit and dollar value.
Pro-poor or pro-poverty? - Chetan Bhagat, Times of India
Poverty is a terrible thing. There are few things as demeaning to a human being as not having the means to fulfil his basic needs in life. India is one of the poverty havens of the world. We have all heard of India's teeming millions, probably since childhood. While one could blame the British for all our mistakes pre-1947, it has been almost 67 years since they left. We are still one of the poorest nations on earth. Many countries in Asia, which started with similar poverty levels in the 1940s, have progressed faster...
Bangali culture is anti-business! - Gautam Adhikari, Times of India
A growing section of influential global opinion, from international investors to media commentators, is fast losing faith in India’s ability to succeed. Half a decade into the 21st century the country’s image around the world was shining. Its story was not as dizzying as China’s but was exciting nonetheless. Not any more.
Lose-lose - Shekhar Gupta, Indian Express
Precisely at a time for when it had promised a decision-making flourish, the UPA seems missing in action. Some changes have moved, but many others have got stalled. The prime minister hasn't spoken for any of his policies for weeks, and nobody knows for sure where Rahul Gandhi is. Meanwhile, various ministries are fighting among themselves, scuppering reform and FDI increases in their respective areas.
How online ratings are being manipulated? - Priyanka Sharma, Business Standard
On June 10, an angry blog post from a group of 25-year-olds went viral across social media. If the events stated in the post are to be believed, the anonymous author and his/her friends had a nasty experience at popular Gurgaon microbrewery Lemp Brewpub & Kitchen. In the post, the author alleged that the Lemp management refused to honour a scheme...
Emasculation by pseudo-secularisation - Priyadarshi Dutta, Pioneer
Sushilkumar Shinde says he is serious about fighting terror but can’t get Delhi Police to slap traffic charges on Shab-e-Barat revellers. Giving Rohingyas a base and then expecting them to keep their issues out of India is hardly a counter-terrorism policy Just sample these.
Why Modi’s ‘burkha of secularism’ is an apt description - R Jagannathan, FirstPost
Let us, for argument’s sake, accept that Narendra Modi‘s “puppy” and “burkha of secularism” statements were communally insensitive and inappropriate. I am not sure about the puppy analogy, since it can be subject to varied interpretations, but the “burkha” reference was certainly entirely appropriate in the context of what the BJP has been alleging all along about pseudo-secularism, especially when it comes to giving Muslims a free pass into the secular club.
Aurobindo, Vivekananda and Gandhi too oxymorons? - S Gurumurthy, NewIndianExpress
I am nationalist. I’m patriotic. Nothing is wrong. I am born Hindu. Nothing is wrong. So I’m a Hindu nationalist. So yes, you can say I’m a Hindu nationalist because I’m a born Hindu,” The moment Narendra Modi said this in his interview to Reuters last week, the secular hounds set upon him.
Myths surround the new 'food security' law - T N Ninan, Business Standard
Back in the 1980s, the government distributed an average of nearly 16 million tonnes of foodgrain each year through the public distribution system (PDS). The 1990s saw an increase in the PDS throughput to just over 17 million tonnes. The striking change came in the decade of the "noughties", which saw the annual figure climbing to around 20 million tonnes...
Unprepared for anything - Bharat Karnad, NewIndianExpress
There are three unalterable constants when natural and man-made disasters strike in India — there is almost always a prior alert or intelligence report that is ignored, local administration and police and government generally at all levels (local, state, and central) disappear from the scene, and the army fills the breach, the only orderly presence engaged in saving people and restoring a semblance of order.
Puppy or elephant, Modi is 'fair game' - Swapan Dasgupta, Pioneer
The past two days have witnessed a spectacular bout of what rarefied academics love to call ‘inversion’. Those who go all mushy and starry-eyed over their golden retrievers have, in line with obscure theological injunctions, suddenly taken umbrage to the term ‘puppy’; and those who don’t think twice about kicking the first dog they encounter have abruptly taken membership of the SPCA.
The answer to our political discontent - Gurcharan Das, Times of India
Democracy is as depressing in practice as it is uplifting in theory. There have been so many corruption scandals in the past few years but political parties refuse to learn. In Uttar Pradesh, which always leads the country in bad behaviour, workers of the Samajwadi Party are back to their crooked old ways while they settle scores against Dalits. At the centre, the UPA has pushed through a dreadful food security law via an ordinance in a desperate move to shore up its popularity before the coming elections, knowing full well its potential for fraud and waste.
Without quick justice, politics will stay criminalized - Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar, Economic Times
Most people are so outraged by the rising tide of criminals in politics that they will welcome the two latest Supreme Court judgments. One bans any convicted person from contesting elections even if the person has appealed to a higher court. The second bans anybody contesting from jail, even if only in temporary police custody or judicial custody. 
Modernity-by-diktat isn’t going to work - Swapan Dasgupta, Times of India
If drawing room conversations of the past are any indication, I would hazard the guess that the Allahabad High Court’s stay on caste-based rallies is certain to be widely welcomed by India’s metropolitan elite. Ever since misgovernance and corruption were identified as the root causes of India’s inability to live up to its potential, the non-voting classes have been inclined to blame the ills of Indian democracy on caste-based politics. Ashis Nandy actually said that in so many words in this year’s Jaipur Literary Festival, and it got him into a spot of bother with the law.
Back to Indira Gandhi - Tavleen Singh, Indian Express
This piece is being written on a monsoon morning filled with rain and soft shades of grey. The monsoon is so much my favourite season that I enjoy rainy days even in cold, foreign countries to the complete bewilderment of those who live in them.
God in the Secular Age - David Brooks, Indian Express
I might as well tell you upfront that this column is a book report. Since 2007, when it was published, academics have been raving to me about Charles Taylor's A Secular Age. Courses, conferences and symposia have been organised around it, but it is almost invisible outside the academic world because the text is nearly 800 pages of dense, jargon-filled prose.
Modi brings out worst in media charlatans - Kanchan Gupta, Pioneer
Here is some news that broke on Friday, further affirming that the tanking of the Indian economy continues unabated. Industrial production has dipped further, exports are down and retail inflation is up. And here are the specifics: The Index of Industrial Production contracted by 1.6 per cent in May, the lowest factory output in 11 months; the trade figures show 4.6 per cent decline in exports in June; and, retail inflation has jumped to 9.87 per cent largely on account of a steep rise in the prices of vegetables.
A reality check before Congress ad campaign goes ballistic - Shankkar Aiyar, NewIndianExpress
In a few weeks from now, the Congress Party will go ballistic with an ad campaign on its ‘achievements’ during UPA I and UPA II. Estimates vary, but about Rs 500 crore of taxpayers’ money will be deployed to paper over the paralysis that has characterised this regime. Spin masters from the party and persuaders from the ad world will put together a rosy picture. It will not be surprising if the Congress presents happenstance as its achievement.
Like him or hate him, Modi is here to stay - Madhav Nalapat, Sunday Guardian
The only bad news for a politician is no news about him, and nowhere does this adage work better than in the case of Narendra Modi, who has become the focus of rival campaigns, one by his admirers and the other by his traducers. Aware of his pulling power, television channels beam live presentations of the increasing number of speaking engagements that the Gujarat Chief Minister has, especially in the national capital. 
Shashi Tharoor's lies on Kashmir - Rahul Pandita, Open
Shashi Tharoor has an old connection with Kashmir. His first wife, Tilotamma Mukherji, is half-Kashmiri. His current wife, Sunanda, is also from Kashmir. In the past, Tharoor has mentioned in various forums the exile of Kashmiri Pandits, who were in a minority in Kashmir, and were driven into exile in 1990 in the aftermath of Islamist extremism. But recently the newly made Minister of State, Human Resource Development, has been making statements that are as ridiculous as the history lessons of an NCERT textbook.
Sound reasons to reorganize India’s large and unwieldy states - Gangadhar Darbha, Mint
With an apparent solution in sight to the decades-long Telangana agitation, political climate in Andhra Pradesh and in New Delhi has somewhat begun warming up. The arguments in favour and against the creation of a new state can be heard loud and clear. With the Rayalaseema region also witnessing protests—both for and against a separate state—Andhra Pradesh seems to be in for continued political unrest till the general election in 2014.
An illusion of food security - Sidharth Birla, Business Line
The much-publicised Food Security Bill has done rounds of Parliament, and the Ordinance passed recently does reinforce that this is a serious political agenda. While the need for proper nutrition for our citizens is not in question, this security measure is premature. The country is not adequately prepared to faithfully roll it out.
Don’t let Congress force a debate on its terms - Yashwant Sinha, Economic Times
Saturday, July 13, came with a clutch of the most distressing news on the economic front. Industrial production figures for May contracted by 1.6%. Industrial growth figure for April was revised downward from 2.3% to 1.9%. Exports contracted by 4.6% in June.
Quattrocchi may be dead. But the ghost will still be around - Bibek Debroy, ET
There is a fictional Q in James Bond books and films. One major Bond film in which he doesn’t appear is Live and Let Die. A non-fictional Q has haunted India. With Ottavio Quattrocchi’s death, an investigation that was brain-dead is legally dead. Some non-Bofors facts are established. Though this Q has been in India since 1960s, as a representative of Italian firms Eni and Snamprogetti, his influence increased in the 1980s. Court judgments are based on sifting facts and this is what court judgments have said.
You can’t rule India from Lutyens’ Delhi any more - Rajdeep Sardesai, HT
There is a story, possibly apocryphal, on Babasaheb Bhosale being made Maharashtra chief minister in 1982 when AR Antulay had to resign in the wake of the cement scandal, which perhaps best illustrates the Congress ‘culture’ of power sharing. Shocked by the surprise appointment of Barrister Bhosale, a senior Congressman summoned the courage to ask Indira Gandhi why she had chosen a political non-entity with no mass base to the high profile post.
SC is right on convictions - Rajeev Dhavan, India Today
Uninformed comment about judicial decisions are unfair and lead to the usual irresponsible comments about judicial overreach. Justice Patnaik's judgment (for Mukhopadhaya J. and himself) is a gem. No fireworks. Free from theatre. It is interpretation plain and simple.
Dalrymple conjures up a dangerous triangle - Rajiv Dogra, DNA
India must highlight its developmental role in Afghanistan. Of the two Brits in India, Mark Tully is hard to dislike and William Dalrymple sometimes difficult to agree with. It isn’t as if Tully hasn’t been candid; he was critical of emergency and got expelled for a while. He points out our warts wherever he sees them. But his are the laments of someone who is exasperated every time the country, he has high hopes from, fails to live up to his expectations, and the expectations of Indians as well.
UPA has weakened anti-terror laws - Joginder Singh, Pioneer
Lord Buddha is believed to have received his enlightenment at Bodh Gaya. The place is sacred not only to Hindus but also to Buddhists around the world. Yet this most holy place came under terrorist attack on July 7. Earlier, the Intelligence Bureau had sent a warning to the Bihar Government about a possible terror attack at Bodh Gaya.
Congress is not a party of Indians - Hari Om, Niti Central
Why is the Sonia Gandhi-controlled Congress and the Congress-dominated UPA Government destroying India socially, culturally, economically and politically; undermining the country’s democratic and Constitutional institutions; and weakening the Indian State itself? This is the question which most people have started asking. The answer is simple and straight.
Kishtwar riots: Just another chapter in J&K’s politics of hate - Praveen Swami, FirstPost
Early one September afternoon thirteen years ago, a football arced over the playing field outside the Government Degree College in Rajouri, slamming into a boy standing on the far side. For no reason anyone remembers, a brawl broke out between two groups of students: the football had been launched, it was said, by a Muslim player; the student it hit was Hindu.
Crosscurrents in India-US ties - Kanwal Sibal, Hindu
Doubts persist both in India and the United States on the substance of their strategic partnership. High-sounding declarations about the partnership being one of the defining ones of the 21st century, or one between “natural allies,” have not erased uncertainties in the two countries about the capacity and willingness of each side to meet the expectations of the other.
Bhutan: Too much Dragon, too little Kingdom - Aby Tharakan, Hindu
Six years after Mao Zedong declared the establishment of the People’s Republic of China and as concerns mounted in Delhi as to how the Himalayan kingdoms would reconcile with changes in the region, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru wrote a note to then Foreign Secretary R.K. Nehru dated July 17, 1955.
RBI, step back into the ring - Jahangir Aziz, Indian Express
Less than two months back, a semblance of macroeconomic stability had finally returned to India. Inflation was moderating, IP numbers were looking up, the fiscal consolidation was even more impressive than had been expected, and the only debate was how much space the RBI had to ease monetary policy.
In diplomacy, Delhi speaks too softly, doesn't carry a stick - TP Sreenivasan, IE
President Roosevelt's foreign policy dictum, "speak softly and carry a big stick", has found new followers in New Delhi. Whether they carry a big stick or not, they speak softly to the point that they appear to be not speaking. This is a departure from the past. Even in the old days, when there was a consensus on foreign policy and South Block had the monopoly over foreign policy making, prime ministers and foreign ministers explained every important decision to the public.
The Mr Q I once knew - Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Asian Age
The colourful and controversial Italian, Ottavio Quattrocchi, whose name figured in the infamous Bofors scandal that contributed to the electoral defeat of Rajiv Gandhi in 1989, died in Milan on July 13 at the age of 74. With his death, the last possibility of the truth about the scandal coming out into the open is perhaps over.
Time to treat savers fairly - Andy Mukherjee, Business Standard
India is too reliant on foreign hot money. The reason: it doesn't give savers enough reason to put their money in the bank. That is now becoming a pressing concern. The outmoded state-built apparatus of financial repression needs to be junked.
Don't get distracted by China figures - Willie Pesek, Bloomberg
Here's the best way to approach China's gross domestic product figures: ignore them. Things in the world's second-biggest economy are much worse than they appear. Even if we take the 7.5 percent April-June growth rate at face value, its components suggest a more ominous scenario. Industrial production, for example, rose just 8.9 percent in June compared with May's 9.2 percent gain.
Modi and Muslims: A discourse hijacked by hate-mongers - Zafar Sareshwala, FirstPost
In a recent interview given by film script writer Salim Khan to a leading journalist he has an interesting comment: “Does anyone remember who the Chief Minister of Maharashtra was during the Mumbai riots which were no less deadly than the Gujarat riots of 2002? Does anyone recall the name of the chief minister of UP during Maliana and Meerut riots or Bihar CM when the Bhagalpur or Jamshedpur riots under Congress regimes took place?
RBI wins the currency battle... for the day, might lose the war - Shishir Asthana, Business Standard
The central bank is looking more like a captain of a ship in the midst of a violent storm, punching away at every button in the hope of controlling the ship and steering it in the right course. Unfortunately the rudder has a mind of its own and just does not seem to react to its captain’s instruction.
Ishrat Jahan case: Intelligence won’t survive the investigation - Praveen Swami, FirstPost
In 1988, the President of India handed Ajit Kumar Doval a small silver disc exactly one-and-three-eights of an inch in diameter, emblazoned with the great wheel of dharma, a lotus wreath and the words Kirti Chakra. It was the first time a police officer had ever received the medal, among the highest military honours our Republic can bestow.
Die is caste in Uttar Pradesh - Biswajeet Banerjee, Pioneer
The recommendations of the Mandal Commission and their acceptance by the VP Singh regime led to an explosion of caste-based politics and political parties. The dangerous trend is irreversible, especially in UP. She did what was expected of her. The national president of the Bahujan Samaj Party, Ms Mayawati, while addressing a Press conference in Lucknow, defended caste-based rallies and called these meetings a binding force in society which unites different castes.
Dance no bar - Indian Express
The Supreme Court has finally undone an unfair and hypocritical ban on dance bars in Mumbai. In 2005, the Maharashtra government, led by Home Minister R.R. Patil, worked itself into a fine fury about these establishments, alleging that dance bars bred prostitution and crime, declaring that the state was prepared to forgo excise revenue for the sake of a greater virtue.
Rupee: the $25 billion question - Sajjid Chinoy, Mint
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has set the cat among the pigeons by signalling that it is getting ready to mount an interest rate defence by tightening liquidity conditions. Markets appears shocked, analysts are getting trigger-happy to downgrade their growth forecasts and there appears to be a sense of (irrational) bewilderment at the latest move.
'After Guj success, Modi’s projection as PM candidate is inevitable' - Arvind Panagariya, Economic Times
Arvind Panagariya, a professor of Indian economics at Columbia University, in an interview with ET, says it is "inevitable" that Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi will be projected as a prime ministerial candidate. In Delhi to attend the India Policy Forum, an annual conference organised by the National Council of Applied Economic Research and the Brookings Institution, he slams the government over the Food Security Ordinance, emphasising that it is destined to cause a major disruption in the grain market.
Congress vs Modi: Who is falling into whose trap? - Abhay Vaidya, FirstPost
Whether Narendra Modi wins or loses the grand electoral battle of the 2014 general elections, what demands attention is his attempt to trigger a major paradigm shift in Indian politics. The Gujarat chief minister and BJP’s Chief Poll Campaigner for the 2014 elections is not just attempting to decisively win over non-Muslim voters but go beyond into hitherto uncharted waters.
Army: The reliable rescuer - SK Sinha, Asian Age
The military in its secondary role, when summoned, provides aid to the civil authority to restore law and order, and during disasters like earthquake, floods or tsunami, succour to the suffering people. During the Partition holocaust, the government had to rely heavily on the Army to restore law and order.
Great FDI non-reform - Laveesh Bhandari, Economic Times
The dollar-rupee rate status has been made into a crisis and that crisis has perpetuated a set of announcements on easing the norms that govern FDI. It is not clear whether the fall of the rupee was a crash or a correction. Some, such as I, believe that it was a long overdue correction given higher and persistent inflation in India than in the developed world. Others, such as those in the government, put more emphasis on the possibility of greater inflation due to cheaper rupee.
The weak rupee opportunity - Janmejaya Sinha, Indian Express
It needs courage to write yet another article on the rupee-dollar rate this month. Yet a friend's email providing me some interesting historical data served as the required prompt. The mail brought out the interesting factoid that in 1917, one rupee was equal to $13. At the same time, Re 1 bought you 10 grammes of gold.
UPA's Modi fixation - Ashok Malik, Hindu
In early 1995, Bihar saw a landmark Assembly election that led to a comprehensive victory for the Janata Dal and established Lalu Prasad Yadav as a phenomenon. Before the election, there was little indication in the national media that such an emphatic verdict was in the offing. Mr. Yadav had become chief minister in 1990 after a contentious struggle within his party.
Aim for missiles to hit target - Pravin Sawhney, Pioneer
The Defence Research and Development Organisation has been doing some good work in the development of missile technology capabilities. But it does not have to go to town patting its back and allowing China and Pakistan have an early peek into our progress. Defence Research and Development Organisation chief Avinash Chander  recently said that phase-I of the indigenous ballistic missile defence programme is over and that the missile shield is ready for the protection of New Delhi, the capital of India.
Drug makers suffer an overdose of control - Bhupesh Bhandari, Business Standard
The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority, or NPPA, has announced new price caps for 191 essential drugs that are 10 to 50 per cent lower than the current prices. Drug makers have 45 days to recall the earlier batches and send out new ones with the lower price tags. This is a part of the Drug Price Control Order, 2013, that aims to bring 348 essential drugs under price control, against 74 bulk drugs earlier.
Ethanol: Say no to sugar lobby - Business Standard
The government's programme to blend ethanol with petrol under its overall plan to promote the use of environment-friendly biofuels has failed to make much headway despite repeated bids to get it going. It's not just the coveted target of 10 per cent ethanol doping that seems totally out of reach; even the initial goal of five per cent admixing seems hard to attain in view of the difficulties faced by oil marketing companies (OMCs) in securing enough ethanol for this purpose.
‘India has moved to pre-1991 stage’ - Richard Rekhy, Business Line
The corporate sector has blamed the economic gloom — evident in the recent run of factory output numbers — on the slow pace of economic reforms. In an interview with Business Line, global consultancy firm, KPMG’s Indian operations’ chief executive officer, Richard Rekhy shares his views on how a course correction can be effected to put the economy back on rails.
Bhagwati-Sen: Academic brawl takes political hues - Ullekh NP, Economic Times
What happens when academic rivalry spills over into the political arena? A riveting contest ensues, if the one being played out in the run-up to the general elections along with the Narendra Modi-Nitish Kumar showdown is any indication. While the Jagdish Bhagwati-Arvind Panagariya combo - both professors of economics at Columbia University - are packing a fair punch, Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen is ducking and dodging, but without ceding turf.
Midday meal tragedy: Body blow to Nitish’s good governance claims - Sanjay Singh, FirstPost
The residents of the Dahrmasati Gandawan village in Mashrakh block in Bihar’s Saran district, where the midday meal tragedy took place, cannot be in a forgiving mood. They have already buried the bodies of some children right in front of the school. This might be an act of rage from the families of the deceased, but the place may soon become some kind of a memorial. It would continue reviving the memories of the death of school children and breeding anger.
West's 'blame it on India' Afghan plan - G Parthasarathy, Pioneer
Bruce Riedel, arguably one of the best informed and most experienced American analysts on the AfPak region, recently wrote an interesting analysis titled, ‘Battle for the Soul of Pakistan’. Mr Riedel noted: “Pakistan also remains a state sponsor of terror. Three of the five most-wanted on America’s counter-terrorism list live in Pakistan. The mastermind of the Mumbai massacre and head of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hafeez Saeed, makes no effort to hide.
Mid-day meals: Good scheme gone bad - Pioneer
Amid the cry of wailing parents and the din of politicians looking to score quick brownie points, as the death toll in Bihar continues to rise after children consumed mid-day meals laced with insecticide at school, one thing is clear: The authorities have failed their most vulnerable citizens every step of the way.
Soren clan scripts sordid tale of a 'small State' - CP Bhambhri, Pioneer
In 2000, Jharkhand was created especially for its tribal communities with great fanfare. It was said that after a long and sustained struggle the tribals now had their own home State. Political parties had proclaimed from the rooftops that the aspirations of the tribal population had been fulfilled and now they would prosper in their own identity-based State.
India no country for businessmen - Bhupesh Bhandari, Business Standard
Some of the conversations I have had with businessmen in the last few days have been illuminating. The first was with someone who has interests in the chemicals business. In May 2011, he had approached the Thai government to set up a polyester film plant in that country. By October, the land was allotted to him - the coveted corner plot - with not just a road but even water and power connections and a sewage line.
'Corridor talk' predicted SC decision on NEET - Dhananjay Mahapatra, ToI
The Supreme Court corridor talks had much before the delivery of the judgment on Thursday accurately predicted the fate of NEET — the single-window entrance cum-eligibility test for 38,000 MBBS, BDS and MD seats offered by government and at a premium by private medical colleges.
Unmade in America - Chidanand Rajghatta, Times of India
Cabinet ministers from India visiting Washington DC for sundry official programmes usually stay at the Willard, a historic hotel next to the White House, that originated the term lobbying. It was to the lobby of Willard that President Ulysses Grant (1869-1877) repaired for R&R to escape the vexing issues of office, only to be besieged by favour-seekers stalking him.
Centre’s refusal to grant autonomy to the CBI is untenable - Times of India
The government's reluctance to give freedom to the CBI to investigate senior bureaucrats, especially those suspected to be involved in the Coalgate scandal, bespeaks a fear of public accountability. In a submission before a Supreme Court bench, the Centre stood its ground that the CBI could not be given the power to proceed against officers of the rank of joint secretary and above.
Choosing the right development paradigm for India - Vivek Dehejia, Mint
Do ideas matter in shaping economic policy? Or are intellectual debates between thinkers meant merely for the amusement of participants in Mumbai and Delhi drawing room conversations? As it happens, two of the greatest economic thinkers of the last century—Friedrich von Hayek and John Maynard Keynes—believed profoundly in the power of ideas, and each of them continues to shape the way we frame debates today as we argue for balance between the market and the state in governing our lives.
Posco’s cautionary tale - Abheek Barman, Economic Times
This week, two large international companies scrapped two ambitious projects in India. On Tuesday, Korean steelmaker Posco said it was getting out of a $5.3 billion project in Karnataka; a day later, ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest manufacturer of steel, said it had shelved a roughly-$7 billion plan to make steel in Orissa.
Medical muddle - Mail Today
The hopes of lakhs of medical aspirants were shattered as the Supreme Court on Thursday quashed the notification for holding a single common entrance test for admission to medical and dental colleges across India.
BJP's vision RCR - Saurabh Shukla, Mail Today
A brand new avatar of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is in the works. Former BJP president Nitin Gadkari is leading a secret exercise to draft a vision document for the party ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, even as saffron poster boy Narendra Modi embarks on Mission New Delhi. Over the last two months, Gadkari has had a series of meetings with leading public intellectuals and academics in connection with the vision document.
IM spreads to red Jharkhand - Abhishek Bhalla, Mail Today
The widening web of India's home-grown terror outfit, Indian Mujahideen (IM), has now found a new haven - Jharkhand. The terror group, responsible for a series of attacks across the country, has developed strong links with some Naxalite cadres and Jharkhand, which is believed to be a Maoist stronghold, is emerging as its new hub, suggest fresh intelligence inputs accessed by Mail Today.
SC ruling: A hatchet job, NEETly done - Arun Mohan Sukumar, Hindu
The Supreme Court has struck down the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for medical colleges as unconstitutional, dispelling any doubt as to who calls the shots in India’s higher education sector — private educational institutions that fleece students for capitation fees; private coaching institutes that profit...
Policies towards the poor don’t work - Mayank Austen Soofi, Mint
In his new book, Revolution from Above: India’s Future and the Citizen Elite (Rainlight Rupa, Rs.495), sociologist Dipankar Gupta makes the case that India can deliver quality services to all its citizens only through the active and forceful intervention of an elite that has the courage to leap over the short-term profit of electoral politics.
Good news on poverty - T N Ninan, Business Standard
The latest numbers on poverty levels are dramatic; they show that the number of people below the poverty line (as defined by the late economist Suresh Tendulkar) has shrunk from 37 per cent of the population to 22 per cent, in the seven years to 2011-12. This is an unprecedented rate of fall in poverty levels; some 40 per cent of those who were poor in 2004-05 were no longer poor seven years later.
India’s disasters: VIP paraphernalia insulates leaders from the rest - Dipankar Gupta, Times of India
When disaster strikes in a properly functioning democracy, it is usually an accident - a random and unforeseen event. In a dysfunctional democracy, however, a disaster is nearly always a tragedy - it need never have happened but for corruption and greed. In most cases you can see it coming at you with its headlights on.
UPA's Povertarianism - Shekhar Gupta, Indian Express
Nine years of UPA has had one significant impact on our political economy. Our discourse was always predominantly socialist and welfarist, but under the UPA, it has now become entirely so. There is no voice offering an alternative, except some who might lean even more to the left of the NAC-stricken UPA. The consensus on political economy is now even more total than it has ever been — and even now is — on foreign policy.
For the butcher, baker and dance bar girl - Soli J. Sorabjee, Indian Express
Article 19(1)(g) of our Constitution guarantees to every citizen the fundamental right to practice any profession and to carry on any occupation. The guarantee extends to the so-called noble professions of law and medicine, as also to occupations like rag-picking or clearing garbage or girls dancing in bars and restaurants. The Constitution makes no distinction between high-class and low-class occupations.
Facts don't back PM's 'all is well' - Anchal Kakroo, Pioneer
As the tenure of the UPA II is reaching the end, no matter whatever crisis the Indian economy is in, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh still believes that it is just a rough phase. Speaking at a function on Friday, the Prime Minister assured to do everything to help the economy bounce back and then pronounced the economy to be fundamentally strong.
Shariat courts have no place in secular nation - Pioneer
In response to the regressive and discriminatory verdicts often passed by male-dominated Shariat courts, a Muslim women's organisation has begun establishing women's-only Islamic courts across the country. While this is a scathing indictment of Shariat courts coming from within the Muslim community, it should not mean that an-all women’s religious court is the solution in a secular country such as ours.
Blame it on Web 2.0? - Udayan Namboodiri, Pioneer
For years, educated Indians blamed the ills of their democracy on the poor, the unwashed and the unlettered whose 'ignorance' (they held) allowed creeps to run the country. But now, seeing the brawls over social media, one wonders… Chatter on Narendra Modi’s zillion-plus admirers' rampage on the Internet...
Get tough with insurgents - Manmohan Bahadur, NewIndianExpress
Rubaiya Saeed, Kandahar and Alex Paul Menon happened a decade apart but represent a debilitating void in Indian governance — that of deterrence; the deadly ambush of the SP of Pakur and four constables coming after the massacre of Congressmen in Chhattisgarh and now followed by the blasts in Bodhgaya proves it. That the terrorists could come and plant 13 bombs with impunity at the Mahabodhi temple...
Target troublemakers, not security forces - NewIndianExpress
Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah and the state government that he heads are squarely responsible for the current situation in the Kashmir Valley, where protests over killing of four persons during a mob attack on a Border Security Force (BSF) outpost have resulted in imposition of curfew in most major towns and the halting of the Amarnath Yatra.
Congress old hand at media manipulation - Praveen Patil, Niti Central
“Get her (Hema Malini). I want her here. This is an order!” VC Shukla had reportedly barked when told that the reigning screen goddess was not available for a dance performance in Delhi during the National Awards function. This is how Shukla functioned, he was the overlord of the spineless newspaper industry and the ever vulnerable film industry.
Mahatma versus Modi: Tale of two ‘nationalists’ - MJ Akbar, Times of India
When logic snaps, rational discourse stumbles. Why is it perfectly acceptable to applaud a Muslim nationalist, but denigrate a Hindu nationalist? Either both terms are right, or both wrong. Mahatma Gandhi gave “Muslim nationalism” institutional credibility when, in the fractured decade after the Khilafat movement...
Their badge of dishonour - Chanakya, Hindustan Times
We have all grown up hearing this — crime doesn’t pay. While this may have been enough for you and me to keep our noses clean, it would seem that many of our netas believe in exactly the opposite. But then some of them seem to be made of sterner stuff than your average Joe. If an ordinary person were to be accused, mind you, not convicted but just accused of a heinous crime...
Bofors ghost will not go away that easily - A Surya Prakash, Pioneer
Many people believe that the death of Ottavio Quattrocchi will effectively put the lid on the Bofors scandal, and consign the issue to the dustbin of history. They are mistaken. Closure will come when truth is out. The news of the demise of Ottavio Quattrocchi, the Italian businessman and close friend of Sonia and Rajiv Gandhi, has prompted some people to say that with his passing, the Bofors kickbacks scandal is laid to rest. To put it mildly, this is wishful thinking.
Bihar shows the way: How to loot our children - Kanchan Gupta, Pioneer
Few States can boast of success in keeping the snouts of venal politicians, bureaucrats and others out of the trough. If that reveals greed, it also reflects poorly on our nation which doesn’t care enough for its children. Nothing can be more hideous than little children, some as young as four years old, dropping dead after eating a meal which is their sole motivation for attending school.
2014 poll unique for one reason — Modi - Swapan Dasgupta, Pioneer
There was a flurry of excitement in a small patch of Lutyens’ Delhi — faithfully repeated in the media — over the composition of the umpteen committees set up by the BJP for the management of the forthcoming general election. Meaning was read into who was in which committee and who had been left out. As the foremost challenger to the Congress-led UPA...
Modi's words mean what his critics say they mean - Virendra Kapoor, Sunday Guardian
Let us be honest about it. If anyone other than Narendra Modi had used the analogies for which he is being pilloried no end, it wouldn't have been such a big deal, after all. The usual anti-Modi warriors and the NGO entrepreneurs who have fattened themselves demonizing the Gujarat Chief Minister chose to misread his words simply because it pays to abuse Modi.
Elections and Opposition Economics - Ram Jethmalani, Sunday Guardian
The next government has an extremely difficult and extensive reconstruction job to do on all the limbs of governance, and get the country moving again. Nothing seems to be working anymore, at macro or ground level. The machinery is either already cracked or is creaking. And whichever side we look, the source of all our major problems in governance...
272: The 2-tier strategy to get there – part two - Minhaz Merchant, Economic Times
The first part of this article analysed why the BJP should adopt a two-tier approach to achieve its target of winning a minimum of 195-200 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha poll (272: The 2-tier strategy to get there). But first, consider the Congress’ dilemma. Facing strong anti-incumbency, it may end up winning 10 or more seats only in Maharashtra and  Karnataka in the 2014 general election.
Dial diarchy for doom - Sandeep Bamzai, India Today
At the very kernel of the rapid erosion in the Government's equity is the diarchy, a dual system of power practised for the first time in modern Indian politics. As the adage goes which in any case is as old as the Aravali Hills - you reap what you sow. Two different thought processes, two different takes, two different policy formulations can never work in government.
NEET: Deeply flawed verdict - Pioneer
The Supreme Court's 2:1 decision to quash the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test to medical colleges goes against the interests of the student community. With the apex court declaring the test to be unconstitutional, aspiring medical students will have to go back to taking multiple entrance examinations. This is undesirable for several reasons. First, it means there will be more forms to fill, more money to be paid in application fees even as students travel all over the country to take different examinations.
Free food will come at a very steep cost - Balbir Punj, Pioneer
In 1971, the Congress, or rather the faction of the party led by Indira Gandhi, launched the ‘garibi hatao’ slogan to win the election and beat its rivals in the game of hoodwinking the people. Twenty years after that — during most of which period the Congress was in power except for a tiny interval —data showed that 51 per cent of the people were still below the poverty line, with an income of $1.25 per capita per day.
When in trouble, talk secularism - Ravi Shankar Prasad, Indian Express
The Congress never learns from history. Whenever it is cornered because of its misdeeds, corruption and poor record of governance, it tries to take cover under phoney secularism, because it has no answers. When we were active in the JP movement in Bihar in the 1970s, the Congress branded him as a communal leader who kept company with forces out to destabilise India. Some leftist parties even called Loknayak Jayaprakash Narayan a fascist.
Kerala solar scam: Why is it kicking up so much dust? - Paul Zacharia, IE
The real pity about the so-called solar scam is that solar energy got a bad name. It could have worked wonders in a sunny state like Kerala. Malayalis have now begun to doubt the bonafides of the sun itself. All because one woman and her partner were caught doing bad business, using, among other things, political connections. 
SC’s NEET logic contrary to constitution bench rulings - Dhananjay Mahapatra, ToI
The Supreme Court quashed the single-window admission system for all medical colleges by faulting the Medical Council of India-prescribed National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Examination (NEET) on three grounds. The majority judgment, authored by former CJI Altamas Kabir and agreed to by Justice Vikramjit Sen, held that NEET violated Articles 19(1)(g), 25, 26 and 30 of the Constitution, which guarantees a citizen freedom to practice any profession and gives freedom to religious and linguistic minority groups to manage their religious affairs as well as educational institutions. 
Mid-day meals, a false solution for a crisis - Mint
The tragedy in Bihar, where 23 children died last week from contamination in a school lunch, serves as a grim reminder of the widening gap between what governments promise the poor and what they actually deliver. The tragedy should have served as a moment of introspection for policymakers. Unfortunately, the political blame game triggered by the tragedy has only served to deflect attention from the deeper questions the incident raises on the mid-day meal programme, on India’s educational crisis and on the wider rot in governance the country faces.
Countering China: too little, too late - WPS Sidhu, Mint
The much-awaited political approval to create a new army strike corps—the first in nearly 25 years—is being regarded as an appropriate and adequate measure to counter China’s growing military prowess, especially along the long disputed line of actual control (LAC) with India. Though of crucial military import, the first-ever dedicated mountain strike corps might achieve very little by itself and might have come too late.
Reservations: SC reiterates India Sawhney caveats - Financial Express
With a per capita income 260 times more than what it was at the time of Independence, and little doubt that the opportunities thrown up by economic growth have benefited even the so-called disadvantaged groups, it is unfortunate India’s political class across the political spectrum continues to mouth the old shibboleths. So there’s a Food Security Bill to ensure no one stays hungry though the proportion of people reporting not getting two square meals a day is under 2%. 
Access to loos: Amartya Sen’s views fail the smell test - Seetha, FirstPost
Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen is now raising a stink over toilets. In an interview to The Guardian newspaper, coinciding with the publication of his latest book, An Uncertain Glory, co-authored with Jean Dreze, he expresses outrage over the fact that half of India’s population does not have access to latrines. HeSure, the eminent economist has a point, which no Indian can refute. The National Sample Survey’s (NSS) report from its 65th round, Housing Conditions and Amenities in India, 2008-09, shows that 49.2 percent of all Indian households had no latrine at all (these are the last available figures).
RBI is fighting with hands tied - V Anantha Nageswaran, Mint
In 1997, the US dollar-Indian rupee exchange rate was stable in the first half of the year. The US dollar traded at slightly below Rs36 until about mid-August. Then, with the Asian economic crisis slowly intensifying, the US dollar gained in strength against the Indian rupee. It does not matter whether it gained more or less strength against the Indian rupee than against other Asian currencies.
Gold and the CAD - Indira Rajaraman, Business Standard
The external current account deficit (CAD) remains our biggest worry today. We closed 2012-13 with a CAD at 4.8 per cent of GDP. That was much too large an asking number for capital account inflows to keep the rupee on an even keel. Gold imports alone stood at $54 billion, a whopping 61 per cent of the overall current deficit.
Narendra Modi's approach could polarise India - Vir Sanghvi, Hindustan Times
One of the most pivotal moments in the BJP’s history occurred in 1995 when LK Advani announced that AB Vajpayee was the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate. At the time, this decision took the party faithful by surprise. Vajpayee had been sidelined after the debacle of the 1984 election and had distanced himself from hardline Hindutva and the Ayodhya movement, both of which had revived the BJP’s fortunes.
Congress party trying to communalise the 2014 elections - Arun Jaitley, LensOnNews
A Congress Party spokesperson went to the extraordinary extent of rationalizing  the formation and existence of the “Indian Mujahideen” The Indian Mujahideen is admittedly a terrorist organization. It is designated as a terrorist organization under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in India. Its’ ban has been continued by the UPA Government. It has been included in the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations by the US State Department. It is proscribed in the United Kingdom.
Hindus still have much to be ashamed about - Ramachandra Guha, Hindu
A bhadralok friend of mine is of the view that the Government of India should celebrate every December 16 as Vijay Diwas, Victory Day, to mark the surrender in 1971 of the Pakistani forces in Dhaka to the advancing Indian Army. My friend argues that such a celebration would take Indians in general, and Hindus in particular, out of the pacifist, defeatist mindset that he claims has so crippled them. The triumph in Dhaka represents for him the finest moment in a millenia otherwise characterised by Indian (and more specifically Hindu) humiliation at the hands of foreigners.
CSDS Poll: Nitish down, BJP up in Bihar - Vidya Subrahmaniam, Hindu
Sensational as Nitish Kumar’s break-up with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over Narendra Modi’s leadership was, it led to the obvious question: with the winning combination in tatters, which way will Bihar go in the 2014 general election?
Partition made people slaves to bigotry - Ayesha Jalal, Hindu
“The pity of partition was not that the country had been divided into two, Independent India and Independent Pakistan; but it was that people had become slaves to bigotry, religious passions and barbarity,” says Ayesha Jalal, Professor of History at Tufts University, and grandniece of writer Saadat Hassan Manto. The Pakistani-American historian, who was in Mumbai last week, talks about her book, The Pity of Partition — Manto’s Life, Times and Work Across the India-Pakistan Divide, and other things in an interview with Sukhada Tatke.
What institutionalised cruelty towards animals says about us as a civilisation - Vamsee Juluri, Indian Express
While the context in which it was said recently was awkward, the idea of respecting all forms of life is more important to our civilisational future than our present political climate might acknowledge. The trouble is that our ideas about civilisation have been reduced to a narrow, confrontational shell in ways that might have made Samuel Huntington proud, rather than in the more universal Gandhian sense of the word.
Biden must get the big picture right - Seema Sirohi, Times of India
US vice-president Joseph Biden has two choices as he begins an important visit to India: he can steer Indo-US relations back to calm waters with his legendary political skills or he can continue the lecture that has become the dominant American export to India of late.
No closure on the Bofor's saga - NK Singh, Pioneer
Ottavio Quattrocchi is dead. But Bofors will continue to trouble public memory for long. Undoubtedly, the action of the Government to help out  Quattrocchi in Bofors case was sordid. His sudden death cannot wipe it out. Well-known journalist and writer, Tavleen Singh, in her book, Durbar, stated that Quattrocchis were close personal friends of the  Gandhis.
Why Tharoor’s defence of UPA-nomics is more a self-goal - R Jagannathan, FirstPost
When someone as erudite and suave as Shashi Tharoor takes up cudgels on behalf of the UPA, one expects not only a spirited defence, but also a strongly argued case. Unfortunately, the Union minister of state for HRD has, in an Indian Express article today, only managed to soil his own reputation. Not only is he completely unconvincing, he has also been unable to move beyond standard party line.
Job recruitment: How meritocracy and nepotism co-exist comfortably - Lucy Kellaway, BBC
In Victorian England, getting a job was all about who you knew. But have things really changed that much, asks Lucy Kellaway. Getting an office job can be a complicated process. There are the headhunters and references, psychometric testing and endless interviews.
Ordinances: This shortcut weakens democracy - Harsimran Kalra & Kaushiki Sanyal, Hindustan Times
The promulgation of the National Food Security Ordinance on July 5, shortly before the Parliament session, has raised many eyebrows. Political pundits are speculating that it is a last ditch attempt by the UPA to garner votes before the 2014 general elections. The UPA 2, on its part, has blamed the repeated disruptions in Parliament for this executive intervention.
Amartya Sen is wrong; he also poses a serious danger to economic policy in India - Jagdish Bhagwati, Mint
In a brilliant article on Bhagwati versus Sen published in Mint on 10 July, Niranjan Rajadhyaksha unwittingly took one step in the wrong direction in arguing that I could be the economist for Narendra Modi and my good friend Amartya Sen for Rahul Gandhi. Let me explain.
Why investors are giving up on India - William Pesek, Mint
India has long been viewed as a value investor’s dream: rapid growth, 1.2 billion people pining for a taste of globalization, and underdeveloped industries ripe for turnarounds. So it surprised few when the genre’s guru, Warren Buffett, placed a bet on the world’s ninth-biggest economy.
Of politicians and some court verdicts - N Gopalaswami, Hindu
The slew of judgments from the higher judiciary in the period of just about a month or so has been like manna from heaven on the parched earth of electoral reforms. First, the Supreme Court frowned upon freebies, which it said “shake the root of free and fair elections.” Then came the verdict on Section 8(4) of the Representation of the People Act 1951 (the Act) being ultra vires of the Constitution and along with it the barring of jailed persons from electoral contest.
Anxiety of Modi-baiters - Ashok Malik, Times of India
The Congress's diatribes against the BJP's poll campaign chief may prove counterproductive. Unless elections are brought forward, it's still some eight months from voting day. Nevertheless the contours of the Lok Sabha contest are becoming apparent. Narendra Modi has emerged as the central figure of the election and the BJP chief, Rajnath Singh, has all but named him as the party's prime ministerial candidate.
The Sen model: Support Congress, no matter what - Piyush Goyal, Economic Times
It is disheartening to see Nobel laureate Amartya Sen drifting so far to the Left that he cannot see the obvious benefits of growth and jobs. He desires to lend intellectual legitimacy to UPA's disastrous economic policies, designed solely for narrow electoral gains.
Secular smokescreen - Nirmala Sitharaman, Asian Age
It is election season. A round of elections to a few state Assemblies will be followed by elections for the 16th Lok Sabha, hopefully in 2014, if not earlier. The Congress Party is saddled with its failures, be it on matters of the economy or relations with neighbours.
India’s National Security Circus - Shankar Roychowdhury, Asian Age
Another incident of bomb blasts, another religious shrine — this time Bodh Gaya in Bihar, the place where Gautam Buddha, the apostle of peace, attained enlightenment. To a nation inured to serial terrorism by now, the only variation in this latest outrage was the selection of the target — this was the first instance of a Buddhist shrine being attacked by terrorists.
India no longer beckons - Mohan Murti, Business Line
It makes perfect sense that the Prime Minister exhorts industry leaders to shun negative sentiments, assuring them that “government will not leave any stone unturned to ensure that the economy rebounds”. Manmohan Singh captivated his audiences.
What India can learn from Detroit - Sanjeev Sanyal, Business Standard
On July 18, the city of Detroit declared bankruptcy in the largest such filing in US history. Its population has dropped from a peak of 1.8 million in 1950 to less than 0.7 million, and its once-proud factories lie abandoned. Yet, we live in the Age of Cities. More than half the world's population is urban for the first time in human history and urban clusters account for an estimated 80 per cent of the world's gross domestic product. These proportions will rise as countries like India urbanise.
A world to win over - Sanjaya Baru, Indian Express
Exactly a decade ago, Bimal Jalan famously declared in his farewell interview as governor of the Reserve Bank of India (Financial Express, August 18, 2003): "there is no longer an external constraint to (India's) growth". A decade later, talk of an "external constraint" to growth has resurfaced. To an extent, it is the consequence of the trans-Atlantic financial crisis and the global economic slowdown, but it is also a manifestation of internal problems.
The unimportance of NREGA - Surjit S Bhalla, Indian Express
As the previous column noted ('The great growth-dole trade-off', IE, July 20), poverty reduction in India during the last decade, and especially between 2009-10 and 2011-12, is a very large success story. Poverty was reduced at an unprecedented rate, at about 5 percentage points (ppt) a year; the norm for India throughout its long poverty reduction history is a maximum of 2 ppt a year.
India needs an indigenous Margaret Thatcher or Deng Xiaoping - Raghu Dayal, ToI
Remember Jim O'Neill, a major proponent of the celebrated October 2003 Goldman Sachs Brics report which predicted that, by 2032, India could be the world's third largest economy, after the US and China? In a recent interaction with Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, O'Neill maintained how, even with unspectacular growth of a little more than 6% a year, India's economy...
Will hope blossom in midst of gloom? - Gautam Mukherjee, Pioneer
Narendra Modi has been given a chance to get as many seats for the BJP as he can. If he does well, it will be difficult to resist his bid to ultimate power. If he fails, he will have to return to Gujarat. The starkness of the proposition that is Narendra Modi for Prime Minister, has served to awaken a discourse never before given to such clarity.
Amartya Sen’s political bias clouds his thinking - Pioneer
A healthy, even if somewhat furious, debate on what constitutes growth and whether growth should form the epicentre of economic decisions, is always welcome. It's more so when the clash is between titans like Amartya Sen and Jagdish Bhagwati, who hold diametrically opposite views on what the model of economic development for India should be.
Modi’s governance appeals to fed up UP voters: Swapan Dasgupta - FirstPost
Dissatisfaction with the Akhilesh Yadav-led government in Uttar Pradesh coupled with dissatisfaction with the UPA government at the center has led to the BJP receiving a dramatic bounce in support in India’s largest state.
US-India ties: Drifting along - Indian Express
The rare visit of an American vice president to India this week reflects the anxiety in Washington at the widening gap between US expectations from the bilateral partnership and New Delhi's increasing inability to deliver on its promises. Joe Biden, the first US vice president to visit India in nearly three decades, said all the right things in public. But it is entirely reasonable to assume...
RBI and government fighting the symptoms, not the disease - Business Standard
Clearly, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) did not learn from the errors that it made last week, when it capped the daily borrowing by banks from its "repo window", or the liquidity adjustment fund as it is formally known, to Rs 75,000 crore - about one per cent of all deposits. It also raised the interest rate on the marginal standing facility, and announced a sale of government securities.
What the government needs is an IMF programme - without the IMF - Arvind Subramanian, Business Standard
The possibility that India is one Ben Bernanke non-decision or one election freebie away from a serious external financing crisis cannot be ruled out. How is this government trying to head off such a crisis? How should it do so? A simple framework helps answer both questions. This government has three objectives in descending order of priority: winning the next elections...
It’s goodbye to Manmonia, but BJP has missed the bus - R Jagannathan, FirstPost
The latest opinion poll by C-Voter for Times Now is interesting for three reasons: it acknowledges one thing we already know, and raises two possibilities that we had hoped we wouldn’t have to consider in 2014: a sub-optimal NDA gain, and an indeterminate coalition of regional parties that surely can’t last in power.
Non-compliance with CIC orders has set a poor example for the rule of law - Shailesh Gandhi, Hindu
Two separate lawless actions with respect to the Right to Information Act have come to light in the last few weeks. Both reveal the scant respect for the law by the very institutions which should be inspiring us to act by the rule of law. In the first instance, the Central Information Commission (CIC) had given a ruling declaring that six major political parties...
Raise a toast to declining poverty - Economic Times
Poverty is falling at an accelerated pace in India. The proportion of the poor to the total population has fallen from 37.2% in 2004-05 to 21.9% in 2011-12. In this seven-year period, the pace of poverty reduction has been 2.8% a year, about three times the rate of poverty reduction over 1993-94 to 2004-05.
Policy paralysis, serial rate hikes sparked investment famine: Arvind Panagariya - Financial Express
Blaming the investment drought in the country on the policy paralysis in government, Arvind Panagariya, professor of economics at Columbia University, said the 13 consecutive interest rate hikes by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had also damaged the investment sentiment. In a Walk the Talk interview with Express Group Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta, Panagariya observed...
RBI’s high-risk strategy - Financial Express
With the rupee always threatening to go out of control—it has depreciated 11.5% since the beginning of the year—RBI has gone and tightened liquidity further, in keeping with what other emerging markets like Brazil, Indonesia and Turkey have done in recent months. Whether that will work is not clear—the results have been mixed in the countries which have hiked rates...
RBI’s rupee rescue mission may hurt government - Anup Roy, Mint
The central bank’s latest round of liquidity tightening measures as part of its mission to rescue the rupee may help the currency, but could end up hurting the government the most as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was forced to give in to market demand and sell short-term treasury bills at double-digit yields on Wednesday.
The story of two warring scholars - Mint
Jagdish Bhagwati and Amartya Sen are among best-known names from India in the Western academy. Both hold impressive academic positions and have remarkable scholarly achievements to their name. They have, for long been involved in a battle of ideas about the relative role of governments and markets in determining economic choices.
Not secularism, stupid - Rajdeep Sardesai, Hindustan Times
How does one define a tweet as secular or communal? Last week, I sent a morning greeting wishing people Happy Ekadashi. A particularly auspicious day in Maharashtra, it is linked with the God Vithoba, considered a revered form of Vishnu. 
Why are we not using techno-industrial solutions to reduce malnutrition? - Deepak Pental, Indian Express
The death of several children from consuming a toxic midday meal in Bihar evoked a great sense of outrage. But this outrage will, in all probability, soon die down. Yet, this tragedy, as many reports show, is the tip of the iceberg. Beneath it lies unseen a story of poor service delivery and a lack of commitment. 
Those rotten meals - Times of India
It took state authorities more than a week to arrest the absconding headmistress of the Bihar school struck by the midday meal tragedy. Twenty-three students of the Gandaman village primary school lost their lives after having food contaminated with pesticide. The state government has chosen to indulge in a political blame game following the tragedy.
Politics, the new zamindari - Dinesh Trivedi, Times of India
It was the early 1990s. I was travelling by the MP shuttle bus service from Parliament to my residence when Viren Shah, then a BJP Rajya Sabha member and subsequently a governor of West Bengal, introduced me to a young parliamentarian as one of the most hard working, articulate and promising new MPs hailing from a very humble background. 
The politics of poverty - Business Line
The Planning Commission’s estimate that people were pulled out of poverty three times faster between 2004-05 and 2011-12 than 1994-95 to 2004-05 should settle, once and for all, the debate about growth versus equity or distributive justice. One can question the methodology of the Planning Commission’s Expert Group under S. D. Tendulkar for estimating the reduction in the number of poor in the country.
Dollar’s taking us for a spin - S Gurumurthy, Business Line
First, a brief recall of the basics of monetary economics which deals with the relation between paper money and real economy. Milton Friedman theorised on monetary economics, won Nobel recognition. The Economist (2006) celebrated Friedman as possibly “the most influential economist” of the 20th century and the Econ Journal Watch survey (2011) ranked him next only to John Maynard Keynes.
With new powers, it is time for Sebi to deliver - Mint
Having completed 25 years as the markets regulator, Securities and Exchange Board of India has already put in place fairly robust rules and processes. Its primary role now pertains to the enforcement of its rules and regulations, but its track record on this front has been poor. One of the reasons given for this was the lack of adequate powers, such as recovering penalties by attaching and selling properties and accessing information such as call data records.
A letter to Amartya Sen - Sandipan Deb, Mint
Dear Dr./Bharat Ratna/former Master of Trinity/current Thomas W. Lamont professor at Harvard/Nobel laureate/economist/moral philosopher/Sanskritist/ greatest living authority on Adam Smith/the last great Bengali/lodestone of the greater good/town crier for the oppressed/the last word on social justice, welfare economics, good and evil, and many other things, etc., etc., Sir…
The Kargils that go unnoticed - Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Mail Today
Kargil Vijay Diwas is upon us. It is a day of remembrance for, and tribute to, our armed forces - and to the gallant soldiers whose determined efforts saved our country from the enemy on this day in 1999. Many lives and limbs were sacrificed to achieve this, and many families lost their loved ones. We can never forget this.
A cure worse than the disease - KN Bhat, Asian Age
Two pronouncements by the Supreme Court, both on July 10, 2013, must have put the fear of God into criminals in the Houses — the existing ones as well as potential members. Unwittingly, perhaps, the court has made a magistrate and a police officer the pivots of democracy.
Panic building in Delhi Establishment - Swapan Dasgupta, Asian Age
The concerns of the “Beltway”, it has long been recognised in the United States, rarely determine the outcome of electoral battles, although they are paramount in other times. For all its other charming attributes, the Delhi Establishment — which includes a heady mix of politicians, lawyers, editors, bureaucrats, socialites and those whose sources of livelihood are an enduring mystery — has never accepted its creeping irrelevance during election season when power shifts to the hoi-polloi and regional elites.
Batla truth: Encounter was genuine, accused are terrorists - Pioneer
A Delhi court's verdict on the Batla House encounter case is a slap on the face of terror apologists, including some politicians and human rights activists. On Thursday, the court convicted Shahzad Ahmed, a suspected Indian Mujahideen operative, for the murder of Delhi Police Special Cell Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma in the September 19, 2008, shootout.
A people in despair, a government in wonderland - Madhu Trehan, Indian Express
Imagining the silence? Really? Pawan Khera's ('Imagining a silence, missing the point', IE, July 19) rejoinder to Pratap Bhanu Mehta's exquisitely crafted article, 'While we were silent' (IE, July 11), displays how political sycophancy can distort perception enough to see a glass half-full when it is actually empty. It is unremarkable that Congress party members fall over each other to show loyalty.
What Amartya Sen doesn't see - Arvind Panagariya, Times of India
The ongoing 'Bhagwati versus Sen' debate has generated more heat than light, necessitating correction. As an equal co-author of India's Tryst with Destiny, which defines the Bhagwati position, my stake in the debate is second to none. Two extreme characterisations of the positions of the two sides have emerged.
Rahul Gandhi suffers from never having done a job: Guha - FirstPost
The BJP needs to double-down on projecting Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate, the Congress will have no moral claim to the next government and a messy coalition at the center would be a “dog’s breakfast”, according to a panel that analysed the findings of a CNN-IBN/Hindu poll.
The Southern Jihad - Aravindan Neelakandan, CentreRightIndia
The night watchman said that they were three youths in their twenties. He said they calmly walked around. One held the watchman while the two others zeroed in on their target. Their target was Mr. Ramesh – a leading auditor and state general secretary of Tamil Nadu BJP. They twisted his hand in an impossible angle breaking it. Then they slammed his head against the wall.
Modi’s BJP blues - Tavleen Singh, Indian Express
No proof is needed that other than Narendra Modi, the BJP has nothing new to offer. And yet, proof of the pathetic bankruptcy of our main opposition party comes almost every week. It comes in the form of one stupid statement or other from senior leaders who should have learned to keep their mouths shut. Some of the utterances of these senior leaders are so very stupid...
It's not about economics, Prof Sen, it's about politics - Kanchan Gupta, Pioneer
By voicing his political preference, Amartya Sen is now one among many partisans. And, as a political partisan, he must not expect preferential treatment from those who don’t subscribe to his politics. Unlike many other commentators and analysts who claim profound knowledge of all things big and small, ranging from nuclear fission to social friction and waste management to development economics...
Manmohan Singh: The doctor turned out to be a pastry cook - MJ Akbar, ToI
Last week I visited tribal areas in Gujarat An Indian election, possibly to the dismay of those journalists transfixed by hype, is not a contest between Lord Rama and Bhagwan Krishna. In the real world, it is mostly between General Hocus and Admiral Pocus. The voter does not choose between two paragons of virtue. He takes a punt on what is available, warts and all. Does this leave the electorate in serious depression? No.
For a real clean chit, BCCI must be brought under RTI - Ashish Magotra, FirstPost
In an interview late last year, Board of Control for Cricket in India president N Srinivasan spoke about the manner in which the organization is run. “The BCCI is not opaque. We are quite open to discussing how we function. I think a lot of systems are in place today, we are cooperating in a very professional fashion,” Srinivasan had said.
DU-ing it all wrong, getting it all mixed up - Chetan Bhagat, Times of India
Yet another college admission season in Delhi University (DU) is set to wind up. We saw the usual news stories about insanely high cutoffs. This time Ram Lal College, rarely in the news for its academics, hit the headlines with a 100% cutoff in Computer Science (note: this is the lowest a student needs to score). DU officials came on TV and talked about how there are still some seats available in random courses.
Indian intelligence in sleep mode - Abhishek Bhalla, India Today
First Hyderabad, then Bodhgaya, despite intelligence alerts to the states about possible terror strikes the blasts could not be averted. The information passed on was specific - in Bodhgaya, the Mahabodhi Temple was the target and in Hyderabad, terrorists were planning to attack Dilsukhnagar. Five Indian Mujahideen (IM) suspects arrested by Delhi Police in October last year...
Congress hopes to strike rich with T-gamble - Kay Benedict, Mail Today
Andhra Pradesh, which gave the Congress 33 out of 42 Lok Sabha MPs in 2009, is crucial for the formation of a UPAIII government in 2014. A substantial fall in its tally in the state will severely undermine the party's bid for power at the Centre. By taking a decision to bifurcate the state, the Congress has taken a calculated risk...
Can RBI break the rupee’s fall? - Pradip Shah, Financial Express
The developed markets swooned after the Ben Bernanke bombshell in May of possibly tapering the quantitative easing that the Fed is currently engaged in, but quickly recovered on the reassurance that the tapering would be calibrated. However, the rupee fell and has remained fallen, and Indian importers, exporters and currency traders, as well as foreign investors looking at India, are detecting panic in the actions of the government and RBI.
Telangana statehood: Rayalaseema losing out - M Somasekhar, Business Line
About 57 years ago, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was instrumental in the formation of the State. Fifteen years later, his daughter, refused to submit to agitations to split it. Now, the daughter-in-law is on the verge of favouring a bifurcation. This, in short, is the history of Andhra Pradesh.
Bhagwatinomics scores over Senology - Sumit K Majumdar, Business Line
The debate between professors Jagdish Bhagwati and Amartya Sen as to what exactly India’s right development path is, has continued unabated. Jagdish Bhagwati and his co-author Prof. Arvind Panagariya, in their new book, India’s Tryst with Destiny, suggest that growth is critical for the generation of resources that can then be used for tackling poverty and engendering development. This is the essence of Bhagwatinomics!
Why the Supreme Court needs reform soon - Samanwaya Rautray, ET
The Supreme Court is suddenly buffeted by controversy, some of its own making. The recent unseemly spectacle of two Chief Justices talking at each other via media instead of through their in-house mechanism is symptomatic of deeper malaise.
Confronting the Sen view - Arvind Panagariya, Economic Times
In a recent TV interview, when the anchor asked Amartya Sen how he would respond to economists Arvind Panagariya and Swaminathan Aiyar who had questioned the basis of his estimate of 1,000 deaths per week due to non-implementation of the food security Bill, he prefaced thus, "Panagariya I don't think actually believes there is much undernourishment in the country. He thinks this is a myth - at least this is the headline of his paper."
A mountain strike corps is not the only option - Raja Menon, Hindu
In the history of Indian strategic thought, the decision to create a mountain strike corps against China will remain a landmark. While the file on the subject has apparently been circulating for a while, the absence of open discussion on so momentous a decision is deeply disappointing. Some commentators are of the view that the Chinese incursion in the Depsang plains swung the decision decisively in favour of the strike corps.
How Modi won the BJP primaries in American fashion - R Jagannathan, FirstPost
From many accounts, the Bharatiya Janata Party is planning to formally announce Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate. It could happen as early as next month. While we all know that he was the party’s de facto nominee, the declaration of Modi as the official nominee after a long-drawn process would be a watershed moment in the history of India’s second largest national party. It is a unique achievement, for the simple reason that in India nominees are of only two kinds...
Rayala Telangana: Spectre of Hindu-Muslim conflict - Kingshuk Nag, ET
Hard-nosed analysts know that although India is a democracy, Indian politics is all about caste. The Congress in Andhra Pradesh has been the domain of the Reddys ever since it struck deep roots in this part of the world with the Kapus (an intermediate farming caste) and the Dalits as junior partners. Reddys form only 8% of the state's population but as feudal lords in a state where land reforms have been conspicuous by their absence, their influence extends far beyond their numbers.
Poverty removal - growth offers the only way out - Sunil Jain, Financial Express
Each time estimates of poverty are put out, you find the usual suspects—Opposition leaders and the nice gentile civil society types—pointing to how fictitious they are. If even a dozen bananas of indifferent quality cost over R50 in tony Gulmohar Park in south Delhi where I live, the argument goes, how can the poor even live—given the Tendulkar poverty line is R33 a day for urban areas and R27 for rural ones, what do the poor spend on rent, on medicine, on clothes…?
They want to have the cake and eat it too - Sandhya Jain, Pioneer
In his magisterial commentary on the Constitution, DD Basu emphasised that the State cannot make reservations on communal lines as this infringes clauses (i) and (ii) of Article 16. Initially, the larger political minority (Muslims) accepted this as an inevitable legacy of Partition, while Christians preferred a low profile as the colonial power departed. In recent decades, however, both groups have been chafing at their “theoretical egalitarianism” being cited to deny them reservations as Scheduled Castes.
Chandy & the Karunakaran parallel - Shaju Philip, Indian Express
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy finds himself facing the same kind of pressure as he had once mounted on the late K Karunakaran. In many ways, the ongoing solar panel scam haunting Chandy is a throwback to the ISRO spy scandal of 1994, which had led to Karunakaran's resignation as chief minister in 1995.
India's darkest hour - Akash Prakash, Business Standard
I recently spent a week in India meeting a wide range of economic participants - companies (both large and small), banks, industry experts and economic commentators. As a result, I was exposed to a diverse cross section of opinion. What is clear is that the economy is entering another down leg. The bountiful monsoon may save us to an extent, but things are getting worse in terms of industrial production and private sector capital expenditure.
PMO bullied Pranab to toe Amartya line - Priyadarshi Dutta, Niti Central
Amartya Sen took special care in installing Dr. Gopa Sabharwal as the Rector/Vice Chancellor of the Nalanda University. To achieve that end, he seemed to have coaxed the PMO into bullying the then External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee. The episode is perhaps standalone instance in the annals of Indian bureaucracy- a Foreign Secretary was used to overturn the decision of a Foreign Minister. That this seems to have been done at the behest of an ‘interloper’ Amartya Sen is more curious. But thereby, Sen rescued himself from an embarrassing position that would have unintentionally exposed his sham selection process.
Amartya Sen’s Nalanda University sham - Priyadarshi Dutta, Niti Central
A self-chosen Chancellor: Amartya Sen has mentored the Nalanda University project since 2007. His current designation is Chancellor, Nalanda University – a post he was selected to at Beijing by the Governing Board (2011) that he himself chaired.  While some other names were considered like Prof Wang Gungwu and Prof Meghnad Desai (both Governing Board members) and Prof Sheldon Pollock and Prof Nobru Karashima (none of whom were informed about their inclusion) it was merely ‘statutory formality’ to help Amartya Sen to obtain the position.
High interest rates imposed by the RBI have destroyed Indian industry - Prem Shankar Jha, Tehelka
There seems to be no end to bad news on the economic front. Industrial production fell by 1.6 percent in May. Exports fell by a much larger 4.36 percent in June. With the start of business on 15 July, another rush developed on the dollar, forcing the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to raise interest rates to stem the outflow, even though it knew that this would push up the cost of borrowing for domestic investors by another unbearable 0.5 percent.
Narendra Modi's blog on Telangana: Its creation, the struggle and the road ahead - India Today
Dear Brothers and Sisters from all regions of Andhra Pradesh, Namaskaram! I am looking forward to interacting with all of you on 11th August at the Nava Bharath Yuva Bheri Public Rally in Hyderabad. During the public meeting at Hyderabad, I was hoping to share my thoughts on the issue of statehood for Telangana as well as on all of your concerns on a roadmap for all the regions of Andhra Pradesh.
Telangana out of the way, Hyderabad to be new flash point - Akshaya Mishra, FirstPost
So the decision has been taken finally. Telangana was probably never destined to be part of Andhra Pradesh. Common language – the raison d’etre for the creation of states in India – was not glue strong enough to keep different parts of the state together. The UPA’s decision today, endorsing the separate state of Telangana, is only acknowledgement of this reality. The issue was as much about identity as about compatibility and neither was satisfied by the existing situation.
Poverty, a useful Fiction - Siddharth Singh, Mint
India has just witnessed a dramatic decrease in the number of poor. Data released by the Planning Commission last week showed that less than a quarter of Indians—21.9% to be precise—now live below the poverty line (BPL). The decline occurred in both rural and urban areas, but was far more spectacular in rural areas.
New Delhi and China's game plan - Brahma Chellaney, Mint
An increasingly assertive China has indisputably emerged as India’s immediate strategic challenge. While erring on the side of caution is prudent, strategic diffidence and tentativeness are likely to exact increasing costs. The more feckless and fearful a policy, the more pressures it is bound to invite.
Two visions of India – woolly and pragmatic - Anjan Roy, Business Line
It is a fight between two absentee landlords over overlapping properties. They like observing their land from ivory towers, half the world away, through powerful telescopes. If we take the observation posts to be Harvard and Columbia, the land as the abstract cerebral landscape of the Indian economy and the powerful telescopes as the megawatt intellects of Amartya Sen and Jagdish Bhagwati, what do we get? Something of the altercation that is being played out under media glare.
Smaller states work better - Sumita Kale, Financial Express
The clamour for smaller states will start to intensify as the creation of Telangana appears to be on the cards. While the history of state reorganisation in India has led to states with rather disparate sizes and population, over the last 60 years, strident local voices have been raised across the country in support of their own state. Generally speaking, there are many factors in favour of smaller states.
The whole world has got a lot richer - Charles Kenny, Business Week
This month the most accurate source for global data on the size of the world’s economies got a makeover. As a result, we have measures of economic growth and relative income across countries that are better than ever. These numbers suggest something surprising: a world of ubiquitously increasing wealth, where predictions of Malthusian traps and permanent poverty look increasingly archaic.
Why Muslims should confront the IM - Ashish Khetan, Hindu
There is an overwhelming body of evidence available with Indian investigative agencies to show that between 2003 and 2008, a group of Muslim extremists who called themselves Indian Mujahideen (IM) went about bombing temples, trains and marketplaces, even as the police across India kept implicating dozens of innocent Muslims in these incidents.
BJP should reach out to one-time friends and new allies - Rajesh Singh, Pioneer
The findings of recent nationwide election surveys which two leading television channels commissioned, lead us to the following bare conclusion: The Bharatiya Janata Party is gaining ground and the Congress is losing steam. There is a related addition: While the gains of the BJP are not spectacular, the losses of the Congress are dramatic.
28 plus 1 - Indian Express
A decision on statehood for Telangana has been imminent since the UPA's midnight announcement of December 2009. What is bewildering is that the crisis mode that the Congress swung into then, having taken fright at TRS chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao's fast, still appears to continue to grip the party and its governments at the Centre and in Andhra Pradesh. 
India's poverty industry - BG Verghese, Times of India
India remains a poor country. No doubt about that. Its human deve-lopment indices are a shame. We know that. How do we measure poverty? Opinions vary, but there is agreement that the bar was set too low at Rs 32 per day per capita, adjusted for inflation, under the old Tendulkar formula. The revised Rangarajan formula remains work-in-progress and has yet to be announced. The question, however, remains — has poverty declined?
Pataliputra Lost - SK Sinha, DeccanChronicle
During the late Mughal era Bihar was part of Bengal suba and remained so for most of British rule. As an appendage of Bengal for a couple of centuries, Bihar remained a backward region. It was only in 1911 that it became a separate province. When I was a student in Patna in the 1930s and early 1940s, Biharis constituted a minority amo­ng the intelligentsia. It was Bengalis who dominated — as professors, school teachers, government officers, lawyers, doctors and even clerks.
Foreign hands feed NGOs - Abhishek Bhalla, Mail Today
The foreign hand is rocking quite a few cradles in India.It's been believed for long that that Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) get a major part of their funding from overseas. Now it's all come together in a government file, tabulated and troubling. What's really set alarm bells ringing is that an average Rs 10,000 crore pours into the country every year in form of donations to NGOs from organisations across the world. Getting foreign funding is no crime; flouting guidelines under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act 2010 that governs such transfers is.
Rapid decline in poverty vs food security sops - Times of India
When poverty levels shrink dramatically on a government's beat, one expects it to shout that out from the rooftops. But the UPA marches to a different drummer. When growth was going strong, the National Advisory Council was commissioned to push an inclusive agenda, as if growth and inclusiveness were at odds. When that period of high growth reduced poverty at an unprecedented pace, many UPA spokespersons joined ranks with the opposition, simplistically decrying the existing poverty line as a cruel joke on the poor.
The inevitability of Telangana - Kingshuk Nag, Times of India
Following the integration of 550 princely dominions into the Indian Union in 1956, language was chosen as the basis on which the new states were created. The only exception was the Hindi heartland which was so vast that it was considered prudent to create several states. Implicit in the creation of linguistic states was the belief that language is the basis of culture.
A cautious case for new, small states - Mint
So finally, the first step in the creation of Telangana has been taken. After at least half a century of agitation, the demand for this state has been conceded by the Union government. Yet, there can be no denial that the decision was driven totally by political expediency. The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, which faces a tough general election in less than a year, decided to use statehood as a weapon0 to garner parliamentary seats.
Big Army isn't always the best - Pravin Sawhney, Pioneer
Mere plugging of operational gaps by adding troops like with the proposed mountain strike corps is not the answer. What the Indian Army is doing is bean-counting of assets, and attempting as a wrong policy to match division for division China’s PLA.
Why we need a state - Louise Tillin, Indian Express
Although the Congress has studiously avoided pronouncing on any demands for statehood other than Telangana, the debate about other pending statehood calls is naturally picking up in other regions across the country. There have long been calls for the establishment of a second States Reorganisation Commission (SRC) to take a more comprehensive look at the shape and size of India's states.
A misnomer called food security - Charan Singh & Arvind Virmani, Indian Express
The Food Security Bill (2013, FSB) promulgated recently by an ordinance is expected to be debated in Parliament soon. The intention behind the FSB is noble, to eradicate hunger from the country, but the means adopted need serious reconsideration. FSB, under the targeted public distribution system (TPDS), aims to provide doorstep delivery of subsidised food to nearly 75 per cent of the rural and 50 per cent of the urban population.
Land acquisition law will land us in trouble - Chandrajit Banerjee, Business Line
Although India has one of the largest land masses in the world, the many competing needs for land have led to a crisis in acquisition for industrialisation and urbanisation. According to a CII analysis, land acquisition has emerged as one of the biggest hurdles delaying projects worth lakhs of crores. In this context, there is an urgent need to frame a balanced piece of legislation that would address diverse needs of landowners, project-affected families and industry is more acute.
The promise of Telangana - CH Hanumantha Rao, Economic Times
The decision of the UPA and the Congress Working Committee to accede to the long-standing demand for a separate Telangana state from Andhra Pradesh ends uncertainty holding up development and opens up opportunities for harmonious and inclusive development of both states.
1 year of FM Chidambaram: Economic landscape has turned bleaker - Vinay Pandey, Economic Times
The magic wand has not really worked. A year after P Chidambaram returned to the finance ministry, the economic landscape has turned bleaker and people fret that it will be a while before things turn better. Growth in the last financial year before the UPA government faces voters could fall below even the decade-low of 5% last year. Job losses could accelerate and those entering the workforce may have to warm benches for a while.
Punished for honesty - Pioneer
Regardless of the justifications that the Akhilesh Yadav Government of Uttar Pradesh trots out, the fact is that it has hounded and persecuted intrepid IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal for doing her job effectively. If the State administration is to be believed, Ms Nagpal’s decision to demolish a wall that was being illegally raised on Government land near a mosque in Kadalpur village imperilled her position, as her action could have led to a communal flare-up.
Sahara, Sebi and the Court - Arindam Chaudhuri, Pioneer
In April this year, I had written on how various points in a 2012 Supreme Court judgement against the Sahara Group, on the basis of an earlier Securities and Exchange Board of India order, were erroneous. I had titled the article The Unputdownable! as an appreciative sobriquet for Mr Subrata Roy ‘Sahara’, the Sahara Group Managing Worker, who, despite attempts by external entities to pull him down, has come back with exemplary credentials.
Great power and greater responsibility - Harish Khare, Hindu
Last Saturday, a biker lost his life when the police opened fire to tame an unruly group of stunt motorcyclists near India Gate in New Delhi. The biker’s death is the tragic denouement in a rather recent phenomenon of rowdy bikers proclaiming a part of the city as their ‘zone’ and having a good time on their own terms, and, in the process, cocking a snook at the policeman, armed with the simple lathi. Fellow motorists and other users of public spaces have found themselves at the receiving end of these bikers’ boisterous energy.
Rise against criminality and corruption in politics - EAS Sarma, Times of India
The case of the young IAS officer, Durga Shakti Nagpal, the Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Gautam Budh Nagar has certainly shaken the conscience of all right thinking people in the country. It is heartening that the media should take up her case so aggressively and expose the blatant nexus between the political leadership of Uttar Pradesh and the sand mafia that funds it.
We need FDI, not kickbacks - S Murlidharan, Business Line
One may wonder what imports have got to do with corruption. Well, plenty. Over-invoicing of imports and its adjunct, kickbacks, are often linked to import transactions. In fact, the Bofors saga was all about alleged payment of kickbacks to our politicians through sundry businessmen. The recently deceased Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, allegedly close to the Gandhi family, was, according to Swedish Radio, paid around $23 million by the Swedish gun manufacturer Bofors by way of winding up charges for swinging the deal in its favour.
It is not the rupee that needs saving - Rajiv Kumar, Mail Today
According to newspaper reports, the Prime Minister was at pains to explain to the audience of a book release (Agenda for India's Growth; Essays in Honour of P Chidambaram) that India's GDP growth rate at 5.5 per cent for 2013-2014 is not all that bad, and certainly not cause for alarm or emergency action. I do want to say that we will be lucky to get even 5 per cent GDP growth in 2013-14.
Not even Telangana can save Congress - Ashok Malik, Pioneer
Just short of 70 years ago, Sir Cyril Radcliffe arrived in New Delhi in the middle of a north Indian summer, was given a few maps and four assistants and told to divide the Indian subcontinent into two successor states. The tragedy that followed — the bloodbath of Partition — is well known but is not the issue here.
The GM crop indecision will cost India dear - Ravish Tiwari, Indian Express
The majority recommendation of the Supreme Court-appointed Technical Expert Committee (TEC) favouring an indefinite ban on the field trial of genetically modified (GM) crops has again revived an issue that has been hanging fire for about three and a half years.
Nitish, Akhilesh: Modi-hit and adrift - Shekhar Gupta, Indian Express
Advertising and brand guru Alyque Padamsee has a favourite old line: I do not believe in repositioning my brand, but in forcing my rival to reposition his. Alyque may find it particularly revolting that I borrow his old wisdom to explain the impact of Narendra Modi, against whom he has campaigned with such dedication. So my apologies to him. But the fact is, Modi's appearance on centrestage, and the polarisation it promises, has sent some of the BJP's old rivals scurrying for a share of the Muslim vote.
National Spot Exchange: The long and short of it - MR Subramani, Business Line
Three years ago, when the Forward Markets Commission (FMC) held a regional commodity exchange meeting in Kolkata, a few members complained of trading that allegedly went beyond spot transactions on the National Spot Exchange Ltd (NSEL). The then Commission Chairman B. C. Khatua said his officials would look into their complaints.
Is creation of Telangana a positive step? - Gautam Pingle & Parakala Prabhakar, Business Line
Telangana is workable as a separate State. Even with a lower population (3.5 crore against the rest of Andhra Pradesh’s 4.9 crore), Telangana contributes a larger share to Andhra Pradesh revenues than the rest of Andhra Pradesh, while receiving a lower share of expenditures.
Sen & Dreze's uncertain rant - Laveesh Bhandari, Business Standard
The volume starts with an unarguable statement on the importance of democracy. I liked that. The preface identifies another important aspect of Indian growth - the creation of islands of affluence within a sea of inadequate incomes and consequent rising inequality. Then, a range of desirables is added - social progress, good health status, improved educational outcomes, social justice and so on. The preface ends by thanking the Who's Who of people working on economic development and social progress in India.
Oh for a crisis!: Look how it has concentrated the government's mind - TN Ninan, Business Standard
It has long been said, only half in jest, that India needs a crisis in order to reform. That seems to be proving true, yet again. Confronted with a potential foreign exchange crisis, the government is opening up to foreign investment like there is no tomorrow - and all the vociferous protests and dilly-dallying of yesteryear have evaporated. No, retail chains don't have to buy so much from domestic small-scale units, and they don't have to be only in the big cities.
Why the economy will revive only after UPA leaves - R Jagannathan, FirstPost
No matter how hard Palaniappan Chidambaram tries, the UPA will not be able to revive the India story before the next election. Two days ago, the government announced a slew of “reforms” – easing of FDI norms for multi-brand retail, 100 percent FDI in telecom, a new railway tariff authority, etc – but all it got by way of reward from the markets was a sharp kick in the butt. The markets continued to head south, and the rupee breached Rs 61 to the dollar once again. Both could head further down.
Turn IITs into multi-disciplinary universities - Manish Sabharwal, Times of India
Pandit Nehru's mistake of not focusing on primary schools after independence was more than redeemed by his creation of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). IITs soon became lighthouses of meritocracy, islands of excellence, and sired an overseas youth migration that has been deservedly rebranded in recent times from brain drain to brain circulation.
Why Durga’s Shakti matters for India - Srivatsa Krishna, Times of India
This is not about Durga Shakti anymore. It is about the many Durga Shaktis in the IAS and the paramount need to protect them. And this is about why Durga's Shakti matters to not just the IAS, but also to India's health as a democracy. It is about creating strong, upright civil servants — and not civil "servants" — and the need for the political executive to understand that honest, upright officers are not their personal vassals.
How much does a poor man’s meal cost? - SA Aiyar, Times of India
How much does a poor man's meal cost? One politician said Rs 5. Another said Rs 12. TV channels had a field day going around dhabas in cities, looking for cheap meals. Unsurprisingly, they found that even cheap dhaba meals cost Rs 20-25, and castigated insensitive politicians ignorant of Indian realities. The expose was most entertaining. Alas, it also ignored many facts, and made simple but major mathematical errors.
In the name of the poor - Tavleen Singh, Indian Express
Last week the Prime Minister met yet again with the mighty moguls of Indian industry. The usual suspects were summoned. Men that scooters, safes and soaps get their names from, men who made money even in socialist times by learning how to manipulate the licence raj. Men who go to Davos every year and speak of free markets and liberalisation but who have stood by silently while the Sonia-Manmohan...
Is India headed Zimbabwe's way? - Swapan Dasgupta, Pioneer
Amid the prevailing cacophony over the Gujarat, Bihar, Sen and Manmohan models of development, I am tempted to ask whether, given the way India is meandering, the real fascination of the putrefying Delhi Establishment is for the Zimbabwean model of political economy. Zimbabwe is a perfect case study of what happens when a cynical and self-obsessed ruler...
Hideous 'idea of India' as told by Akhilesh Yadav - Kanchan Gupta, Pioneer
By suspending Durga Shakti Nagpal, an upright IAS officer, the Samajwadi Party has shown the scant regard it has for the secular law of the land. Worse, it has pandered to both criminal goons and communal thugs. A crude joke is doing the rounds in Uttar Pradesh — with a name like ‘Durga Shakti’, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to survive in a Government...
BCCI on the back foot - Business Standard
The Board of Control for Cricket in India, or BCCI, continues to provide a dark, tragicomic vision into how impunity works in India. In a sad reflection of how the existing regulatory system and organisational structures have failed to deal with the increased challenges that have come with the rise of the Indian sport in many disciplines, the greater prosperity and success of Indian cricket have exposed the inability of its Board to keep up with the times.
Confederacy of corrupt - Ravi Shankar, NewIndianExpress
Indian democracy is a tale of schizophrenic irony. ‘Global Corruption Barometer 2013’, a survey conducted by Transparency International, says 85 per cent of Indians believe politicians are corrupt. Yet they vote for them. In turn, politicians do not protect people. They protect their own. Hostilities were suspended after the Supreme Court ordered that legislators should be immediately disqualified upon conviction...
Why everyone wants the poor to remain poor - Anil Padmanabhan, Mint
The Planning Commission’s new poverty numbers showing a dramatic decline to a record low of 22% has had no takers in either the government or the Congress party, which leads the United Progressive Alliance (UPA). Worse, some party members have openly disparaged the numbers.
Blame Manmohan Singh for the reforms logjam - Mint
There is something deeply ironical about a political leader blaming politics for the lack of policy momentum. Prime Minister Manmohan Singhsaid in a speech last week that economic reforms do not take place because of the professional advice offered by economists but because the political leadership of the day decides to move ahead.
UPA regime wants the parrot to remain caged - Pioneer
After a series of raps on its knuckle by the Supreme Court, the Congress-led UPA Government had made a show of wanting to give greater functional freedom to the Central Bureau of Investigation. It even drafted an affidavit that is supposed to work in that direction. But the Government's real intent has been exposed by its obduracy as it resisted on Friday in the apex court the CBI's demand for more financial, disciplinary and administrative powers, on the specious grounds that an all-powerful probe agency would lead to the disruption of constitutional principles and discriminate against other similarly placed organisations.
Unshackling Big Retail - Business Line
The recent relaxation in foreign direct investment (FDI) norms for multi-brand retail will provide greater operational flexibility for global supermarket chains and yield positive results in the long run. The most significant of the policy amendments is the one enabling foreign general retailers to set up shop in any town or city in India, subject to approval by the appropriate State Government.
A new commission for new states? - Economic Times
Home minister Sushilkumar Shinde says that there is no need for the government to set up a states reorganisation commission (SRC) to examine the claims of various regions for full statehood. He is wrong. The government should set up an SRC to examine such claims. In 1920, the Congress party had resolved that India's states should be organised on linguistic lines.
Young India & polls 2014 - Bibek Debroy, Economic Times
What do Indians want and what are their concerns? In the rare cases where such questions are asked, there are no surprises: price rise, corruption, job creation, law and order, education and health, the precise ranking varying from survey to survey. More than 50% of India’s population is under-25 and there will be a clutch of new voters in 2014.
Striking the right note, finally - Shankar Roychowdhury, Deccan Chronicle
What’s in a name? Pl­enty, pro­vided one mak­es an effort to look for it. In­dia’s recent decision to raise a new “strike cor­ps” for the moun­ta­ins raises just such an issue because “strike corps” are equated with offen­sive operations, in this case in moun­tai­nous ter­rain, where the para­me­ters of warfare in terms of organisations, tactics and equipment are quite different from those required elsewhere.
IAF: An eagle in borrowed feathers - Ajai Shukla, Business Standard
There have been strong public reactions to revelations in this newspaper last week about the Indian Air Force's (IAF's) advocacy of the import of a Swiss basic trainer aircraft, the Pilatus PC-7 Mark II. In 2009, the IAF lowered at least 12 important performance requirements, handing Pilatus a contract worth Swiss Franc 557 million (Rs 3,606 crore) for 75 trainers.
Why investors punted on NSEL - Aarati Krishnan, Business Line
The unfolding crisis at the National Spot Exchange (NSEL) throws up many questions about the regulation of commodity exchanges, definition of spot contracts and many other issues. But the most intriguing one is: Why did high networth investors, who are otherwise free to bet on everything from real estate in Dubai to US-listed shares, choose to punt on more humble paddy and castorseed?
Nothing wrong with spectrum sharing: Government should allow the 3G roaming pact - V Sridhar & Rohit Prasad, Business Line
The telecom industry is a tormented one with mounting losses and uncertainty in regulation. Take the recent instance of DoT banning the 3G roaming pact, disallowing intra-circle roaming arrangements between operators.
NDF markets: Don’t kill the messenger, read the message - Varun Khandelwal, FE
The government and RBI have taken several measures to check the depreciation of the rupee. Both have made several references to the non-deliverable forward (NDF) markets as a source of speculative activity against the rupee. NDFs are derivative contracts that do not require the delivery of the underlying asset. NDF markets exist for most emerging market currencies that are not freely convertible on the capital account. 
Country will pay for Congress's myopia - A Surya Prakash, Pioneer
With every opinion poll predicting the downfall of the Congress in the next Lok Sabha election and its virtual decimation in Andhra Pradesh, the party has begun to show its true colours — it appears to be willing to do anything to shore up its numbers in the next Lok Sabha, even if this means encouraging fissiparous tendencies and endangering national unity.
Gorkhaland bomb ticking - Soudhriti Bhabani, Mail Today
The standoff between the West Bengal government and Gorkha Janamukti Morcha (GJM) reached a flashpoint on Monday with the latter refusing to open a dialogue with the authorities over separate Gorkhaland issue.
Strong states strengthen centre - Saroj Gaur, NewIndianExpress
India is the seventh largest country in terms of geographic area, second most populous, fourth largest in GDP, has the third largest military force, and is the 12th largest economy in the world. India is a republic consisting of 28 states and seven union territories with a parliamentary form of democracy, and now another state is to be added when the process to give statehood to Telangana fructifies.
Brinkmanship on Telangana - Kamlendra Kanwar, NewIndianExpress
The dangerous consequences of a weak Centre are coming home to roost. The 29th state of the country — Telangana — is on the anvil and the architect and chief protagonist whose actions moved the dream closer to reality is already making provocative statements that put the much-hoped for peace in fresh jeopardy.
No State patronage on basis of religion - NewIndianExpress
In a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Union minister for minority affairs Rahman Khan has said that 4.5 per cent reservation for minorities, which has been struck down by a high court, could be revived by narrowing its focus to Muslims. The advocacy of “Muslim over minority” model to extricate the doomed quota initiative from judicial veto comes as Congress continues to be embarrassed that the policy announced with fanfare in December 2011 became a non-starter.
Gujarat growth model is inclusive - Zafar Sareshwala, FirstPost
Is the Gujarat model of development inclusive? Some have called it sheer hype. They say that many false and exaggerated claims have been made about it. Yet others have said that this model works only for urban areas; some say it deliberately excludes minorities. This writer, who was one of Narendra Modi’s toughest critics in the aftermath of the 2002 riots, has come to believe that the model of community-neutral development planning in Gujarat has worked for the benefit of all.
The rise of the special-interest state - James V DeLong, RealClearPolicy
George Will titled a recent column "Detroit's death by democracy," and noted that the collapse "pose[s] worrisome questions about the viability of democracy in jurisdictions where big government and its unionized employees collaborate in pillaging taxpayers." His point is apt but insufficiently gloomy. It skirts the real fear that is and should be on the collective American mind: that the interest-group capture and despoliation of Detroit has evil implications for the viability of American democracy as a whole, not just in a few cities, and that we are on the edge of serious, and perhaps even violent, upheaval.
Narendra Modi connects with urban youth; Rahul Gandhi fails - Rajdeep Sardesai, HindustanTimes
In the age of marketing, there is perhaps no social category as attractive as the urban ‘youth’ brand. The MTV generation has spawned channels, products, a lifestyle designed to promote this ‘youth’ culture. And now, in the battle for power in the next general elections, it is this ubiquitous youth factor that is expected to play a bigger role than ever before. The 2014 general elections will be the first to have India’s post-liberalisation generation exercise their franchise. The post-1991 babies have grown up. One estimate suggests the number of first-time voters — between the age of 18 and 23 — will be around a 110 million of the 800 million eligible voters.
What to expect from Raghuram Rajan as RBI governor - Vivek Kaul, FirstPost
The appointment of Raghuram Govind Rajan as the next governor of the Reserve Bank of India(RBI) is one of the few correct decisions that the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance(UPA) government has made in the last few years. Rajan, an alumnus of IIT Delhi, IIM Ahmedabad and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is currently the Chief Economic Advisor of the government of India.
The Southern Jihad – Studying an Islamist takeover - Aravindan Neelakandan, CentreRightIndia
Indian Jihad has found in South India an ideal base for operations. A network of democratic cover-up organizations has been created to shield the Jihadist capacity building. The pattern is in the sudden upsurge in preparatory Jihad activities with inter-state and international links which result in increased arrests but poor conviction rates. In parallel to this process allegedly democratic and social groups are built with overt as well as covert jihadi connections, the overt and covert nature depending upon the friendliness of the state government in question.
A rupee dogfight is pointless - Ajay Shah, Economic Times
There are many, many things going wrong in Indian economic policy. But the rupee was the wrong place to look to pick a battle. The cost-benefit ratio of such a fight does not make sense. The damage caused by waging a war on the rupee dwarfs the near-zero impact that was obtained. It is better to let the market choose the exchange rate, and focus government upon things that only government can do.
New governor won't get to be his own man - Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar, ET
In 2008, the new RBI governor, Raghuram Rajan, detailed his idea of the right agenda for India as head of the Committee on Financial Sector Reforms. Of its many recommendations, the key one was that RBI should have a single policy focus - low, stable inflation. Corollary: it should not focus on targeting the exchange rate or stimulating GDP.
Will Rajan the intellectual survive Rajan the Governor? - Bibek Debroy, ET
By training, RaghuramRajan is not an economist. He is an engineer and MBA. But while the PhD from MIT was technically in management, the thesis was on banking. And Rajan's expertise is in financial economics, within the Booth School of Business, Chicago, and outside it. Other than being the Chief Economic Adviser with UPA (a short stint starting in August 2012 and regarded as a precursor to RBI governorship), he has also been chief economist with the IMF. 
A contagion of littleness - Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Indian Express
Our institutions now present a dismal spectacle. Attempts to address one crisis are immediately subverted by another. There is no stable context for arguments. What shall we address: The dreary logjam in Parliament? The corrosion of the Supreme Court's authority brought about not just by the spectacular bluntness and lack of clarity in its judgments, but also by public dirty linen-washing by judges? The decimation of universities as sites of free speech? The death of the IAS? We could go on.
War by wordplay - Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post
Jen Psaki, blameless State Department spokeswoman, explained that the hasty evacuation of our embassy in Yemen was not an evacuation but “a reduction in staff.” This proved a problem because the Yemeni government had already announced (and denounced) the “evacuation” — the word normal folks use for the panicky ordering of people onto planes headed out of the country. Thus continues the administration’s penchant for wordplay, the bending of language to fit a political need. In Janet Napolitano’s famous formulation, terror attacks are now “man-caused disasters.” And the “global war on terror” is no more. It’s now an “overseas contingency operation.”
India's poverty and inclusive growth record is much better than China's - Surjit S Bhalla, Indian Express
This article attempts to document the record on poverty reduction in both China and India. That China has grown substantially faster than India is a matter of record and great pride for China. That the welfare of the poor in China has also improved at a much faster rate than India is also conventional wisdom as articulated by various scholars at international institutions like the UN, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, etc, and these findings have been supported and endorsed by Nobel laureates like Amartya Sen, for example, in "Why India Trails China" (New York Times, June 19).
Pakistan is back to its old ways - Hindustan Times
The deaths of five Indian soldiers in an ambush with what were Pakistan-based gunmen are only further evidence that the Line of Control (LoC) — and the Pakistani military in general — has started to become a live wire once again. Though it may not seem obvious to most Indians, the India-Pakistan border has seen a relatively peaceful period since the two sides agreed to an LoC ceasefire in 2003. While there has never been a moment of complete peace, the death toll of soldiers on both sides fell after the ceasefire.
Buddhism as a derivative of Vedanta - Sandeep Balakrishna, CentreRightIndia
One of the biggest myths about the origins, growth, and spread of Buddhism is the fact that Buddhism was a revolt against Vedanta. Variants of this myth include characterizing this as a revolt against Brahminism and the corrupt Brahmin priestly class. To be fair, there is a grain of truth in the last bit about the corruption of the Brahmin priestly class but the originators of this myth are really hitting at Vedanta because they posit Buddhism as a philosophy that stands in opposition to Vedanta.
Prescriptions to fix global faultlines - Raghuram G Rajan, Financial Express
From 1960 until the 1991 recession, recoveries from recessions in the United States were typically rapid. From the trough of the recession, the average time taken by the economy to recover to pre-recession output levels was less than two quarters, and the lost jobs were recovered within eight months. The recoveries from the recessions of 1991 and 2000-2001 were very differ-ent. Although production recovered within three quarters in 1991 and just one quarter in 2001, it took 23 months from the trough of the recession to recover the lost jobs in 1991 recession and 38 months in the 2001 recession.
Tertiary troubles - Business Line
There are two striking aspects to the HSBC Purchasing Managers’ Index report for India, a robust measure of economic activity that is based on monthly surveys of private sector companies. First, the Composite Output Index registered a contraction in July, signalling an overall decline in the private sector. The fact this has happened for the first time since April 2009 shows that the Indian economy is pretty much in the same shape it was after the 2008 global economic crisis. If anything, it may be even a tad worse, which brings up the second point.
Why India simply has to strategically shelve Pakistan - Seema Sirohi, FirstPost
The killing of five Indian soldiers by Pakistanis along the line of control has elicited two kinds of responses in India – one naively hopeful and the other belligerently aggressive. One talks of continuing the dialogue with Pakistan no matter what happens on the ground, the other, coming largely from the opposition BJP and its supporters, talks of outright revenge. Yashwant Sinha, a BJP stalwart and a former minister, got so carried away, he said the current Indian government was “sponsoring” Pakistan.
Election therapy - Sanjaya Baru, Indian Express
The Indian economy is going through a difficult phase but it is not in crisis yet. Though late in responding, the government is working hard to make the best of a bad situation. Some of India's best economic policy brains are literally burning the midnight oil to manage a difficult situation. A slew of policy measures aimed at reassuring investors and attracting foreign currency inflows have been taken.
Deal with the real power: The Pakistan army - Pravin Sawhney, Times of India
The killing of five Indian soldiers near the Line of Control (LoC) was undoubtedly the handiwork of the Pakistan army, without the knowledge of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. So what should India do? India should know that normalisation of relations with Pakistan, where all the stakeholders are on board, are necessary for peace on the LoC, in Afghanistan and on the disputed border with China. Thus, while allowing its army to hit across the LoC at the right time and place, Delhi should accept the friendship hand of the Nawaz Sharif government.
As our jawans die... Congress-led UPA speaks Pakistan’s language - Pioneer
The responsibility for the recent killing of five Indian jawans along the Line of Control in Poonch in Jammu & Kashmir lies to a large extent with the Congress-led UPA Government as it does entirely with the Army across the border and, by extension, the recently sworn-in Nawaz Sharif regime. By continuing to overlook the repeated breach of the ceasefire agreement along the LoC...
Cross border aggression: Wages of prolonged leadership drift - Brahma Chellaney, Economic Times
Two back-to-back attacks on Indian targets scripted by the Pakistani military since last weekend — a terror strike on the Jalalabad consulate and the ambush-killing of five soldiers — highlight the escalating costs of India's prolonged leadership drift. India has never before presented itself as being so directionless, weak, impotent and vulnerable.
Rajan’s crown of thorns - Mythili Bhusnurmath, Economic Times
In the Indian ecosystem, it’s not often that merit trumps all other considerations. Extraneous factors — caste, community, religion and that important political backing — often seem to count far more than merit, far more than simply being the best man for the job.
Raghuram Rajan has more up his sleeve - Sunil Jain, Financial Express
Given how Raghuram Rajan earned his spurs by taking on Alan Greenspan at the height of his popularity and even got labelled a Luddite for this—by former US treasury secretary Lawrence Summers, the frontrunner for the Fed chief’s job—his stint as RBI Governor promises to be an eventful one. While finance minister P Chidambaram has been known to be impatient with central bank chiefs who have not supported growth by cutting interest rates, Rajan’s stated position on containing inflation is not too different from that of current RBI Governor D Subbarao.
Govt should worry about outward FDI - Business Standard
Earlier this week, this newspaper reported a statement from the managing director of Apollo Tyres, Neeraj Kanwar, that was both revealing and worrying. Speaking of his tyre company's capital-expenditure plans, he said: "There is a very clear growth-capex programme that has been identified. Plants with the opportunity to grow will be the first ones (to get investments).
5 policy missteps that have led India to economic crisis - Shankar Acharya, Bus Std
Yes, we are in an economic crisis, albeit in its early stages. How else would you describe a situation where economic growth has collapsed, industrial output has stagnated for two years, jobs are being shed, consumer inflation is close to 10 per cent, the current account deficit (CAD) in the balance of payments is nearly five per cent of GDP at last count, investment is fleeing abroad, external debt maturing in the current fiscal year exceeds $170 billion and the rupee is touching new lows (or highs against the dollar!) each week?
Why 'Secularism' is not an Indian concept - Sanjeev Nayyar, eSamskriti
Narendra Modi rattled the Congress by accusing it of hiding its inability to govern under the burkha of secularism. This statement has once again brought the issue of secularism into national focus. Every leader claims to be secular. No one is asking, however, what is the meaning of the word secular? This article seeks to provoke thought by giving the origin of the word secular and benchmarks, briefly, it with other countries worldwide.
An interest rate pivot - Arvind Virmani, Indian Express
I have previously, in 2007, argued that India should have an asymmetric foreign exchange policy, whose central objective is to dampen the adverse effects of external capital flow volatility, while taking full advantage of low cost long-term debt and risk capital to accelerate growth.
Understanding IndPak: It’s talks versus fights - Pramit Pal Chaudhuri & Jayanth Jacob, Hindustan Times
The debate on Indian policy towards Pakistan often assumes two choices: talking and fighting. There is a nuanced and consistent logic to how New Delhi has handled Islamabad.
UPA regime eats its words, names Pakistan - Pioneer
Had it not been for the outrage in Parliament and across the country, the Congress-led UPA Government would not have named and shamed Pakistan’s Army for the recent killing of five Indian soldiers along the Line of Control. On Thursday, Mr Antony finally acknowledged in Parliament that the August 6 ambush of an Indian patrol in Jammu & Kashmir's Poonch district was indeed carried out by “specialist troops” of the Pakistani Army, and also demanded, for good measure, that Islamabad punish those who blatantly violated the ceasefire agreement.
The paranoid style in economics - Raghuram Rajan, Project Syndicate
Why do high-profile economic tussles turn so quickly to ad hominem attacks? Perhaps the most well-known recent example has been the Nobel laureate Paul Krugman’s campaign against the economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, in which he moved quickly from criticism of an error in one of their papers to charges about their commitment to academic transparency.
Bhagwati-Sen: The debate that was Not! - Jagdish Bhagwati, Business Standard
My "debate" with Mr. Sen has now descended into the political morass after Mr. Sen gratuitously attacked Chief Minister Narendra Modi as unfit to be India’s Prime Minister. I find such pronouncements to be jejune and deplorable. In fact, my position has always been that I write for the public like Keynes did; and my ideas are available to every progressive politician, no matter what his party.
Promoting inflation for building prosperity! - S Gurumurthy, Business Line
When US rice prices skyrocketed by 70 per cent between January and April 2008, President George Bush blamed the Indian middle class for the food shortage and high food prices in that country. But the California Rice Commission and the USA Rice Federation contradicted him and said: “Bottom line, no rice shortage in US. We have supplies.” It soon became evident that the rice prices had shot up not due to food shortage but because financial funds had turned traders in grains and hoarded them to profiteer.
Dialogue/No dialogue is no deterrence - Rajesh Rajagopalan, Economic Times
In the aftermath of yet another Pakistani transgression, we are back to the tired old arguments about whether or not India should be talking to Pakistan. Proponents argue that nothing has been gained whenever India stopped talking to Pakistan, as it did after every major provocation. Their opponents argue that dialogue has not stopped Pakistan's provocations.
India is a regional power without a plan - Harsh V. Pant, Hindu
Five Indian soldiers were killed Tuesday in the Poonch sector of disputed Jammu and Kashmir. So much for the new round of round of India-Pakistan rapprochement that was supposed to follow Nawaz Sharif's election as Pakistan's prime minister. The Indian Minister of Defense pointed the finger at "approximately 20 heavily armed terrorists along with persons dress in Pakistan Army...
The economics of sand mining in NCR - Sahil Makkar, Business Standard
Bharat Chauhan, 20, grew up listening to stories of illegal sand mining in Raipur village, on the banks of the Yamuna, along the Delhi-Noida border. Nine years ago, someone from his village allegedly started mining a barren piece of land, where the river had accumulated silt over the years. During these years, the villager repeatedly robbed the land...
‘Vadra used falsified documents, sham transactions to collect premium on land deal’ - Chander Suta Dogra & Shalini Singh, Hindu
Ashok Khemka, the Haryana IAS officer who cancelled a land deal mutation between Robert Vadra and real estate giant DLF Universal Ltd last October, has told the Haryana government that Mr. Vadra falsified documents and executed a series of sham transactions for 3.53 acres land in Shikohpur village of Gurgaon, thereby pocketing a hefty premium on a commercial colony licence through money that he could account for.
Chidambaram plays Sonia’s Shikhandi, but it won’t save the rupee - R Jagannathan, FirstPost
The term “Shikhandi” aptly describes the role being played by P Chidambaram in this UPA dispensation. In the Mahabharata, Arjuna fights Bhishma using Shikhandi as his shield in the full knowledge that Bhishma will not fight Shikhandi, who, in an earlier birth, was a woman. She was Princess Amba, who had vowed revenge against Bhishma for scorning her love, and was reborn as Shikhandi.
Economic crisis looms on the horizon - Prem Shankar Jha, Hindu
Till barely a month ago, industry was pleading with the Reserve Bank of India to end the high interest rate regime that has brought its growth to a standstill and caused a wholesale flight of savings from the share market into land and gold. So the most puzzling feature of its reaction to the RBI’s July 30 decision to keep policy interest rates unchanged has been its silence.
Back to the 1980s - TN Ninan, Business Standard
Have we regressed to a pre-reform era? Consider the following. The eight years and more since 2004-05 have seen a continuous non-oil trade deficit, the first such period since the 1980s - coincidentally, another period that saw overvalued exchange rates. The overall current account deficit has trebled in the last four years, reaching levels that are now much higher than the pre-1991 crisis level of about three per cent of GDP.
Talking to Pakistan: A fool’s errand - Sumit Ganguly, Asian Age
One can only hope that the deaths of the five Indian sol­diers as a consequence of a Pakis­tani breach of ceasefire along the Line of Control near Poonch might produce a suitable concentration of mind amongst key policymakers in New Delhi about the possibilities of continuing a meaningful dialogue wi­th Pakistan. Our current regime, and especially Prime Minister Manmo­han Singh, has persisted with a dialogue with Islamabad despite domestic opposition and continued intransigence from across the border.
Ministers & bureaucrats: Brothers in arms - Business Standard
In 1990, around 200 officers of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) had gathered for a conclave in Uttar Pradesh. Among them was TSR Subramanian, who would go on to become the Union cabinet secretary, India's seniormost bureaucrat. He and the others listened in stunned silence as Mulayam Singh Yadav, then chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, said to them. "Why do you come and touch my feet?
Shameless Minister - Pioneer
If some politicians are incapable of paying homage to those who lay down their lives for the sake of the country, the least that they can do is keep their mouths shut and refrain from insulting the martyrs. This is what Bihar's Rural Works and Panchayati Raj Minister Bhim Singh should have done.
Islamabad's impunity: India lacks will to respond - Hiranmay Karlekar, Pioneer
August 3 witnessed an attempted attack on the Indian consulate at Jalalabad by the Haqqani network, also known as the Afghan Taliban, a hatchet outfit of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate. The attackers were halted before they could reach the consulate and there was no Indian casualty.
UPA Govt: Scared witless - Indian Express
The UPA government looks increasingly like a band of nervous submariners sailing through hostile waters. They dive underwater at the first sensing of danger and then watch the world through the periscope. Except, the periscope in this case is news TV. Or frankly, why blame just TV, the entire media. You can list countless examples of this peculiar behaviour by UPA 2.
The Telangana effect - Chetan Bhagat, Times of India
An endearing, almost cute trait of Indians is that we never really lose hope. We always feel a messiah, or a great grand scheme will soon come and deliver us from our woes. It is a narrative reinforced by Bollywood, where somehow a hero works things out in the end. Our mythology too talks about good forces (God) with amazing powers coming and killing the evil (demons).
Antony must resign - MJ Akbar, Times of India
There is no reason why defence minister A K Antony should apologise. A jury is often asked to distinguish between a mistake and a crime. The first is unconscious , the second deliberate. A lapse may be condoned by apology. Crime demands punishment. Antony did not make a mistake when, on the floor of Parliament, he crafted a loophole through which the Pakistan army could escape responsibility...
Is a united Pakistan in India’s larger national interest? - Swapan Dasgupta, Times of India
For once it is difficult to blame the media for getting into a tizzy over events on the Line of Control. If enemy action resulted in the killing of five Indian soldiers, the matter cannot be shrugged off with the lament that ‘these things happen’ . Nor can we be so heartless as to suggest — as a silly minister in Bihar did — that men in uniform have to be prepared for the ultimate sacrifice.
India’s fear of growth - Clive Crook, Bloomberg
Congratulations to India for appointing Raghuram Rajan as the new governor of its central bank. It would be hard to think of anybody better qualified -- not even Janet Yellen. But condolences to India for the news that monetary and financial policies aren’t the main obstacles to its prosperity. The economy needs better management, all right, but not at the Reserve Bank of India.
Being politically incorrect is fine - Rajesh Singh, Pioneer
To be politically correct is not the same as to be factually correct. It's certainly not the same as being sensible. Yet, the need to maintain political correctness even at the risk of being otherwise incorrect grips our political leaders and commentators when they are faced with issues that deserve, in the larger national interest, to be called by their name.
Appeasing Pakistan at the cost of national interest - Kanchan Gupta, Pioneer
A feckless Prime Minister can only be expected to cut corners with India's interest and security. But that does not mean we should let Manmohan Singh do so unchallenged and unquestioned. The outpouring of rage across the country after Pakistani soldiers sneaked across the Line of Control in the Poonch sector and ambushed an Indian Army post, killing five jawans, earlier this week...
BJP-haters' new plot to stall Modi - Swapan Dasgupta, Pioneer
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is both an accomplished politician and blessed with a pleasing personality. He has admirers cutting across the political and ideological divide. If the opinion polls are to be believed, his popularity and administrative skills should see the BJP win a third term in this mid-sized State of central India.
Directionless India - Tavleen Singh, Indian Express
It is just as well that the latest crisis on the Line of Control left the triumvirate that heads the Indian government speechless as usual. If they had spoken, they may have made the Defence Minister seem like a statesman instead of the clown he has proved he is. Every time one or other of the triumvirate has spoken on a matter of grave national importance they have ended up proving that India is today frighteningly leaderless.
Congress's biggest problem: ridicule - MJ Akbar, Sunday Guardian
The fulcrum of a tipping point in public life is that mortal enemy of a politician: humour. A joke might not destroy reputation quite as effectively as a corruption scandal, but it deflates credibility. Through his long career Defence Minister A.K. Antony has been wise enough never to get tempted by a wisecrack; wit is not his forte. He might therefore be a little bewildered...
PM should cancel talks with Sharif - Ram Jethmalani, Sunday Guardian
I write this on the auspicious day of Eid al Fitr, and would like to wish all my Muslim friends all over the world Eid Mubarak. I have been writing over the past few weeks about what I consider are critical problems facing the nation today that require urgent solution, if we really want to become a world power during this century, as we keep boasting about.
Congress's fear: 2014 could be a referendum on Nehru-Gandhi dynasty - Ashok Malik, Asian Age
With charges of unusually profitable and seemingly irregular land deals in Gurgaon re-surfacing against Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, it is inevitable that direct attacks on the Gandhi family will be a feature of the coming election season. There are only about eight months to go for voting day.
Here's proof UPA is more talk than action - Gangadhar S Patil, DNA
Taking the government at its word? Take it with a pinch of salt. It turns out that about 50% of the undertakings the UPA-II government has given in Parliament has been tall promises. Over the past four years, several ministers made about 11,000 promises on various important issues in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha. But, about 5,000 have not been fulfilled, show records of the parliamentary affairs ministry.
An invitation to federal chaos - Rajeev Dhavan, Mail Today
History has not been brisk in its stride or consistent in its aims to create smaller states in India. The case for 'Andhra Desa' was made as far back as 6th June 1914. The Telugu speakers wanted to be free of Tamil domination. The criterion was language. After Potti Sriramulu's fast, Andhra was recognised along linguistic lines in 1956. Hyderabad had "acceded" to the Union. It should have always been a separate state.
New companies law: A job half done - Business Standard
In an act years - perhaps decades - overdue, Parliament has finally given its assent to a new companies law. On Thursday, the Bill was approved by the Rajya Sabha; once it receives the president's assent and is notified, it will replace the legislation in force currently, which dates from 1956. That law had been amended dozens of times - 25, to be precise - but still had a hard time keeping up with a post-liberalisation economy.
No lunch in Lahore yet - Vikram Sood, Hindustan Times
Peace between nations is a laudable objective and countries have fought wars in the name of peace. Pakistan started four wars against India, not counting the skirmish in the Rann of Kutch and the endless proxy wars that it has pursued since 1989. Despite such experiences, there are many in India who exult every time there is a change of guard in Islamabad, hoping for a peaceful future.
Lesson from Kishtwar - Pioneer
The Government of Jammu & Kashmir must without any delay crack down on the perpetrators of the violence that broke out in Kishtwar on Friday. But for such an action to be effective, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah must abandon his ‘balancing act’ and specifically target the villains of the act, while not allowing other participants to go free.
Guj Lokayukta: First the battle, now a retreat - Madhuri Shukla, Pioneer
Surprisingly, Justice (Retd) RA Mehta of the Gujarat High Court has withdrawn himself as the State’s Lokayukta, saying that he cannot perform his constitutional duty fairly as the Narendra Modi Government had opposed his name from the beginning. In his letter to Gujarat Governor Kamla Beniwal, Mr Mehta has pointed out that he had decided not to accept the post because of the damage done to his credibility by the State regime.
To cleanse politics, a new pact - Arghya Sengupta & Ajit Prakash Shah, IE
Through two recent judgments — The Chief Election Commissioner vs Jan Chowkidar (2013) and Lily Thomas vs Union of India (2013) — the Supreme Court has taken great strides in cleansing politics of its criminal elements. Unsurprisingly, at an all-party meeting held in their aftermath, political parties have been severely critical of these judgments.
Muslims should thank Richard Dawkins - Kalavai Venkat, IndiaWires
The distinguished atheist and Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins recently tweeted: “All the world’s Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge. They did great things in the Middle Ages, though.” Dawkins invoked the Muslim analogy because Muslim apologists often brag that Islam is numerically the fastest growing religion in the world with 1.6 billion adherents and that Islamic science deserves enormous respect. One merely has to look at the textbooks influenced by Muslim apologists and aimed at middle school children in the USA...
UPA's blunders are destabilising India's security - Varun Gandhi, Times of India
India lies in a fortunate geography. Cradled between two arms of the Indian Ocean and naturally barricaded by the Himalayas, a scorching desert and lightly travelled tropical forests, we are not easily vulnerable. Yet we`ve faced invasions through the Hindukush, through Burma and from across the oceans. This dynamic continues today, manifested in Poonch sector last week when Pakistanis crossed the LoC and shot five Indian soldiers dead.
INS Vikrant is a force multiplier - Sreeram Chaulia, Hindustan Times
The launch of the 40,000-tonne INS Vikrant, India's first indigenously manufactured aircraft carrier, is a milestone in the nation's military history and a key addition to our force projection capabilities in the high seas. Together with aircraft carriers — the Russian-built INS Vikramaditya and the British-origin INS Viraat — INS Vikrant will spearhead the Indian Navy that has long reach, great firepower and deterrence capabilities.
Mayawati clean chit scripted in error - Gyanant Singh, Mail Today
The Supreme Court last week refused to review its decision quashing a corruption case against Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati. With the court relying solely on legal technicalities and not going into the claim of the CBI that it had found enough material to go ahead with the case, the decision clearly was not a clean chit to the BSP supremo who faced charges of amassing assets through illegal means.
Parties band together to keep out of RTI purview - Vidya Subrahmaniam, Hindu
The Manmohan Singh government on Monday introduced the Right to Information (Amendment Bill), 2013 in the Lok Sabha overriding outrage and protests by ordinary users of the law as well as information activists, many of whom inundated the Speaker’s office with appeals and applications urging Meira Kumar to refer the Bill to a select committee.
INS Arihant: A strategic milestone - Hindu
Technical accomplishments aside, the true significance of the reactor on board India’s first Indian nuclear submarine achieving criticality is strategic. INS Arihant marks the first step towards completing the third component of the triad of air, mobile land-based and sea-based deterrent forces envisaged in India’s nuclear doctrine.
Modi is the message: Decoding the man after his Bhuj I-Day speech - R Jagannathan, FirstPost
Traditionalists may be aghast that Narendra Modi would want to make a patently political attack on the Prime Minister over his Independence Day speech, when the norm is to give the appearance of national unity. However, both his challenge to the PM yesterday, and his aggressive speech to attack Manmohan Singh and the central government today, follow a simple logic: arguments in India are not won with just the power of reason, however much Amartya Sen may extol the virtues of argumentation; arguments are won through the demonstration of power and exercise of political will. This is exactly what Modi has been doing for the last few months, and this is what he did yesterday and today.
Bright spots for India - V Anantha Nageswaran, Mint
On a day when one got up from the bed and, straight off the bat, read the news of about one-third of India’s top corporations are technically bankrupt, it seems to make little sense to write about India’s bright spots. Schadenfreude is never a substitute for improving things on the ground. However, investors make relative judgements all the time. India’s troubles have been well flagged in recent months. What is interesting is that other countries are following in India’s footsteps and investors are beginning to take note.
INS Vikrant is reborn, as new aircraft carrier launched - Ajai Shukla, Bus Std
At Kochi, on Monday, a giant step was taken towards the rebirth of the Indian Navy's iconic former flagship, the INS Vikrant. On March 4, 1961, on a cold, blustery morning at Belfast, Northern Ireland, in the presence of Indian High Commissioner Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, INS Vikrant was commissioned as the Indian Navy's first aircraft carrier.
The eroding sanctity of institutions in India - Mint
The overriding theme of governance in India over the past decade has been a sustained attack on the very institutions that bind the Indian state. Whether it be apex investigative agencies such as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) or financial regulators such as the Securities and Exchanges Board of India (Sebi), very few institutions have managed to protect their autonomy and credibility during the nearly decade long reign of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, as it went about demolishing the checks and balances that limit the abuses of power.
Bee in Omar's bonnet - Pioneer
By preventing leaders of the Opposition from visiting the violence-torn Kishtwar region, the Jammu and Kashmir Government has strengthened the suspicion that it has something to hide. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has sought to justify the action by pointing out that leaders of all parties, including that of his own and the Congress, have been barred because their presence could add fuel to the fire.
Ashok Khemka too needs to be treated justly - Business Standard
The Haryana government in October 2012 said it had set up an "independent" committee to investigate the reports of illegality and bending of regulations in a land deal involving the state's Department of Town and Country Planning, the real estate behemoth DLF, and Robert Vadra, the son-in-law of Congress President Sonia Gandhi. Those reports had alleged that Mr Vadra had made windfall profits by acquiring land in Haryana, having the land use permission changed, and selling it to DLF for development.
Hooda is Robert Vadra's Bansi Lal - Vivek Kaul, FirstPost
Crony capitalism needs a businessman and a helpful politician to pull it off. In the case of Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Sonia Gandhi, the friendly politician could well be Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Haryana Chief Minister. The Hooda government’s role in helping Vadra make big money from real estate deals is not without precedent. One of the original crony capitalists in this country was Sanjay Gandhi, son of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Thy hand, great dyarch!* - Siddharth Singh, Mint
Dyarchy, or rule by two, historically, is a device that works only for a limited period, if at all. In 1919, the British colonial government decided to hand over some “responsibility” to Indian ministers—largely low-voltage areas such as agriculture and education—while keeping the levers of control in the hands of the viceroy and his men. This they did to keep Indian aspirations and unrest in check. The idea was to associate Indians with power while keeping them away from the substance of it.
Government measures to control the current account deficit worse than the disease - Business Standard
The government is moving forward with its various measures that it had promised to try and curtail India's current account deficit, which had reached alarming proportions in recent quarters. Finance Minister P Chidambaram told Parliament on Monday that he remained confident that the current account deficit for 2013-14 would be only 3.7 per cent of gross domestic product, although 2012-13 saw it as high as 4.8 per cent of GDP.
A change of guard at RBI - Subir Roy, Business Standard
A change of guard is taking place at the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and it is a good time to look at recent history and seek some lessons. India is fortunate in having more than one distinguished RBI governor steady the economic ship during periods of global turmoil. While recalling that, it is also necessary to ask what the future holds.
Masked men of Kishtwar - Amitabh Mattoo, Indian Express
Known in the past as the land of sapphires and saffron, Kishtwar today is a metaphor for the larger collapse of the idea of Jammu and Kashmir. Once, the state's greatest strength was its rich cultural, linguistic, religious and geographical diversity. Today, as most of these identities have morphed into shrill, polarised and communally charged monsters, the real danger to J&K is from within.
Call chief ministers meet before food bill is finalised - Narendra Modi, IE
The government of Gujarat has noted with serious concern the final formulation of the National Food Security Ordinance promulgated by the Central government recently. In my clear view, this does not contain the basic tenets which any food security legislation should meet, and is unlikely to achieve the objectives for which the Union government has taken this step.
Bright spots in a sea of failure - Manoj Joshi, Mail Today
The news may be gloomy from all across the country, but, for the Indian Navy, things are looking good. In this past week, they have crossed two significant milestones. First, the nuclear reactor in the Arihant nuclear ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) went critical and the boat is now ready for sea trials. Second, India's first home-designed aircraft carrier, Vikrant, was launched at the Cochin Shipyard, Kochi.
Why is New Delhi dithering? - G Parthasarathy, Business Line
Alongside its economic problems, India now faces a situation where two of its neighbours — China and Pakistan — are jointly and separately undermining its security and influence worldwide. Emboldened by Chinese assistance leading to the strengthening of its navy (4 new frigates), air force (JF 17 fighters) and nuclear armoury (plutonium-based tactical nuclear weapons), Pakistan now believes that it can effectively deter India from responding firmly to terrorist strikes emanating from its soil.
Economics of Constitutions - Amitendu Palit, Financial Express
China adopted a new Constitution in 1982, four years after Deng Xiaoping began reforming China. The new Constitution was drafted to suit China’s new economic policies. The most striking example was Article 18, which stated: “The People’s Republic of China permits foreign enterprises, other foreign economic organisations and individual foreigners to invest in China and to enter into various forms of economic co-operation with Chinese enterprises and other economic organisations in accordance with the law of the People’s Republic of China.”
As growth slows and reforms falter, economic activity is shifting out of India - Economist
India's diaspora of 25m people is something to behold. In colonial times Indian labourers and traders spread across the world, from Fiji to the Caribbean. A second wave of Indians left between the 1970s and mid-1990s, when the economy was in a semi-socialist rut. Migrant workers rushed to the Persian Gulf and South-East Asia, then booming. Educated folk and entrepreneurs fled to the rich world.
Trilemma that felled RBI governor - Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar, ET
Rarely has an outgoing RBI governor been castigated as much as Duvvuri Subbarao. The criticism is overdone. One group of critics, typified by Surjit Bhalla, says he kept interest rates far too high, hitting investment and competitiveness. The second group, typified by Shankar Acharya and Arvind Virmani, lambasts him for permitting real appreciation of the rupee during 2009-11. They say this killed exports and created the big current account deficit of 4.8% of GDP in 2012-13.
Hold the Vajpayee-Manmohan line - Harish Khare, Hindu
From the depths of her loss, the grieving wife of the soldier who was slain at the Line of Control (LoC) has declared that she will not accept any compensation from the Bihar government unless “action” is taken against Pakistan. A widow’s grief is understandable. What is not, though, is why the nightly, outrage industry has gone into overdrive demanding an apology from a minister in Nitish Kumar’s government for pointing out that soldiers do die on the border.
Modi's language of reconciliation - Rajesh Singh, Pioneer
Narendra Modi is already talking and acting like a prime ministerial candidate, seeking to put in place the numerical strength needed to form a Government in New Delhi, and reaching out to senior party leaders. On Sunday, at a massive public rally in Hyderabad, Bharatiya Janata Party’s Election Campaign Committee chairman Narendra Modi lashed out at the Congress for its various acts of omission and commission. That was expected and there is nothing to read between the lines in it.
How the bureaucracy comes in the way of India's economic freedom - Srivatsa Krishna, Times of India
Is freedom from bad governance as important as freedom from foreign governance? As India prepares for its 67th Independence Day this question stares us squarely in the face. India's bureaucracy, more specifically the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), is much maligned, sometimes for good reason, but many a time, without.
Learn a bit from China: Kill chickens to scare away the monkeys - Claude Arpi, Pioneer
August 15, 1947, is the birthday of free India. It marks for her the end of an old era, the beginning of a new age. But we can also make it by our life and acts as a free nation “an important date in a new age opening for the whole world, for the political, social, cultural and spiritual future of humanity”, wrote Sri Aurobindo in a message for All India Radio; it was also his 75th birthday.
No country for honest officers? - Muthusamy Varadarajan, Hindustan Times
When I first heard about Durga Shakti Nagpal, the young IAS officer who was suspended for doing her duty, I was reminded of my own days as a minnow in the service. Then, as now, local politicians often took a dim view of what young officers did in their backyard, but they seldom had their way in the face of their superiors as well as the higher bureaucracy’s own commitment to the rule of law.
INS Sindhurakshak tragedy: Effectively, a fifth of the underwater fleet is gone - Manu Pubby, Indian Express
The loss of the INS Sindhurakshak is a crippling blow for the Indian Navy which already stacks up poorly when it comes to underwater capabilities. Not only was the vessel the Navy's most modern submarine, having returned in April after extensive refit and modernisation in Russia, its loss means that 20 per cent of India's underwater fleet is now inoperable. The remaining are at the end of their service lives and have been given extensions.
Partition is still with us - Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Indian Express
There are two abiding images of the meaning of August 15. There is Nehru, in his inimitable way, announcing a new tryst with destiny. There is the poignant absence of Gandhi, mourning loss, the erasure of an ethical ambition. India marches on, with all its contradictions. It wilfully refuses the destiny that Nehru was exhorting his fellow citizens to embrace, its energies expended on so many transitory moments that the future seems not even a distant gleam.
Dock fire shows India's sub-par naval abilities - Sruthijith KK & Rohit Chandavarkar, Economic Times
India's worst naval accident in at least three decades that gutted and sank INS Sindhurakshak early morning on Wednesday remains unexplained, but will inevitably call to attention the country's submarine programme, marked by islands of achievements in an ocean of delays, political indecision and administrative bungling.
The fuss over gas prices - Gurudas Dasgupta, Economic Times
We need to sift facts from fiction in the current debate around increasing the price of natural gas. The government is silent on how it will meet the enhanced subsidies as a result of the price increase. Will it increase the prices of power and fertiliser? Or will it absorb the burden of higher prices through subsidy hikes?
Stop thinking and start acting - R Srinivasan, Business Line
As a nation, we tend to over-think things. This is not surprising since we Indians tend to first ask “why” when we are asked to do something. This burning need to know, is in fact our defining national characteristic. This is not altogether a bad thing. It drove us to map the heavens, invent modern mathematics, devise the world’s first system of medicine and even become the world’s tech support provider.
An insecurity trap of India’s making - Brahma Chellaney, Mint
Have you thought of why India faces unending cross-border acts of aggression while persisting with a process of dialogue and peace building? Is it merely because India has scofflaw neighbours? Or, can at least part of the blame be pinned on India’s pursuit of a foreign policy driven by neither pragmatism nor statecraft?
Modi morphing into Amartya Sen? - Sunil Jain, Financial Express
An Independence Day column should normally be addressed to a prime minister since it is he that has the power to change a country’s destiny, but given how the BJP is convinced it is coming to power soon now that Narendra Modi is in charge, perhaps it is a good idea to address this to him.
A weak steel frame - SK Sinha, Asian Age
Lloyd George, the British Prime Minister, called the Indian Civil Service (ICS) the steel frame of their administration in India. Though the British exploited India’s wealth and impoverished the country, they ensured good governance, rated the best in Asia. The ICS, comprising mostly British officers, was the backbone of the British administration in India. A small trickle of Indians started getting into the ICS in the 19th century.
How government apathy bled the Indian Navy - Presley Thomas, Hindustan Times
Strategic experts claim that successive Indian governments have been obsessed about designing land-based plans to counter Pakistan and China and the navy always took a back seat. The Indian Navy is supposed to guard the 7,500 km-long coastline, 1,200 plus islands, and 2.2 million sq km of exclusive economic zone (EEZ). It is also meant to control the Indian Ocean region which contains one-third of the world's population and 40% of the world's oil and gas reserves.
PM’s speech insipid; Modi tears it to shreds - Pioneer
The contrast could not have been starker. While Prime Minister Manmohan Singh dished out yet another lacklustre address from the ramparts of Red Fort this Independence Day, Gujarat Chief Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party's Election Campaign Committee chairman Narendra Modi delivered a rousing speech in Bhuj on the occasion. If Mr Modi went beyond extending good wishes to the people of his State and the country and took on the Prime Minister with gloves off, it was expected.
Scuppering national good under pressure - G Parthasarathy, Pioneer
India must wake up to the individual and joint efforts its immediate neighbours are making to destabilise the security environment in the country. Unfortunately, the Centre remains passive. With its economy in the doldrums, New Delhi is now confronted with a situation where two of its neighbours — China and Pakistan — are jointly and separately undermining its security and influence worldwide.
Triple talaq is sanctioned neither by the Quran nor by the Prophet's precepts - Hanif Murad, Times of India
Talaq, talaq, talaq — the three dreaded words — if uttered by a husband in quick succession could, in less than a blink of an eye, unilaterally bring to an end the marital life of a Muslim woman. However, in what may come as a shock to numerous Muslims and others, the Quran — the holy book of the Muslims — does not prescribe this form of divorce at all.
Liberalisation in reverse - BusinessLine
The new restrictions imposed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on companies and individuals making overseas investments and remittances, apart from a blanket ban on gold coin imports, suggest a hint of desperation among the country’s policymakers. The measures announced on Wednesday, together with those over the past month, are not insignificant. Indian companies will henceforth have to seek special permission to make any direct equity investments abroad amounting to more than their current networth. 
GM and the biodiversity balderdash - Shanthu Shantharam, Business Line
Strong parallels can be drawn between the recent anti-biotech and anti-nuclear movements. To begin with, both have nothing to do with safety; they are really a cultural/political war against modern science and progress. The Prime Minister and the Government persevered in the case of nuclear power. It is time the Government showed a similar resolve for biotechnology.
Mines, mafia and the demand for sand - Mint
In the heat of the controversy over the suspension of a civil servant in Uttar Pradesh, serious issues such as the link between unregulated activities such as sand mining from river banks and sea beaches have been ignored. Much of this demand is fuelled by the country’s construction boom. But if the subsequent knee-jerk reaction of the National Green Tribunal to ban sand mining without environmental clearance is anything to go by, the episode serves as a grim reminder of the ineptitude of country’s institutions to shape rational solutions to public policy problems.
Story of two devaluations: Finance minister plays King Canute - TN Ninan, Business Standard
Devaluation became a dirty word in India in 1966. In June of that year, Indira Gandhi devalued the rupee by a massive 57.4 per cent - and was greeted with a storm of criticism in Parliament and in the media. India had been in desperate need of foreign currency, and the World Bank (which used to coordinate aid from countries, in addition to giving its own loans) had made it clear that nothing would be forthcoming without a substantial rupee devaluation.
IAS: guardians or palace guards? - Sunil Sethi, Business Standard
Long before IAS officers like Durga Shakti Nagpal took on the sand-mining mafia in Uttar Pradesh or Ashok Khemka blew the whistle on Robert Vadra's real estate empire in Haryana, the well-informed public divided the running river of the country's administration into two streams: one comprises "the guardians", who despite political hostility and personal attack continue to enforce authority with dignity; and the rest, neck-deep in the murky waters of compromise and complicity, who are merely palace guards.
7 days after violence, calm in Kishtwar could be deceptive - Maneesh Chhibber, Indian Express
Seven days after riots, which started over a minor confrontation between Hindus and Muslims but soon escalated into a free-for-all after anti-India and pro-Pakistan slogans by some anti-social elements, including workers of the separatist conglomerate Hurriyat Conference, left two persons dead and dozens injured, it's peaceful in Kishtwar. But the calm could be temporary, one reason why senior district and state government functionaries are refusing to lift the curfew.
Capital controls: Another retrograde move - Indian Express
In another retrograde move to defend the rupee, the RBI has tightened capital controls, placing restrictions on Indian households and firms investing abroad. This panic signal has done nothing to reduce the pressure on the rupee, which plunged to Rs 62/dollar. Imposing capital controls to defend the exchange rate is a statement of the monetary policy's failure to manage the impossible trinity.
Once upon a spooky time - Shekhar Gupta, Indian Express
On the front page of this newspaper today, you couldn't have missed our defence correspondent Manu Pubby's story on the joint India-US U-2 spy place missions over Tibet in early 1960s. This is based on some recently declassified CIA documents. What if I said this isn't really a new story? And what if I said, instead, yes, yes, of course it is a new revelation. And then suffixed it with an OOPS!!! Preferably in all capitals, and many signs of exclamation.
Pak planning Kargil dobaara? - Rahul Datta & Mohit Kandhari, Pioneer
Located in Ladakh region of the State, Sandro post in Drass came under heavy fire from Pakistan on Thursday.  Similarly, Pakistani forces used small weapons and machine guns to attack a forward post in Kargil two days ago. In both cases, the Indian Army gave a swift and strong response. This region had not witnessed any ceasefire violation for the last 14 years after the Kargil War.Other sectors along the LoC in Jammu & Kashmir divisions also reported repeated firing by Pakistan.
A return to the bad old days of a closed economy - Ashok Malik, Pioneer
In terms of their impact on people and on the economy in the immediate future, it is unlikely the capital controls and foreign-exchange restrictions announced earlier this week will have much of an impact. After all, for most Indians, the fact that they can convert only US$75,000 worth of rupees into foreign currency each year and send it abroad — and that this is much lower than the US$200,000 limit that existed previously — means very little.
The political class invents newer forms of discrimination - Narender Kumar, Pioneer
On July 18, the Supreme Court held that there can be no reservation in the appointment for faculty posts in specialty and super-specialty courses in medical colleges, including the prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). A five-judge Constitution bench headed by (now retired) Chief Justice Altamas Kabir pronounced its verdict on a plea of the Faculty of Association of AIIMS against a Delhi High Court judgment.
National Conservation Policy: Leaving no stone unturned - Nachiket Chanchani, Hindu
For the purpose of public discussion, in May 2013, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) released the draft of a new “National Conservation Policy” (NCP). It pertains to monuments, archaeological sites and remains protected by the ASI. Although the ASI has periodically amended its conservation policies to broadly adhere to international charters, the draft represents the first serious relook of conservation guidelines that it has followed since 1923.
Irresistible colonialism - Dipankar Gupta, Times of India
When Narendra Modi pumped the crowd up in Hyderabad with an Obamaesque rendition of "Yes, we can," did he even once think of Rajnath Singh and how that would hurt him? His party president barely finished blaming the English language for wrecking Indian culture when Modi broke out in that hated tongue.
Antrix Deal: Devas faces harassment after filing for international arbitration - Arindam Mukherjee, Outlook
It has been nearly three years, but still no one knows on exactly what grounds the UPA government cancelled the now-infamous ‘S-band’ deal between Devas Multimedia and Antrix Corporation, the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Spooked by the then unfurling  2G scam, and given that space comes directly under Prime Minister Man­mohan Singh’s watch, the government...
Will the First Damaad of India become an election issue? - Saba Naqvi, Outlook
The muscles certainly look rock-solid, but other things are apparently quite shaky. The man nicknamed FDI—or the First Damaad of India— will remain an embarrassment for the Congress party in the run-up to the 2014 general election. One can be quite certain that as the BJP and Narendra Modi campaigns pick up momentum, we will hear more of ‘burqa’, ‘biriyani’ and the ‘Delhi Sultanate’, depending on the constituency...
Biter bitten in West Bengal - MN Buch, NewIndianExpress
For almost 35 years, the Left Front, effectively the Communist Party of India (Marxist) ruled the state of West Bengal. Its beginning was auspicious because through Operation Barga it gave the tenants some security of tenure on the land that they tilled and held from the owner, the jotedar. Operation Barga, of which Hare Krishna Konar as revenue minister was the originator and Debu Bandopadhyay, IAS, the land reforms commissioner was the enforcer, brought to a state plagued by the iniquities of the Permanent Settlement of Cornwallis and the landlordism it brought in its wake, the very definite hope that the tiller of the soil would become its owner.
Freeze Indo-Pakistan talks - Tufail Ahmad, NewIndianExpress
India must downgrade its relations with Pakistan for the following reason: restarting talks causes terror attacks on Indian targets. In 1999 as Atal Bihari Vajpayee was inking a friendship treaty in Lahore, Pakistani army was launching the Kargil war; when general Pervez Musharraf was engaged in talks under US pressure, terrorists were being trained for the Mumbai attacks in 2008; now as Nawaz Sharif mentions talks, an Indian consulate is attacked and Indian soldiers are killed by Pakistani invaders.
Sonianomics is to blame for rupee, Sensex crashes - R Jagannathan, FirstPost
So the rupee’s crashed, the markets have wilted, bonds are down, and gold is back as an investment class – at least back home. But no one is willing to name the elephant in the room that’s caused all this ruin. Everybody is keen to mention the proximate causes for the collapse of confidence in the Indian economy – the panic measure...
On a scale of 1 to 10, Manmohan Singh gets negative rating - Surjit Bhalla, DNA
I am an admirer of Dr Manmohan Singh. I am willing to be critical about him because of the wrong decisions he has taken and the right decisions he has not taken. I have to be objective. The question is whether the ardent admirers of Congress president Sonia Gandhi are willing to be critical of her wrong decisions, the populist measures, that have pushed the economy into a crisis.
If Modi wants to be PM, he has to win UP hands down - Yashwant Deshmukh, FirstPost
First things first. Cvoter’s Mood of The Nation survey for India Today clearly shows that Narendra Modi is the most popular leader in the country today. It also shows clear empirical evidence that he is helping the BJP gain critical vote share, which the party has been continuously losing over the last one decade. The survey reveals that the BJP is on an “upswing” in almost all the states, including Bihar, where Modi is actually performing better than Nitish Kumar. The numbers clearly show that Rahul Gandhi is way behind Modi in terms of popular appeal as well as ability to catch votes.
Lal Chowk to Lalan College, Modi mocks New Delhi - Kanchan Gupta, Pioneer
More eyes were trained on Lal Chowk than on Rajpath on Republic Day, 1992. On Independence Day, more people heard and watched Narendra Modi than who sat through Manmohan Singh’s whine from Red Fort. When Murli Manohar Joshi, then president of Bharatiya Janata Party, launched his Ekta Yatra from Kanyakumari on December 11, 1991, there was natural curiosity in the event.
Chenab valley on fire - Sreeram Chaulia, Pioneer
Kishtwar is burning not just because Pakistan has ulterior motives and Hurriyat elements are on the rise in Jammu & Kashmir. It’s as much the result of the State Government’s divisive vote-bank politics. Mob violence and arson on Eid in Kishtwar, Jammu & Kashmir, have shocked consciences and reopened wounds of competing nationalisms...
Reboot, or rewind to 1963 - MJ Akbar, Times of India
It is distressing to note that India, which gave mathematics the noble concept of zero, should have missed the chance to offer history a perfect numerical symmetry. If a dollar was worth one rupee in 1947, then 66 years later poetic justice suggests it should be worth 66 rupees instead of a tawdry variable between 61 or 62. A rupee a year is a lyrical measure of decline.
Modi ki diwani, Sheela ki jawani - SA Aiyar, Times of India
Narendra Modi, chief minister of Gujarat, chose Independence Day, August 15, to launch his campaign to become prime minister. He is not formally the BJP’s official candidate, but makes no bones about his ambition. Even as Manmohan Singh made one more tepid Independence Day speech from the Red Fort, Modi lambasted him in a rival speech that had his cohorts cheering wildly.
Modi: An outsider in a private club - Tavleen Singh, Indian Express
Had Rahul Gandhi made the speech Narendra Modi did last week, he would have been hailed as India's shining white hope. Had Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made this speech from the Red Fort, instead of the dreary one he did, it may have swept away the sense of gloom and doom that permeates the economy.
Caught in the middle in Kishtwar - Maneesh Chhibber & Arun Sharma, IE
The violent clashes between Hindus and Muslims on Eid day August 9 was not the first time the small town of Kishtwar found itself in national media. In the last two years, the district has attracted attention several times for involvement of its local youths in terror acts as well as for a controversial Facebook post that brought it to the brink of a communal row in 2012.
Indians fear for their future now - Swapan Dasgupta, Pioneer
The Finance Minister spent the afternoon of Independence Day watching shuttlecocks rising to the air and come crashing to the ground. I am sure he enjoyed himself, as we all did, witnessing the advent of badminton as a spectator sport. The question is, did he detect the eerie similarities between the game he was watching and the Indian economy whose volatility resembled the journey of the shuttlecock?
Tunda's arrest hits D-Empire - Kritika Sharma, Mail Today
Dawood Ibrahim may be exploring new ideas to expand his operations in India but his empire here is certainly shrinking. A day after the underworld don's trusted aide Iqbal Mirchi died of cardiac arrest in London, Abdul Karim Tunda, one of India's most-wanted terrorists and a Dawood lieutenant, was arrested by the Delhi Police from India-Nepal border.
Amartya Sen: In pursuit of ideological excellence - Surjit S Bhalla, Financial Express
In their book, An Uncertain Glory, Amartya Sen and Jean Dreze repeat what they have stated in previous books and articles. The basic message they want to get across is simply stated as follows: India has a fantastic economic growth record over the last 30 years, and especially the last decade. Second only to China, as we are informed, endlessly. But this growth record has not been accompanied...
An early mandate is needed to restore purpose to the policy-making apparatus - Prabhu Chawla, NewIndianExpress
Credible governance does not imply statistical sleight of hand. Being in office doesn’t necessarily mean that one is in power; it is also an issue of perception. The UPA can boast of its achievements by trotting out numbers, painting a rosy picture of the state of the nation. The recent series of government-sponsored advertisements are impressive in colour, content and design. Even some administrative and legislative measures announced by the UPA reflect a resolve to govern and deliver.
The death of genius - Shiv Visvanathan, Asian Age
One of the most memorable conversations or events this week concerned neither the national flag, nor the trouble at the border, nor the proverbially tragic train accident in Bihar. It was a conversation between Pullela Gopichand, the badminton coach, and the TV journalist Sudhir.
Clutching at the last straws of secularism - Balbir Punj, Pioneer
In his statement on the August 9-12 events in Kishtwar, why did Union Minister for Home Affairs P Chidambaram make the same mistake his Cabinet colleague and Defence Minister AK Antony committed with his first statement on the August 6 Line of Control event?Mr Antony had sought to whitewash the Pakistani Army’s role in firing at and the killing of Indian soldiers on August 6. Outrage across the country and his own Army chief’s assessment forced him to change his statement and acknowledge Islamabad’s involvement.
DLF nexus with Gandhi family goes back to Indira days - MG Devasahayam, Pioneer
It is as if the Congress and its supremo are being visited with decades-old sins. This concerns a burning cauldron called Gurgaon, then a sleepy village on the outskirts of the national capital of Delhi,  now hailed as ‘Millennium City’, ‘India’s Manhattan’ and ‘America of India’. In recent days this agglomeration has been in the news for all kinds of reasons. It hovers around the DLF-Vadra-Haryana Government nexus in land grab and falsification of records for that purpose. According to Mr Ashok Khemka, former Director-General...
A wand for Raghuram Rajan - Subroto Roy, Mint
Raghuram Rajan deserves everyone’s congratulations on his elevation to the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) governorship. Having a doctoral degree from a top school is a rarity among India’s policymakers. Rajan earned a PhD in finance at MIT’s management school in 1991 for a thesis titled Essays on banking, having to do, we are told, “with the downside to cozy bank-firm relationships”. He has been president of the American Finance Association.
Nitish down, BJP hits where it hurts - Santosh Singh, Indian Express
The BJP decision to go on the offensive in Bihar springs from a growing sense that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is at his weakest right now. Having been unceremoniously dumped by the JD(U), the party is chuckling in private that the man believed to be once nursing pan-Indian dreams is struggling against pan-Bihar challenges, be it the midday meal tragedy, Bodhgaya serial blasts, Nawada communal violence or Sasaram clash.
Re-engaging Washington - Dhruva Jaishankar, Indian Express
Has the United States forgotten about grand strategy? All indications point, for the moment, to US grand strategy being on the backburner. However you slice it, President Barack Obama's preoccupations, the secretary of state's travel schedule and the Republican rhetoric suggest that Washington has only two real policy priorities today.
Growth wins friends abroad - Ashok Malik, Times of India
India faces three immediate foreign policy challenges: a belligerent Pakistani army, convinced that strategic advance in Afghanistan is inevitable; a China that is increasingly confident it can push India around without costs; and a relationship with America that has simply been allowed to lie on the shelf and wither.
From Nehru’s temples to just temples - Jaithirth Rao, Financial Express
In 1924, during the glorious reign of Nallamudi (IV) Krishnaraja Wodeyar, an engineer named Mokshagundam Visvesvarayya designed and supervised the construction of a dam over the divine Kaveri river. In the process, the ancient village of Kannambadi was submerged. In Kannambadi were three temples, all holy to the villagers. One of them, the Venugopala temple, was a 700-year-old Hoysala structure.
Rajan & Larry: A central difference - Stephan Richter, Economic Times
What a difference in the reaction to two candidates slated to take over a key country's central bank. When Raghuram Rajan was appointed as the next governor of the Reserve Bank of India, the verdict was near universal: an extremely qualified person had been selected for the post. The biggest concern was, and is, whether — given India's challenges — the tasks ahead are too big for anyone to shoulder successfully.
Deterring a joint China-Pak attack - Arun Kumar Singh, Asian Age
In 2008, based on my four-decade-long experience in the Indian Navy and Coast Guard, small activities and border skirmishes caught my attention and, as I began studying them, I saw a diabolic pattern emerging. Alarmingly, it all added up to Pakistani terrorists getting ready to carry out an attack on India by sea. On May 19, 2008, The Asian Age published my article, The next terror attack could be from the sea. The carnage of 26/11 took place six months later.
Grand betrayal by the political class - A Surya Prakash, Pioneer
Independence Day is always a day of much celebration and some introspection, but August 15, 2013, was different. It was a day for much introspection and little celebration, because unlike the Independence Days of the past, this year, Indians had so much to worry about on every front, be it national security and the intrusion of the Chinese and Pakistanis across the border, mounting cases of corruption and endless scandals covering every major deal...
Don't tie the Army to red tape - Kunal Verma, Pioneer
Every time the men who rule India find themselves under attack militarily, the Union Minister for Defence rises like a Phoenix from the ashes of various scandals to assure Parliament that ‘if and when’ the country is threatened, the Armed Forces will give the enemy a fitting reply. This is invariably greeted with the thumping of desks and the Opposition, having made the requisite amount of noise, withdraws.
Batla House: Do & die, and yet be on trial - Shankar Roychowdhury, Asian Age
The late inspector Mohan Chand Sharma of the Delhi police’s anti-terrorist squad (ATS) was killed in a shootout on September 19, 2008, by alleged terrorists in the Jamia Nagar area of Delhi. The incident achieved wide notoriety as the Batla House encounter. Inspector Sharma, who died of bullet injuries in the attack, was posthumously awarded the Ashok Chakra.
Credibility crunch - Sanjaya Baru, Indian Express
Like war, economics is more an art than a science. If wars were won by superior technology alone, the United States would not have been vanquished in Vietnam or waylaid in Afghanistan. If economic crises could be dealt with by the power of knowledge and money alone, the European Union would not be in the mess in which it wallows.
Economy stares at crisis as rupee suffers worst single-day fall of 142 paise - ToI
Policymakers may still be in denial but the Indian economy is clearly staring at a crisis with the rupee on Monday recording its sharpest drop ever in absolute terms to close at 63.13 — 1.42 paise down from its previous close against the dollar.
Modi's change of heart? - Times of India
Has Narendra Modi had a change of heart about the minorities? Addressing senior members of the BJP on Sunday, the Gujarat chief minister and the head of the party's campaign committee exhorted them to reach out to all sections of the electorate, including Muslim voters, to attain the '272-plus' target in the general elections.
What did we learn from Sindhurakshak tragedy? - Arun Prakash, Economic Times
The images of INS Sindhurakshak, engulfed in flames and rocked by explosions, will remain etched in memory; as will the sacrifice of the 18 sailors and officers who died in the line of duty. Our submariners are professionals; volunteers to a man, they serve in an unforgiving environment.
Time for polls - Business Standard
The lack of trust in statements at the highest level - including by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself - that there are no plans to impose harsher controls on the capital account should cause the prime minister, his government and his party to pause and consider their options.
Turbulence in an enduring partnership - Madeleine K Albright, Mint
As Prime Minister Manmohan Singh looks forward to his US trip in September, the two countries continue to make rapid strides towards strengthening what President Barack Obama has called the “defining partnership of the 21st century”.
Missing coal files belong to Cong cronies - Saurabh Shukla & Abhishek Bhalla, Mail Today
CBI director Ranjit Sinha on Monday told Mail Today he would inform the Supreme Court on August 27 about the status of the Coalgate scam investigation - and key files related to the probe reportedly going missing - and seek directions. CBI sources, meanwhile, told Mail Today that many files are reportedly missing, including those on big players linked to the Congress party. If the files cannot be found, the case being built by the CBI might collapse for want of evidence and powerful people, in this scenario, would be let off the hook.
Sensex, rupee are tanking: Dalal St has lost faith in UPA - R Jagannathan, FirstPost
The UPA government’s credibility on the economy has fallen so low that it ends up achieving the exact opposite of what it intends. It opened up FDI in many sectors, but nothing is coming in. It shackled gold and told us it was a worthless metal. Gold prices have just shot past Rs 31,000 per 10 gm. This has reassured investors that there is real value in gold and the government is talking nonsense. 
UPA policies weakening India and enriching China - S Gurumurthy, NewIndianExpress
The import of capital goods for $587 billions, most of which India could make in its own backyard, drained out a third of India's GDP under nose of the UPA regime. The UPA government also eased customs and excise tariff to facilitate their entry into India with the least fiscal resistance and consciously ran current account deficits of $339 billions. That means what? To that extent India has lost its wealth to the other nations. Who gained from India loss?
Navy struggling to stay afloat - Sushil Kumar, Times of India
The loss of the submarine, INS Sindhurakshak, was tragic but the navy will come to grips with the disaster. The bigger question now is: Will the strategic significance of this loss ever register with our policymakers? What really happened to Sindhurakshak may only be known in the course of time but it has focussed attention on the unacceptable depletion of the navy's force levels, particularly its submarine arm which is the most potent component of any blue-water navy globally.
Growing importance of maritime security - Ashok K Mehta, Pioneer
India and the Indian Navy, this month, witnessed both tragedy and triumph. Tragedy because of the accidental sinking of the submarine, Sindhurakshak, taking along with it 18 sailors; triumph due to the home-grown development of the nuclear-powered submarine, Arihant (destroyer of the enemy, in Sanskrit) and the launch of the aircraft carrier, Vikrant II.
Crisis and complicity - Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Indian Express
The current economic crisis requires not just fire fighting, but long-term institutional rebooting. The government's extraordinary complacency, hubris and recklessness is responsible for the crisis. Its response seems, for the most part, trifling. It gives the impression of fighting a modern economic war with prehistoric policy tools: when tanks come charging, you can't get away with throwing a pebble here and a pebble there. 
The rupee defence policy has been counter-productive - Surjit S Bhalla, Indian Express
Starting July 15, the ministry of finance and the RBI initiated a set of policies to defend the rupee. These policies have consisted of all the disregarded currency defences that countries have mounted over the last 20 years or so. Short-term interest rates were raised by over 300 basis points, import tariffs were increased, and capital controls initiated. Is there any bad policy left? No.
Vedanta lessons: Why it makes no sense to invest in India - Financial Express
If you’re looking at one project which tells investors why it is a bad idea to invest in India, that project is Vedanta’s proposed 6 million tonne aluminium plant in Orissa. All told, the company has invested around R50,000 crore in various projects related to this, including a power plant, but the main source of raw material—bauxite from the Niyamgiri mines in Orissa—is now not available.
Economic crisis will deepen, say business leaders - Dev Chatterjee & Clifford Alvares, Business Standard
For corporate India, there seems to be just one villain in the worsening India story: The government. A poll of 20 respondents comprising leading CEOs, bankers, market players and economists paints quite a grim picture. An overwhelming majority of the respondents said the Indian economy was heading for an unprecedented crisis due to mismanagement, lack of reforms, weak political leadership and policy paralysis that had led to infrastructural bottlenecks and stalled projects.
India Inc's dark winter - Business Standard
It is increasingly clear that India Inc is facing a long and dark winter. First-quarter results for Indian companies have revealed that a turnaround is not around the corner; in fact, it's not even visible at the moment. This newspaper reported on the results shown by a sample of 1,961 companies - excluding banking and finance, and state-owned petroleum companies - and there is no way to read the average figures without disquiet. Most obviously, year-on-year growth in sales revenue was 3.6 per cent - the lowest for any quarter in over three years.
Economic crisis: A worrying disconnect - AK Bhattacharya, Business Standard
Last Monday, when the Indian currency came under fresh assault with its value against the dollar touching a new low, India's top politicians were deeply engrossed in internal debates and discussions on whether they should let Parliament pass the food security Bill, which was framed to implement one of the flagship programmes of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. Predictably, key Congress parliamentarians were keen on an early passage of the Bill, while Opposition members were exploring various options to stall it. 
Make official files electronic, public - Economic Times
Here's how to tackle all the issues arising from the missing coal scam files: make all official files electronic and, further, public, whenever state secrets are not involved. The Comptroller and Auditor General had, presumably, gone through all the relevant documents before it arrived at its estimate of undue benefit (not loss to the exchequer) of Rs 1,86,000 crore to private companies. It is entirely likely that copies of the files in question are available with it.
They all lose in Kerala, the sick state of India - TJS George, NewIndianExpress
Kerala has for long been the sick state of India, politics for the sake of politics dominating all of life, traditional strengths ebbing away and new strengths finding no avenues to develop. It is a state where the moment is mistaken for eternity. Last week, the mother of all street protests created records even by Kerala’s standards. The capital city of Thiruvananthapuram overflowed with crowds such as it had never seen before.
PM is an honourable man - Nirmala Sitharaman, Asian Age
Even by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance’s own standards, the coal allocation scandal is big. The windfall gains that accrued to some fly-by-night operators, some with no expertise in coal extraction, are estimated to be nearly Rs 1,86 lakh crore. A few who had expertise in business had so in gutka manufacturing and trading.
Prime Minister losing ground - Kamlendra Kanwar, NewIndianExpress
Few would deny that prime minister Manmohan Singh’s address to the nation from the ramparts of Delhi’s Red Fort on Independence Day was a damp squib. Not that his earlier addresses were examples of great oratorical skills or of inspiration for the youth but this time Dr Singh was neither confident and combative nor positive and forward-looking. It seemed he was going through the motions of his address because he had no choice but to deliver it.
Call for elections, now - Piyush Goyal, Times of India
In a debate on the state of the economy in Parliament last week, finance minister P Chidambaram's comments highlighted his disconnect from ground realities, where every section of society — the rich, the middle class and the poor, the salaried and self-employed, the young and old — is in deep economic distress.
Back to the control raj - Jaithirth Rao, Financial Express
Some 25 years ago, I had the privilege of being part of a group of persons who had a candid conversation with the late LK Jha, former RBI Governor. Some of us were complaining about the licence-permit raj, the closed economy, lost opportunities and the silly Indian commitment to socialism, which was not helping India’s poor—in fact, prolonging their poverty. In his quiet, understated way, Jha asked us if we really wanted to know how India became the most-controlled and lowest-performing economy in Asia.
More files of Cong cronies go missing - Saurabh Shukla & Abhishek Bhalla, Mail Today
Fresh information accessed by Mail Today reveals that documents from a meeting at which coal blocks were allocated to companies with links to top Congressmen have also gone missing. The allocation documents are from the 35th screening committee meeting, in which firms linked either directly, or through friends and relatives, to top Congressmen like Lok Sabha members Naveen Jindal and Subodh Kant Sahai were given coal blocks.
UP regime’s minority quota policy is dangerous - Pioneer
Our so-called secularists believe that the only way to ameliorate the condition of minorities in the country who have been left out of the development process, is to extend the benefits of reservation to them, disguised in one form or the other. They are wrong, and that has been proved over the years by the fact that such ‘positive discriminations' have done little to improve the lot of the minorities.
Reaching out to Muslims, but without appeasing - Gautam Mukherjee, Pioneer
Chief of the BJP Election Campaign Committee Narendra Modi’s targeting the Muslim vote nationally, is a first class initiative with far-reaching possibilities. This is the first time the BJP has been explicit about reaching out to Muslims nationally, and it marks a very worthwhile shift in policy. Mr Modi has indeed secured 25 per cent of the Muslim vote for the BJP in his home state of Gujarat. But this fact is not readily accepted by other Muslims who remain suspicious as of now.
Modi on Modi vs media on Modi - Sevanti Ninan, Mint
Over the past month or two, the tenor of Narendra Modi’s public pitch for power has changed. His Independence Day speech in Bhuj in Kutch is in line with the new pitch—for a party rather than a person. It was heard in Hyderabad earlier this month too, and in Pune in July. As Modi’s speeches get more political, there is less talk of personal achievement, and more attack.
Maharashtra: Mistrust between Congress and NCP is deep and growing - P Vaidyanathan Iyer, Indian Express
Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan could have avoided Deputy Speaker Vasant Purke's ire had he stayed back in the legislative assembly to respond to the opposition's demand for a discussion on a special package for Vidarbha farmers during the monsoon session last month.
The Iceberg Theory of presidential politics - Chris Cillizza, Washington Post
January 1, 2016 is 863 days away. But, judging from the headlines blaring across news websites and cable channels this August you might think it was next month. “Ready for Hillary?” asked a chyron on MSNBC. Ted Cruz’s renunciation of his Canadian citizenship launched a thousand — most of them by the Fix — blog posts on his 2016 motivations. The Wall Street Journal penned a piece making clear that Joe Biden was prepared to run for president in 2016 whether or not Clinton does.
Food Bill is worst thing to do now - Rajiv Kumar, DNA
The first thing to recognise is that the falling rupee is not the worst thing in the world. The Indian unit was overvalued for a while and therefore a correction was due, and had to take place. That is the first part. This correction could have been brought about by the government and the Reserve Bank of India in a very phased and controlled manner. Since they have failed to do, the market has taken a sort of a charge of this.
UPA's economic failure: There is no foreign hand in this - Ramakrishnan TS, HT
The current account deficit (CAD) crossed $20 billion in June and is expected to reach 5% of GDP by the end of the financial year. This is in contrast with the current account surplus of $10.56 billion we had in 2003-04. The slide in the current account (CA) has happened after India witnessed a growth rate of 7.9% between 2004-05 and 2012-13, the highest-ever in the economic history of India. The CA was fluctuating between deficit and surplus from 2003 till 2009 and started declining thereafter with no signs of recovery.
Remembering the abominable Dutch slave trade in Tamil Nadu coast - P J Sanjeeva Raj, Hindu
On the U.N. day for remembrance of the slave trade, it is worth highlighting the abominable 17th century Dutch practice of shipping “human cargo” around the Indian Ocean rim. The slave trade is said to be among the oldest trades in the world but that it was practised by the Dutch, during their sojourn at Pulicat in Tamil Nadu, from 1609 to 1690, may be news to many.
When a Congress surprise backfired - Smita Gupta, Hindu
The Congress on Thursday hit out at the Opposition for thwarting suspension of its own MPs from Andhra Pradesh and those from the Telugu Desam Party, who have been disrupting the Lok Sabha since the start of the session, and thus making it impossible to create conditions in which the Food Security Bill could be discussed and passed.
Keep convicts out of Parliament - Baijayant Jay Panda, Times of India
The credibility of India's politi-cians has never been lower. Years of scandals involving malfeasance and cronyism and the non-functioning of Parliament have led to unprecedented levels of cynicism. This is most visible among the fast growing urban populace which has been far from shy about voicing its opinions.
India's submarine production - Bharat Karnad, NewIndianExpress
The Sindhurakshak tragedy raises many issues, among them, the danger of close berthing of warships and submarines in the crowded Mumbai docks and the need urgently to commission the Karwar base to host most of the Western Fleet and take the pressure off Mumbai harbour and, given the dangerous depletion in submarine strength, the urgency to lease Kilo subs from, say, Vietnam, which has acquired six of them and whose submarine crews are being trained here...
Meltdown: The grip of a self-fulfilling prophecy - Sandipan Deb, Mint
If there were any doubts in anyone’s mind about the complete failure of the second United Progressive Alliance (UPA) on the economic front, the events of the last month will have firmly laid them to rest. Through inaction, waffling and economic moves solely aimed at winning the next Lok Sabha elections at any cost, this government has placed the Indian economy strictly now in the domain of self-fulfilling prophecies. And that is very dangerous territory. Because when people—in this case, investors, bankers and businessmen—strongly believe that something is going to happen, what they do based on that belief make their expectations come true. And that process is extremely difficult to halt.
When umpires turn players - S Gurumurthy, Business Line
“Reserve Bank of India has started buying and selling stocks of listed private corporates in Dalal Street for profit”. Can one imagine Business Line carrying a news headline like this? Obviously not. But this unimaginable news of today may soon become a reality tomorrow. Well, if not in the case of the RBI, at least of a few other central banks. Indeed, it is already a reality in the advanced world of finance that has set the model for the rest in the last two decades. Shocked? Read on.
The 'Talented' Robert Vadra - Sreenivasan Jain, NDTV
Robert Vadra is back in the headlines after a report by Haryana IAS officer Ashok Khemka found multiple violations in land deals by Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law. Those in defence of Mr Vadra claim there was nothing illegal about these deals. But a closer look at these transactions, both those contained in the Khemka report and beyond, suggest that property traders, Congress politicians, state governments and business houses appear to do extraordinary favours to Mr Vadra to ensure that he becomes a multi-millionaire without spending a penny.
Subbarao’s legacy: He repeated history as farce and tragedy - Dhiraj Nayyar, FirstPost
In exactly two weeks, Duvvuri Subbarao will become the 22nd ex-Governor of the Reserve Bank of India. He would have liked a better farewell from the rupee, which at the rate of its current decline, may well hit Rs 70 to the dollar by September 5. But circumstances have rarely been kind to the departing RBI Governor. Recall how the global economy went into meltdown following the spectacular collapse of Lehman Brothers on September 15, 2008, just ten days after Subbarao had occupied the hot seat in Mint Street.
How the UPA-Congress leadership killed mining, exploration, industry - Shekhar Gupta, Indian Express
Last Saturday (August 16), at a dignified little ceremony at 7, Race Course Road, the prime minister released the fourth volume of the history of the Reserve Bank of India. There was, however, a certain apologetic mournfulness in that select gathering of no more than 30 of India's topmost economic and monetary policymakers. It did, at times look so much like a chamber of vanquished generals.
The unprecedented decline in poverty must be celebrated - Arvind Panagariya, Times of India
It is curious that while the voter has come to appreciate the value of growth and routinely hands election victories to the Patnaiks, the Modis and the Nitishes, our national leadership on either side remains stuck in the belief that growth only helps the rich. The phenomenon has manifested itself most recently in its denunciation of the sharpest decline in poverty in the nation's history.
Clueless on the front: India has become the punching bag of South Asia - Subramanian Swamy, Pioneer
Pakistani troops have in recent months crossed the LoC repeatedly, and even mutilated and beheaded our soldiers. Now China has since April begun its incursions across the LAC in both sectors, Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh. Even smaller neighbours such as Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Maldives have ceased to care about Indian interests.
Look for 'Diplomacy Plus' and 'War Minus' options - Ajey Lele, Pioneer
The problem that India faces with Pakistan on reconciling diplomacy with aggression exists since 1947 and has its roots in the course of the partition itself. Even today the generation which had suffered during the process of partition is alive on the both the sides of the border and the wounds have not healed. Till date India and Pakistan have fought three wars (and a half taking into account Kargil).
Sshhh... It’s a secret bill - KN Bhat, Asian Age
The collegium system fabricated by the Supreme Court through a judicial decision for appointment of judges to the higher judiciary has been operational since 1993. The near unanimous view of the legal fraternity is that the contraption, whereby appointment and the transfer of judges are decided by a forum of the Chief Justice of India and the four seniormost judges of the Supreme Court, has failed in selecting right kind of people to high judicial offices.
Multicultural hypocrisy that is Commonwealth - Sunanda K Datta-Ray, Business Standard
oo much hypocrisy shrouds the question of Indian migration to Britain for the two governments to be able to honestly discuss the so-called pilot scheme for a £3,000 (nearly Rs 3 lakh) bond for "high-risk" visa applicants that is supposed to come into force in November. If posturing (like Britain's claim of "unfinalised" plans for a "trial run") were discarded, there would be little left of the platitudinous multiculturalism...
Showdown over Ayodhya - Piyush Srivastava, India Today
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Akhilesh Yadav government appear to be on a collision course, with the saffron organisation declaring that it will go ahead with its 84-Kosi Parikrama in Ayodhya despite the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) refusing permission. Slamming the government for not allowing the event "under pressure from a handful...
Divide and rule: Congress formula for Indian Muslims - MJ Akbar, Times of India
The Congress formula for Indian Muslims is rooted in colonial legacy: divide and rule. The BJP approach has been shaped by rage at partition: avoid and rule. All Muslims want from both claimants to national power is provide and rule; not because they are Muslims but because they are largely poor. Poverty was the prevailing story when India became independent.
Raghuram Rajan will have to rethink many of his past positions - T T Ram Mohan, Hindu
Expectations are running high about the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor-designate, Raghuram Rajan — unusually for an RBI governor, his appointment was not just reported by but also commented on editorially in the foreign press. Living up to these expectations will be a huge challenge for Dr. Rajan. It is bad enough that the Indian economy has to cope with falling growth, high inflation and an adverse external position.
Congress vs BJP? No, it's the establishment vs the outsider - Swapan Dasgupta, Times of India
In nine months, at the very latest, Indians will know whether the drive to catapult Narendra Modi from Gandhinagar to New Delhi has been successful or not. Indian elections being notoriously unpredictable, it is hazardous to predict the outcome of a national contest with any measure of surety. At this stage, before formal campaigning has begun, it is only possible to identify trends. But whether these trends will crystallize...
Narendra Modi: Time to polish those rough edges - Chetan Bhagat, Times of India
It is that time of the five years where there is an opinion poll a week on the upcoming elections. This time, one of the first questions every poll tries to answer is this: Will Narendra Modi win? Of course, like with opinions, same with opinion polls, there's no agreement. Some see a major swing in his favour, others say a third-front government...
Secular socialist stagnation - Meghnad Desai, Indian Express
A spectre is haunting the Congress. It is the spectre of Narendra Modi. He has been denounced from the rooftops by Congress spokespersons and their helpmeets in the media. But he seems to swell rather than shrink in the public imagination. In its desperation, the Congress does not know whether to ignore him as an insignificant provincial leader, not to be compared with Rahul Gandhi...
Open outrage against Lutyens Delhi - Tavleen Singh, Indian Express
The response to my column last week left me humbled. And, I am not the humble type. I cannot reply to everyone who tweeted the column, posted a like on Facebook or wrote a comment, so consider this my way of saying thank you to all of you. Almost all of you. Most of you approved of what I wrote about the exclusive private club called Lutyens Delhi conspiring to keep Narendra Modi...
Congress master of PR management - Swapan Dasgupta, Pioneer
There are many people dotted all over the country for whom the Congress is indeed the "default party," as Rahul Gandhi conceded a week or so ago. They vote for the Congress not because they always endorse the policies of the party or are convinced that the Nehru-Gandhi family must always rule India, the vote for the Congress is often a matter of habit, ingrained into people's minds by family...
Rupee can recover, but UPA regime can't - Rajesh Singh, Pioneer
On Thursday, Union Minister for Finance P Chidambaram said there was no justification for the “unwarranted pessimism” over the rupee's free fall. But the primary concern is not the tumbling currency, because that is only one element of a larger, more alarming picture: The massive erosion of confidence that business had in the Congress-led UPA Government. This, rather than the rupee, calls for pessimism, and it’s fully warranted.
Brand Sonia: Falling with the rupee - P Raman, Outlook
The Congress party has been a victim of two viciously crafted political fads. The first is the BJP’s ‘remote-controlled’ PM. Initially, the Left had been the spoilers of the India Story. Then it was Mamata Banerjee. Now, the reform camp is increasingly emboldened to make the ‘Sonia Establishment’ the latest scapegoat for its own failures. And that is the other fad.
Welcome to the Indian animal farm - MJ Akbar, Sunday Guardian
Who says no one listens to Dr Manmohan Singh? The animals do. Ever since the Prime Minister of India ordered Indians to release their animal instincts, the bears have started a carnival on Dalal Street. Maybe the instructions of our first economist-PM got mislaid in translation. He surely wanted bulls to march across Mumbai...
The failed grand strategy in the Middle East - Walter Russell Mead, WSJ
In the beginning, the Hebrew Bible tells us, the universe was all "tohu wabohu," chaos and tumult. This month the Middle East seems to be reverting to that primeval state: Iraq continues to unravel, the Syrian War grinds on with violence spreading to Lebanon and allegations of chemical attacks this week, and Egypt stands on the brink of civil war with the generals crushing the Muslim Brotherhood and street mobs torching churches. Turkey's prime minister, once widely hailed as President Obama's best friend in the region, blames Egypt's violence on...
Of superstitions, a martyr and a Bill… - Aravindan Neelakandan, CentreRightIndia
Narendra Dabholkar became a martyr for a  reason when he was shot dead by unknown assailants   on 20-Aug-2013. The 68 year old rationalist had been fighting against superstitions  for major part of  his life. His single-minded devotion to the cause had earned him many enemies. He had been twice attacked violently in 1990′s. While there are many areas were one can and have to disagree with the warrior of rationalism, none can deny his sincerity and commitment. He had striven all his life  for a healthier, stronger Hindu society in his own way. The crime against this voice of reason is a blot on the culture and society. We all need to condemn it in one strong voice.
Rupee was bound to fall - Mukul Rohatgi, Times of India
The Indian rupee has been driven to a new low of Rs 65 to a dollar, largely by the uncontrolled current account deficit and the decline in economic growth. RBI and the finance ministry are now running helter-skelter. But their attempts at controlling the exchange rate appear to be measures that treat the symptoms rather than the disease.
Lowering the Bar off the record - Rajeev Dhavan, India Today
My friend, Marc Galanter, has written a serious book called Lowering the Bar on jokes about lawyers which abound. Galanter feels that often 'lawyers' are scapegoats in America when Republicans want to downsize the judiciary's power. Indian jokes are therapeutic - giving the client leeway to project lawyers as greedy, unreliable and manipulative. If all this is true, we have a bad system of lawyering.
UPA’s legacy: Food Poison and Land Mines for next govt - R Jagannathan, FirstPost
The Land Acquisition Bill passed by the Lok Sabha yesterday (29 August 2013) is named the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation Bill, 2012. Quite a mouthful, that, but a misnomer. It is nothing of the kind. It should actually be named the Politicians, Bureaucrats, Crony Capitalists and Rent-Seekers’ Right to Unjust Enrichment Bill, 2014, enacted in the name of the poor farmer ahead of the next elections.
Arguments against bank licences to industrial houses don't hold - Janmejaya Sinha, Indian Express
There have been numerous articles cautioning the RBI to not issue bank licences to industrial houses. Essentially, four arguments have been made. The first argument is that allowing industrial houses to own banks goes back to pre-World War II Japan and its Zaibatsu system.
Has RBI given up on the rupee? - Tamal Bandyopadhyay, Mint
There are two kinds of doctors. One sort diagnoses the ailment, prescribes medicines and waits for the patient to get better. The other prefers to experiment and, in the process, often ends up spending more time in dealing with the side effects of the drugs he has administered. In the end, the type II doctor gives up treating the patient altogether.
The reckoning: India in trouble - Economist
On the morning of August 17th most of India’s economic policymakers gathered in the prime minister’s house in Delhi. They were there to launch an official economic history of 1981-97, a period which included the balance-of-payments crisis of 1991. The mood was tense. India, said Manmohan Singh, the prime minister, faced “very difficult circumstances”. “Does history repeat itself?” asked Duvvuri Subbarao, the outgoing head of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). “As if we learn nothing from one crisis to another?”
An epilogue to a debate on India’s development - Arvind Panagariya, ET
The debate between Amartya Sen and Jagdish Bhagwati began with the identification of Bhagwati with growth and Sen with redistribution. Later, most converged to the view that both sides value both instruments but with different emphases. But this is obfuscation.
'Sonia instigated Congress members to disrupt my speech' - Yashwant Sinha, Asian Age
I have seen the article “Disorder, disorder” by Swapan Dasgupta in your issue of August 23, 2013. This article merits a response because it is entirely one-sided and based on hearsay about what transpired in the parliamentary party meeting of the Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday, August 20.
Uncertain Glory: Amartya Sen's weak logic - Sukumar Mukhopadhyay, Bus Std
The glory of the Indian story is uncertain because of weak performance of the economy and the democracy in India, say Amartya Sen and Jean Dreze in their book An Uncertain Glory. The authors have described the misery of India in excruciating details. But the suggestions to improve the jaded glory are based on weak logic.
Banishing hunger via legislation - Economic Times
All parties have been competing with one another on extending the reach of the food Bill and on increasing the quantum and range of foods distributed under the law. In acountry where feeding the poor is noblesse oblige, if not away of notching up brownie points for whatever judgemental process awaits one in afterlife, it is difficult to find politicians who would discuss a scheme intended to banish hunger in purely rational terms.
Judicial Appointments Commission: The importance of the outsider - Raju Ramachandran, Hindu
Now that the Union Cabinet has decided on the composition of the proposed Judicial Appointments Commission (The Hindu, August 23, 2013), an informed debate becomes possible. The commission will be presided over by the Chief Justice of India, and will include two Supreme Court judges. The “non-judges” will be the Law Minister, two eminent persons and the Justice Secretary, who will be the Member-Secretary.
Not only Telangana - Ashutosh Varshney, Indian Express
Should Telangana be India's 29th state? My answer is two-fold. Telangana deserves statehood, but the process followed was wrong. Though the demand for Telangana is old, the government's decision appears to be electorally driven. Of the six largest states — Uttar Pradesh (80 seats), Maharashtra (48), Andhra Pradesh (42), West Bengal (42), Bihar (40) and Tamil Nadu (39) — the Congress party is politically significant only in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. Indeed, with 33 seats won, Andhra was the single largest prize for the Congress in 2009. 
Entitlement follies - Indian Express
The question is not how and whether we can do it, we have to do it," said Congress president Sonia Gandhi to the House, on enacting the food security legislation. Given the usual radio silence from the UPA's top leadership, and given how rarely and reluctantly Gandhi speaks in the House, it was a significant intervention.
Embracing GM crops: Fears in India are inexplicable - Henry I Miller, Times of India
India has enjoyed signal successes with genetic engineering in agriculture, but its relationship with this environmentally friendly, wealth-enhancing technology may be coming to an end. At the very least, it is in disarray, the victim of activists' scaremongering and government pandering.
Raghuram Rajan's christening by fire - Rajiv Kumar, Financial Express
This is indeed a christening by fire for Raghuram Rajan as he steps into the top job at Mint Road. Growth and employment are falling; retail inflation remains stubbornly high with food inflation in double digits for the last 60 months; and to complete the trilemma, the current account deficit threatens to remain above 4% and the rupee, having declined 15% in the last three months, seems to be in danger of getting into a free fall despite the incredible rise on Friday, August 23. It really couldn’t get tougher for an incoming Governor.
Food Bill is the biggest mistake India might have made till date - Vivek Kaul, FirstPost
Historians often ask counterfactual questions to figure out how history could have evolved differently. Ramachandra Guha asks and answers one such question in an essay titled A Short History of Congress Chamchagiri, which is a part of the book Patriots and Partisans. In this essay Guha briefly discusses what would have happened if Lal Bahadur Shastri, the second prime minister of India, had lived a little longer. Shastri died on January 11, 1966, after serving as the prime minister for a little over 19 months.
Food Security Bill won’t eliminate hunger, will not help win elections - Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar, Economic Times
The LokSabha has passed the Food Security Bill. Sonia Gandhi claims it will save the needy from hunger and malnutrition. The BJP claims she is merely buying votes in the coming general election. Critics claim the Bill will strain the exchequer unbearably. Wrong, wrong and wrong again. This farcical exercise will not improve food security; will not ensure electoral victory for the UPA; and will be an affordable folly.
Facebook is bad for you - Economist
Those who have resisted the urge to join Facebook will surely feel vindicated when they read the latest research. A study just published by the Public Library of Science, conducted by Ethan Kross of the University of Michigan and Philippe Verduyn of Leuven University in Belgium, has shown that the more someone uses Facebook, the less satisfied he is with life.
Food Bill: UPA has got it wrong - Pioneer
The National Food Security Bill, 2013, that was passed in the Lok Sabha on Monday night, is an important legislation to fight hunger and poverty. Sadly, it is structurally flawed. Designed to provide highly subsidised food grains to 67 per cent of the population, the one-lakh-crore-rupee Bill makes access to food a legal right for the people.
Outrageous! sad! not acceptable! Etc, etc - Rajesh Singh, Pioneer
The candles were out again last Friday and television studios were flooded with celebrities from the film industry, human rights activists, politicians and sundry commentators, vociferously condemning the rape of a young photojournalist in Mumbai by five persons and demanding the ‘strictest punishment’ to the guilty. Sincere as their anguish is, they all need to answer a few basic questions.
The Food Security Bill takes us back to the 1970s as lessons of history are ignored - Times of India
The most powerful politician in the country wants economic growth to be more inclusive and turns increasingly leftward. Her finance minister is worried. There is conflict in the Middle East, with Egypt and Syria at the heart of it. Industrial output is stagnant and the balance of payments situation is worrisome. The government, however, sends contradictory signals.
Missing coal file linked to most influential firms - Rajeev Deshpande, Times of India
Of all the Coalgate record sought by the CBI, deliberations of the 35th meeting of the screening committee, which allotted coal blocks to host of influential entities on September 7, 2007, is perhaps the most crucial. Firms awarded coveted blocks on the day read like the who's who of the power and steel industry. They include Monnet Ispat, Jindal, Navbharat, J L D Yavatmal, Lanco, Sterlite, Adani, Mittal, Bhushan and J A S Infrastructure.
De-Indianisation begins with elimination of Sanskrit - Tarun Vijay, Times of India
We may have to have a Chinese name if Sanskrit is no more in India. From birth to death, from naming a child to having a family identity, from marriage to pilgrimage, from wearing an introduction as an Indian to gaining an entry into heaven, we need Sanskrit.
Wrong Bill, wrong time - Business Standard
The Lok Sabha, which has typically failed to do much business during this monsoon session, nevertheless managed to sit down for nine hours and pass the United Progressive Alliance's flagship legislation, the food security Bill. This is a severe indictment of Indian politics: even with a Bill as flawed and as untimely as this one, it seems the political imagination to craft an opposition to such a measure is simply lacking.
Muslims sick of the politics of secularism - Abdul Khaliq, Indian Express
The ordinary Muslim dreads the period just prior to the announcement of elections, because that is when his community is pulled out from the margins and brought centrestage to become the subject of the cynical opportunism, power games and vote calculations of two competing camps — right-wing Hindutva nationalists on the one hand, and the so-called secular formations on the other. 
Breakout to breakdown nation - Ruchir Sharma, Times of India
A not-so-funny thing happened while the world was watching for an emerging markets crisis to erupt in China. The crisis erupted in India instead. Contagion typically attacks weak links first, often exposing vulnerabilities hidden in plain sight. The fall of the rupee exposes India as having the emerging world's worst fiscal deficit and largest current account deficit in absolute terms.
Rupee at 68: Sorry Chidu, you are as responsible as Pranab - R Jagannathan, FirstPost
It is never a good idea to spit against the wind. And yet, P Chidambaram tries to do precisely that. He has been repeatedly telling us that the rupee is undervalued at a time when the global winds are blowing against us. He is being proved wrong on a daily basis.
Food Bill: Dawn of a pernicious legislation - Mint
The National Food Security Bill (NFSB) is now just a step away from complete legislative approval. On Monday, the Lok Sabha cleared the Bill. A vote in the Rajya Sabha is due next week and an endorsement is now almost certain. What has not changed are the doubts about the efficacy and costs—both short and long term—of the Bill voiced over the past couple of years. In fact, in the past weeks and months its votaries have highlighted them, even if unwittingly.
Get ready for another Asian financial crisis - Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar, ET
Make no mistake, a second Asian Financial Crisis is on its way. This storm will not blow over soon. It originated in the US, when the Fed proposed to taper and end quantitative easing. The frightening thing is that this will happen in stages over the next 12-18 months, and each turn of the liquidity screw can cause a fresh financial storm. Nothing Chidambaram or Raghuram Rajan says can avert the storm.
Cut spending, boost investment - Arvind Virmani, Times of India
After we had successfully tackled the effects of the global financial crisis in 2009, the general euphoria led me to warn about four potential dangers. One, that sustaining growth would be a challenge. Two, a higher fiscal deficit saved us from growth collapse in 2008-09 and ensured faster recovery in 2009, but was politically addictive. It had to be brought back to the sustainable level reached in 2007-08 as soon as growth was restored.
How IB executed Op Yasin Bhatkal - Saikat Datta, DNA
Indian Mujahideen terrorist forced out of a Gulf country, arrested on Indo-Nepal border. One of India’s most wanted terrorists Mohammed Ahmed Sidibapa, better known as Yasin Bhatkal, has finally been nabbed. Believed to have participated in over 10 terror bombings across cities like Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad in the last five years, Bhatkal fell to a well-planned joint operation of the Intelligence Bureau and its Nepalese counterpart.
Land Bill: United we fall - Indian Express
Food security enacted, the UPA has now moved on to its next big venture. The Land Acquisition, Resettlement and Rehabilitation Bill was taken up in the Lok Sabha on Thursday. Both the food security bill and the land bill have a broad sentimental appeal, and the Congress doubtless sees them as vote-getters, but they promise to saddle the economy with greater problems.
Anti-superstition laws enshrine paternalism - Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Indian Express
Belief and ritual can, literally, be a matter of life and death. Narendra Dabholkar courageously spent his life combating superstition and irrationality. His violent death is a reminder of the depths to which discourses around culture have fallen in Maharashtra. We do not have a full handle on how society is changing.
The Nehru-Gandhi school of economics - Bhupesh Bhandari, Business Standard
On Tuesday, foreign institutional investors sold Indian paper heavily and the 30-share Sensex crashed 590 points, or 3.18 per cent. They were spooked by the passage of the food security Bill by the Lok Sabha the previous day. This, they fear, will throw this year's fiscal deficit out of gear. Finance Minister P Chidambaram's assertion the next day that the deficit would not exceed the target did little to allay their fears.
Bhatkal: From a quiet town to terror factory - Naveen Ammembala, HT
Bhatkal in Karnataka began losing grip over its identity as a town around the time Mohammed Ahmed Zarar Siddibapa started gaining notoriety as dreaded Indian Mujahideen terrorist Yasin Bhatkal. What did not help the town in coastal Uttara Kannada district was that other IM top guns, brothers Riyaz and Iqbal Shabantri, also became branded as Riyaz and Iqbal Bhatkal.
The Food Insecurity Act - Business Line
The real problem with the National Food Security Bill (NFSB), shortly set to become law, is not that it will considerably worsen the fiscal deficit. An almost $2-trillion economy should be able to comfortably set aside enough money to provide affordable grain for the hungry and economically vulnerable. The trouble with the NFSB lies in its flawed design which, by distorting grain markets, will end up making food security even more elusive.
Can Obama strike Syria without Congress' consent? - CBS News
President Obama has yet to say what course of action he'll take to respond to the alleged use of chemical weapons by President Bashar al Assad's regime in Syria, but his administration has previewed the justification it will use if Mr. Obama decides to take military action.
What happens in Syria after the Tomahawks hit? - Tara McKelvey, BBC
US officials hope that any military assault on Syria will be surgical and limited. But what does the US do after the missiles or bombs have fallen? It could go either way. The US may attack - or may not. "I've not made a decision," US President Barack Obama said on Wednesday. Mr Obama has maintained that if the Syrian government uses chemical weapons, the US will act militarily.
We are today even more polarised than in the late '80s and '90s - Barkha Dutt, HT
The ongoing churn in India lends itself well to anxious hand-wringing as well as cheesy humour about being transported back to the nineties. We’ve all seen and added to the déjà vu discourse, both light-heartedly and seriously.
UPA prepares poison pill for 2014 election - Ashok Malik, Pioneer
Speaking privately earlier this week, an erudite MP — from a non-Congress, non-BJP background —described the UPA Government’s binge of populist legislation as a “poison pill” approach. In management jargon, the ‘poison pill defence’ is deployed when a company is faced with a hostile takeover. The management of the company so targeted then takes deliberate measures to make the takeover unattractive.
A pernicious system with illusions of equality - Harsh Vardhan, Pioneer
Last weekend, for the second time in eight months, India rose as one nation to express shock, anger and dismay. A young photographer interning with a lifestyle magazine was gang raped amidst the ruins of an old factory in the heart of Mumbai.  She and her male colleague had gone there to take pictures of the scenes of dilapidation in the light of the setting sun.
Ayodhya floats its own solution: mandir at idol site, masjid 400 m away - Seema Chishti, Indian Express
At a time when the Vishwa Hindu Parishad's attempt to reopen the Ram temple issue with a Chaurasi Kosi parikrama of Ayodhya has found few takers, a "local" effort by residents of Ayodhya and Faizabad to resolve the dispute has been gaining ground. One that proposes a Ram temple at the disputed site and a mosque 400 m away, but within the 67 acres of land acquired by the government.
Where is the accountability, Mr Sibal? - TN Ninan, Business Standard
Kapil Sibal said in Parliament the other day that politicians are the most accountable among all categories of people. So, how accountable do six people, who between them have run the economy these past five years, feel as they survey the mess around them? All but one of them spoke this past week.
Dear Narendrabhai, please say yes to a secular Bangladesh - Shekhar Gupta, IE
WHY am I not addressing this appeal to adarniya Advaniji or my old friend Sushma first? Or to dear Rajnathji or Arun (Jaitley), even though I might have known all four of them more closely than you, mostly because we all live in New Delhi? It is because, in their current mood, the first two are unlikely to give anybody a hearing on any thought that is remotely conciliatory.
UPA is its own enemy - Indian Express
As confidence in the economy plunges to new lows, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh took the unusual initiative of addressing Parliament. The point of note was not what he said, but the fact that he spoke at all. Singh sketched a picture of a common crisis facing all emerging economies as capital flows reversed direction after the US Fed's indication that it would taper quantitative easing, and also of tensions and uncertainties on Syria spilling into domestic oil prices. 
It's the interest rate, stupid - Surjit S Bhalla, Indian Express
The GDP data for the second quarter of this year has just been released and it paints a crisis picture for the economy. The year-on-year GDP growth rate came in at 4.4 per cent, making it the third successive quarter when GDP growth has come in below 5. The previous two quarters' year-on-year (yoy) GDP growth registered at 4.8 and 4.7 per cent respectively.
Best remedy for economy is to have elections - Lord Meghnad Desai, Mail Today
The doctor has no prescription even as the Indian economy gasps for breath in the ICU. If the nation was looking up at economist Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to unveil a concrete plan of action to bring the sinking economy back on track and arrest the decline of the rupee, it was disappointed. Much to the chagrin of the market and masses, Singh, who made identical statements on the state of the economy in both Houses of Parliament, blamed external factors, like the US Federal Reserve, and internal issues, like the Opposition not cooperating with the government, for the slide in the economy.
Towards an economic abyss - Rajiv Kumar, Business Line
Our worst fears have been confirmed. GDP growth continues to plummet and is now at a four-year low of 4.4 per cent for the first quarter of the current financial year. This should hopefully stop all loose talk of ‘plateauing of growth’ and sightings of green shoots of recovery. And it will hopefully also put an end to the argument that this remarkably poor performance is due entirely to exogenous factors, and not a result of mismanagement and simply lack of policy direction.
UAE handed over Bhatkal to IB-R&AW - S Balakrishnan, DNA
A day after it was reported that Yasin Bhatkal was arrested from the Indo-Nepal border, dna has learnt that he was brought to Nepal from the United Arab Emirates by Indian authorities. Bhatkal, who is in the National Investigation Agency’s custody, was spotted in the UAE by the local intelligence community and the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) was brought on board.
Let’s talk about Sonia - Tavleen Singh, Indian Express
Such an ominous sense of bad times and foreboding hangs over political Delhi today that it is hard to remember that Sonia Gandhi took power in a happy, hopeful time 10 years ago. When she first chose Manmohan Singh to govern India on her behalf, the economy was booming, foreign investors were flocking to our shores and young Indians were coming home from studies abroad instead of staying on.
Bollywood's backside - Shombit Sengupta, Indian Express
Crimes of rape, gangrape, abuse and assault on women are being hotly debated on national TV, generally veering on three sets of opinions: it's made into a political issue, or it's police inefficiency, and lastly it's the growing rowdy-ism problem in society. Rarely have I heard anyone talk about the practical angle of who's fuelling it. Clearly, the mechanical, ritualistic, repetitive item numbers from Bollywood films cannot look so innocent.
Which other democracy has a doormat for a PM? - Kanchan Gupta, Pioneer
Manmohan Singh made a pathetic spectacle of himself in Parliament while defending his abysmal failure to halt India’s economic decline. Feckless people like him blame others; they lack the courage to own up and step down. Cornered, bruised and battered, the Prime Minister decided to do an angry old man act in Rajya Sabha on Friday while reading out a banal statement...
Time for redemption and resurrection - MJ Akbar, Times of India
Since political parties claim to speak nothing but gospel truth, it may be opportune, as we squabble towards another general election, to raise a Biblical parallel. Which of the two fetches more votes? A sermon on the Mount with its appeal to the meek who shall inherit the earth; or resurrection, which promises hope in the mess of despair? In 2009 Congress pulled off a political miracle.
Fear of Modi: Why DG Vanzara is part of collateral damage - R Jagannathan, FirstPost
The letter-bomb of jailed Gujarat police officer DG Vanzara, leaked yesterday (3 September) for political reasons, may or may not damage Narendra Modi’s chances of being named the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate, but two things are clear: Modi’s enemies are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that he is packed off from the election arena; but with every such “exposure”, the credibility of the disclosure also drops.
The crisis - Meghnad Desai, Indian Express
The market has seen that the fundamental problem of the Indian economy is politics. The market sees farther than the politicians. The market has seen that the fundamental problem of the Indian economy is politics. The economy is in a profound crisis. It has been drifting for the past two years and more. No urgency has been felt by the political leadership to tackle the crisis. It's busy with its own agenda that ignores economics.
For PM, BJP is Prem Chopra - Swapan Dasgupta, Pioneer
It is a commentary on the importance that the ruling Establishment attaches to the principle of parliamentary accountability that it took the near-collapse of the currency, plummeting growth rates and an economic crisis that refused to be brushed aside by the Queen Empress' imperious disdain of money, for the Prime Minister to realise that he owed the country something by way of an explanation.
India stumbling - Arvind Subramanian, Business Standard
For the past three decades, the Indian economy has grown impressively, at an average annual rate of 6.4 per cent. From 2002 to 2011, when the average rate was 7.7 per cent, India seemed to be closing in on China — unstoppable, and engaged in a second “tryst with destiny,” to borrow Jawaharlal Nehru’s phrase. The economic potential of its vast population, expected to be the world’s largest by the middle of the next decade...
Obama, Congress and Syria - Glenn Greenwald, Guardian
It's a potent sign of how low the American political bar is set that gratitude is expressed because a US president says he will ask Congress to vote before he starts bombing another country that is not attacking or threatening the US. That the US will not become involved in foreign wars of choice without the consent of the American people through their representatives...
Terror threat: Circle the wagons now - Ajai Sahni, Hindustan Times
The arrest of Yasin Bhatkal aka Mohammad Ahmed Siddibappa, the ‘operations chief’ of the Indian Mujahideen (IM), wanted in connection with terrorist attacks across the country, is a major success for India’s intelligence and security agencies. 
It's The End for the UPA Government - Balbir Punj, Pioneer
Twelve hours after the Congress-led UPA passed the food security Bill in the Lok Sabha on August 26, the most non-political reactions came from the market. Between 9am when the bourses opened and 4.58pm when they were about to close, the rupee slid from Rs 65.005 to the US dollar to Rs 66.19. As the downslide continued unabated, all indications were that the rupee might touch 70 to the dollar.
'Juvenile' crime: Time for change, effective action - Pinky Anand, Pioneer
The lawmakers of this country have to rise to the occasion and amend the law to ensure that criminals cannot brutalise and walk away to unleash more terror in society. The culprits will have to be dealt with more severely.
The new Marriage Laws (Amendment) Bill must be fine tuned - Bina Agarwal, IE
On August 26, the Rajya Sabha passed the Marriages Law (Amendment) Bill to facilitate divorce among Hindus. It will now go to the Lok Sabha. The bill promises easier divorce, but on compensation for the wife, it fails to take account of important complexities.
Dimming of Brand India - Vikram S Mehta, Indian Express
We are in the midst of a severe economic crisis. Our macroeconomic indices are weakening. The first quarter growth figure has come in at 4.4 per cent and some analysts are projecting a figure for FY 2013-14 of below 4 per cent — the Hindu rate that we all thought was a historical memory.
Nehru-Gandhi brand has failed - Santosh Desai, Times of India
It can be argued that the brand that receives the single largest investment by way of promotion is the Nehru-Gandhi family name. Dozens of institutions carry this label, and the media is awash with ads on days that mark significant milestones in the lives of these leaders, in particular those that have departed the world. That this should be so in a democratic country like ours is reason for disquiet, and this has been much commented upon. But what is equally striking is how ineffective these attempts to build the family brand has been in spite of all the investment that backs it.
Kick-start economy, unclog growth - Times of India
Despite two unhappy data points last week — a four-year low in the economy's growth rate and an all-time low in exchange rate — there are nascent signs that things have begun to change for the better. From a policy standpoint, a reassuring development was Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's word in the Parliament that current challenges would not lead to a panic-stricken reversal of the trend of gradually opening up the economy. Stability in policy, particularly in a volatile period, acts as a countervailing force to uncertainty.
The land Bill is pro-bureaucracy, anti-farmer - NC Saxena, Business Standard
Fast economic growth in the last two decades has increased demand for land from many sources, such as infrastructure, industry, mining, and urbanisation, including real estate. Even when these activities are funded privately and are driven by profit motive, they serve a social purpose since employment generation per unit of land is higher for non-agricultural uses than for agriculture ones.
India, and the art of driving away FDI - C Gopinath, Business Line
We did, perhaps, need this crisis to remind ourselves how globally connected we all are. There was a time when our experts were talking about “de-coupling” and how our financial systems were stronger, and the post-Lehman global financial crisis did not hit us hard. We also patted ourselves on the back, saying that because our growth was driven by domestic exigencies, we were relatively protected from global swings.
Macro-muddle gets worse - Richard Iley, Financial Express
RBI’s quantitative tightening campaign has been, at best, premature and, at worst, wholly injudicious. With persistently loose fiscal policy, rather than too low interest rates, the root cause of India’s uncomfortably large current account deficit, the recent liquidity squeeze is the wrong solution to the wrong problem and risks proving entirely counterproductive.
The age of Manmohanomics 2.0 - Mint
It was a rare moment in Parliament last week when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh lashed out at the leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha. It revealed a lot about what has gone wrong with the Indian economy and the misdiagnosis that characterizes the Manmohan Singh government’s haphazard efforts to set things right.
Sati, snake-bites, 'blind' superstitions and intervention - Garga Chatterjee, DNA
Godwin’s ‘law’ claims that the longer an online discussion gets, the more likely that some comparison will be made with Hitler or the Nazis. Certain words, concepts and themes (like ‘Hitler’) have such wide currency (among Westerners and a few browns) as powerful symbols that they have been used in all contexts, to counter anything, to badmouth anyone.
Protecting the rights of criminal-politicians - A Surya Prakash, Pioneer
The National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution, which was headed by the eminent jurist and former Chief Justice of India MN Venkatachalaiah, recommended that the election law be amended to bar any person charged with an offence punishable with imprisonment up to five years, from contesting elections to Parliament and State Assemblies. Further, he said any person convicted for heinous offences like murder, rape, dacoity and smuggling must be permanently barred from contesting elections.
India has become a laughing stock with the international investment community - Rajeev Malik, Business Standard
Let us not kid ourselves: India has become a laughing stock within the international investment community. The actions and communication of politicians and policy makers have left investors and businesses, both domestic and international, scratching their heads. They are all trying to figure out why Indians have repeatedly used their own proverbial axe on their feet.
UPA: The gang that couldn't shoot straight - Shreekant Sambrani, Bus Std
Jimmy Breslin, the balladeer of New York City of hardened criminals and harder cops of the 1960s and 1970s, wrote a hugely satirical novel in 1969 about supposedly fearsome Mafiosi who ended up bungling everything. Its title graces this column, as a perfect description of the economic leadership of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA). On August 30, the Sensex and the rupee continued their yoyo dance, unmindful of the prime minister's rather self-indignant defence of his policies.
India: The rape debate with a cab driver - CNN-IBN
The economic rise of India in the first decade of this century has set off a wave of unprecedented expectations in the country. These expectations have had a profound impact on the socio economic balance of the country. As the juvenile accused of the Delhi rape incident was convicted for a meager 3 years, I tried to explore the entire social debate on rape through the prism of a cab driver.
The west's threat to attack Syria is an idiotic gesture - Simon Jenkins, Guardian
The reason a missile attack on Syria is proving so unpopular on both sides of the Atlantic has nothing to do with neoimperial hubris. The reason is that it is a bad idea. "Punishing" a dictator for killing his own people by simply killing more of his own people seems beyond cruel. It seems stupid. It leads nowhere.
Beware of the 120th Amendment - KN Bhat, Asian Age
On Thursday, the Rajya Sabha, with the “co-operation”, or, perhaps, connivance of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance, passed the Constitution (120th Amendment) Bill which seeks to delete Articles 124(2) and 217(1) and introduce a new Article 124-A.
Spotlight on shadow leadership - Manoj Joshi, India Today
The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) is "going, going, gone" but the successor government, and here we are going with the popular assumption that it could be led by the Bharatiya Janata Party, is likely to inherit a country in deep crisis. The irony, however, will be that the BJP, through policies of commission and omission would have been complicit in worsening the situation.
Vanzara: A victim of bleeding hearts - Swapan Dasgupta, Asian Age
When the RSS, shedding reservations, decided to project Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi as a prominent national leader of the BJP and made the saffron party formally adopt him as its campaign chief for the coming general election, the prime mover of the Sangh Parivar should have had a keener appreciation of the possibility that Mr Modi — given his uneven image — might suck his party into all manner of controversies.
Food Security Bill may not be an election game-changer for UPA - M Rajshekhar, ET
The sheer sweep and scale of the National Food Security Bill -- subsidised food of subsistence quantities to up to 75% of the rural population and up to 50% of the urban population—suggests it could be an election game-changer for the ruling Congress-led UPA. But when seen along with the way this legislation will be implemented, the NFSB's pull for the Congress as a voter magnet in the 2014 elections is considerably dulled.
Line of no control - Shankar Roychowdhury, Asian Age
The ambush of an Indian Army patrol by a Pakistani Border Action Team (BAT) near the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch sector of Kashmir on August 6 is typical of the “small war” between India and Pakistan which flickers daily along the LoC. While the encounter and its results would have caused elation in the Pakistan Army, the lack of a rapid retributive response from India would have disappointed many.
Modi has no time to waste - Kamlendra Kanwar, NewIndianExpress
There is no mistaking the fact that the BJP will be committing political harakiri if it does not announce its prime ministerial candidate well ahead of the Lok Sabha elections scheduled in mid-2014 as Arun Jaitley, its leader in the Rajya Sabha, has aptly suggested. For the party that was voted out in 2004 in a shock defeat and was unable to recover lost ground in the 2009 elections, this is no ordinary election.
What helps AG Vahanvati retain his job? - Jay Bhattacharjee, NitiCentral
In the interest of transparency, this disclosure has to be made here and now. Goolam Vahanvati, the country’s Attorney-General, the highest law officer of the Union Government, whose post is stipulated and defined in the Constitution itself, caught my attention during the Supreme Court hearing of General VK Singh’s petition in January and February 2012. Before that, I had heard the usual corridor gossip in the National capital about him and his chequered background, but I had not paid too much attention to the swirling rumours.
Top-secret US intelligence files show new levels of distrust of Pakistan - Greg Miller, Craig Whitlock and Barton Gellman, Washington Post
The $52.6 billion U.S. intelligence arsenal is aimed mainly at unambiguous adversaries, including al-Qaeda, North Korea and Iran. But top-secret budget documents reveal an equally intense focus on one purported ally: Pakistan. No other nation draws as much scrutiny across so many categories of national security concern.
Forget coalgate... filegate is here - Abhishek Bhalla, Mail Today
The coal scam probe is getting caught up in itself, with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) now set to look for crucial missing files relating to coal block allotment instead of investigating the scam itself. Crucial documents remain on the missing list despite Prime Minister Manmohan Singh claiming in the Rajya Sabha that 150,000 pages have been handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Bombing for morality - Ian Buruma, Project Syndicate
A gift for words was always US President Barack Obama’s strongest asset. Now it looks as if his words have trapped him. Having stated in March that the United States would “not tolerate the use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people,” and having spoken last year about a “red line” that could not be crossed, he will lose face if he fails to react forcefully to the murder, allegedly by the Syrian regime, of more than 1,000 civilians by sarin gas.
Returning to policies without politics - Mint
On the day that the HSBC Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for August for India shrunk to 48.5, the first contraction for the sector since March 2009 (amid a continuing drop in new orders), China’s manufacturing sector gave clear signs it is beginning to stabilize. The country is back in business in spite of naysayers insisting the Chinese economy will implode in the wake of changing business scenarios.
India: The long view - Niranjan Rajadhyaksha, Mint
The global investment banks have been busy cutting their forecasts on the pace at which the Indian economy will grow in the current fiscal. It now seems very likely economic growth will be even more sluggish than it was in the previous year, and the most bearish forecasts suggest that we are headed for the worst year since the reforms of 1991.
Democracy vs Dictatorship socialism - Bibek Debroy, Economic Times
In Q2, the US economy has clocked 2.5% growth, better than expected. There are good numbers for eurozone and Japan too. This year will be better than 2012 and, presumably, 2014 better than 2013. The recovery may be mild, but India’s ability to tap into any recovery will be milder still. From an emerging-economy status, India has plummeted into a sub-5% submerging-economy category.
Opposition must challenge the backward-looking land bill - Indian Express
The food security bill is a whisker away from being signed into law, with near unanimous political support. Though it was debated at length, most of the amendments suggested by opposition parties sought an even more bloated and fiscally irresponsible version of the bill.
Delinking talks with terror leads nowhere - Ashok K Mehta, Pioneer
The ceasefire on the Line of Control which has generally been observed since November 2003 was seriously breached last month, triggered by Pakistani regulars ambushing an Indian patrol in the Poonch sector. The action-reaction exchange of fire constitutes a record-breaking 30 plus ceasefire violations in August alone.
Syria: US case is legally weak, internationally divisive and morally hollow - Kanwal Sibal, Hindu
President Obama’s plan to take military action against Syria can be legitimately questioned on legal, political and moral grounds. Syria has not, strictly speaking, violated international law in using chemical weapons against its own population. It has not signed the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention, which Egypt too has not signed and Israel has not yet ratified. Syria adhered to the 1925 Geneva Protocol on Chemical Weapons in 1968, but that instrument applies to armed conflict between states, not to use within a country’s borders.
The Gujarat Lokayukta Controversy: Media Peddles Partisan Propaganda - Madhu Purnima Kishwar, Manushi
When it comes to Narendra Modi, even the doyens of Indian journalism forget the most elementary norms of ethical journalism. When Justice Mehta wrote a letter refusing to take charge as the Lokayukta and making all manners of allegations against the Gujarat government, every newspaper published his version in full, making him out to be a knight in shining armour and a martyr to the authoritarian whims of Narendra Modi. No newspaper or TV channel reporting this story thought it fit to publish the version of Gujarat Government. Now that I am studying post 2002 Gujarat, I decided to dig out the facts for myself. Here is a summary of what I found:
Mumbai: City of a million islands - Sidharth Bhatia, Hindustan Times
Mumbai’s newspapers routinely carry stories about sexual assault of women. Just last week, a senior citizen was held for allegedly molesting his young grand-daughter and an American working in the city was hit and robbed of her cellphone in a local train. Neighbours, relatives and friends are often named in such crimes. Any woman will confirm that Mumbai isn’t as safe for women as it is made out to be.
PM's arrogance - Pioneer
It is not surprising that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should have failed in his efforts to win over senior leaders of the BJP in his bid to seek their cooperation for the smooth functioning of Parliament. The Prime Minister had invited Mr LK Advani, Ms Sushma Swaraj and Mr Arun Jaitley to his residence late in the evening on Tuesday, but the meeting failed to break the deadlock because Mr Singh's actions appear to be driven more by necessity than by sincerity. He is keen to secure the opposition party's help in passing various Bills during the fag end of the Monsoon Session. But Mr Singh has of late been repeatedly ridiculing the BJP in both Houses.
India needs intelligent security - Aaron Mannes, R.K. Raghavan, Animesh Roul and V S Subrahmanian, Indian Express
High-profile arrests of Tunda and Bhatkal tell the story of how India's security apparatus is getting better at border control and intelligence operations. There is a lot more to be done. On August 29, Indian security teams scored a major victory in their fight against terrorism when they captured Yasin Bhatkal, one of the leaders of the Indian Mujahideen, a formidable terrorist group that derives its inspiration from across the border, specifically the Lashkar-e-Toiba and Pakistan's ever-mischievous Inter-Services Intelligence.
Policymakers need to communicate well - Amay Hattangadi & Swanand Kelkar, Mint
On 6 September 2011, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) issued a clear, concise and firm communication to put an end to the sharp appreciation of the Swiss franc. SNB in its statement said that it was aiming for a substantial and sustained weakening of the currency and would no longer tolerate a euro-franc exchange rate below 1.20.
Land Bill a mortal blow to India’s modernisation - Rajiv Kumar & Prashant Kumar, Financial Express
The Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2011 (LARR) is set to become law. Clearly, Indian farmers who pay zero taxes and contribute a mere 12% of the GDP command unquestioned loyalty of the political class. All other interests and national objectives are subservient to them. Our apprehension, shared by many others like Sanjoy Chakravorty’s “On Land, No Lessons Learnt” (IE, August 30), is that LARR, if made a law, will pretty much sound the death knell of industrialisation in India.
India lacks business ethics? - Ritesh Kumar Singh & Prerna Sharma, Business Line
In 2011, India received only 6.5 million foreign tourists as compared to 57 million in China, according to World Bank. Forget China, India could not match even a smaller country, Malaysia (25 million). Given our diverse geographies and rich cultural heritage, this figure is shamefully low by any standard.
India’s never had it so bad - Mohan Murti, Business Line
An editorial in the highly circulated German national newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine screamed: “India has never had it so bad. Stealing in government has never been this brazen. Government officials are now so audacious in their corrupt practices that they do not give a damn about who is watching”. “Supreme Court directives are routinely flouted. Crime rates are up and security of life including women’s safety, which is the first responsibility of every government, is at its lowest ebb. India must then be more than qualified to be called a failed state.” In the Manager magazine, one of Germany’s leading glossy business journals, an article said: “Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has a natural inclination to be a follower, not a leader. ”
UPA government has unleashed a barrage of misinformation - Gautam Mukherjee, Pioneer
Beguiling the nation, which seems to be a policy of the Government, in the age of 24 hour-seven days-a-week television news channels in major and minor regional languages, plus Hindi and English, is not easy. Even the illiterate have-nots, the target audience, the patsy and dupe for the predatory politician, for this discredited Government angling to be re-elected, cannot be fooled out of hand.
The road ahead for Rajan - Ila Patnaik's, Financial Express
Reserve Bank of India has a new governor, Raghuram Rajan. While Rajan's immediate job would be to determine the stance of monetary policy, and hand out banking licences, as RBI Governor for the next five years, his main task must be to transform RBI into a modern central bank. The task of transforming RBI into a modern central bank consists of redefining the mandate of the central bank and its functions, clearly defining the objective of monetary policy and institutions related to conduct of monetary policy, and redesigning the role of RBI as a banking regulator.
It's Déjà Vu all over again - Yashwant Sinha, Economic Times
During the last two years, the UPA government postponed tough decisions and invited a full-blown economic crisis. We are plunging into a downward economic spiral, such as in 1990 and 1998. It is deja vu all over again. Several Congressmen have attacked me for being critical of the UPA government, but I have to speak up in the national interest. The lessons of 1984-89 and 1996-98 have been forgotten. 
Sack those who hold up projects - Economic Times
Hyderabad-based Lanco Infrastructure has laid off half its workforce, around 4,000 people, as it saw orders dry up. And if things continue as they have been, it won't be the last company to sack workers. We are about six months away from general elections. What will the ministers of finance, commerce, roads, steel, mining and environment — and the Prime Minister — tell the families of those laid off ?
An ode to teachers - Nirmala Sitharaman, Asian Age
"The teacher is expected to hurry and ready his/her students for the job market. S/he is to stuff enough such material into the heads of the pupils to clear an exam. Many of us may be content with this, but the teacher may only be readying his/her students for life, if at all!"
Did Nehru promote a dynasty? - Varnam
This myth draws support from the fact that Nehru’s daughter and grandson also served as Prime Minister, that his grand daughter-in-law has sought that post too, and, most recently, that her son, Nehru’s great-grandson, has joined politics as the heir-apparent of the Congress party. In truth, Nehru had nothing to do with the “dynasty”. He had no idea, nor desire, that his daughter would become Prime Minister of India. It was Mrs. Indira Gandhi who converted the Indian National Congress into a family business. She first brought in her son Sanjay and, after his death, his brother Rajiv.
The White House’s Syria secrets - Dana Milbank, Washington Post
John Kerry was making his “beyond a reasonable doubt” case against Syria’s Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday when he gave lawmakers a bit of faulty intelligence. “Just today, before coming in here, I read an e-mail to me about a general, the minister of defense, former minister or assistant minister, I forget which, who has just defected and is now in Turkey,” the secretary of state testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “And there are other defections that we are hearing about because of the potential that we might take action.”
Gujarat Model: Only good for growth, not Development - Christophe Jaffrelot, Indian Express
The Gujarat pattern of development has often been arraigned from the left because of its social deficits. Indeed, the state's social indicators do not match its economic performance. With 23 per cent of its citizens living below the poverty line in 2010, Gujarat does better than the Indian average — 29.8 per cent — but it reduced this proportion by less than 10 percentage points in five years.
Jalayagnam: YSR’s Rs 90,000 crore let’s-all-loot scam - Raman Kirpal, FirstPost
There’s nothing like a gigantic government project planned in the name of the poor or some other elevated public purpose to bring a multitude of scams. The number of scams unearthed during the tenure of the late YS Rajasekhara Reddy (YSR) when he was Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister – Satyam, Maytas, and various mining and land scams – are simply too numerous to ignore, but the biggest of them all is still not discussed much in the media.
Well begun: Raghuram Rajan takes the long view - Business Standard
Raghuram Rajan's first public appearance as the new governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) earned him enormous approval, and deservedly so. He has clearly come to grips with several issues and worked out at least the outlines of plans to deal with them. Importantly, many of these are not directly related to the short-term macroeconomic challenges that he will have to deal with; rather, they relate to structural changes in the banking system, financial markets, the payments and settlements system and, particularly, in the structure of the RBI itself.
The central banker in shining armour - Shaji Vikaraman, Economic Times
M&M boss Anand Mahindra tweeted: "He hails from Tamil Nadu. If he's a blockbuster hit, we'll call him the Chennai Express." Mahindra had a point. The first day, first show of Raghuram Rajan felt like a central banking equivalent of a blockbuster movie opening.
How parties gain from keeping it hush-hush - Manoj Mitta, Times of India
While holding public hearings on the RTI amendment bill, the standing committee will be confronted not only with legal arguments. It will also have to deal with statistics on how the existing system for transparency on political funding has been routinely subverted.
Bills won’t win polls - Times of India
The Congress party is feeling good after passing its two new bills on food security and land acquisition in Parliament. It believes it has occupied the moral high ground, and left the BJP making vague, unconvincing objections. The Congress hopes these bills will prove vote winners in the general election next May. These are delusions of grandeur. In fact, the bills are more likely to lose than win votes for the Congress. 
Sonia Gandhi: The enigma of silence - Rajdeep Sardesai, Hindustan Times
Sonia Gandhi is no Mahatma (although sycophantic Congressmen would have you believe otherwise), but her political career does parallel Gandhi's words of wisdom to aspiring netas. She was ignored in the Narasimha Rao years; she was ridiculed when she first entered politics (remember the famous 272 MPs gaffe); she was fought viciously on the foreign origins issue; and then she finally did win in 2004 when her inner voice told her not to aspire for the prime ministerial chair after the Congress pulled off a miraculous victory.
Alternative to 'default option' - Bharat Karnad, NewIndianExpress
Rahul Gandhi, vice-president of the Congress party and its presumptive prime ministerial candidate should his mummy, Sonia, deem the situation ripe for his elevation (because Manmohan Singh is history — “a good man who turned out to be a good-for-nothing man” in Arun Shourie’s memorable words), called his party the voters’ “default option”. Default, by definition, implies failure of an alternative.
Putin scores on Syria - Fiona Hill, foreign Affairs
After months of standing firm (and almost alone) against international intervention in Syria, by the end of August, Russian President Vladimir Putin seemed resigned to the prospect of a U.S. strike against Bashar al-Assad’s regime. To be sure, he was not happy about it, but the use of chemical weapons against civilians in a Damascus suburb appeared to have brought the current phase of the Syrian crisis to its inevitable climax.
A war the Pentagon doesn’t want - Robert H Scales, Washington Post
The tapes tell the tale. Go back and look at images of our nation’s most senior soldier, Gen. Martin Dempsey, and his body language during Tuesday’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on Syria. It’s pretty obvious that Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, doesn’t want this war. As Secretary of State John Kerry’s thundering voice and arm-waving redounded in rage against Bashar al-Assad’s atrocities, Dempseywas largely (and respectfully) silent.
Coalgate getting perilously close to PMO - Business Line
When it broke out, the coal scam centred on a number — the Rs 1.86 lakh crore that the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) claimed was handed over by the Government as windfall gains to private players by distributing coal blocks without auctions. Now this number, staggering though it is even if entirely notional, could well be dwarfed by a much smaller one — 12. This is the number of missing files on coal block allocations that the Central Bureau of Investigation has sought from the Government. 
Rajan doesn't have control over what really ails India - William Pesek, Bloomberg
The most important indicator of whether India will crash is the sweat on Raghuram Rajan’s brow. The new Reserve Bank of India governor arrived in Mumbai this week with a bang, announcing a slew of reforms to free up and expand the banking sector and to draw more Indians into the formal financial system. The news impressed traders, who staged much-needed rallies in both stocks and the rupee on Sept. 5.
The great market non-crash - TN Ninan, Business Standard
While people fret about the fall in stock prices, the reality seems strangely disconnected when viewed at a slight distance from immediate events. In early 2011, when the quarterly economic growth rates began sliding from 9.2 per cent to eight per cent and then lower, the Sensex was at 20,500. Today, more than two-and-a-half years later, the quarterly growth rate has averaged a miserable 4.6 per cent for the last three quarters. But the Sensex is at 19,270 - barely six per cent lower than what it was at the start of 2011.
Twerping in West Asia - Anirudh Bhattacharyya, Hindustan Times
There’s this thing about fads, they fade. Psy’s Gangnam style horseplay is history. The Harlem Shake has expired. That vacuum is now being filled by the Twerk. For those unaware of this dance craze, the word derives from a combination of twist and jerk, and is akin to dirty dancing gone wild.
Appointment of judges - Pioneer
The Congress-led UPA Government has been unwise in not heeding to the Bharatiya Janata Party's demand in the Rajya Sabha to refer the Constitution (120th) Amendment Bill, 2013, to a Parliamentary Standing Committee. Since the amendment Bill proposes a very significant change in the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and the High Courts, it should have been put through elaborate scrutiny, opinions of prominent jurists from the country and abroad ought to have been invited and the judiciary should have been consulted.
The Congress's Modi - Shekhar Gupta, Indian Express
Nobody doubts that Narendra Modi will be the NDA's candidate for prime minister for 2014. The only question left is the timing of that announcement. The remaining question, therefore, is: who will be the UPA's, or rather the Congress party's, candidate? It seems extremely unlikely that it will be Rahul Gandhi. Only in the event — howsoever unlikely — of the Congress crossing the 200-mark again will Rahul step up and swallow that "poison" called "power". 
The naysayers at MoEF - Indian Express
The Union environment ministry continues to be regarded as one of the key stress points in delaying and even thwarting infrastructure and industrial projects. Under the guise of protecting the environment, the ministry has persisted with convoluted procedures for procuring clearances that, in fact, have not much to do with securing the habitat.
A crisis of confidence - Chetan Bhagat, Times of India
Less than a decade ago, enthusiastic investment bankers and financial research analysts were tom-tomming the India growth story. India, they said, had so much potential, it could be one of the world’s biggest economies in the next couple of decades. For this, they used spreadsheet models, in which they plugged in a growth rate of 8-10% and projected it for the next 30 years. They learnt this in MBA school.
Wilfull blindness: The art of misreading Parrikar on Modi - R Jagannathan, FirstPost
The blind cannot see, but wilfull blindness seems important to many people, including sections of the media. A case in point is the interview given by Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar to The New York Times that talks, in passing, about 2002 and Narendra Modi’s responsibility for it.
Abusing science in the cause of paternalism - Jamie Whyte, Institute of Economic Affairs
Politicians and lobbyists who promote new regulations and taxes typically claim to have science on their side. Scientific evidence shows that the actions they wish to discourage are harmful and that government intervention would reduce this harm. Yet much ‘evidence-based policy’ is grounded on poor scientific reasoning and even worse economics.
Church, Mahatma and the missionary position - Kanchan Gupta, Pioneer
Some years ago, while researching the Goa Inquisition, I had chanced upon material about the attitude of Christian missionaries towards Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the Mahatma. Those notes resurfaced while I was clearing out the accumulated, fraying papers in my study; they make for interesting reading, especially when Gandhi is being touted by Christian missionaries as an ‘Apostle of Peace’, one of their own, in an effort to silence their critics.
Amorphous AAP easy to manipulate - Swapan Dasgupta, Pioneer
The ABP News-Nielsen survey — one of the handful of opinion polls that actually undertakes fieldwork, as opposed to the ones which are based on suspect methodology — has suggested that, as things stand, the BJP will emerge as the single largest party in the forthcoming elections to the Delhi Assembly. However, its survey has also indicated that it will not secure an outright majority thanks to the Aam Aadmi Party of Arvind Kejriwal which will hold the balance of power in the Assembly by securing eight of the 70 seats.
A chamber of princes? - Tavleen Singh, Indian Express
Let me begin by recounting a conversation I had with a political princeling. I do this in the hope that it will persuade you that democracy is weakened when parliamentary constituencies become fiefdoms. And, that it will remind you that we cannot hope for corruption to end and governance to improve as long as long as we continue to turn a blind eye to the feudalism that has crept so insidiously into the structure of Indian democracy and enfeebled it.
Syria: We’re better off minding our own business - Swapan Dasgupta, ToI
There was a brief period in the mid-1990 s when Indian newspapers suddenly began carrying front page reports of a conflict in the Balkans that few readers understood and fewer were interested in. The reason was quirky. Those were the days when cable TV enabled us to view CNN and BBC but domestic regulations prevented the operation of Indian news channels — apart from DD.
Two bills that threaten democracy - Ram Jethmalani, Sunday Guardian
Two important bills concerning the judiciary came before the Rajya Sabha on 5 September — the Constitution (One Hundred And Twentieth Amendment) Bill, 2013, (LX of 2013) and the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, 2013 (LXI of 2013).
It's always Modi, always Gujarat - Ashok Malik, Asian Age
Vijay Salaskar was killed on the evening of November 26, 2008. An inspector in the Mumbai police, he was driving the vehicle that was also carrying senior officers Hemant Karkare and Ashok Kamte when it was ambushed by Lashkar-e-Tayyaba terrorists. This was a dramatic incident that made clear the intensity of the attack on Mumbai on the dark night of 26/11.
Government controls under guise of welfare - V Balachandran, Sunday Guardian
We had thought that the reforms undertaken since the early 1990s in our country would have ushered in an era of less governmental control over its citizens in their everyday life. Sadly, that has not happened. Under the guise of welfare measures, government has tightened its stranglehold over common citizens and made their lives more miserable. 
Lift veil of secrecy: Centre must reveal China’s gameplan at LAC - Pioneer
Minister for Defence AK Antony's assurances to Parliament on Friday that the Government is keeping tight vigil along the Line of Actual Control, have done little to allay popular fear that China may have surreptitiously grabbed Indian territory.
On bended knee, we approach terrorism - Joginder Singh, Pioneer
The way terrorists, in the guise of separatists, spit fire against India in the Kashmir valley, leaves one wondering at the amazing capacity of the Union Government to tolerate what goes on there. As for the  Government of Jammu & Kashmir, one thing is certain: It is mostly appeasing the bullies and tormentors, and following their dictates.
Swami Vivekananda's idea of India - KG Suresh, Pioneer
The country’s Left-wing intelligentsia and the so-called progressive media, which goes hammer and tongs every time any one talks of Sanskrit, Surya Namaskar, Vande Mataram or even Yoga, were strangely silent when a few days ago some Islamic radicals forced authorities at the Mahatma Gandhi University at Kottayam in Kerala to call off the inauguration of a Chair named after Swami Vivekananda, whose 150th birth anniversary the nation is celebrating.
The encounter cop, a broken omerta - Abhinav Kumar, Indian Express
The Vanzara letter represents a Rubicon moment in the history of Indian police. A boundary has been crossed. While the media and political parties cry themselves hoarse about the political and legal significance of this letter, for police officers across the country, it has evoked condemnation, embarrassment, indignation, anguish and sympathy in equal measure.
Govt creating a de-industrialised moonscape across India - Jaithirth Rao, IE
We have seen a spate of rights-based welfare schemes being started by our omniscient and honourable Sultanate in Delhi. I am sure I am getting the names of our new laws wrong. But, what's in a name? Right to Poor Quality Education Act, Right to Carbohydrates Act, Right to Village Control over Forests and Mines Act are doubtless "welfare-inductive".
Don't blame the judiciary - Rajeev Dhavan, Mail Today
The downturn in the economy demands scapegoats. The judiciary has been targeted as co-accused. The principal charge is that Supreme Court judgments in the 2G, Bellary, Coalgate, Vedanta and other cases damaged the inflow of investment. This slowed down the economy resulting in less money for food, health and education. Without this investment, the revenue and current account deficit will worsen - especially with the government on a vote catching populist spree of expenditure.
A law that locks industry out of land - Mint
The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government continues to march to the tune of signature laws. Last week, the Rajya Sabha cleared the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2013. When the President approves of it, the new law will replace the Land Acquisition Act of 1894. The new law is likely to create more problems than it seeks to solve.
Jobs versus dole … - Financial Express
Given how most of the tens of thousands of layoffs taking place are in the informal sector, it is difficult to get accurate data on the numbers though, the production data tells its own story. But some broad estimates can be made even on the basis of the macro data, and that suggests a grim picture. It also explains why the government is anxious to push for populist schemes like the Food Security Bill.
Muslim clerics to campaign against Rahul, Cong - Rohini Singh, Economic Times
Think UP politics, think the importance of Muslim vote for Congress (18 per cent-plus of the state's electorate) in an election where Narendra Modi is BJP's poll mascot, and now think of the potential political consequences of a hugely influential UP Muslim cleric promising this: "We will campaign against Rahul Gandhi and other Congress leaders and explain why Muslims shouldn't vote for them."
Stop this sick loot of the exchequer - Economic Times
Does the aam aadmi political leadership know what kind of privilege its inefficient, self-serving babus have thought up for themselves? The government has decided to let members of the IAS, IPS and IFS and their immediate family fly overseas, at public cost, for medical treatment for up to two months for a wide variety of diseases.
West Bengal’s unconstitutional allowances to Muslim clerics: Vote-bank politics gone wrong - Nikhil Raymond Puri, Pioneer
The Calcutta High Court has rightly struck down West Bengal’s unconstitutional allowances to Muslim clerics. Not only did the Government break the law, it meticulously deceived the public in every aspect of this ‘welfare project’. Last year, the Government in West Bengal declared it would give imams in the State a monthly stipend of Rs 2,500 and Rs 1,000 to muezzins who recite the call to prayer. 
Akhilesh's broken promises - Times of India
After scripting a landslide victory for the Samajwadi Party in India's most populous and politically influential state last year, Akhilesh Yadav took over its reins as the country's youngest chief minister. His party workers beat up journalists on the very day he was declared victorious in the polls, but that didn't dent hopes that he would lead the world's largest local government unit into a more development-oriented era, putting aside the legacy of a father and uncles who refused to use either English or computers. 
Abolish the upper house - NV Krishnakumar, Times of India
While pleading with fellow members in Rajya Sabha to allow question hour to proceed smoothly, an exasperated chairman of the Upper House recently remarked: "Every single rule in the book, every single etiquette is violated." He went on to deem the Rajya Sabha as a "federation of anarchists".
Under SP watch, UP back as a communal cauldron - Subodh Ghildiyal, ToI
In the notorious world of religious carnages, the Akhilesh Yadav regime has hit many a controversial first. The riots have been coming thick and fast just when the state was shedding the tag of communal cauldron. After all, the state's 75 districts across 2.4 lakh sq km even passed the most edgy of moments - Babri title verdict in September 2010 - without a stone hurled.
Making the case for liberal economics: Challenge for the centre-right - V Anantha Nageswaran, Mint
Pratap Bhanu Mehta, president and CEO of the Centre for Policy Research in Delhi, wrote an opinion piece titled “While we were silent” in July. It was tweeted, re-tweeted, distributed and discussed by many on the right side of the debate. Many were jubilant that such a scathing indictment of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime had come from a non-partisan scholar.
How India slid into the morass - Shreekant Sambrani, Business Standard
The first wake-up call for the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), keen to shower entitlements on an India it believed was not Shining, came in early 2007. Food grain prices started shooting up. Received wisdom places the start of the food price spiral a year later, but grains went up 15 per cent and all foods by 11 per cent in 2007. I had addressed a farmers' meeting in April 2007 on ABCD (atta-besan-chawal-daal) inflation. 
Dialling sense - Financial Express
Considering how telecom has been at the forefront of the damage to the India story, it is only fitting that it be part of the attempt to bring back a little bit of the shine. The damage, to telecom and to the government, began with then telecom minister A Raja handing out licences to a chosen few firms at bargain-basement rates in 2008; the damage got compounded when, after the Supreme Court cancelled the licences issued by the government, the authorities never offered to even compensate those who had officially paid market prices—to the private players who benefited from Raja’s largesse—for these.
SP has only itself to blame - Faisal Fareed, Indian Express
The 18-month-old Akhilesh Yadav government has seen more than 50 incidents of communal violence so far, including the Muzaffarnagar riots. The Samajwadi Party's defence each time has been the same — that opponents are conspiring against its government.
Many a slip: The real story in the new bills - Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Indian Express
Who says big changes are not possible in India? The last session of Parliament was, arguably, one of the most consequential sessions in its history. The enormity of the bills passed is truly staggering: food security, land acquisition, street vendors' rights, pensions, manual scavenging. There are two puzzles.
Congress launches Jihad to loot Hindu temples - Sandeep Balakrishna, CentreRightIndia
One of the distinctive features of the protracted Muslim rule in medieval India was the manner in which it impoverished Hindus spiritually, morally, culturally, and economically. This impoverishment wasn’t an accident. It was by design, and it was pretty much faithful to the tenets of Islamic statecraft and polity, which mandated zimmi(or dhimmi)status to non-Muslims living under Islamic rule.
Amit Shah may be the game changer for BJP in Uttar Pradesh - Alka Pande, FirstPost
Two months ago the Bhartiya Janata Party national president Rajnath Singh had claimed that Ram Mandir is not in the agenda of the party. During the same time, Narendra Modi‘s aide Amit Shah took charge in Uttar Pradesh for the Lok Sabha elections. Shah initiated his new role by visiting Ayodhya, the birth place of Ram. There, after praying for the party’s victory, Shah also made a resolution to build a majestic Ram Mandir.
Muzaffarnagar – Where riots turned into pathology - Praveen Patil, CentreRightIndia
A dozen daily wage farm workers and simple village folk were travelling in a tractor as usual from Mod Khurd village to Munjhera in the hope that they could get a better deal for their labor next day. At the entrance to Munjhera is a mosque on the roadside which everyone has to pass through to enter the village. Hiding within the mosque were some 50-60 heavily armed men waiting in darkness to pounce upon any ‘Kafirs‘ who were unlucky enough to pass through on that fateful Friday evening.
Muzaffarnagar riots and viral video: Why social media isn’t the villain - Praveen Swami, FirstPost
They say these images killed. They’re wrenching and awful, but it’s important you watch them. You can watch the video here but please note that it is graphic in nature. It’s important, because police and politicians in Uttar Pradesh have been blaming the video for fuelling communal violence in Muzaffarnagar. It was claimed, by fringe Hindu nationalist groups, to show the killing of two Hindu men.
India will never become a superpower - Lawrence Saez, The Conversation
The end of the Cold War and the era of “unipolar” US dominance that followed has led many to wonder about the future of international power. Who will rival, or perhaps even replace, the US? At least one obvious candidate has emerged. Although it would be premature to categorise China as a global superpower, it is quickly developing into the US’s most plausible challenger. But in discussions of globally important matters – Syria, financial crisis, the NSA fallout and so on – one name is curiously absent: India.
Chemical weapons: fact and fiction - Brahma Chellaney, Mint
US President Barack Obama’s plan to bomb Syria for alleged use of poison gas has raised two questions that remain pertinent despite the proposed international monitoring and eventual destruction of that country’s chemical weapon arsenal: is gassing people more inhumane or reprehensible than killing with Tomahawk missiles and other conventional weapons? And are chemical weapons inherently prohibited in international law, just like genocide and slavery?
Useful riots: A product of Sarkari secularism - Siddharth Singh, Mint
In the past four days, Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh has witnessed an orgy of communal violence. Thirty-two people have been killed and many more injured in the district. At one level, the district administration was caught napping. Local officials did not heed the signals properly. An incident on 27 August, in which three people—one Muslim and two Hindus from the jat community—were killed should have alerted authorities at the sub-divisional level at least.
Communal violence broke out every 3 days in UP - Aloke Tikku, Hindustan Times
Much before the first knife was drawn in the latest round of communal violence last weekend in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh suffered one incident of communal violence every three days all of this year killing 11 people and wounding 260 others.
On one side of the see-saw - Sagarika Ghose, Hindustan Times
The monsoon session of Parliament has drawn to a busy close, with MPs showing uncharacteristic zeal in passing a host of Bills that the UPA rushed through in the last few days of the session. Yet have the so-called debates on the Bills been examples of democracy in action? Hardly.
All're equal before law: CBI must question the Prime Minister - Pioneer
Now that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has expressed willingness to appear before the Central Bureau of Investigation in connection with the probe that the agency is conducting in the coal block allocation scam, the CBI Director must take an early decision and call Mr Singh for questioning.
Democracy vs Capitalism - Ashutosh Varshney, Indian Express
Over the last few months, India has been going through an experience well known to the historically inclined students of political economy: namely, a clash between democracy and capitalism. Most wealthy democracies have had this experience at a certain stage of development, and one might even argue that the clash has not yet fully disappeared.
Obama's speech on Syria may fail to sway doubters - Alan Greenblatt, NPR
By scheduling his Syria address on Tuesday night, President Obama had initially intended to shape the course of events. Instead, events had already overtaken his speech. He had planned to rally public support for military action against Syria, in hopes of winning over a reluctant Congress. As things turned out, he said Congress should postpone its voting — once expected to begin as early as Wednesday — to see whether a diplomatic deal could be worked out.
Advani has a choice: He can either play statesman or spoiler - R Jagannathan, FirstPost
In June, Lal Krishna Advani got a wonderful chance to play elder statesman to the Bharatiya Janata Party — the party he built in the 1980s and 1990s. He flunked the test when he chose to play party pooper by staying away from the Goa meeting of the BJP national executive where Rajnath Singh anointed Narendra Modi as chief of the campaign committee. What should have been an invigorating moment for the BJP turned out to be an exercise in washing the party’s dirty linen in public...
Poisoning the communal well - Manoj Joshi, Mail Today
The outbreak of communal violence in western Uttar Pradesh could not have come at a worse time for India. The country is reeling from the multi-layered crisis brought on by a political paralysis of the UPA which has, in turn, brought the economy, which was already on the ropes, near to a knockout.
Muzaffarnagar memories - Sudha Pai, Indian Express
Since the Samajwadi Party came to power in March 2012, there has been over a 100 communal clashes in Uttar Pradesh. But the recent spate of violence in Muzaffarnagar district has particularly shaken people. With a toll reported to be around 50, the Muzaffarnagar clashes displayed some disturbing new features.
Communal fires: Political parties' claims of secularism are illusory - Times of India
Netaji has congratulated his son for how the Muzaffarnagar riots have been handled, how effectively calm has been restored. Akhilesh Yadav himself has rejected all culpability, blaming a conspiracy to tarnish his image and give to 'trivial' issues like 'eve-teasing' a communal colour. He has appealed to all secular parties to remain united. But the Uttar Pradesh administration's failure to avert a crisis that was far from unforeseen can't be whitewashed.
Recovery - this time will be harder - Shankar Acharya, Business Standard
It may seem premature to be discussing a recovery from India's current economic crisis when economic growth has collapsed to 4.4 per cent and is still slowing, manufacturing output is actually falling, job losses are mounting, consumer inflation remains high, the rupee and external finances are still very stressed and the fiscal deficit continues to widen (over 60 per cent of the full-year estimate in the first third of the fiscal year).
The case for India - Raghuram Rajan, Mint
Indian cricket fans are manic-depressive in their treatment of their favourite teams. They elevate players to god-like status when their team performs well, ignoring obvious weaknesses; but when it loses, as any team must, the fall is equally steep and every weakness is dissected. In fact, the team is never as good as fans make it out to be when it wins, nor as bad as it is made out to be when it loses. Its weaknesses existed in victory, too, but were overlooked.
Coldly realistic Pakistan policy need of hour - Vivek Katju, Mint
The fifth anniversary of the Mumbai attacks should be an occasion for a serious and sober assessment of India’s Pakistan policy, especially the failure to craft an effective approach to end Pakistan-sponsored terrorism that has gone on for three decades. That will be the finest tribute we can pay not only to victims of 26/11 but also to the thousands who have fallen to cross-border terrorism. Successive governments have pursued an entire range of policies to persuade Pakistan to remove the selective and calibrated use of terrorism from its security doctrine against India. A review of the steps taken over the past 15 years would be instructive.
A letter to the American people - Vladimir V Putin, NYT
Recent events surrounding Syria have prompted me to speak directly to the American people and their political leaders. It is important to do so at a time of insufficient communication between our societies. Recent events surrounding Syria have prompted me to speak directly to the American people and their political leaders. It is important to do so at a time of insufficient communication between our societies. 
New Delhi must do more to support Indian workers in Gulf - Nikhil Eapen, HT
When Rafiq Abdul returned to Kozhikode district, Kerala from Saudi Arabia in 2008, he had worked for 10 years as a driver, a mobile phone salesman, and an illegal taxi operator. But even after a decade of employment, Abdul didn't have Rs. 23 for the bus fare to go home from the airport.
UP: Meltdown of the Majgar alliance - Ajaz Ashraf, Hindu
Beyond the allegations against the Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Sangh Parivar for tossing the bitter ingredients of communal politics into the cauldron of west Uttar Pradesh, the rioting in Muzaffarnagar illustrates vividly the ramifications of a social alliance breaking down at grass-roots level.
Leadership is the issue: People don’t want another Manmohan Singh - Pioneer
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Arun Jaitley hit the nail on the head when he said that the coming Lok Sabha election will be a referendum on the kind of leadership the country needs. All the issues over which the Congress-led UPA Government is in the dock, whether it be lack of policy direction or the multiple scams, stem from a weak leadership which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has given the country.
India’s health-care system: An official vote of no confidence - Rama V Baru, Hindu
The Government of India’s Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has decided to reimburse approved expenditure on treatment abroad, for a defined range of medical conditions, for officers of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and Indian Police Service (IPS).
Fast-track all cases to boost Indian economy - Economic Times
The Delhi rape case accused have been found guilty and will be sentenced today, within a relatively short span of nine months after the crime was committed. This is welcome. But what about the thousands of other cases, some equally gruesome even if they did not get similar publicity or evoke public anger on a similar scale, that still meander on in India's labyrinthine legal system?
The Non-Performing Administration - KC Chakrabarty, Financial Express
There has been no dearth of policy pronouncements and re-engineering of processes aimed at improvement in the investment climate for infrastructure projects. However, there seems to be little headway insofar as achievement on ground is concerned.
Getting India back on track - Nirvikar Singh, Financial Express
In my last column (An Indian Spring? FE, August 22,, I raised the possibility of India descending into an Egypt-like situation. It probably will not get that bad, since India’s recent history and its societal makeup are sufficiently different. But there is one large commonality—a surplus of young people relative to decent jobs.
Strategic culture alien to India - Manmohan Bahadur, NewIndianExpress
The flip-flops on matters strategic, our response to the Chinese belligerence in Ladakh, cutting of subsidies (and its subsequent reversal) to Bhutan and our discomfiture in importing oil at cheaper rates from Iran due the danger of annoying America have brought to fore the oft-repeated doubt, “Does India have a strategic culture?” The Economist, in a cover page story a couple of months ago, said “India’s lack of strategic culture hobbles it ambition to be a force in the world”. If that was not enough to hurt our pride then the caricature on its cover page made one cringe — a cat (India) looking in the mirror seeing itself as a tiger!
Narendra Modi: From tea vendor to PM candidate - M R Narayan Swamy, IANS
New Delhi, Sep 13 - For one who sold tea as a boy at a railway station in Gujarat, Narendra Modi has had a meteoric rise in Indian politics, catapulting from an untested chief minister of 2001 to the prime ministerial candidate in just 12 years. Wedded to Hindutva - or the ideology of Hindu nationalism - from a young age, the 62-year-old Gujarat strongman, who evokes emotions like no other politician, is uncompromising vis-à-vis his goals, with an ability to transform every adversity into an opportunity, colleagues say.
Why Muslims may actually get a better deal from Modi - R Jagannathan, FirstPost
After the communal rioting at Muzaffarnagar, the Muslim mind must be in a churn. With elections just round the corner, the chances are they will once again come to the wrong conclusion – driven by the usual emotions of fear, anger and a sense of betrayal. They may not consider the one rational choice they may have – and which they haven’t really tried so far – of doing a deal with the BJP and Narendra Modi, but on their own terms. I will explain the logic of this deal later.
Leaders all: Six men in the news - TN Ninan, Business Standard
This has been Leadership Week. All it took for people to feel better about the economy was for a young, new governor of the Reserve Bank with impressive credentials to stand up, show he was in control, and outline a plan of action that made sense. The Rajan effect explains a good bit of the latest rally in stocks and the rupee. We can guess at the additional "Kennedy effect" - the cut of his suit, the width of the tie, the slight rebelliousness that people have detected in his hairstyle, and facial features that have apparently made some women go weak at the knees (a first for a governor). 
Narendra Modi's elevation: A SWOT analysis - Aakar Patel, Hindustan Times
Gujarat’s chief minister Narendra Modi is to my mind the most interesting politician of our generation. Certainly, he is the most charismatic. Of no other leader from the last 25 years can we say that he created a national following on the strength of his personality and his performance alone.
Akhilesh, young and listless - Shekhar Gupta, Indian Express
Your view on Akhilesh Yadav today would vary with how you relate to him. If you are his Muslim voter, you'd be furious. If you are his father, you'd be disappointed. Of course, you will not have the honesty to accept that you never let him be his own leader.
The state and temple gold – a look at the past - Kesava, CentreRightIndia
Many Hindu temples are controlled by Governments of India. Devotees, accustomed to their old habits make voluntary offerings to the temples. Government uses these offerings generally for reasons which have no connection to Hindus or Hinduism. When, recently, RBI and Government of India announced that gold from Hindu temples could revive economy, the assault on Hindus and Hindu temples took a new turn.
Back to the future - Kanti Bajpai, Times of India
The last few months in India have been eerily reminiscent of the late 1980s, economically, socially and politically. We seem to be heading back to the future. The waning years of that decade was a disastrous period, which we thought we had left well behind. In fact, we are perilously close to disaster once more.
Communal riots have made big inroads into rural India - Dipankar Gupta, ToI
After the recent Muzaffarnagar riots we must accept that what began in the economy has now spread to politics too. The distance between town and country is narrowing, and narrowing fast. There was a time when rural India was almost entirely agricultural, but today more than half the households in villages work in non-farm occupations.
A tale of two men from Gandhinagar - Ashok Malik, Pioneer
Naming Narendra Modi as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, and for all practical purposes its new leader, has been a messy and long-drawn process. The disagreement of LK Advani, the reservations of Sushma Swaraj, the rhetoric of and negative stories planted by individuals close to the Advani household — these soured things. They left many wondering if a clean and open election would not have been a better idea, one that would have given Mr Modi a clear victory in a transparent internal contest.
Why BJP picked Modi: Risk of not choosing him was greater - R Jagannathan, FirstPost
The official anointment of Narendra Modi as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate by party President Rajnath Singh sets the stage for Elections 2014. In doing so, the BJP has overcome a determined bid by LK Advani to queer the pitch. It is a pity that the patriarch chose to play sourpuss rather than a cheerleader. In the coming days, Advani is likely to give vent to his negativities, but the BJP has now crossed the Rubicon – and this does the party’s leadership great credit.
Secular nonsense on 1984 - Hartosh Singh Bal, Open
When right-wing commentators invoke the 1984 killings of Sikhs to absolve Narendra Modi, their unsound logic is easily refuted. A man charged with culpability for murder can never take the plea that there have been other murders that have gone unpunished. I would think little more needs be said, yet several ‘secular’ commentators have joined issue with these right-wingers to make the claim that the Congress, despite 1984, is less of a danger than Narendra Modi.
What Narendra Modi's elevation as BJP Prime Ministerial candidate for 2014 Lok Sabhs polls means - Uday Mahurkar, India Today
Party colleagues: A much stricter leader than Vajpayee and LK Advani who would go by merit and obedience rather than personal relations. A completely different scenario from today's Delhi's cosy collaborative politics where adjustment and 'give and take ' is the name of the main game. Coalition partners: It is the coalition partners who have been dictating terms to the BJP. Now it would be the reverse. But Modi won't do it at the cost of mutual respect as he appears committed to coalition dharma. In the coalition age of the late 1990s, Modi used to reportedly keep in touch with even Mulayam Singh Yadav.
The intricate politics of a maternity ward - MJ Akbar, Times of India
The British metaphor for a political party is a broad church. It must have substantial space for an elastic congregation, continually tempted by wayward choices in the absence of hard doctrine. There is God, of course; but as an idea rather than an ideology. And in any case God created the conditions for democracy when He blessed, or cursed, the human being with free will.
UPA govt has destroyed our economy - Gurcharan Das, Times of India
“Life can only be understood backwards but it must be lived forwards,” says an epitaph from the philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard. It rightly belongs on the grave of this dying UPA government that has destroyed our economy, with the traumatic collapse of the rupee its latest achievement. The epitaph reminds us that we must not ignore history if we want to lead a reasonably predictable life in the future.
UPA hoped BJP itself will nip Modi - Swapan Dasgupta, Pioneer
In the realms of belief or even superstition, Friday the 13th is regarded as either hugely unlucky by some or just another day by others. That the BJP leadership chose this day to push through the formal anointment of Narendra Modi as the NDA's Prime Ministerial candidate suggests that their court astrologers didn't attach negative consequences to a major decision taken on that day.
Modi's rise and India's challenge - Shiv Visvanathan, Mail Today
Narendra Modi has been "anointed" to lead the BJP electoral campaign of 2014. The nature of celebrations and self-congratulations that followed made one feel like the battle has already been won. The BJP has still to learn the lesson of the disastrous "shining India" campaign. But one thing is clear. Modi represents something new. Even to his opponents like the writer, he commands a peculiar kind of respect. Firstly, Modi is not a part of a club or an elite.
The campaign begins - Tavleen Singh, Indian Express
So the campaign for 2014 has begun. While political pundits and aged, sulking leaders in Delhi mulled over irrelevant details like when the BJP should announce its candidate for prime minister, the sound of bugles heralding battle could be heard from Rajasthan last week. On a day of white, searing heat, Narendra Modi arrived in Jaipur to address the largest political rally I have seen in longer than I can remember. The next day the Congress's uncrowned prince addressed a more lacklustre gathering in Udaipur.
Seems like Muslims have wised up to Samajwadi Party - Rajesh Singh, Pioneer
The Samajwadi Party's Muslim-Yadav (MY) political engineering lies in tatters in the wake of the Muzaffarnagar violence. The Muslim community and its leaders in Uttar Pradesh have demanded the ouster of the party's Government led by Akhilesh Yadav. They have not stopped at that. The Jamiat-Ulama-i-Hind, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat and the Mili Political Council, among others, have slammed their ‘rahnuma' and Samajwadi Party supremo Mulayam Singh for his “betrayal” and for playing “the politics of religion”.
Radical Islam: When ideology is poison - Kanchan Gupta, Pioneer
We need more than a ‘War on Terror' to counter the influence of radical Islamists. We need to launch an assault on the idea that motivates them. There is no scope for accommodation, nor is there reason to capitulate. The continuing surge in Islamist fervour cannot, indeed must not, be ignored. The barbarians may not be at our gate as yet, but the unstoppable march of Islamic zealots, whom George W Bush appropriately described as ‘Islamofascists’, as the civilised world retreats, conceding ground with each passing day, should not go unnoticed.
Why is India arguing? - Patrick French, Hindustan Times
Hanging around in Dharamsala in the late 1980s, I spent a fair bit of time at the Institute of Buddhist Dialectics. In the early morning sun, groups of Tibetan monks in maroon robes would assemble outdoors to be instructed in, for instance, the absence of inherent existence. To debate was itself to learn.
TSUNAMO unleashed - Gautam Datt, Mail Today
Modi was the chant, Modi the speaker, and Modi the leader at a massive public rally in southern Haryana's dusty Rewari town on Sunday. here was no Red Fort cut-out as the Gujarat chief minister addressed his first rally after being named the BJP's prime ministerial candidate.
Modi: The surge from below - Swapan Dasgupta, Indian Express
In the history of the Sixties' counter-culture, the anti-Vietnam war protests of 1968 occupy a very special place. The ageing radicals I encounter at various reunions in the pubs of London often recall the 1,00,000-strong demonstration chanting "Ho, Ho, Ho Chi Minh" outside the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square one overcast October 44 years ago.
Defence modernisation and austerity - Christopher Clary & Vipin Narang, IE
Yesterday, India jubilantly tested the long-range Agni-V ballistic missile for the second time, en route to the missile's induction into the Strategic Forces Command in several years. But trouble looms on India's borders. In the recent monsoon session, Defence Minister A.K. Antony stood before Parliament to defend the government against the charge that it is permitting Chinese encroachment along the border and Line of Actual Control.
The Modi era begins - Pioneer
By anointing Narendra Modi as the party's prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha election, the Bharatiya Janata Party has honoured the wishes of the vast legion of its supporters across the country and the party's rank and file who believe that the Gujarat Chief Minister has the potential to drive the BJP to victory. This belief is shared by a large number of the party's senior leaders who say that he is a ‘vote maximiser'. There are no two opinions that Mr Modi is a charismatic leader with a pan-India appeal.
Innocent victims of sham secularism - Balbir Punj, Pioneer
Who is responsible for the death of over 50 innocents, the maiming of hundreds of others, displacement of thousands and destruction of property in Muzaffarnagar and its neighbouring areas in western Uttar Pradesh? The answer to that in one word is: Sham secularism.
Modi must build bridges - Times of India
Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Naming Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate for the next national elections is a risk for the BJP, because his 2002 associations may prove a greater liability than his development record can transcend. But balanced against this peril is the possibility that Modi would energise and expand BJP's base, and then this groundswell of support would spread among enough Indians to make a success of Mission 272+, the moniker that appeared on his website within hours of Friday's elevation.
Economists need a new textbook - Michael D Goldberg & Roman Frydman, Project Syndicate
Until six days before Lehman Brothers collapsed five years ago, the ratings agency Standard & Poor's maintained the firm's investment-grade rating of "A". Moody's waited even longer, downgrading Lehman one business day before it collapsed. How could reputable ratings agencies — and investment banks — misjudge things so badly?
Agni-5 on target, despite glitches - Ajai Shukla, Business Standard
Three hours after the sun rose out of the lake-calm Bay of Bengal, another ball of fire, the Agni-5 Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile (IRBM), roared into the sky on Sunday morning. Twenty minutes later, the warhead — a real atomic bomb in every respect except for a nuclear core — splashed down, almost 5,000 km away in the southern Indian Ocean. Two Indian ships were stationed there to capture the explosion, the footage relayed in real time to the Mission Control Centre here.
A new ideology for the BJP - Anil Padmanabhan, Mint
Two weeks ago, my column in defence of the food security law ended up crowdsourcing self-righteous middle class anger—in some instances very extreme and vituperative—from anonymous readers online. Still, this volley of indignant angst included some sane suggestions too—particularly those articulated by another anonymous person going by the moniker of “Political Scientist”.
The market pins hope on Modi - Manas Chakravarty, Mint
Christopher Wood, chief equity strategist at foreign brokerage CLSA Asia Pacific Markets, said in his newsletter on 22 August: “The Indian stock market’s greatest hope… is the emergence of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate.” That sentiment is echoed by practically everybody in the market.
The illusion of poriborton - Hindustan Times
Mamata Banerjee’s departure from the UPA could have meant that she and her senior partymen would have more time to devote to matters in the state. But when her ministers at the Centre got back to Kolkata, that hope was quickly belied. The recent deaths of 41 children in the Dr BC Roy Memorial Children’s Hospital seem of a piece with earlier deaths in other hospitals in Kolkata.
Akhilesh Yadav faces a minority backlash - Times of India
Heckled by Muzaffarnagar's angry Muslims, who did not shy away from asking uncomfortable questions, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav is faced with a minority backlash. In his first tour to Muzaffarnagar, a week after communal clashes between Muslims and Jats tore through the facade of communal harmony in that district, Akhilesh could only make unconvincing promises of jobs and swift justice to the victims, mostly from the minority community.
A case of home-grown problems - Shreekant Sambrani, Business Standard
The narrative so far is that the downslide of India's economy is not a black-swan event, nor the outcome solely or even largely of adverse international constellation of economic forces. While numerous Indian objective realities need to be rectified and reformed, its sorry plight is not the result of these infirmities either. The principal factor is what the New York Times columnist Ross Douthat has recently called in another context "a closed circle of bellicose misjudgments".
Modi’s time starts now - Rasheeda Bhagat, Business Line
In any contest or race, one would normally say “let the best one win”. But in the tumultuous and crooked world of politics, the best or the fittest person for the job — Panchayat president, MLA/MP — invariably doesn’t make it past the winning post.
Don't trust Congress with judicial reform - A Surya Prakash, Pioneer
Union Minister for Law and Justice Kapil Sibal pushed through a Constitution (Amendment) Bill in the Rajya Sabha recently, to provide for the creation of a Judicial Appointments Commission and to once again give the political executive a say in the appointment of judges. Side by side, the Minister moved the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill, which has now been referred to a parliamentary committee.
Blunting the edge of deterrence - Abhijit Iyer-Mitra, Pioneer
There seems to be a trend in the last few months, with one newspaper after another running Op-ed articles calling for India to give up its nuclear arms. What is sad is these authors (Mr Ramesh Thakur of the Australian National University and former diplomat Chinmaya R Gharekhan) who have nuclear pretensions should know better than to pepper their arguments with factual errors and logical fallacies. 
Making way for Modi - Shekhar Iyer, Hindustan Times
Before emerging as the face of the BJP before the 2014 polls, Narendra Modi had never been surrounded with so much of eminence. And never has LK Advani, the man who is credited with building the political right from scratch — along with AB Vajpayee, of course — let himself be so lonely.
Neta Nilekani is fine, but I still wouldn’t buy his Aadhaar - R Jagannathan, FirstPost
The morning’s papers are awash with speculation about Nandan Nilekani, Chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), fighting the next Lok Sabha elections on a Congress ticket. Since there is no smoke without fire, one can assume that the speculation is reasonably founded in fact. Good luck to him in his career.
Tragedy is not green or saffron - Advaita Kala, Mail Today
Earlier this week I received two text messages issued in the public interest by the DIG of Uttar Pradesh police. The messages, firm in tone, were sent by my service provider and warned people that the video that portrays the killing of two young men is from Pakistan, and its sharing or forwarding would be a criminal act.
Act to end warzone rape and sexual violence - William Hague & Angelina Jolie, IE
Each day accounts of horrific crimes in Syria reach the outside world. Now the UN has confirmed that rape is being used to terrorise and punish women, men and children, during house searches and interrogations, at checkpoints, and in detention centres and prisons across the country.
RBI should slash interest rates, stop worrying about inflation or the rupee - Ila Patnaik, Indian Express
A few weeks ago, in a measure described as temporary, the RBI raised interest rates and tightened liquidity to defend the rupee. Today, interest rates are up to 400 basis points higher than they were in July. These should be reduced immediately, before they are transmitted to higher bank lending rates. That would mean a reversal of the RBI's measures.
Shameless Privilege: Medical treatment abroad for bureaucrats - Bus Std
The Congress Party-led United Progressive Alliance government supposedly believes in personal austerity, but that clearly does not extend to the perquisites of office for India's most senior officers. It has been reported that the Department of Personnel and Training of the Union government has decided that the Indian taxpayer will pay for medical expenses incurred abroad on complex procedures by senior bureaucrats of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Forest Service (IFoS).
Obama's slap-happy decision-making causing collateral damage - Margaret Carison, Economic Times
Community organizers like President Barack Obama make great husbands. They listen before making decisions, never insist that it's their way or the highway, and won't leave the cap off the toothpaste tube. They consult on the big life stuff such as where to live, and they rarely draw red lines. When they do, they agonize over whether sending the children to bed without dessert sends the right message.
Self-sustaining recovery ahead - Renu Kohli, Financial Express
The 2.6% year-on-year increase in July industrial production, when most expected the contraction trend of past two months to persist, came as a surprise. That this unexpected rebound is driven solely by a 15.6% jump in capital goods’ growth has led many to conclude the data are one-off; a recovery will be weak and unlikely self-sustaining. However, relating capital goods and exports, which grew at 12-13% in two consecutive months to August, historical patterns portend a self-enforcing, virtuous cycle ahead, largely built upon strengthening external demand, supported by domestic rural consumption.
Congress is leading us to national catastrophe - Meenakshi Lekhi, FirstPost
This verse from one of our scriptures may well apply to the Congress. The party promised in 2009 that within 100 days of assuming office, prices will be controlled. This is just one of those scores of false promises made ever since the party was created way back in 1885.
Manufacturing is the only sector that can create jobs - Arun Maira, Hindu
In the last two decades, the Indian economy has witnessed a transformational change to emerge as one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Economic reforms unveiled in 1991 have brought about a structural shift enabling the private sector to assume a much larger role in the economy. GDP growth has largely been enabled by growth of the services sector. The worry is that India’s manufacturing sector has stagnated at about 16 per cent of GDP, with India’s share in global manufacturing at only 1.8 per cent.
With Modi's ascent, Indian democracy comes of age - Gautam Mukherjee, Pioneer
The implications of a Union Government led by a fourth consecutive-term Chief Minister like Narendra Modi are wide, deep and transformational. It is something the Congress can never aspire to in the medium-term future, given the virtual reign of the Nehru-Gandhis, however undeserving and incompetent, and however many times they may claim democratic legitimacy for their grip on power.
Muzaffarnagar: Fragility of tolerance - Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Indian Express
The logic of communal politics is gathering momentum. There have been major clashes across UP. But worryingly, this trend is beginning to appear, albeit at a low level, in Bihar as well.
Divided state, divided media - Sevanti Ninan, Mint
One of the growth industries triggered by, first, the prospect of, and, now, the impending reality of a separate Telangana state, is media owned by people from the region. Suddenly, it is no longer enough that Andhra Pradesh has far more news channels than any other in the country—some 15, not counting impending and new entrants. What matters is whether the owner belongs to Andhra, or Rayalaseema, or Telangana and whose aspirations the media outlet is striving to represent.
Crude Modi bashing is just lazy intellectualism - Dhiraj Nayyar, FirstPost
What’s the easiest way for an intellectual to make national headlines? Utter the sentence, “I would not like to see Narendra Modi as Prime Minister,” or some variation thereof. Noted Kannada writer UR Ananthamurthy has become the latest ‘liberal’ intellectual to join what is fast becoming a cottage industry.
Advantage Modi in the image wars - Times of India
The reluctance of the Congress to name its prime ministerial candidate must be seen for what it is: a tacit admission that it cannot hope to rival Narendra Modi's marketing blitzkrieg. Neither Sonia nor Rahul Gandhi match the charisma of the BJP's choice for the post. In terms of oratorical skills, too, Modi is streets ahead of both of them. He works up his audience to a pitch of euphoric frenzy while the mother-son duo elicits barely audible murmurs of approval.
Why the Jat-Muslim coalition has fallen apart in UP - Mayank Mishra, Bus Std
The never-ending communal-secular debate is back with a vengeance, following the tragic incidents in Muzaffarnagar and adjoining districts of Uttar Pradesh (UP) in the past fortnight. The violence has already claimed more than 50 lives and rendered nearly 50,000 homeless. It all started with some unwanted sexual remarks or advances by men against a woman in a public place.
India versus the World? - Pankaj Ghemawat, Economic Times
I won't recap all the gloomy news and gnashing of teeth about the Indian economy and the government over the last few weeks. But I do agree with at least one of the utterances of the finance minister, "What is needed now is...not a closed economy but a more open economy."
Muzaffarnagar: Narendra Modi hasn’t visited but BJP will gain - Sanjay Singh, FirstPost
The aftermath of Muzaffarnagar riots, where 48 persons were killed and as per official UP government estimates around 42000 persons of both communities have been displaced have brought that unfortunate reality to the fore.
Chavan vs Pawar in battle of dominance - Shubhangi Khapre, Indian Express
The showdown between Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and NCP president Sharad Pawar reflects more than a conflict within the coalition between the Congress and the NCP. It is a clash of personalities, with each trying to assert his clout in Maharashtra politics. Pawar has attacked Chavan for his reluctance about clearing projects that require the bending of rules. And his jibes have never gone unanswered since the showdown began in 2010.
The scholarly wisdom on Muzaffarnagar - Ashutosh Varshney, Indian Express
In several respects, the recent communal violence in Muzaffarnagar had the classic features of a riot. The immediate cause appeared to be the stalking or harassment of a "girl" by young men of another community, a common trope in riots. There is a dispute about whether this harassment, or a motorbike collision between individuals of two different communities, led to the killings.
Seeking clarity on energy - Varun Gandhi, Indian Express
India's tryst with destiny is running out of fuel. We are sleep-walking towards an energy crisis. Our energy security is buffeted by rising prices, growing fuel imports and a troublesome current account deficit that is pushing us into regional competition with China. India's energy sector is a mishmash of partially liberalised segments with minimal private sector contribution and energy access policies, inducing insolvency through rising subsidies and revenue leakage. 
Credibility of the Indian deterrent at stake - R Rajaraman, Times of India
The establishment of a "credible minimum deterrent" is a central principle underlying the Indian nuclear doctrine. But whereas the implications of 'minimal deterrence' have been widely analysed, the status of 'credibility' of that deterrent needs more discussion. At first glance the two may seem unrelated since terrorism has mercifully remained non-nuclear so far, but there is a link between them.
Shameful game of identity politics - Rajiv Kumar, Mail Today
At this time, all of us Indians should hang our heads in shame. What has happened in Muzaffarnagar is beyond mere repentance and regret. It is a national shame, and we should have our national flag at half mast all over Uttar Pradesh - and indeed in Delhi - for the next month in memory of the victims.
Nuclear sovereignty: Bypassing India's interests to please US? - Kumar Chellappan, Pioneer
The move by the Manmohan Singh Government to dilute the provisions of the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act 2010 by incorporating the suggestions of the Attorney-General has upset top nuclear scientists and former members of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC). The Civil Liability of Nuclear Damage Act was enacted by both Houses of Parliament in August 2010 with the purpose of holding the supplier of the equipment responsible for any mishaps resulting out of the malfunctioning of imported nuclear reactors and for ensuring prompt compensation to the victims of the nuclear accident.
Raghuram Rajan: Ideal boy rides yet again - Jamal Mecklai, Business Standard
The enthusiasm with which markets reacted to the new Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor's enthusiastic first day at the office made me realise that the Indian economy is entering a new phase - Raghuram Rajya, to coin a cute term. Wikipedia and my kids explained to me that the historic/mythological term, Ram Rajya, far from connoting any Hindu ascendancy (as has been often pushed recently), was, to quote Mahatma Gandhi, "undoubtedly one of true democracy … [that] ensures equal rights alike of prince and pauper".
Clash of economic traditions and India reality - S Gurumurthy, Business Line
At the G20 summit in April 2009 where the world leaders were struggling to stem the financial tsunami, French President Nicolas Sarkozy threatened to wreck the summit in a rumpus over the “Anglo-Saxon model”. The Anglo-Saxon model was till then a subject of debate in the guild of economists. But post 2008-meltdown, it turned into a political issue between France and Germany on one side, and the US and the UK on the other.
The best diplomacy is an armed one - Henry R Nau, WSJ
Since Barack Obama came to the White House, he has practiced an activist diplomacy. The president never met a diplomatic opportunity he did not like—yet he has steadily reduced American power to back up that diplomacy.
Allegations against General VK Singh’s secret unit: The fine art of smear - Praveen Swami, FirstPost
Let’s try this out for size: What does India’s Prime Minister do when he receives an internal army enquiry report alleging that the former chief of army staff spent Rs 8 crore on illegal surveillance equipment to spy, among others, on the defence minister; launched a smear campaign against officers; used covert intelligence funds to try and bring down a democratically-elected government? It’s obvious, right: he orders a criminal investigation into crimes against the Indian Constitution and high treason, just as the internal enquiry asks?
Manmohan agenda to please US - Bharat Karnad, NewIndianExpress
Prime minister Manmohan Singh canvassed furiously for almost a year for another state visit and a meeting with the US president. It is revealing that the Barack Obama administration initially showed little interest, not convinced that it needed to expend political capital hosting a head of an Indian government on its way out. But Singh’s insistence on a valedictory trip was persuasive because of the gifts he promised Washington.
The weakened West - Economist
IN JULY 1972 Anwar Sadat, president of Egypt, suddenly decided to turf out thousands of Soviet military advisers. Menaced by Egyptian leftists and undervalued by the Kremlin, he calculated that he had more to gain from siding with America. Henry Kissinger, Nixon’s secretary of state, administered some deft diplomacy to broker a ceasefire between Egypt, Syria and Israel in the Yom Kippur war, and American aid duly flooded into Cairo. So did American influence: the Soviet hold over the Middle East never recovered.
UPA's legislations end up shackling the economy further - Arvind Panagariya, ToI
"The road to hell is paved with good intentions," so goes an old saying. Unfortunately, we are travelling on that road, oblivious to where it leads. We have put in place vast number of policies with noble intentions, that produce exactly the opposite results. The latest example of this is the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013. The primary objective of the Act is to protect farmers from predation by the government and businesses in the course of land acquisition.
Strengthen Indo-US relations - Ronen Sen, Mail Today
We need to clear the backlog and must try to convert the Indo-US relations into a real strategic partnership.There has been little movement on this so far; and I hope there would be some progress following the PM's visit to the US. Strategic and defence relations are very important element of this relationship and need to be taken forward.
Dalit writer Kanwal Bharti on his recent arrest - Kanwal Bharti, Hindu
My recent arrest has superbly exposed the well crafted illusion of socialism as professed by the Samajwadi Party (SP). I was arrested under Sections 153 and 295 A of the Indian Penal Code for criticising the Uttar Pradesh government’s decision to suspend IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal. I was also charged under Section 66A of the IT Act, a fact that became known to me only after I received a copy of the Police FIR from the district court.
Modi's Raisina Yatra and befuddled commentators - Sanjay Kaul, Pioneer
Now that Narendra Modi has been nominated as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, and of what will eventually be the NDA, there remains for most of us only the luxurious and infinitely pleasurable pursuit of trying to pick a bone with it.
In this government, from minister to babu, police to regulator, everyone's got the veto power - Shekhar Gupta, Indian Express
At our usual gossip sessions in Mumbai over coffee earlier this week with a particularly cerebral star of corporate India (who had better go unnamed for his own good), the talk shifted to the current obsession in his universe: our governance paralysis. Where government has no leader whose writ runs, and where everybody seems to have the power to veto and block anything.
Double standards: Where is Sonia's apology for 1984? - Surjit S Bhalla, IE
With the nomination of Narendra Modi as the BJP's prime ministerial candidate, the election season has officially started. One issue has dominated the airspace in terms of Modi's candidacy — the so-called non-secular nature of Modi. The media, print and TV, Congress and its allies, Nitish Kumar and his band of secularists, civil society, assistant professors at the University of Pennsylvania — the list is long.
Taper tiger: Monetary policy in America - Economist
Shortly after the Federal Reserve hinted in May that it might start to ease its monetary stimulus, rich-country bond yields shot up; emerging-market currencies and stockmarkets cratered. Was it all for nothing? On September 18th, at the end of a closely watched meeting, the Federal Open Market Committee, the Fed’s policy-setting body, chose not to “taper”.
Government's record: Not all bad - TN Ninan, Business Standard
If every opinion poll says the Congress and allies will do badly in forthcoming elections, the reasons are both numerous and obvious: sustained high inflation, the economic slowdown, macroeconomic mismanagement that has risked instability through a sovereign downgrade, and scandals to suit every pocket. Crazy tax and other rules have frightened away foreigners and Indian investors alike, while the failure to undertake serious reform has been scandalous. 
The good M?: The business community's fascination with Narendra Modi - Surajeet Das Gupta, Sohini Das & Dev Chatterjee, Business Standard
the When Narendra Damodardas Modi was anointed the Bharatiya Janata Party's, or BJP's, prime-ministerial candidate for the 2014 general elections, it didn't surprise many. The resistance put up by Lal Krishna Advani was too feeble to halt the Modi juggernaut. If businessmen had their way, Modi, 63, would have become prime minister long time back. Telecom czar Sunil Mittal had found him fit for the job way back in January 2009: "He is running a state and can also run the nation."
The Blood Telegram: How two madmen brought the world to the brink of a third great war - Gary J Bass, Open
On December 7, Lieutenant General AAK Niazi, the commander of Pakistan’s Eastern Command, was haggard and exhausted. According to another general, he wept loudly in a meeting. After only a few days of combat, the Pakistan army was being routed in Bangladesh. Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger became sincerely convinced that ripping Pakistan in half would not be enough for India. India could next redeploy its eastern forces for a crushing assault against West Pakistan.
A political class in hiding - Nagendar Sharma, Hindustan Times
The twin issues of criminalisation of politics and transparency in the funding of political parties have taken centrestage in public discourse over the past three months, following a series of judicial verdicts and a ruling by the Central Information Commission (CIC).
Stirring the communal cauldron - Sandeep Bamzai, Mail Today
Fortifying, ring fencing, building a moat - call it what you will - while the BJP was obsessing itself with the chant Namo, Namo, Namo; the Congress strategists may have succeeded partly in blindsiding their right wing adversaries. The squabble over Modi, the recalcitrance of LK Advani and the entire focus of attention on Modi's anointment may well have slowed the BJP juggernaut somewhat.
Malevolent Congress now seeks to slander VK Singh - Kanchan Gupta, Pioneer
If there’s one thing the Congress excels at, apart from plundering the national treasury through dubious deals at home and abroad, it is in slandering and defaming those who dare question its misdeeds. That’s the Congress’s way of dealing with stubborn political opposition —both organisations as well as individuals.
Spirit of Modi is detected everywhere - Swapan Dasgupta, Pioneer
If my good friend, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari who is showering media organisations with the full generosity of Bharat Nirman was to make himself even more popular, he should initiate a six-figure, tax free award for the most ‘supportive’ newspaper headline of the day.
The idea of India is at issue - Meghnad Desai, Indian Express
There is no doubt about it now. The 2014 election will be the most significant one since 1977. The ideology of the Congress, which the party has very cleverly made the ideology of India, is going to be fundamentally challenged. The idea of India is at issue.
Granny's story retold - Tavleen Singh, Indian Express
Rahul Gandhi last week made the most curious and significant speech he has ever made. Curious because it was so very economically confused and politically naïve, and significant because it appears that his advisors and speechwriters have noticed finally that it is the economy and not secularism that is going to be the main issue in the next general election.
When new India rubs up against ancient fault lines - MJ Akbar, Times of India
Individual liberty, as an idea, is a toddler in the history of human thought. No surprise, then, if it periodically trips over and breaks a milk tooth. Civilization, ever a moveable feast, emerged out of the belief that social order must take precedence, to protect and enhance the common good. Order searched for command; this quest evolved into institutions like chief, king or, in the worst scenario, despot.
India gets a leader, finally - Ram Jethmalani, Sunday Guardian
All right thinking people who feel strongly for the genuine progress and prosperity of our country have heaved a sigh of relief at the BJP declaring Narendra Modi as its Prime Ministerial candidate for the 2014 general elections. Yes, there was a power struggle, as there is and should be in any real democracy in the world. It was a tough contest and the best man won.
India among top targets of spying by NSA - Glenn Greenwald & Shobhan Saxena, Hindu
Among the BRICS group of emerging nations, which featured quite high on the list of countries targeted by the secret surveillance programs of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) for collecting telephone data and internet records, India was the number one target of snooping by the American agency.
Diluting nuclear suppliers' liability - Arun Jaitley, Pioneer
A news item appeared in the national newspaper The Hindu on September 3, 2013 to the effect that Government of India is planning to permit the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) to enter into arrangement with American nuclear vendors wherein the written contract between the NPCL and the American vendors would contain a clause to the effect that the operator NPCIL has abdicated and waived off the ‘right of recourse’ as provided  under Section 17 of the Civil Liability  for Nuclear Damage Act.
Hounding a general for aligning with Narendra Modi - Pioneer
The Congress-led UPA Government would like us to believe that it is not witch-hunting former Chief of Army Staff General VK Singh. Why that's a brazen lie is clear from the sequence of events: Within days of the retired Army chief sharing a platform with the Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi at a public rally in Haryana, the Government leaks out to a national newspaper the findings of an internal Army inquiry which alleged that Mr Singh had spent more than eight crore rupees on illegal surveillance and used covert intelligence funds to try and topple a democratically elected Government in a State.
Manmohan Singh irresolute on the world stage - C Raja Mohan, Indian Express
If you compare Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's trip to America this week with that of his predecessor Atal Bihari Vajpayee 15 years ago, a paradox stares at you. India's economic weight and political standing in the world have risen remarkably over the last decade and a half. Yet, Singh's diplomacy looks listless while that of Vajpayee radiated energy. Representing India at one of its most difficult moments, Vajpayee thought big and acted boldly to pull India out of a tricky diplomatic corner and alter the terms of its global engagement.
Malnutrition, not hunger, ails India - Arvind Virmani &Charan Singh, Mint
Malnutrition is a persistent problem in India, though it is often confused with hunger. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), about 18% of India’s population was undernourished in 2012. Undernourishment is the main cause of children’s deaths, and according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), India houses one-third of the stunted, wasted and malnourished children of the world.
Say yes to trade facilitation - Business Standard
There is a fundamental contradiction at work when line ministries of the Union government are the sole spokespersons for India in important international negotiations. This is particularly visible in the commerce ministry's handling of international trade negotiations - especially in the run-up to the important talks at Bali later this year. 
Pakistan: Campus terror and the coming Muslim Armageddon - Khaled Ahmed, IE
Lahore was considered immune to the kind of terrorism being experienced by Karachi, Peshawar and Quetta, headquarters of the three other provinces. But last month, it was in Lahore that al-Qaeda was found operating its communications headquarters, from a large property that no one cared to check. Lahore is more like Islamabad, where al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists could be hiding in the outskirts, which have nearly 1,00,000 illegal squatters (most of them Pakhtun-Afghan), unplanned mosques, and the Arab-funded International Islamic University, where the founder of al-Qaeda, Abdullah Azzam, used to teach, and where al-Qaeda killers take sharia courses today.
To address rising unemployment, first fix labour laws. - Indian Express
That there haven't been too many protests against the elevated levels of consumer price inflation for several years probably has to do with the number of jobs being created. While UPA 1 had a poor track record, and only 3 million new jobs were created between 2004-05 and 2009-10, National Sample Survey (NSS) data shows the situation improved dramatically under UPA 2. 
In '08 memoirs, Advani had backed Modi; said he was more sinned against - Y P Rajesh, Indian Express
For the record, veteran BJP leader L K Advani is never known to have uttered a critical word in public against Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. In recent months though, the patriarch's actions have spoken louder than his words. From staying away from the party's national executive meeting in Goa in June where Modi was named the 2014 poll campaign panel chief...
Time to ask Sonia some tough questions - Sandhya Jain, Pioneer
To the delight of his hosts, Mr Narendra Modi’s presence at the veterans rally at Rewari, Haryana, on September 15, though previously scheduled, metamorphosed into his debut as the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 general election. It coincided with the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s successful test-firing of the Agni V missile, which the firebrand leader said symbolised a ray of light amidst nationwide gloom.
Uncaring government failing India's veterans - Arun Prakash, Times of India
The public hand-holding between a former general with an opposition political leader earned swift retribution from an indignant ruling party. While the propriety of both actions may be debatable, far more significantly, the leakage of a ministry of defence (MoD) report following this episode has, once more, dragged the office of the service chiefs and the respected institution of the armed forces into sordid media debate and condemnation by insinuation. 
Land Bill will slow down land acquisition and lead to escalation in price of land - Indira Rajaraman, Business Standard
The Indian economy is impaled on fives. The current account deficit in 2012-13 was too close to five per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) for rupee stability, but we hope to lower it this year. The fiscal deficit for the current year is projected at a little below five per cent, but may well touch five. The rate of inflation by the wholesale price index (WPI) is straining to come down to five per cent year on year, but it will be a slow reach. The economy aspires to stay at the five per cent growth rate of GDP achieved last year, but may not get there.
Our institutions have lost the credibility to project the truth - Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Indian Express
While we debate such serious matters as the battle for the soul of India, the transformation of Indian politics, the possibilities of growth, the real political battle of the moment remains hidden in plain sight. The ponderous debates over the big issues cannot throw a cloak over the really ugly battle: India's elites are now like a crazed pack of wolves, completely out of control to the point that they are devouring each other in an unprecedented frenzy, taking down every institution with them.
India-US: Pick up that dropped ball - Times of India
Manmohan Singh invited general opprobrium from New Delhi's dominant left-leaning elite when he told former US president George Bush how much Indians loved him. India and the US have come a long way from those heady days. Five years later, as Manmohan Singh heads out to Washington on what may be his last visit in his present avatar, he is being pilloried for "dropping the ball" on the US relationship. We're back to talking past each other.
Same old Judicial cabal - Rajeev Dhavan, Mail Today
There is only one real criterion for appointing judges: Appoint the best. Any procedure for appointing judges is inadequate if it does not facilitate selecting the best in the High Courts and the Supreme Court. This has become all the more necessary because these judges are repositories of unparalleled power to uphold the rule of law in the face of corruption, lawlessness and underhand governance.
Clash of Civilizations, twenty years on - Siddharth Singh, Mint
It is rare for an article written decades earlier to remain in public memory leave alone retain analytical relevance. The year 2013 marks the 20th anniversary of one such piece of writing: Samuel Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations? Written in the Summer 1993 issue of Foreign Affairs, the article has generated a huge literature, largely polemical, some useful and most eclipsed by the original piece and its later avatar published as a book three years later. The article continues to remain fresh and pose interesting questions and provide provocative answers.
The Modi non-math - Shreekant Sambrani, Business Standard
Except perhaps to visually and aurally challenged visitors from Krypton, the announcement of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi being the prime-ministerial candidate for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) should not be a surprise. The claim of senior BJP leader L K Advani that the announcement may be premature and could be potentially damaging to the party is entirely disingenuous since it contests what has been a foregone conclusion for some time now. 
Does Congress have a strategy to counter Narendra Modi's muscle and magic? - Neerja Chowdhury, DNA
After a low key response to BJP’s projection of Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate, the Congress has suddenly upped the ante. This is clear from the way P Chidamabaram lampooned Modi’s “growth” figures given out to an NRI audience. So far, Congress leaders were trying to stress that Modi was not a big deal; the party would not fight on the Modi turf, but pursue its own agenda — showcasing its rights-based achievements for the deprived.
Toll time for UPA; it can’t get worse - Sunil Jain, Financial Express
More than poll time, it’s toll time for the UPA as, one after another, several of its flagship schemes are coming unstuck. Top of the list, of course, is the Aadhaar one where, if the Supreme Court’s interim order is to get reflected in its final judgment, the project is dead in the water. It is true, as the FM said at his press conference on the subject several months ago, Aadhaar is not mandatory for availing benefits—this is what the SC also said in its interim order. But ultimately, if the government is to curb fake enrolments—at ration shops, in schools, at LPG outlets—the only way this can be done is to make Aadhaar mandatory.
Pakistan shows why army rule fails - Economic Times
Indians don't realise how exceptional they are in never even thinking about the army when discussing politics. In many developing nations, the army casts a long shadow on politics even when it does not rule directly. Pakistan is a classic example. Fakir S Aijazuddin has written a slim volume From a Minister's Personal Journal about his brief tenure as a minister for culture and tourism in Pakistan's state government of Punjab from November 2007 to April 2008. 
UPA brazening it out - Hindu
The United Progressive Alliance has brazened it out on another piece of legislation aimed at cosseting and mollycoddling the political class. The Representation of the People (Amendment and Validation) Ordinance, 2013, which overturns a Supreme Court order mandating the disqualification of lawmakers immediately upon their conviction, offends for two reasons. First, the ordinance marks the backdoor entry of a bill that faced opposition in the monsoon session of Parliament.
Little reason to restrict the freedom of speech - CN Ramachandran, Hindu
It is common knowledge that Article 19 (1) (a) of the Indian Constitution lays down that “all citizens shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression”; it is also common knowledge that this fundamental right is not absolute, as the immediately following Article 19 (2) says “nothing prevents the State from making any law in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State […] public order, decency or morality, or in relation to […] defamation or incitement to an offence.”
Ordinance Raj under UPA 2: 27 since 2009, 10 this year and more in pipeline - Maneesh Chhibber, Indian Express
When the Centre on Tuesday cleared a controversial ordinance to undo a Supreme Court judgment disqualifying MPs and MLAs convicted of a criminal offence, it was only following a pattern. Since 2009, the UPA government has taken the ordinance route 27 times. Tuesday's ordinance was the 10th this year. And if the cabinet does not develop cold feet, at least three more are coming over the next few days.
By taking the ordinance route, UPA invites questions about its motives - IE
Contradicting the Supreme Court's recent ruling, the cabinet has cleared an ordinance to shield a convicted MP or MLA from immediate disqualification, if his or her appeal is admitted by a higher court within 90 days.
Ordinance to save the convicted is illegal and improper - Pioneer
By approving an ordinance to save convicted Members of Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies from immediate disqualification, the Congress-led UPA Government has made a mockery of the law as well as of a recent Supreme Court verdict that held convicted MPs and MLAs disqualified even if they had appealed against their conviction.
Do we really need an Agni-6? - Pravin Sawhney, Pioneer
An Agni-6 or a new Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile will spur China to more openly support Pakistan with added strategic capabilities against India. The country should put Agni-5 to greater use, which will serve the purpose of yet another missile.
The Constitution and its political misuse - Mint
On Tuesday, the Union government cleared an ordinance that throws a lifeline to convicted legislators. Once it becomes effective, convicted lawmakers will not face immediate disqualification. There are two issues at hand. One, the immediate case in which the government has brazenly sought to defend convicted lawmakers and second the increasing abuse of ordinances by the Union government.
Fast-track cases against lawmakers - Economic Times
The right way to go about decriminalising politics is to speed up the entire justice system so that no case fails to get resolved beyond final appeal within 18 months or so, and pending that reform, to fast-track cases against those who enter public life so that cases against them are disposed of beyond final appeal within the same period.
Washington & Delhi: Political paralysis in both capital - Robert M Hathaway, IE
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will find a gloomy, sullen and self-absorbed Washington when he visits the US capital today. Disappointment and disillusion with President Barack Obama is widespread among his friends. His political adversaries are far harsher.
CBI becomes Congress Bureau of Investigation? - Aman Sharma, Economic Times
Before Narendra Modi remarked on Wednesday that it will be the CBI and not the Congress that will fight BJP in the 2014 general elections, a remarkable event last week showed that political heat was getting to the country's premier investigating agency. 
Backwardness index: New formula may trigger Union, states face-off - Remya Nair & Asit Ranjan Mishra, Mint
A committee headed by Raghuram Rajan has proposed a radical reordering of central funding to states, a move that could potentially trigger a face-off between the federal government and the governments (many ironically run by the Congress) of several states that will see a sharp reduction in their share if the recommendations are accepted.
How to engage foreign universities in India - Rahul Choudaha, Business Standard
Will foreign universities establish campuses in India? This has been one of the recurring questions over the last few years. Unfortunately, not only the question but also the corresponding answers have been far from the reality of global higher education and its fit with the needs of India.
Shielding criminal lawmakers an own goal by Congress - Business Standard
The ordinance approved by the United Progressive Alliance government that negates a key aspect of the Supreme Court’s judgment disallowing a convicted legislator from continuing to be a member of the House by going on appeal is so ham-handed that it looks likely to result in an own goal. The action, apart from being bad in principle, has also been inept in execution. All political parties must share the blame for the growing criminalisation of politics in the country.
Maoists at the urban gates - Abhishek Bhalla, Mail Today
Hardly a week after the news filtered in about the CPI(M) Central Committee admitting depletion of its organisational strength, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has brought out a report listing 128 'front organisations' that are under the radar of intelligence agencies for their links with the Left ultras.
Singh sings peace as India bleeds - Naseer Ganai, Mail Today
At over 30,000 feet above the Atlantic Ocean, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh must have been snoozing as his special Air India jet cruised from Europe to America. Across the ocean lay his meeting with Pakistan's newest democratic hope Nawaz Sharif, and a possible reinvigoration of the Indo-Pak peace process.
The ugly Indian journalist - Rohan Venkataramakrishnan, Mail Today
After a brutal gang-rape-murder that inspired not only protests and outrage but also a suicide, new legislation and a heightened awareness of the very nature of womanhood in India, all eyes ought to have been trained on the judge on the day the verdict was to be pronounced. Instead, most of the drama was happening outside the courtroom.
Jammu attack: What was the real target? - Sandhya Jain, NitiCentral
The high security Kathua District Jail and Sub Jail Hira Nagar, where several high profile Pakistani and foreign prisoners are lodged, was the intended target of the terrorist attack and the incident at Samba could have been a coordinated distraction to engage the Army while the fidayeen extracted their comrades, according to sources from Jammu.
Nautanki: Rahul’s opposition to the UPA ordinance - Lakshmi Chaudhry, FirstPost
“I tell you what my opinion on the ordinance is: That it is complete nonsense. It should be torn up and thrown away. That’s my opinion,” declared an unusually vocal Rahul Gandhi in a surprise appearance at the Delhi Press Club. His paratrooper assault was engineered for maximum impact. The upending of a sheepish Ajay Maken’s press conference defending the ordinance. The exceptional level of candour  – which included admitting that the Congress Party had been influenced by “political considerations”. Even the very brevity of his statement, and refusal to take questions, was designed to maximise the effect of his every word.
Chidambaram and Modi: Close encounters with facts - Minhaz Merchant, ET
Which government – UPA or NDA – has been better for India’s economic and social indicators? Dismiss the rhetoric and stick to the facts. In this analysis, I’ve chosen 10 key parameters. They cover both economic and social criteria. 1.GDP growth: Average GDP growth in 1998-2004 (NDA) was 6% a year. Average annual GDP growth in 2004-13 (UPA), up to June 30, 2013, was 7.9%. Caveat 1: The Vajpayee-led NDA battled US-led economic sanctions following the Pokhran-II nuclear test in May 1998. It faced a short but expensive Kargil war...
The Ordinance is unconstitutional - Arun Jaitley
Criminalization of politics and politicization of criminals have been a matter of grave concern for the Indian democracy.  India is still grappling with the problem   of allowing politicians charge-sheeted with offences involving moral turpitude who contest elections and get elected to legislative bodies.  The credibility of politics, public life and governance has suffered.  The Judgment of the Supreme Court dated 10th July, 2013 striking down  section 8(4) of the Representation of Peoples Act 1951 as ultra vires was an opportunity for political parties to take at least one step forward.
Punishment, leave denial hit army? - Rahul Singh, Hindustan Times
The army unit attacked by terrorists in Samba near Jammu September 26 may have been struggling with low morale after the infamous officer-jawan spat it witnessed last August, which lead to disciplinary action against 60 soldiers, sources said. Officers and jawans of 16 Cavalry, one of the army’s oldest armoured regiments, were involved in a bitter standoff last year triggered by the suicide of a jawan who had allegedly been denied leave.
Core team scripted RaGa's 'rebellion' - Saurabh Shukla, India Today
Behind Rahul Gandhi's impromptu appearance at the Press Club of India on Friday was his core team that orchestrated a scripted exercise of making the Congress vice- president attack the ordinance brought by the government for allowing convicted lawmakers to contest elections.
Rahul's reaction stage-managed? - Pioneer
A select group of journalists on the Congress beat was tipped off on Thursday night itself that the Congress leader could make some “important announcement” on Friday. The scheduled briefing at the AICC office was also cancelled even as the journalists were informed that Rahul would be reaching the Press Club of India in the afternoon at Ajay Maken's 'Meet the Press' event.
Reds in retreat - R Krishna Das, Sahil Makkar, Probal Basak & Dillip Satapathy, Business Standard
Dandakaranya (the forested area of the Chhota Nagpur plateau), (our) mass base decreased in considerable area, recruitment decreased, and the number of people leaving the party and the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army increased,” says the resolution of the central committee of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) which met earlier this year. The dismal tone of the report card is hard to miss; the movement, it says “is facing a critical situation”.
View from Washington: Rahul Gandhi launches an intercontinental missile - Mihir S Sharma, Business Standard
The Willard Hotel in Washington DC woke up, on Friday, to the news that Rahul Gandhi had an opinion. This was so unprecedented that every journalist immediately had to file a report. On Thursday, the PMs' unaccustomed firmness in dealing with calls to postpone his visit to Pakistan had led to a certain degree of cheer; it seemed Manmohan Singh might get something done on this trip after all. 
Government for governors - TN Ninan, Business Standard
Abraham Lincoln, in his Gettysburg address, talked beguilingly of "government of the people, for the people, by the people". We could describe the system that we have developed as government of the governors, for the governors, and by the governors. Exhibit 1 in support is the Cabinet's decision to issue an ordinance that will protect Lalu Prasad from losing his seat in the Lok Sabha, should a court find him guilty of corruption in the fodder scam case.
It is what it is - Rrishi Raote, Business Standard
Once upon a time the Shore Temple at Mamallapuram, south of Madras, was actually on the seashore. I was lucky to see it then. Now there is a sea wall, lawns, landscaping, paved paths fringed by rope, and so on. Then there was nothing between temple and sea but sand and boulders. I was only a boy, but I was stunned by the elemental glory of this work of man and nature.
'Indo-US ties will strengthen if Modi becomes PM' - Lalit K Jha, PTI
Washington: Indo-US ties are unlikely to undergo any fundamental change and in all likelihood may further strengthen if BJP's Narendra Modi is voted to power in the polls next year, two top American scholars have said. 
Rahul the insurgent is unconvincing - Indian Express
Rahul Gandhi's afternoon ambush leaves the Manmohan Singh government nowhere to hide. This was not an intervention by just any Congress politician on a contentious move — this government has had more than its fair share of rebels within. This was the Congress vice-president calling the government's ordinance "nonsense", fit to be "torn up and thrown away".
His Moral Highness - Shekhar Gupta, Indian Express
What does September 27, 2013 have in common with January 20, 1987? And why should we call it a most stunning example of history repeating itself? Except, while it triggered the decline of the father in spite of his unprecedented majority, it has pretty much finished whatever remained of the prestige and authority of what the son described as "my government" in this afternoon's remarkable political turning point, designed for televised flourish.
Four SC verdicts that will change the way we vote - Dhananjay Mahapatra, ToI
The combined effect of four landmark judgments from the Supreme Court, delivered in a span of just 80 days, has triggered a massive debate by touching crucial aspects of elections — from credentials and criminal antecedents of candidates to the right of voters.
It's always family first for Congress - Manoj Joshi, Mail Today
There is a common fallacy in India that the Congress party headed by Sonia Gandhi is the descendent of the Grand Old Party (GOP) founded by AO Hume in 1885 and headed by legendary figures such as WC Bonnerjee, Dadabhai Naoroji, Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai, Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel, Motilal and Jawaharlal Nehru and a galaxy of names that resonate in our history.
Avoid all sorts of fanatical reforms - Swami Vivekananda, Pioneer
There are fanatics of various kinds. Some people are wine fanatics and cigar fanatics. Some think that if men gave up smoking cigars, the world would arrive at the millennium. Women are generally amongst these fanatics. There was a young lady here one day, in this class. She was one of a number of ladies in Chicago who have built a house where they take in the working people and give them music and gymnastics.
Understanding India through food - Chandra Bhan Prasad, Pioneer
Not very long ago, I was in conversation with a sociologist in Delhi. We discussed about the current situation in the countryside. Soon the issue of caste surfaced. “What are food hierarchies you are talking about?” he asked. I explained him how food hierarchies existed along caste lines. While food hierarchies are on the wane approximately in the same proportion as the caste order, it has entirely ended.
Cong skulduggery won't pay this time - Swapan Dasgupta, Pioneer
In 1975, after the Allahabad High Court ruled against Indira Gandhi and declared her election to Parliament, albeit on a technicality, the Congress reacted with a viciousness that few believed a Government of democratic India was capable of. An internal Emergency was declared, all civil liberties were suspended and thousands of Opposition leaders and activists were jailed for the ostensible purpose of ushering what a by-now senile Gandhian dubbed “an era of discipline”.
Defence cooperation deal makes India 'closest partner' of the US - Pranab Dhal Samanta, Indian Express
Washington has placed New Delhi in the category of "closest partners" for defence cooperation, putting India on a par with the United States's closest allies like the United Kingdom when it comes to transfer of defence technology.
Make Rahul PM for next 6 month - Meghnad Desai, Indian Express
British Prime Minister Jim Callaghan in 1979, on the eve of the election which brought in Mrs Thatcher and sent the Labour Party into exile for eighteen years, said, "There are times when you can see the tide shifting and there is nothing you can do to reverse it."
An illusory prime minister - Tavleen Singh, Indian Express
From Jammu last week, and most horribly, came yet another example of what happens when policies and institutions are reduced to an illusion. It is in matters of national security and foreign policy that we see the worst legacy of being ruled by a prime minister who is not in fact prime minister.
The 'Man' who betrayed himself - Sanjeev Ahluwalia, Ahluss WordPress
We assume that knowledge, learning and professionalism is what makes the difference between an “extractive” policracy and a “developmental” one. This builds on the modern Indian tradition of education being the path to progress and the high ritual status given to learned Brahmins, poets, literatures and artists in ancient India. Dr Radhakrishnan (1962-67), Dr Zakir Hussain (1967-69), Dr Abdul Kalam (2002-07) and Pandit Nehru (1947-1964) did not disappoint in their actions as President/Prime Minister by remaining true to their intellectual integrity.
Montek's brother slams PM for 'timidity', says quit now - Rajeev Deshpande, ToI
A blog asking Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to quit is no surprise. After all, the cyberspace is hardly a friendly arena for the PM or the Congress, dominated as it is by right wing opinion. But this blog, burning up Delhi's bureaucratic grapevine, is different. Its author was till recently a serving Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer and is, more significantly, brother of Planning Commission deputy chairperson Montek Ahluwalia - a key long-term aide of the PM; in fact, Singh's original choice for finance minister in 2009.
Rahul’s bombshell is a triumph of public opinion - Vinod Mehta, Economic Times
Nonsense is an eight-letter word. However from the ferocious fury generated by Rahul Gandhi's 'bombshell', 'explosion', 'stunning back track' you would imagine it was a four-letter word. Reading the papers on Saturday and contemplating the combustible TV debates the night before, I thought that's it, this is the end of our Republic, the pretender to the throne has gone too far this time.
Combat ideology and guns simultaneously - Balbir Punj, Pioneer
Three incidents last week — deadly explosions in Peshawar, Pakistan, a terrorist hold-up in Nairobi, Kenya, and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s call at the 16th National Integration Council meet in New Delhi to fight the menace of communalism —appear to be unrelated on the surface. But look deeper and there is a common thread running through them all.
Army is the new punching bag - MG Devasahayam, Pioneer
A major controversy has broken out over a leaked report in The Indian Express which, quoting a secret Army finding, has said that  the former Army chief, General VK Singh, had set up the Technical Support Division — a secret intelligence unit — and misused funds to try and topple the Omar Abdullah Government in Jammu & Kashmir. The report also claimed that he had used the money to try and change the line of succession in the Army’s top brass.
Manmohan Singh's farewell visit: Washington is looking over his shoulder to the next government - Indian Express
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's farewell call on US President Barack Obama at the White House on Friday brought an important chapter in the history of bilateral relations to a close. The celebratory meeting was unfortunately overshadowed by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi's public outburst against the government's draft ordinance on protecting parliamentarians convicted of criminal offences.
Modi churns political capital - Kumar Vikram, Mail Today
There was no Red Fort replica or Parliament cut-out in the background as Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi took the stage at a massive 'Vikas Rally' in West Delhi on Sunday. There were, however, about two lakh people before him at Japanese Park in Rohini.
Meeting of the two lame duck premiers - Saurabh Shukla, Mail Today
In New York it was a meeting of two lame duck premiers. One thinks and acts like one; the other pretends to be one, especially when it comes to addressing India's concerns. Introducing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif. Despite public proclamations and incremental measures, the fact remains that Pakistan will not do anything to stop terrorism against India till New Delhi ensures that the perpetrators pay a price.
Cong has shot itself in the foot: Venkateswaran - Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury, ET
Rahul Gandhi's comments on the controversial ordinance to protect convicted lawmakers on Friday and its purported collateral damage to PM Manmohan Singh has catapulted an episode from more than a quarter century ago into public consciousness - that of a respected diplomat who was unceremoniously sacked by the late Rajiv Gandhi.
UPA failed to promote business confidence - Sumit Mazumdar, Business Line
Can things go wrong in a jiffy? In India, they can. Three years ago, India was the darling of the world. Even two years ago, when investors gathered to buy stakes in various emerging economies, India was the flavour of the month.
Rahul Gandhi’s misguided revolt - Mint
It was a statement Mao Zedong would have approved. Undermining one’s government in the name of the party was considered a great virtue by that believer of “continuous revolution”. On Friday, Rahul Gandhi, the Congress party’s vice-president, publicly came close to that when he declared that an ordinance that permits convicted legislators to retain their seats should be torn up.
Three-point alert for J&K - Nitin Pai, Business Standard
The partisan political din in New Delhi and concerns about the economy elsewhere in the country should not divert our attention from the emergent situation in Jammu and Kashmir. All three legs of the tripod that helped the abatement of the insurgency in the state have begun to wobble, with the risk that instead of progressing towards normalcy, the insurgency can mutate into a different form.
The Loneliness of Chidambaram - Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Value Research
It's lonely at the top. Especially when those who once lionised you have turned into your bitter critics. That indeed is the tragedy of P Chidambaram, the Harvard-educated Finance Minister of India. No one has ever doubted the fact that he is extremely intelligent. But what does one's intellect matter when your one-time friends have deserted you. It was not very long ago that he could do nothing wrong. Today he is being accused of being unable to do anything right.
Farewell, Lalu Prasad: End of the old school politician - Lakshmi Chaudhry, FirstPost
So it’s over. Laluji’s long, colourful and less-than-illustrious political career has been sunk by the one crime that dogged him for 17 years. This is indeed a blow for a man who hoped Nitish Kumar’s break with the BJP would finally restore him to Bihar’s throne, or at least, inch him closer to it.
Modi buries Manmohan Singh: For ‘hamara’ PM is an honourable man - Sandip Roy, FirstPost
While the Indian Prime Minister met Nawaz Sharif in far away United States, back at home he was suffering death by a thousand cuts. Even as Rahul Gandhi tried to reassure the Prime Minister that he was not “nonsense”, and his mother damned him with faint praise, calling his leadership “able”, the BJP was burying Singh with kindness.
Lalu Prasad Yadav's conviction 'defining moment' for Indian politics: Arun Jaitley - DNA
Terming the conviction of Lalu Prasad in the fodder scam case as a "defining moment" for Indian politics, BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Monday charged the UPA government with approving the ordinance on lawmakers to protect the RJD chief. "It has taken 17 years for justice to be done... When conviction appeared to be inevitable, the UPA even prepared for life after conviction.
What did PM's US trip really achieve? - Indrani Bagchi, Times of India
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's last summit with US President Barack Obama and his first with his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif was almost drowned by extraneous noise — if one day it was Congress heir apparent Rahul Gandhi's "nonsense", another day the airwaves were dominated by "dehati aurat" barb. But beyond the noise, what exactly did the PM achieve?
Corrupt politicians are immune no more - Times of India
The successful conviction of RJD chief and former railway minister Lalu Prasad, in a 1996 fodder scam case, must be welcomed as a sign that Indian politics could get cleaner in the days to come. The quantum of the sentence will be read out Thursday. But Lalu, under whose reign Bihar's exchequer was looted by a bureaucrat-suppliers' network, will be the first influential politician to be rendered unfit as a parliamentarian thanks to a Supreme Court order that called for immediate disqualification of MPs and MLAs, convicted of any crime that invites a punishment of two years or more. 
When Rs 950 crore was passed off as chickenfeed - Santosh Singh, IE
For five years until 1995, chief minister Lalu Prasad had not been tabling the CAG report in the Bihar legislature. It was after he finally did so that December that the fodder scam broke.
The tragedy of India's Pakistan policy - C Raja Mohan, Indian Express
After his low-key meeting in New York with Nawaz Sharif on Sunday, there is no avoiding the conclusion that Manmohan Singh will end his prime ministerial tenure without advancing his vision to transform India's relations with Pakistan.
Rahul is yet to tell us where he stands on crucial issues - G Parthasarathy, IE
Just as the articulate Ajay Maken was trying to explain the rationale for and merits of the controversial ordinance to amend the Representation of Peoples Act to a sceptical audience in New Delhi's Press Club on September 26, a highly charged Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi characteristically folded up his sleeves and launched a tirade against the ordinance.
Govt has double standard on UGC membership - Aarti Dhar, Hindu
When the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry removed psephologist Yogendra Yadav as member of the University Grants Commission (UGC) earlier this month stating that his association with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) “may not only set a dangerous precedent but may even give scope for future politicisation of the UGC and its academic decision making”, it failed to mention Subhash Yadav, former deputy Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, who was, more than a decade back, made a member of the body while he was an active politician.
Will Modi magic work in the south? - Shekhar Iyer, Hindustan Times
An evening before he addressed by far the BJP’s biggest-ever Tamil Nadu rally in Tiruchi on September 26, Narendra Modi was closeted with his Kerala party leaders in Thiruvananthapuram. As the BJP prime ministerial candidate heard out their assessment of the party’s prospects, Modi finally spelt out his key message.
What lies ahead for RJD, Bihar? - Amarnath Tiwary & Kumar Uttam, Pioneer
With its chief behind bars and his chances of contesting the next Parliamentary election almost ruled out, the immediate challenge before the RJD would be to find a solution to the leadership crisis. The RJD will also need to burn the midnight oil to keep the recent signs of its revival in Bihar glowing.
'A defining moment for Indian politics' - Arun Jaitley
From 1990 to 2005 Shri Lalu Prasad Yadav and his party gave to Bihar the worst possible Government. His Government was popularly referred to as the ‘Jungle Raj’. It was governance at its’ worst. Ministers and civil servants barely attended the Sachivalaya. Vulgarity was a political style. Corruption was rampant.
Bitter truth: Modi rightly says dynasty has undermined PM - Pioneer
Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi hit the nail on the head when he pointed out at his massive Delhi rally on September 29 that the whims of the Nehru-Gandhi family members override constitutional norms. He was referring to Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi's public outburst against an ordinance that the Union Cabinet had cleared and sent to the President for approval.
Omar's politics of untruth and half-truth - Hari Om, Pioneer
Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is a bitter critic of the Constitution of India, the Indian Army, the paramilitary forces and the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958. He doesn’t unequivocally endorse the view that Jammu & Kashmir has become an integral part of India.
Gandhi's truth - Then and now - Shreekant Sambrani, Business Standard
The Congress vice-president strongly denounced last week the Ordinance to temper the Supreme Court judgment disqualifying convicted legislators. His party hailed it as correct and in keeping with democratic process. That is quite true. Some questions: if the compromise underlying the Ordinance was wrong on September 27, it was wrong also when the Bill embodying it was introduced in Parliament, when it was approved by the Congress core group and the Cabinet and when it was presented for presidential assent.
Why terrorism has an Islamic stamp - Sunanda K Datta-Ray, Asian Age
A Muslim is not a terrorist. A terrorist is not a Muslim”. These brave words, uttered by Raj Khan, an elected councillor of the English town of Aylesbury, in the wake of the Nairobi carnage revive something that has uncomfortably haunted the world, at least since the macabre drama of 9/11. Why does terrorism appear to go hand in hand with Islam?
Poor Indians prove Amartya Sen wrong - Akshaya Vijayalakshmi, Srikanth Viswanathan & Vipin P Veetil, WSJ
Nobel prize-winning economist Amartya Sen sure has a low opinion of India's poor. In an interview with Mint newspaper published on July 23, Mr. Sen was asked about cash-transfer programs such as education vouchers. "If you are a peasant farmer and have never been to school, your ability to choose on the basis of information is very limited. Given the asymmetry of information, you'll never be able to get there," he said.
Rahul’s fire claims PM’s US visit - Harsh V Pant, DNA
It’s indeed a grave tragedy that Rahul Gandhi chose to undermine the authority of the Prime Minister when he was about to embark on two important diplomatic missions: trying to salvage US-India ties and setting a new tone on Indo-Pak relations.
The ordinance interferes with the exercise of judicial power - K Parasaran, Hindu
Bill LXII of 2013, namely, The Representation of the People (Second Amendment and Validation) Bill, 2013 is pending before Parliament. I examine here whether the Bill, when passed as an Act or its provisions promulgated as an Ordinance, will be unconstitutional or not.
Rahul Gandhi's despicable charade - BG Verghese, Hindu
There were elements of black comedy, singular imprudence and self-righteous humbug in the brash tamasha Rahul Gandhi staged at the Press Club last Friday. He undermined his own Prime Minister, stabbing him in the back on the eve of delicate meetings with Mr. Obama, Mr. Nawaz Sharif and Sheikh Hasina in the United States and brazenly repudiating a cabinet decision to adopt a controversial ordinance staying disqualification of criminally convicted legislators as decreed by the Supreme Court.
Shinde painting the problem of undertrials in communal colours - Times of India
In writing to the chief secretaries of all states and Union territories to ensure that no minority youth is wrongfully arrested or detained, Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde has chosen to give communal colours to what is essentially a problem of the criminal justice system. While it may be true that a large proportion of undertrials facing terror-related cases belong to a particular minority community, it's quite something else to insinuate a conspiracy targeting individuals of a specific religious background.
Shinde's diktat is plain minority appeasement - Pioneer
The Congress-led UPA Government does not believe in placing limits to minority appeasement. The more brazen the act the happier the regime is. Constitutional propriety can be sacrificed at the altar of vote-bank politics and divisive tendencies can be condoned in the name of secularism.
The Soldier and the State: Civil-military ties in India - Anil Bhat, Asian Age
In the 1950s, when Indian Army’s top brass apprised the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru about the Chinese build-up and incursions, concerted with release of maps, he trashed their reports, naively complacent with his belief in the Panchsheel agreement and the Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai mantra. The perception of Major T.P. Francis, one of the official interpreters during Zhou En Lai’s visit to India in 1962, did not match with the interpretation that the others gave.
Patents: US must follow India's prescription - Matthew Kavanagh, Asian Age
Much of the world is now looking to India as a model of pro-health patent rules that meet all international legal obligations while preserving public health... Today, many countries are looking at revising their laws to follow India’s path. When the Indian Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, was visiting the US last week, several major multinational pharmaceutical corporations were pushing the US government to pressure him to abandon India’s pro-public health policies on patents.
Forget US, If GoI shuts down, India will prosper once again - Dhiraj Nayyar, FirstPost
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh used his trip to America to leave traces of the UPA’s deadly policy paralysis virus in Washington, DC. It turns out that the virus mutated into a more lethal form on American soil. It no longer simply paralysed. It completely shut down the US Federal Government. Now, if only President Barack Obama could return the mutant virus to India.
After the recent riots in UP, the word 'secular' has lost all meaning - Jug Suraiya, Times of India
The recent riots in UP — which took a toll of over 48 lives and rendered more than an estimated 50,000 people homeless — have proved the Sangh Parivar right in one thing: the more vehemently people claim to be 'secular' the more 'pseudo-secular' they are. In the parivar's dictionary 'secularism' means appeasement of minorities.
Ordinance torn up and thrown out - Smita Gupta, Hindu
Five days after Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi publicly censured the government, the Union Cabinet, at a brisk 20-minute meeting on Wednesday evening, decided to withdraw the controversial ordinance on convicted lawmakers, as well as the Bill that sought to amend the Representation of the People Act on which it was based.
Not again, Mr. Shinde - Hindu
Sushil Kumar Shinde would help the cause of Muslims a lot more if he spoke a little less. In February this year, the Union Home Minister declaimed on ‘Hindu terror,’ when the correct expression should have been Hindutva-linked terror. The remarks caused an uproar that needlessly returned attention to ‘Muslim terror,’ a phrase as offensive and inaccurate as ‘Hindu terror.’ There was substance in what Mr. Shinde meant to convey — that a Hindutva connection had surfaced in some terror acts earlier attributed to ‘Muslims.’
CBI turns slow and shoddy when it comes to corrupt politicians - Satya Prakash, HT
Twenty-three years after he "fraudulently" nominated undeserving candidates for MBBS seats during his stint as Union health minister, Rasheed Masood, now in the Congress, has been sentenced to four years' imprisonment. However, nobody appears to be complaining about the long delay. Rather, people seem happy that at least conviction has taken place.
What Rahul wants, Rahul gets - Indian Express
Pushed into a corner after Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi's public criticism, the Cabinet on Wednesday decided to withdraw the controversial ordinance on convicted MPs and MLAs. The Cabinet, which met for about 20 minutes, also decided to withdraw the Bill pending in Parliament on the issue, though it was not on the agenda.
Mr. Shinde, before law all must be equal - Maneesh Chhibber, Indian Express
Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde wrote to chief ministers of all states on Monday, asking them to ensure that innocent "minority youth" are not wrongfully detained in the name of terror. He said he was writing since the government had been receiving representations about alleged harassment of innocent Muslim youth by law enforcement agencies.
Just funds alone won’t do: The big lesson from the Bihar story - Financial Express
Given how the chief ministers of both Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have been promising to support a coalition that grants them ‘special category’ status, FE did a little exercise to see just how important central transfers are. Not all transfers are outright grants, but we wanted to see the impact. Obviously the impact of central transfers—which includethe states’ share of central taxes—on poorer states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh was going to be more than that for richer states like Gujarat and Maharashtra since, the way the transfer system is designed, the poorer states get more funds.
Losing face: Rahul Gandhi has rubbed off more of the UPA's authority - IE
After hectic meetings at the highest levels yesterday, the UPA decided to kill its draft ordinance to shield convicted legislators from immediate disqualification. A week ago, the government had braved criticism about the intent, method and timing of the ordinance. Until Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi hijacked a press conference to announce his strong disagreement with this "nonsense"...
Transfer of Central funds to states: The new Rajan index may not be the best way to go - Nirvikar Singh, Financial Express
government is ideally supposed to use tax revenue to provide public goods and services to its citizens, goods that the market cannot do a good job of providing. Tax revenue can also be redistributed to make poorer citizens relatively better off than before government intervention. In a federal country like India, there is the complication of different levels of government, each with its own responsibilities and loci of authority. 
Govt, not traders, to blame for food inflation - Tejinder Narang, Business Line
Retail food inflation has persisted at 10 per cent per annum while cereal inflation is around 15-17 per cent. Wheat constitutes about 45 per cent of the grain consumed as flour in the country. Its MSP is Rs 1350/quintal while it costs up to Rs 1800/quintal — 33 per cent higher -- in wholesale markets in most of non-wheat producing areas of southern India. And, 24 million tonnes of excess wheat — after accounting for buffer norms — is languishing with Central agencies as of October 1, 2013.
Foreign policy: Manmohan Singh has been outsmarted by Pakistan - Mayuri Mukherjee, Pioneer
Coming at the tail end of his almost decade-long prime ministerial tenure, Mr Manmohan Singh’s trip to the US for the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly should, ideally, have been about consolidating, if not celebrating, his foreign policy legacy. Instead, it turned out to be a last-ditch attempt to salvage his image.
The tragedy of Manmohan: From Doctor Dutiful to Doctor Nonsense - S Prasannarajan, India Today
Few men in power - sorry, I mean, in  office - are condemned to go through the kind of ordeal Dr Manmohan Singh is going through today. Still, you can't afford to spare a teardrop for him unless you care about senescence and other biological maladies, unless you care about the emotional turmoil beneath that blank face of stoicism.
Cabinet ushers in Rahul Rajya - Mail Today
Dynasty rules the workings of our democratic system. If it was Congress president Sonia Gandhi and the National Advisory Council she led before, it is her son and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi now. The Union Cabinet on Wednesday went against its own collective decision of last week to do what Rahul Gandhi said at the Capital's Press Club six days ago.
Has Bihar been betrayed? - Ashwani Kumar, Business Standard
Bihar is indeed the "heart of India", as Sir John Houlton said, but ironically the Raghuram Rajan Committee considers it the second-most backward, the poorest and among "the least developed states" in India. At a time when Bihar's unique development model has dimmed Gujarat's much-hyped model of spurious growth, the Committee not only rejects Bihar's demand for special status but also dismisses the fact that in independent India the state has suffered from the debilitating historical disadvantages of permanent settlement, de-industrialisation, exploitation of resources and cheap Bihari labour.
Lalu Prasad: the rise and fall of a maverick politician - IANS
New Delhi/Patna: Lalu Prasad has always made for excellent photo-ops. As Bihar chief minister, he milked buffaloes at his official residence, dressed only in his undergarments. He was photographed eating rotis being cooked by his wife Rabri Devi in the kitchen; she too has been the state's chief minister. He rode a cycle rickshaw to surrender 16 years ago and an elephant when he was given bail. 
BJP had opposed the Bill on convicted lawmakers - Arun Jaitley
The Supreme Court delivered two Judgements in quick succession. The first Judgement dealt with the question of debarring the candidates who were in police custody from a right to vote and consequently the right to contest.  All political parties including the BJP felt that this Judgement if allowed to stand could be destructive of the democratic process.  ‘Law and order’ is a State subject and all the State police has to do is to arrest a few candidates on the eve of filing of nomination papers and subvert the electoral process.
People power prevails: Congress making a virtue of necessity - Pioneer
The Government's decision to withdraw a controversial ordinance and a Bill, both of which offered protection to convicted lawmakers, is a resounding victory for the people of the country who were outraged by the Congress-led UPA Government's brazen attempt to shield the corrupt. It was the people's powerful voice, heard through the regular and social media, which compelled the Government to retract.
Brand Rahul sweeps PM aside - Kaushik Deka, Pioneer
By forcing the Government to withdraw the unpopular ordinance on convicted lawmakers, the Congress vice president has shed his reluctant-politician image and sought to distance his family and party from the scam-tainted UPA regime.
JP's crusader now a prisoner of corruption - Sourish Bhattacharyya, Mail Today
Even as the country was celebrating the five-year jail term handed over to Lalu Prasad and berating the paltry 25 lakh fine, Sushil Modi, Bihar's BJP leader, tweeted that it would be too early to write the political obituary of the fodder scam mastermind, for the higher courts may give him relief.
India's rich should take charge - Ravi Venkatesan, Bloomberg
Lately India has been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Its once tigerish economy is growing at its slowest rate in more than a decade. Newspapers are filled with ever more depressing stories of rape, official plunder and gut-wrenching poverty. To an outsider the headlines can seem surreal: Last week the cabinet actually voted to allow convicted criminals to serve in Parliament and state legislatures, before being forced to back down.
Gold: villain or saviour? - S Gurumurthy, Business Line
The logic goes like this. The Indian lust for gold has caused a tsunami of gold imports. That has dented India’s current account with a huge hole. The current account deficit has brought the rupee to its knees. QED: Gold, which has derailed the rupee, is India’s villain. Based on this rationale, the Government has renewed the psychological and fiscal war against gold that had been halted in the early 1990s. But is the perception that gold is the main cause of India’s woes on the external sector, right?
Endgame of India’s unclean politics? - Sravani Sarkar, Rashpal Singh, Ejaz Kaiser & Rahul Karmakar, Hindustan Times
It is said about Lalu Prasad that in the 1990s when he was at the peak of his political career he made bureaucrats, as senior as secretaries and collectors, stand in queue for hours for an audience with him. He made upper-caste babus visit houses of lower-caste villagers, feed them and even comb their hair.  So much so, that a couple of IAS and IPS officers quit their jobs in protest.
Dear Rahulji,... - Rajdeep Sardesai, Hindustan Times
Damned if you do, damned if you don't: as someone who has long advocated in these columns the need for you to speak up, I should be endorsing your parachute 'press conference' that has thrown the political class into a tizzy. Sadly, this is one occasion when a quiet nudge might have been a preferable option to noisy grandstanding.
A legal remedy for corruption - Nicholas Robinson, Mint
With elections looming, the government has passed a raft of legislation in recent weeks, including laws on food security, land acquisition, hawkers’ rights, and the new Companies Act. Yet despite high-profile scandals throughout its term, efforts to tackle corruption have not seen similar political movement.
Spectrum price: Kicking the can, again - Financial Express
On the face of it, the Telecom Commission hasn’t really rejected the telecom regulator’s (Trai) recommendations on lowering the reserve price for spectrum auctions, it has merely asked for some more clarity. So it has asked Trai to explain how it came to its conclusions that a 60% reduction in the earlier base price of R18,000 crore for a 5MHz pan-India slot was arrived at.
It’s Pranab da, not Rahul, who saved the situation - LK Advani
With the Cabinet deciding on Wednesday to withdraw the Ordinance as well as the Bill pending before Parliament in respect of convicted MPs and MLAs yet another ugly chapter in the unflattering history of the UPA Government has ended. That most of the media reports on this development have described it as a victory for Rahul Gandhi is a comment on how superficial the media generally has become these days.
The upside of the falling rupee - Neelkanth, Indian Express
A weak currency helps growth, and is in many ways equivalent to monetary easing. One recalls the fear of currency wars not long back: it seemed as if the developed countries were in a game of competitive currency devaluation in their desperation to get their economic vitality back.
Netas' days of immunity over? - Sonali Das, Times of India
Lalu Prasad, who was last week convicted for complicity in the Rs 950-crore fodder scam, has been sentenced to five years' rigorous imprisonment. The special CBI court also slapped a fine of Rs 25 lakh on the RJD boss who not long ago strode the national political scene as one of the most powerful satraps.
Nuclear effects of Agni-V - Bharat Karnad, NewIndianExpress
The Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL), Hyderabad, along with the other project in mission-mode, Advanced Technology Vehicle (the nuclear-powered ballistic missile-firing Arihant submarine, SSBN), are the two jewels in the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) crown. Under high-class chiefs R N Agarwal, Avinash Chander (recently promoted to head DRDO), and now G K Sekharan, ASL has rescued DRDO’s reputation, of course.
General VK Singh responds to The Hindu’s coverage - Hindu
The following are edited excerpts compiled from a ‘Rejoinder’ put out by General (Retd.) V.K. Singh, the former Army chief, on September 27, 2013 insofar as it pertained to coverage in The Hindu, and a statement that he subsequently e-mailed to The Hindu on September 29.
The Telangana imbroglio: Congress will pay for causing bitterness - Pioneer
The spate of resignations in protest over the decision to create a separate State of Telangana has become as common as the pro-Telangana stir in the past years. The latest to join the trend are four Union Ministers from Andhra Pradesh, including Minister for Human Resource Development M Pallam Raju and Minister of State for Tourism Chiranjeevi, who put in their papers after the Cabinet, on Thursday, endorsed the creation of a Telangana State. 
Andhra falls apart - Indian Express
At long last, the UPA is moving to operationalise the Telangana decision that it had taken long ago. After it thoughtlessly intervened in 2009, in a conflict that has existed as long as Andhra Pradesh has, the Centre had stalled, intensifying resentments on both sides of the state.
Thinking backwards: Rajan index will distort states' incentives - Bhaskar Dutta, IE
During the course of his maiden speech as RBI governor, Raghuram Rajan mentioned that he was not seeking Facebook "likes". He actually received quite a few. The RBI's mid-term policy review on September 20 must have given his admirers much heartburn and possibly earned him some "dislikes". The spotlight has turned on him again, with the release of the Rajan committee report on evolving a composite development index of states.
Rajan formula: It pays to be backward? - A Narayanamoorthy & P Alli, Business Line
Amidst the growing hue and cry of States demanding special category status, a six-member committee headed by Raghuram Rajan submitted the report of the Committee for Evolving a Composite Development Index of States on September 26. The report has been met with a chorus of disapproval.
Mr Modi's raj dharma? - TN Ninan, Business Standard
To most people's surprise, Narendra Modi has declared that we should build toilets before temples. Considering that India has one of the worst sanitation records, the double-message is well targeted. For saying what he has, however, the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP's) candidate for prime minister has been jumped on by Jairam Ramesh and by Pravin Togadia.
Rahul shocks and awes his party - Chetan Bhagat, Times of India
Rahul Gandhi's "tear up this nonsense" act on the ordinance shielding convicted politicians had most experts scratching their heads. What he did was so atypical and out of character, even veteran Congressmen wondered what had happened. It is hard to digest the theory that everything was a stage act to project the prince as a strong leader. 
Waiting for Godot in India - Gautam Adhikari, Times of India
In Samuel Beckett's brilliant absurdist drama, Vladimir and Estragon are two down-and-out tramps who keep waiting for a person, whom they know only by reputation, to turn up to change everything in their lives for the better. To keep busy while they wait, the two argue, sing, sleep, philosophise, and even contemplate suicide.
The unmaking of Laloo Yadav - Uttam Sengupta, Outlook India
Curiously, in hindsight, not a whiff of scandal touched Laloo Prasad Yadav’s five-year tenure as Union railway minister, from 2004 to 2009. For a politician whose name had become synonymous with the chara ghotala (or fodder scam), his tenure at the Centre remains remarkably spotless. The man himself had told me, possibly tongue-in-cheek, “I have told the prime minister he should get the IB and the CBI to keep an eye on me. There are many who are waiting to trip me up, but I am not going to oblige them.”
Congress's theatre of the absurd is laughable yet sinister - Kanchan Gupta, Pioneer
Politics as practised (as well as preached) by the Congress increasingly resembles the theatre of the absurd that calls for the willing suspension of disbelief. The manner in which the Congress has sought to turn coat on the issue of subverting the Supreme Court’s verdict mandating the disqualification of any lawmaker who has been sentenced to more than two years in jail for a criminal offence is at once laughable and sinister. 
Cong's 2014 aim is to stop stability - Swapan Dasgupta, Pioneer
Putting up a brave front in the face of adversity is an understandable feature of competitive politics — and all parties have taken recourse to it at one time or another. However, a stiff upper lip, while playing a role in bolstering the spirits of foot soldiers, cannot alter realities. And the reality that the Congress and the UPA-2 Government is confronted with today is grim, very grim.
Political riots - Meghnad Desai, Indian Express
What is it about Muzaffarnagar? In his recently reissued book on the Emergency, Kuldip Nayar reminds us that in October 1975 it was the site of a 'mini-Jallianwala Bagh'. This was the work of Sanjay Gandhi, now erased from the family history. He had decided to sterilise as many Muslim male adults as he could find.
Toilet talk - Tavleen Singh, Indian Express
Toilets became a big political issue last week. And, as a crusader for sanitation, I was more than delighted. Long may Narendra Modi and Jairam Ramesh spar over who first said toilets were more important than temples. And, let both our main political parties hasten to make a commitment that the first thing they will do after the next general election is guarantee that manual scavengers will be rescued from their hellish lives and rehabilitated.
A government cannot be effective without a party - MJ Akbar, Times of India
If Mrs Sonia Gandhi were half as concerned about the future of the Congress as she is about the future of Rahul Gandhi, Congress might have been far more capable of fulfilling her dream of making him prime minister of India. After all, the Congress is corrigible.
Challenge the chaos, don’t find ways around it - Ravi Venkatesan, Times of India
India's fall from grace has been swift — hero to zero in less than four years. With the economy growing at its slowest rate in over a decade and ever more depressing stories of rape, plundering politicians and bureaucrats, and of gut wrenching poverty and exploitation, India feels more like Africa than East Asia.
Modi is speaking, India is listening - Chanakya, Hindustan Times
Astatue of Sardar Patel taller than the Statue of Liberty — this is something Gujarat chief minister and BJP’s prime minister in waiting Narendra Modi wants to build. His own ambitions soar far above this. Like the statue he wants to build, Narendra Modi has built his career painstakingly, smoothing out the rough edges, chopping and changing the design, calling in expert opinion. And the result is that he is now being talked about, somewhat prematurely, as being within striking distance of the throne in Delhi, the customary preserve of inheritors.
Inside story: Ordinance was the handiwork of Sibal - Virendra Kapoor, Sunday Guardian
The talk in the political circles is that they created the ordinance crisis so that Rahul Gandhi could resolve it at one stroke. Not unlike the hero in Bollywood movies of yore, who would send his friends to harass the woman he desires only for him to appear on the scene in the nick of time and rescue the dame in distress, the Gandhi scion aimed to burnish his credentials with the growing middle class. However, the timing was all wrong and the other side gave in without offering any resistance. 
One nation, two legal systems - Balbir punj, NewIndianExpress
Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde’s letter to chief ministers to ensure that in the fight against terrorists, care is taken to prevent harassment of innocent Muslims and the “innocent” should be released at once is yet another instance of the ruling Congress’ divisive agenda even in an areas of national security. As expected none of the “secular” parties or academics have protested against the grossly communal missive.
The great betrayal - Yatish Yadav & N C Bipindra, NewIndianExpress
“Spying is a secret business and not a pleasant one. No matter what someone has done, you have to protect him or her from outsiders. You can deal as harshly as you think fit with him or her inside the organisation. But to the outside world he or she must remain untouchable and, better yet, unaccountable and unknown”   ─ Meir Amit, former Mossad chief.  Omerta is not just a word out of Mario Puzo. It is a pact of silence that exists within the exclusive club of men and women who wage war for their country in the shadows—the brotherhood of the intelligence community.
China has intensified aggression; India losing its land along LAC - Manoj Anand, Asian Age
The People Liberation Army of China has been following a consistent policy of transgressing into Indian territory — more particularly in the western and eastern sector since 2008-09 to serve their strategic interest of protecting its Xinjiang and Tibet from external aggression.
Modi's reach abroad - Ashok Malik, Times of India
References to Pakistan and the presence of diplomats at Narendra Modi's public meeting in Delhi this past Sunday have led to interest in the BJP prime ministerial candidate's possible foreign policy. As a chief minister Modi has had an unusually busy external relations portfolio. He has travelled abroad frequently and made Gujarat a key business partner for a host of countries. This has given him a richer foreign policy experience than most peers. It has also given him opinions on priorities of Indian diplomacy.
Has Pranab just been dragged into a Nitish vs Modi war? - Sanjay Singh, FirstPost
It’s an all out NaMo versus NiKu war. And it’s one that has an unprecedented twist with President Pranab Mukherjee‘s name dragged into it, consciously or coincidentally. First, the facts. It has been known for months, confirmed in June in fact, that Narendra Modi will address his first ever rally in Patna in Gandhi Maidan on 27 October, appropriately named the Hunkar (bugle) rally to challenge Nitish Kumar on his home turf.
Lalu and the Temple of Gloom - Rajeev Dhavan, Mail Today
Shopkeepers in the bazaars of Rawalpindi told me they found Lalu the most interestingly iconic politician of our time. But a rapport with bazaar folk is not enough for democracy any more than a clown entertaining a circus. After his conviction, Lalu is disqualified from both being a member of the Lok Sabha and contesting elections.
Ideology is what has won in the shutdown debate - Robert J Samuelson, Washington Post
I’ve called this “the politics of self-esteem” — and it profoundly alters politics. For starters, it suggests that you don’t just disagree with your adversaries; you also look down on them as morally inferior. It’s harder to compromise when differences involve powerful moral convictions. Indeed, if politics’ subconscious payoff is higher self-esteem, it makes sense not to cooperate at all. Consorting with the devil will make you feel worse, not better.
Flying with Singh, batting for Sharif - Sandhya Jain, Pioneer
On the morning of July 16, 2001, NDTV telecast a breakfast meeting between some senior editors with then President of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf, at Agra. In this sunrise era of the electronic medium, when television genuinely broke the news (as opposed to screeched the views), one learnt that the visiting dignitary informed his guests that most of the dialogue with his hosts the previous day centred round Kashmir: “The most part of the meeting was spent on discussing Kashmir”.
On Air India, nuclear liability, FDI in retail, UPA lacks resolve to push through reforms - Times of India
Every obstacle yields to stern resolve. But when resolve is weak, it's overturned by every obstacle. Union civil aviation minister Ajit Singh had it right when he said Air India can't run on taxpayers' money forever and government should look to privatizing it. The mollycoddled airlines is bleeding government coffers around Rs 4,000 crore a year, often running losses even on lucrative international routes.
Internet is about free speech - Kushan Mitra, Pioneer
A democracy that is ruled by a woman leader, the widow of a popular and charismatic leader, who has, according to some economists, adopted ruinous economic policies which have among other things capped the inflows of foreign investors. A country with a global sporting icon but one where irate youth and workers are rioting against Government policies. Sounds familiar?
Farce in reforms' name: Juveniles repeat offenders in serious crimes - Pioneer
Coming only three days after juvenile offenders escaped from a reform centre in Rewa, Madhya Pradesh, the violent home-break at a similar institution in Delhi on Sunday, has put the spotlight on to two disturbing trends: First, the inadequacy of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, to respond to the changing demographics of young criminals from a legal point of view, and second, the colossal mismanagement of juvenile homes from an administrative point of view.
The UPA has learnt nothing - V Anantha Nageswaran, Mint
Little more than a year ago, my wife and I had gone on a temple tour in Tamil Nadu that resulted in a Mint column titled “A Purposeless Nation”. We repeated the tour last week. Whether or not the nation had become purposeful, politicians remain so. In Tamil Nadu, the ruling party appears certain that their chief minister would be the next Prime Minister of India.
Lalu’s out, who next? - Rasheeda Bhagat, Business Line
Once again, the Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad is behind bars, this time convicted for five years for his involvement in the colossal fodder scam. He has lost his Lok Sabha seat and is disqualified from electoral politics for 11 years. The Congress and its UPA allies’ insidious attempt to save his Lok Sabha membership through the now infamous Ordinance to protect convicted legislators failed.
Why are politicians scared of taking General VK Singh to court? - Praveen Swami, Firstpost
I’d driven up to the temple town of Katra in 1998 with a senior Jammu and Kashmir politician, who despite his occasional clowning, is no-one’s fool. He stared out of the window of the bullet-proof vehicle, watching the packs of monkeys lined up along the road, waiting for tourists to fling fruit or biscuits to them. “You Indians have turned even the bloody monkeys into beggars,” he said. Then, he was silent. So was I: there wasn’t a lot to say, really.
The future of professional news - Vanita Kohli-Khandekar, Business Standard
Can news only survive as a patronage industry? It seems it is impossible to get good-quality, unbiased news unless it is funded by someone who doesn't have a profit motive. Of the three global examples of "good-quality" news brands, one is funded by a trust (The Guardian), the other by taxpayers (BBC) and the third by a benevolent state (Al Jazeera).
Violence and paralysis in Andhra: stop playing remote control - Indian Express
The decision to sever Telangana from Andhra Pradesh has awakened anxieties on both sides and, to an extent, the turbulence was foretold. All major players are mobilising sentiment as well as positioning themselves for the political reconfiguration. Fasts have been undertaken by Jaganmohan Reddy and Chandrababu Naidu for the united Andhra cause, and several Andhra Pradesh leaders have resigned from the Congress.
Fires in Seemandhra: Congress playing a dangerous game - DNA
Two protests fasts, one in Hyderabad and the other in New Delhi, and a rapidly degenerating spiral of violence in Andhra Pradesh’s Seemandhra region effectively sum up just how far the UPA government still has to go in the face of political headwinds generated by its decision to bifurcate the state.
Unwise and dangerous: Secret missions shouldn’t be openly scrutinized - Pioneer
The Congress-led UPA Government's decision to have the Intelligence Bureau probe allegations that a secret wing of the Indian Army had successfully conducted covert operations on foreign soil, threatens to open a can of worms which should have best remained sealed.
India: a laggard among its peers - Arun Maira, Mint
This is that “silly season” before elections when the truth, if stated, will be twisted to show how one side was right and the other wrong and used as a stick to beat each other with. Those who speak up risk being placed on one side or the other of a contentious battle. So only fools venture where angels fear to tread. Yet, unless we face up to the truth about how “we” are doing as a country, without getting mired in the finger-pointing blame game, we will not improve.
Seventh pay commission: Rationalise bureaucracy, then wages - CM Vasudev, FE
Why don’t governments learn from experience/mistakes; why are they prisoners of precedent; why do vote bank considerations invariably override national/economic interests? The government’s announcement of setting up the Seventh Pay Commission throws up these very thoughts. The government has blindly followed the past practice of successive governments since 1947 when the First Pay Commission was set up.
Wages of mishandling Pakistan - Brahma Chellaney, Economic Times
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s recent state visit to Washington generated a lot of media coverage, not in the U.S. (where the media literally took no note of it) but in India, thanks to the planeload of journalists that Singh took with him. Rarely before had an Indian prime minister’s state visit to U.S. been so invisible to Americans.
India needs more wings for its bucks - Manoj Joshi, Mail Today
Usually when the Indian Air Force chief speaks at the annual Air Force day eve press conference, he strikes a celebratory note, highlighting his service's achievements and plans. This year, however, Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne adopted a somewhat alarmist tone.
Third front will not work: Everyone is a 'prime minister' - Hindustan Times
‘Expired poll chocolates,’ is the BJP’s Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi’s rather colourful description of a potential Third Front. That the description is more or less apt is a pity because the polity could do with a vigorous third political formation.
Pakistan is in the grip of 'management of savagery' - Khaled Ahmed, IE
After the Taliban killed a major-general and blew up 80 Christians in Peshawar, Pakistan is busy rationalising the situation in favour of "peace talks" with them. As if wheedling himself into their good books, a judge in Peshawar questioned: "Why is modern banking still allowed in Pakistan?" He was within his rights because the Shariat Appellate Bench of Pakistan's Supreme Court has indeed banned it. 
Claims of nuclear weapons' ability to prevent war are exaggerated - Chinmaya R Gharekhan, Indian Express
Two acknowledged and respected experts, both colleagues and friends, have responded ('Deterrence is not a fantasy', Shyam Saran and Sheel Kant Sharma, IE, October 3), constructively and gently, to my piece on nuclear weapons ('Nuclear weapons, costs and myths', C. Gharekhan, IE, August 27). I offer some comments only on those points that I had written about.
Modi is filling the vacuum of visible leadership in India - Vir Sanghvi, HT
In all the discussions about the rise of Narendra Modi, we never seem to consider the most obvious explanation. There is an iron law in global politics: when things are going well, people don’t worry too much about leadership. They want non-controversial politicians who stay out of their way and let them get on with their lives without needless conflict.
Centre must call all-party meet on Pakistan - Pioneer
The close to a fortnight-long encounter in Keran in Jammu & Kashmir clearly demonstrates that the Congress-led UPA Government's weak-kneed policy on Pakistan has failed to work, and that it must be junked and replaced with a robust one which is built on national consensus. Given this backdrop, Bharatiya Janata Party president Rajnath Singh's demand that the Government call an all-party meeting to discuss the issue, is entirely justified.
China dreams real, we only fantasise - Claude Arpi, Pioneer
Beijing is pushing ahead forcefully with a series of programmes that will give it a technological edge in defence needs, for now and for the future. Sadly, India is still saddled with old-world equipment. The untimely death of Arun Kumar Bal, the Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Defence, negotiating the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft purchase, will delay further India’s military preparedness.
Division of Andhra Pradesh comes across as Congress caprice - KK Kailash, IE
Imagine a doctor leaving a patient on the operating table halfway through a surgery to attend to other issues. The fate of the division of Andhra Pradesh today appears to be that of the patient. The process, whose origins can be traced back to nearly a decade ago, still continues to be a work in progress. Like the doctor who keeps returning to the operating room at regular intervals, the Congress-led UPA government has revisited its decision many times over.
Bharti-Walmart saga: US anti-corruption laws can have a big impact on India - Sushila Rao, Indian Express
The 2014 Corruption Risk Index ranks India as an "extreme risk" jurisdiction, alongside fellow notables, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia. Bharti-Walmart's high-profile corruption woes — and the ineffectual inquiry into its alleged offences — continue to generate appalling headlines globally, and must be considered a contributing factor in the joint venture being called off. 
Time to look at the bribe-givers - R Srinivasan, Business Line
Corruption may be a hardy perennial in Indian public life, but every once in a while, it bursts into even more exuberant foliage. Currently, thanks to Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi’s ‘ordinance’ bomb, followed by the conviction of several political luminaries in various corruption cases (and their consequent disqualification from holding public office), the issue is once again the subject of heated debate amongst the talking heads population of various television studios.
From anxiety to complacency in six weeks? - Shankar Acharya, Business Standard
Hardly six weeks ago a sense of grim crisis pervaded India's economic policy-making circles and much of the public at large. The underlying causes are well known: the post-2011 collapse of growth and investor confidence, major problems in the infrastructure and energy sectors, persistently high inflation, shrinking job opportunities, and large fiscal and external account deficits.
RBI vs GoI: One wants to curb demand, the other to boost it - Financial Express
This newspaper has been critical of RBI’s policy of raising interest rates, especially the sharp hike of July 15, since inflation has been falling anyway and there is no evidence that the July 15 measures helped the rupee stabilise. If the rupee pulled back over the past few weeks, it was because the dollar weakened against most currencies. And while the biggest increase in WPI, and CPI, was due to food prices, there is little interest rate hikes can do to tackle this. Indeed, to the extent supply bottlenecks are exacerbating the crisis, lower interest rates are probably a better solution.
Know Nawaz Sharif for what he really is - G Parthasarathy, Pioneer
People chose to forget the Pakistani Prime Minister's role and involvement in the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts, in which 250 Indians perished. He had also been briefed extensively about the impending Kargil intrusion. India suffers from a long-term diplomatic malady. Whenever a new ruler takes over in Pakistan, he is automatically described as a votary of peace, reconciliation and harmony by many Indians and the Indian media.
Minority appeasement has led to a deep division in society - J S Rajput, Pioneer
Minority appeasement has led to a deep division in society. But our ‘secular’ politicians don’t care. Politicians of the vociferous ‘secular’ clan learn their tricks as swiftly as they dump their voters and democratic values and principles. They do so unscrupulously, without any hesitation. Together, they try hard to feed the people on the dangers of ‘communal forces'. The Prime Minister has recently called upon all the ‘secular' forces to unite against ‘communal’ forces.
Cong squarely responsible for the mess in Andhra Pradesh - Kalyani Shankar, Pioneer
The Congress and the UPA Government at the Centre are squarely responsible for the mess in Andhra Pradesh. That the political class has failed in Andhra Pradesh is seen by the present political crisis. Just for the sake of vote-banks, almost all the parties are playing politics and not caring about the lives of innocent people. The Centre as well as the Congress cannot escape the blame that it is their callous attitude which has created this mess. Did they not realise that they were playing with fire while deciding on the separate Telangana issue?
The irony of the India story - Akash Prakash, Business Standard
Whenever I meet investors around the world, the most pressing question is: what happened to India? This was an economy that grew at nearly eight per cent for an entire decade (2003-2013). So much was expected from it. It was supposed to prove to the world that even a noisy, chaotic and populous democracy could deliver high growth. It was seen as the answer to China and its authoritarian economic model. Though everyone knew that India had certain institutional flaws, they were willing to cut it some slack in the hope that the country would succeed.
Why the Third Front is a 'mirage' - Economic Times
The idea of a Third Front, opposed to the Congress-led UPA coalition and what remains of the BJP-led NDA, has been an attractive idea for political fence sitters of all colours for a long time.
For pluralism rather than secularism - Arvind Sharma, Indian Express
Secularism's place should be taken in future by pluralism. All Indian political parties subscribe to secularism. Used without reflection, the word has come to mean many things. In any event, it does not reflect either our tradition, or what we need. We should subscribe to pluralism. In order to assess the significance of this claim, one needs to be clear about the distinction between the two. To appreciate that distinction one must begin by realising a common feature shared by both.
Space-time and Rahul Gandhi - Rohan Venkataramakrishnan, Mail Today
When astronauts return from the International Space Station, they realise that they have not aged as much as the mission control crew on earth. The phenomenon is known as 'time dilation,' when there is an actual (not perceived) difference in elapsed time for different observers, because 'spacetime' itself bends. 
Why the Walmart-Bharti split hurts - D Shivakumar, Business Line
The Walmart-Bharti split is not good news. Walmart is one of the world’s largest companies with 11,000 stores and revenues exceeding $400 billion, employing more than 2 million people globally. Bharti is one of India’s most recognised companies; Bharti Airtel is the telecom leader with 190 million subscribers in India. India is home to the largest number of retailers worldwide — close to 15 million outlets.
Modi's road to power - MN Buch, NewIndianExpress
Narendra Modi is chief minister of Gujarat and has won three elections in a row in that state. He was chief minister in 2002 when widespread  communal rioting took place in central and south Gujarat and ever since then his name has been anathema to the Congress, the Left, neo-liberals and what L K Advani termed pseudo-secularists.
Restore PMO's authority - Harsh V Pant, NewIndianExpress
My mother told me the words I used were wrong. In hindsight, maybe the words I used were strong but the sentiment was not wrong. I am young…” That’s how Rahul Gandhi has tried to rationalise his theatrical outburst when he declared that the ordinance to protect convicted MPs and MLAs the prime minister had approved of before his departure was “nonsense” and should be “torn up and thrown out”.
Gold: Economists need to change - S Gurumurthy, Business Line
Macro economists in India perceive gold as a wasteful asset and as the villain of the Indian economy. But gold has repeatedly emerged as the winner against economists, confounded their theories and perplexed them. (Gold: villain or saviour? Business Line, October 4, 2013). The unwavering Indian attitude to gold through history should persuade our economists to rethink their views on gold, particularly in the case of India.
Savaging the civilised? - TN Ninan, Business Standard
Twenty-five years ago, Kalahandi in Orissa (as it was then) provoked national outrage following reports of deaths from starvation. Now as then, Odisha is the country's poorest state, and Kalahandi and neighbouring Rayagada its poorest districts. Then, you could travel from one wretched hamlet to another, and meet people surviving on roots and leaves. The development arm of the state was not to be seen.
It is time we gave up our desperate attempts to reach out to Pakistan - SK Sinha, Deccan Chronicle
The origin and history of Pakistan are marked with relentless hostility towards India. I can say from my personal experience that this began in the Army on June 3, 1947, a few weeks before Partition on August 15, 1947. I was then serving as a major at the Military Operations Directorate, South Block.
No smoking, please, we are Indians - Khalid Mohamed, Asian Age
Fasten your belts, and extinguish your cigarettes. The grisly warnings against puffing a weed, lighting up a Havana or chewing a Banarasi paan, initiated by the Central Board of Film Certification (colloquially known as the Censor Board) two years ago, haven’t amused Woody Allen at all. Last week the world’s most celebrated confectioner of wry comedies withdrew his film, Blue Jasmine, from being released in India.
Rahul, you're no leader - Mihir S Sharma, Business Standard
It is difficult to feel sorry for the Congress' vice-president, even when he is being mocked and misunderstood. Rahul Gandhi is a relatively unsympathetic public figure not because he is where he is thanks to his lineage; it is because of his own words and actions.
GDP down, gross domestic bitterness up - MJ Akbar, Times of India
One of the great mysteries of the present UPA government has been its phenomenal indifference to public rage. It lined up a team of ministers, headed by Kapil Sibal, to sneer at Anna Hazare. Today, Andhra Pradesh is in cinders. What is the response of its top leaders? Mrs Sonia Gandhi emerges now and then to scold the BJP and returns to silence. Rahul Gandhi is deeply concerned about Jupiter velocity touched in the head by lunar sagacity.
Rahul 'the revolutionary' - Tavleen Singh, Indian Express
If you have in recent days started to see Rahul Gandhi in a shimmering new light, you are not alone. Since the day he described as non-sensical a law that his Mummy's government was imposing, the aura-makers have been busy. With fine words and high interpretations they have tried to build around the Congress's young prince an aura that they hope will make him appear like a credible future leader.
Cong banks on false Bharat-India divide - Swapan Dasgupta, Pioneer
Caught in the throes of mounting anti-incumbency caused by political and economic mismanagement, supporters of the UPA-not least in the media-have been grappling with uncertainty over what the incumbent administration’s 2014 poll plank will be. Rahul hasn’t provided all the answers but at least he has clearly indicated that a Bharat versus India theme garnished with the 1970s Indira Gandhi-style populism will be a key feature of the Congress’ poll plank.
Story of a student and his two gurus - Rajesh Singh, Pioneer
Rahul Gandhi is clearly unaware of the age-old guru-shishya tradition of the country, just as he is out of his depth on many other realities. If he had some understanding, he would have known that pupils do not insult their erudite teacher — most certainly not in the open.
Apocalyptic rhetoric about climate change is blinding us to reality - Bjorn Lomborg, Telegraph UK
Remember the Millennium Bug? The world was likely to crash, since computers couldn’t handle the switch from 1999 to 2000. It was a great story, but we ended up spending billions to tackle an almost non-existent problem. Similiarly, in 1997-98, the weather pattern known as El Niño made itself felt in the US and elsewhere. On TV and in the newspapers, it was blamed for everything – wrecking tourism, causing more allergies, melting ski slopes, creating snowstorms, even causing a dip in Disney’s share price.
US pharma industry's campaign against India's patent laws - Brook K Baker, Business Line
The US pharmaceutical industry and chamber of commerce have launched an all-out disinformation campaign against the Indian Patents Act. They have enlisted allies in the US government, including members of Congress, the US International Trade Commission, Secretary of State John Kerry, and even President Barack Obama, to carry their claims to the highest levels of the Indian government — most recently during Manmohan Singh’s visit to the US.
Congress to blame for the mess in Andhra Pradesh - Virendra Kapoor, Sunday Guardian
Speaking in Aligarh last week, Rahul Gandhi justified his "nonsense" intervention which alone killed the move to protect convicted netas via an ordinance. "Is there a time to speak the truth? We have to speak the truth. I said what I felt," he asserted with a rhetorical flourish at a public rally in the minority-dominated town in UP which has witnessed recurrent communal strife over several decades. Indeed, he blamed the ruling Samajwadi Party and the BJP for the recent riots in Muzzaffarnagar.
The escape velocity for big ideas and messed opportunities - Shankkar Aiyar, NewIndianExpress
This week, the Congress Vice-President introduced rocket science into the political discourse on empathy and entitlements. Specifically, he spoke about escape velocity—the speed that an object needs to be travelling to break free of a planet or moon’s gravity. It is a welcome addition to the political vocabulary. It is also tempting to apply the go-Google phrase on the UPA’s track record and the series of missed and messed opportunities.
Phailin: This time, we were better prepared - M Somasekhar, Business Line
India’s ‘missile man’ and former President, A. P. J. Abdul Kalam, is known for his anecdotes on indigenous technology. One of his compelling tales relates to the denial of the Cray supercomputers by the US to India in the mid-1980s; India had sought access to these fast data-crunching machines for solving complex computational problems.
The public world of science - Dipankar Gupta, Times of India
This news flash is for those who believe we need more Steve Jobs than university scientists to better our lives. The 2013 Nobel prize winners in medicine, physics and chemistry are all professors, each and every one of them. Yet public thinking today, in India and elsewhere, downgrades university laboratories in favour of corporate research units.
Third Front is just a chimera in terms of existence - Balbir Punj, Pioneer
There is scheduled for later this month a meeting of ‘Front for Secularism against Communalism’, that the Left has sponsored.  This happens in the background of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s call for a coming together of all “secular” parties. As many of those invited for the Left-sponsored meeting are basically anti-Congress, it is difficult to ascertain whether the ‘secular’ meetings are two or one.
Evil has flourished for too long - Pinky Anand, Pioneer
A clean election process that bars people with criminal charges against them from contesting, is important to ensure good governance. Elections are not only about who wins and loses, but also about the quality of governance that the people get.
Congress and BSP in game of nerves - Dhirendra K Jha, Open
Rahul Gandhi’s outburst against Mayawati on 8 October has a context that is more complex than it may appear at first glance. Over the past few months, his Congress party has been moving with slow subtlety on a plan to persuade her Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) into a tie-up ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
US shutdown heralds a new economic norm - Robert J Samuelson, Washington Post
When the history is written, I suspect the brutal budget battle transfixing the nation will be seen as much more than a spectacular partisan showdown. Careful historians will, I think, cast it as a symbolic turning point for post-World War II institutions — mainly the welfare state and the consumer credit complex — that depended on strong economic growth that has now, sadly, gone missing. The story behind the story is that prolonged slow growth threatens to upend our political and social order.
Modernity has failed to stop deviance - S Gurumurthy, NewIndianExpress
The news that three students of a private engineering college in Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu brutally hacked and killed their principal who merely enforced discipline on them has stunned the country. Such deviant behaviour would have been unthinkable decades ago when India was more traditional, less modern.
China-Pak axis and India's strategic interests in Afghanistan - Vivek Katju, Hindu
A few years ago, Pakistan made an extraordinary proposal to Afghanistan regarding the extraction and marketing of Afghan mineral wealth which is, according to the United States Geological Survey, worth around $1 trillion. It suggested that an Afghan, Pakistani and Chinese consortium be established to undertake this activity. It was a serious and thought out proposal for it was made by a very senior Pakistani Minister.
Rahul Gandhi: Selling a dream - Hindu
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has promised to facilitate a youthful government at the Centre following the 2014 general election. It is a mission none can quarrel with. By 2020 India will be the demographically youngest country in the world with 64 per cent of its population in the working age group. It is only in the fitness of things that any incoming government reflects the aspirations and dreams of this section.
Best to be spineless in family-owned party - A Surya Prakash, Pioneer
Over the last fortnight, millions of fellow citizens must have wondered why Prime Minister Manmohan Singh swallowed the insult heaped on him by the Congress’s crown prince and meekly withdrew the ordinance to protect criminal-politicians. As Mr Singh announced his continuance in office despite the humiliation, many would have seen this as a basic flaw in his character because by clinging to his chair he had compromised the dignity of the office of Prime Minister.
Rahul Gandhi is groping in the dark when it comes to tapping India's irrepressible youth - Srijana Mitra Das, Times of India
How you view Rahul Gandhi indicates how old you are. If you're a venerable, mature sort (as most Indian political analysts are, the assumption being dyeing your hair gives brighter ideas), you might look at Rahul indulgently. You might murmur about his surprising choice of words - 'nonsense' which 'deser-ves to be torn up', dalits needing 'Jupiter's escape velocity', et al. But it's possible you'll note his sentiments, the apology following his Press Club stop-press, the empathy behind the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe-style analogies.
The Modi path is the only alternative we have right now to strategic relevance - Abhijit Iyer-Mitra, Pioneer
The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s South Asia Studies department has just come up with a study on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s economic record, titled, ‘The Modi Debate Worth Having in India’, by Milan Vaishnav.
Soft approach towards Pakistan has led to a hard landing - Ashok K Mehta, Pioneer
One th0ing is clear: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has accepted cohabitation with the Army for regime longevity. It is also clear that the Army will not rock the boat till its red lines are crossed. Both are learning to work within their own space, and in the main will operate on the same page.
Bird in hand, now two in the bush - Sanjaya Baru, Hindu
Every time the late Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy came calling on Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister had a standard welcome line for the visiting Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. “Welcome Dr. Reddy,” he would say with a warm smile, “We are here because you are there!”
Lifting of ban on RSS was unconditional - S Gurumurthy, Hindu
In her article in The Hindu "The Forgotten Promise of 1949,”, Vidya Subrahmaniam asserts that Sardar Patel lifted the ban on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in 1949, because it had promised to be non-political, but it reneged on it in 2013. But publicly known facts recalled here contradict her assertion.
A bureaucracy that governs, not reigns - Rahul Verma & Pradeep Chhibber, IE
The last few months have seen widespread criticism of the Indian state for poor governance. Most commentators place the endemic problems of corruption, slow growth, riots, lack of decision-making, etc at the door of the political class. They may be correct in much of what they have said, but in their rush to castigate politicians, they have overlooked the role the bureaucratic machinery plays in misgoverning India.
CBI should be careful with its coal inquiries - Business Standard
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has reportedly filed a first information report (FIR) in its investigation of coal block allocations that names businessman Kumar Mangalam Birla, the chairman of a group of companies that includes metals giant Hindalco, as well as the former secretary in the coal ministry, P C Parakh.
The government must exit the airline business and use public money wisely - Mint
Air India has perhaps six months before it is engulfed in the next round of competition, as global airlines such as Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines and AirAsia are preparing to raise their game in India once the requisite regulatory clearances are in the bag.
Nobels and national greatness - Bret Stephens, WSJ
In its proud and storied history, Hungary has produced a dozen winners of the Nobel Prize: four for chemistry; three for physics; three for medicine; one for economics; and one for literature. Not bad for a little country of not quite 10 million people.
Govt in the dock, not India Inc - Sunil Jain, Financial Express
The head of a R1.9 lakh crore conglomerate being named in an FIR by the CBI is big news, so it's not surprising that newspapers and television channels have splashed Kumar Mangalam Birla’s name across the front page/television screens ever since the CBI decided to name him in the Coalgate scam.
Know your mayor’s name? - Arati R Jerath, Times of India
Normally, a Delhi assembly election wouldn’t merit a second glance. With just 70 seats and a quasi chief minister, the city-state that is also the nation’s capital, languishes somewhere at the bottom of the political pecking order. High-flying leaders who would otherwise give an arm and a leg for an address in Lutyen’s Delhi, have always preferred to devote their energies to the contest for the seat of power atop Raisina Hill. Assembly polls were left to locals boxed in Punjabi refugee politics, the Jat-Gujjar caste configuration and the influx from Bihar.
India is caught in a nuclear policy mess of its own making - C Raja Mohan, IE
In deciding to sell two additional nuclear reactors to Pakistan, in violation of the current international guidelines on atomic commerce, China, if only inadvertently, has helped reveal the unenviable nuclear policy mess that the UPA government finds itself in. Consider the irony: India worked hard for nearly a decade to get an exemption from the guidelines of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) in order to expand its civil nuclear programme.
Nobel pursuit in sand of dead habit - Shiv Visvanathan, Asian Age
Indians and the middle class in particular have always been full of aspirations. We are a nation that suffers from prize envy. We have always wondered why a large population such as ours produces so few Olympic medals and even fewer Nobel prizes. Tagore and Raman are conceived as Halley’s comets of the mind: spectacular, but few and far between.
Balancing weaker friends and stronger enemies - Kanwal Sibal, Mail Today
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's back-to-back visits to Russia and China from October 20 to 24 reflect the evolution of India's external relations in a world with shifting power balances. The challenges lie in consolidating relations with tried and trusted friends with declining power, while forging understandings with adversaries with rising influence who seek to advance their interests through tactical overtures of friendship.
Maulana Madani has hit the nail on the head - Pioneer
It's not difficult to understand why Congress leaders are rattled by Maulana Mahmood Madani's warning that so-called secular parties can no longer get Muslim votes by invoking the fear of an individual. The Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Hind chief has said in direct language what many others have been hinting at for some time now: Stop scaring the Muslims by projecting Mr Narendra Modi as a demon who is out to devour them, and tell the minority community what you have done for their welfare.
Exposing the farce in secularism's name - Gautam Mukherjee, Pioneer
Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Hind chief Mahmood Madani, accusing the Congress, in the main, of trying to scare Muslims, has performed a signal act of truthfulness and courage. Mr Madani says Congress, and others like the Samajwadi Party, are trying to create a spurious Narendra Modi bogey. After all, there have been many more pogroms and riots involving Muslims and other minorities, including Sikhs, in Congress-ruled states over the years. But throughout, the Congress has proved unable to protect the very minorities it has extracted its votes from.
The JPC probe in 2G scam exposes the uselessness of a parliamentary probe - J Gopikrishnan, Pioneer
As expected, the Congress-dominated Joint Parliamentary Committee has given a report on the 2G Spectrum scam that clears Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Minister for Finance P Chidambaram, and puts all the blame on former Minister of Communication and Information Technology A Raja. This dubious report, prepared without summoning the trio by the JPC headed by PC Chacko, is among the darkest chapters in India’s parliamentary system.
A better world is here - Bjørn Lomborg, Project Syndicate
For centuries, optimists and pessimists have argued over the state of the world. Pessimists see a world where more people means less food, where rising demand for resources means depletion and war, and, in recent decades, where boosting production capacity means more pollution and global warming. One of the current generation of pessimists’ sacred texts, The Limits to Growth, influences the environmental movement to this day.
Probe Manmohan Singh’s role in coal scam - Pioneer
After former Coal Secretary PC Parakh's explosive comments on the role of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the coal block allocation irregularities, there is no way that the latter can get away with his trademark silence. Mr Parakh has raised pertinent issues, the most important being that the allegedly illegal allocation of blocks happened after the Prime Minister approved it on the files concerned.
BJP's fortunes tied to Hindi heartland but congress' prospects lie in South India - Bibek Debroy, Economic Times
All opinion polls have caveats. First, there will be questions about sample size and sample design (ET’s 8500 sample size in Bihar and UP is large enough) and representativeness of sample. Second, do voters reveal preferences honestly? Third, there is a timing issue.
The name is Gandhi - Indian Express
The Congress leadership has evidently staked a lot of political capital in passing the Food Security Act. But just to make sure nobody misses that point, the party is considering renaming the central scheme under the act. It will be called either Indira Amma Anna Yojana or Indira Amma Bakshya Suraksha Yojana, according to Union Food Minister K.V. Thomas.
Why the party must go on - Suhas Palshikar, Indian Express
Political parties in India today face a complex situation created by heightened expectations, a more aware citizenry, keener competition and the burden of suspicion. There is no need to list what is wrong with parties. Rather, we need to look at the factors that make it difficult for parties to handle those wrongs, and even to think of righting the wrongs.
Get it right on inflation - Sajjid Z Chinoy, Financial Express
Here’s the good news. A semblance of macroeconomic stability is finally returning to India. The rupee has mean-reverted smartly. The CAD is on course to print well below the government’s $70 billion target. And the government is expected to find a way—or make one—to keep to its budgeted fiscal deficit.
The terrible business of demonising business - Saubhik chakrabarti, ET
ET has already pointed out the dangerous absurdity of CBI's Coalgate FIR against Kumar Mangalam Birla. CBI's argument in this specific case stands up poorly to legal and logical scrutiny. But the FIR against Birla points to a bigger, systemic danger that needs to be identified and combated with even more vigour.
It is time for Sonia Gandhi to brief citizens regarding her health - Shobhaa De, Asian Age
Gods and g o d d e s s e s a r e allowed to fall sick in I n d i a . But not our politicians. I have never understood our nervousness over health issues when it comes to our netas. Come on, guys — people fall sick! Everyone deals with illness in some form or the other.
Wait for 2014, caged parrot will foul Cong nest - Kumar Uttam, Pioneer
The grand old party has been misusing the CBI to keep its flock together for the last ten years. But as elections are not won by the threat of a chargesheet, the party may realise the consequences in the next Lok Sabha polls. A parrot caged by its master has limited occasions to break free. But a parrot caged for years often tends to disbelieve the strength of its wings and even if set free, it prefers to get back into the cage at the first signal from his master.
The second transition - TN Ninan, Business Standard
India is getting younger, right? Wrong! In the steady drumbeat of the fact that half of all Indians are younger than 25 years of age, what has been forgotten is that the 0-25s used to account for 54 per cent of the population in the 2001 census before dropping to 50 per cent in the 2011 census. Still, you could say that the absolute number of 0-25s grew from about 555 million to marginally more than 600 million in the decade to 2011.
Rajan panel report leaves many questions unanswered - Arvind Panagariya, ToI
Much of the media saw in the recent report of the Raghuram Rajan committee one more opportunity to spar over whether or not Gujarat is a genuine success story. While the reputation of Gujarat can survive yet one more hollow critique many commentators have seen in it, the report itself requires a critical examination. 
Cong secular card rings hollow - Balbir Punj, NewIndianExpress
By some strange coincidence Union finance minister P Chidambaram’s description of the coming general elections as an ideological battle between “secular” parties and the RSS, and the statement of general secretary of the Jamiat-Ulema-e-Hind Maulana Madani warning the secular parties, especially the Congress, not to hold up Narendra Modi as a bugbear to win Muslim votes, have come very close to each other.
The Muslim question - Meghnad Desai, Indian Express
Eid Mubarak. Why do Indian politicians say this in a deliberate showy manner but not something similar on Diwali, Dussehra or Christmas? Why do they love going to Iftaar parties and be seen there, but never at Christmas festivals? Are Indian Muslims fooled by this show of 'secularism' or are they now fed up by such sops?
The Congress party hates the middle classes - Chetan Bhagat, Times of India
If you have reached this article, chances are you belong to the educated middle or upper-middle class, the typical newspaper reader. You are what they call in India the somewhat 'more privileged' class, even though everything you have achieved is through your hard work. You live in a proper house with toilets, have nutritious food on the table and perhaps even enjoy a few modern comforts.
Who must answer? KM Birla or PM? - Rajesh Singh, Pioneer
Something interesting has happened soon after it became known that the Central Bureau of Investigation had named business magnate Kumar Mangalam Birla in its First Information Report on the coal block scam.
NaMo resonating across the nation - Swapan Dasgupta, Pioneer
What began as the pipedream of a few people determined to rid India of a venal Government and harness national energies to the full has now reached epidemic proportions. It is still nearly six months to the general election, the occasion for a verdict on the past and the future, but already the word ‘change’ is in the air.
The bell tolls for ruling combine as people seek accountability - Virendra Kapoor, Sunday Guardian
The writing is on the wall. Opinion polls only partially reflect the depth of popular disgust and anger against a government which has wilfully squandered its mandate in perpetrating one scam after the other without nary a thought for the rising misery of the aam aadmi.
Coalgate: Logic of naming KM Birla is to tar system and maybe save PM - R Jagannathan, FirstPost
The naming of business doyen Kumar Mangalam Birla in a first information report (FIR) relating to the coal blocks allocation scam confirms the suspicion that the Congress is working towards a clean scuttling of the Central Bureau of Investigation’s probe. If the CBI is going to go after every businessman, every politician, every bureaucrat, never mind the quality of the evidence against them, it will end up creating such a mess that no one will want it solved.
No dance with the Dragon - Jayadeva Ranade, Hindustan Times
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to China from October 22 comes soon after Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s stopover in Delhi in May. It will not be a stand-alone visit and, as Li Keqiang went to Islamabad to meet China’s ‘iron brother’, the PM will first travel to Moscow.
Frequent flyer prime minister has little time for House matters - Saurabh Shukla, Mail Today
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is a reluctant traveller. He never takes a night flight, doesn't want elaborate meals, and prefers reading on board - unlike his predecessor Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who had a taste for golden fried prawns and Bollywood movies while in the air. But that hasn't kept the good doctor from racking up an impressive record of foreign trips.
Minority appeasement is a blot on secularism - Joginder Singh, Pioneer
Articles 14 and 15(1) of the Constitution enjoin that the state shall not discriminate against any person on grounds of religion, caste, race or such other issues. Ours is a secular country. Yet, last year on April 9, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced monthly allowances of Rs 2,500 for imams and Rs 1,500 for muezzins and got a budgetary allocation of Rs 660 crore passed by the State Assembly. The payments were eventually stayed by the High Court earlier this year.
India, China: No zero-sum games - Sanjaya Baru, Indian Express
Participating in a China-India-United States trilateral discussion at a leading thinktank in Beijing, a young scholar had a question that many around the world increasingly ask. "Today, the US is the number one power and China is the number two power," said the young man. "By 2025, China will be the number one power and the US will be the number two power.
A right to growth and good governance? - Arvind Virmani, Indian Express
Economic growth represents opportunity. India's per capita GDP growth was 1.5 per cent during the notorious Licence Permit Quota (LPQ) Raj from 1950 to 1980 (Nehru, Indira Gandhi 1). The reversal of these failed policies in the 1980s (IG2, Rajiv Gandhi) almost doubled the per capita growth rate to 3 per cent.
Modi-led BJP now has momentum to cross 200 in 2014 - R Jagannathan, FirstPost
By all indications, the 2014 election is the BJP’s to lose. Thanks to the Narendra Modi effect and the Congress’s continued dalliance with desperate political and economic moves, the momentum is clearly in the BJP’s favour. Two opinion polls published today bear this out. While The Times Now-CVoter poll sees the BJP emerging as the single-largest party with 162 seats, The Economic Times poll with Nielsen, which concentrated on Uttar Pradesh and Bihar – which hold the key to 2014 – shows the BJP gaining ground.
Leave the Net in US hands - Nitin Pai, Business Standard
In "Silver Blaze", one of the short stories published in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes, a famous race horse disappears from its stable. The following - and very famous - conversation ensues between Holmes and the police detective: "Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?" (the detective asks).
Economy in trouble; babus too scared to take decisions - Vikas Dhoot, Deepshikha Sikarwar & Arun Kumar, Economic Times
The first information report (FIR) filed by CBI on a coal block allocation case last week threatens to trigger a collapse of India's economic revival efforts by undermining a series of measures aimed at improving the investment climate, freeing up projects stuck over approvals and raising resources through asset sales.
Allow news on private radio stations - Economic Times
The Supreme Court has asked the government to explain the basis for its policy of preventing private radio channels from carrying news. Staying stuck on its high horse would be neither graceful nor sensible on the government's part. It must concede that it is perfectly all right for the government to give up its monopoly on news broadcast on radio. 
Shome’s ‘Wednesday meetings’: A collaborative model of tax compliance is a good idea - Saurav Bhattacharya, Financial Express
Recognising the need for an emerging economy to have a tax system that reflects best global practices, the finance minister announced in his Budget speech a proposal to set up a Tax Administration Reform Commission (TARC), which would be tasked to review the application of tax policies and tax laws, and recommend measures to strengthen the capacity of India’s tax system.
Hit-or-miss approach to scams - Aarati Krishnan, Business Line
Imagine you were a modern-day Rip Van Winkle who retired into the hills in the nineties and woke up to catch up on the news this week. “Wow”, you would think, “India’s finally got a government which means business. How proactive it is in getting after the rich and the influential to root out corruption and fraud.”
Congress's first family and the big name game - A Surya Prakash, Outlook India
In yet another desperate measure to lift its sagging fortunes, the Congress-led UPA-II has decided to name the national food security scheme—the nation’s biggest welfare programme launched by the government since independence—as Indiramma Anna Yojana, ensuring that beneficiaries will see this food-for-votes programme as a largesse from the Congress’s first family. Reports suggest the subsidised foodgrains will be packed in 5 kg bags with the Indiramma stamp, proclaiming the Nehru-Gandhi brand.
The sinking ship that is Obama's America - Hubert Wetzel, WorldCrunch
At the moment when the Titanic struck the iceberg, the ship’s captain was not on the bridge. Edward Smith had gone below deck to bed. Both before and after the collision, the captain proved himself to be worse than useless, issuing confused orders and failing to take control of the evacuation. He let the ship sail at full speed through the iceberg-riddled North Atlantic Ocean. Then while his ship was sinking, he made his sole useful contribution to the rescue efforts, sending an emergency signal out into the night.
Bangalore 3.0: Nourishing India's own Silicon Valley - Srivatsa Krishna, ToI
Consider a powerful and astonishing fact. Bangalore today is the world's second largest IT/ITeS cluster in the world, second only to Silicon Valley. According to the KIG 2020 study carried out by the Karnataka ICT Group, by 2020 it will become the largest collection of talent in a single location on the planet, with 20 lakh IT professionals, about 60 lakh indirect employment and exports worth Rs 4 lakh crore.
Maoist atrocities: Salwa Judum should not have been disbanded - Sandhya Jain, Pioneer
As the arc of Maoist violence engulfs Bihar, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and West Bengal, the Centre would do well to undo the Supreme Court’s July 2011 judgement that scuttled the Salwa Judum resistance movement against Maoists atrocities in Chhattisgarh. In tacit recognition of the infirmity of this verdict, the Centre last month asked the Odisha Government to strengthen internal security with the help of ‘community policing’, a euphemism for a Salwa Judum-style movement.
Power shortage is the real coal story - Mint
Last week Prime Minister Manmohan Singh defended the controversial decision to allot a coalfield in Odisha to Hindalco Industries Ltd. If only in a perverse sense, this is a positive step. Ongoing investigations by the Central Bureau of Investigation on coal mine allocations in the last decade show there is more than what meets the eye and these must be probed threadbare.
The efficient markets fad - V Anantha Nageswaran, Mint
The 2013 Nobel prize for economics has been awarded to three academics—Hans Larsen, Eugene Fama and Robert Shiller. Larsen specialized in econometric verification of economic theories. Fama and Shiller focused on the efficiency of financial markets, primarily those dealing with equities. 
Dancing in the dragon's jaws: Agreement with China is loaded against India’s interests - Brahma Chellaney, Mint
Seeking to compensate for his low political stock at home,Manmohan Singhhas undertaken more overseas trips as prime minister than any predecessor, visiting China multiple times. Yet, India punches far below its weight internationally, while its regional security has come under siege, with his tenure witnessing a sharp deterioration in ties with China.
Interest rate futures: Rajan vs RBI - Ila Patnaik, Financial Express
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is said to be gearing up to initiate an interest rate futures market yet again. Will the product be a success, or will it fail like the previous attempts? The most important factor that favours success this time is Governor Raghuram Rajan. The most important factor that works against it is the old RBI mindset that fundamentally mistrusts markets.
What really damaged AI - V Thulasidas, Economic Times
There have recently been critical comments about me in the media from a retired Air India official who had spent over 20 years in the airline. Let me give readers the right context to interpret his comments . As chairman and managing director(CMD)of AirIndia,I had to remove this person from two posts, directorship of HR and PR, due to inadequate performance.
Why the Govt chose to go after KM Birla - Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Asian Age
Coalgate gets curiouser and curiouser. The murky episode relating to the filing of a first information report by the Central Bureau of Investigation naming industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla and former secretary in the ministry of coal Prakash Chandra Parakh on Wednesday (October 16) followed by a detailed response from the Prime Minister’s Office on Saturday (October 19), has thrown up more questions instead of providing answers to what exactly happened during independent India’s biggest scandal.
Cong stirs communal pot again with Communal Violence Bill - R Jagannathan, FirstPost
The Congress party’s electoral insecurities are sending it into legislative overdrive. The party saw no reason to bring in a Communal Violence Bill when its own state government failed to prevent violence between Muslims and Bodos in Kokrajhar. For a whole year it saw no reason to think the Samajwadi Party was stirring the communal cauldron in Uttar Pradesh by turning a blind eye to nearly 100 communal incidents – because the ruling party in the state was an ally at the Centre.
Interesting days ahead with twists and turns in coal scam - RK Raghavan, DNA
Normally a great admirer and defender of the CBI, this one time I am a little queasy about the manner in which it has gone about nailing an industrialist of great repute. My unease is mainly about the language and tenor of the FIR. I am not at all comfortable with the term used: ‘criminal conspiracy’. That is the expression permitted by criminal law, and one which is normally employed to describe apparent collusion between individuals who had had a meeting of minds to the detriment of public interest.
Fog ahead - Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Indian Express
As India's great churning continues, one question keeps jumping out. Is the new confusion of institutional morality the harbinger of a genuine cleansing process? Or is it simply more dramatic chaos? The combination of civil society mobilisation, media scrutiny and a new assertiveness among institutions like the Supreme Court held out hopes of the former: just the threat of scrutiny and answerability to the court would change incentives.
Modi swerves to modernity - Dileep Padgaonkar, Times of India
There are still a number of steep climbs and sharp curves that Narendra Modi has to negotiate before he comes within sniffing distance of his destination. That includes, above all, ongoing court cases and unfinished investigations related to the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat. Apart from B S Yeddyurappa, his potential allies — whose numbers might be decisive to form the next government — have kept their counsel to themselves.
India a junket republic - Times of India
The tale of three home ministry babus who offloaded engineers on a foreign trip meant for the purely technical purpose of flying back an Embraer jet sent for repairs — and then took their place, adding on Cairo, Istanbul and Dubai to their itinerary for a taxpayer-funded 14-day junket abroad — would have been symptomatic of poor governance even in normal times.
A broken system: Dismal prospect of a country ruled by the courts and the CBI - Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Indian Express
As India's great churning continues, one question keeps jumping out. Is the new confusion of institutional morality the harbinger of a genuine cleansing process? Or is it simply more dramatic chaos? The combination of civil society mobilisation, media scrutiny and a new assertiveness among institutions like the Supreme Court held out hopes of the former: just the threat of scrutiny and answerability to the court would change incentives.
India’s declining Internet freedom - Mint
The Web in India is only partially free. What’s worse, it is a lot less free than a year ago. In its annual survey of freedom of the Net in various countries, Freedom House calls India’s fall from No. 39 in 2012 to No. 47 this year, the most significant annual decline.
Judicious economics - Business Standard
The Supreme Court is amongst India's most respected and trusted institutions. Its rulings are rarely questioned on legal merits and the only way to get around the ones that cause discomfort to the government is to amend the law. The country can take great comfort from the stature and credibility of this institution when it comes to enforcing the rule of law. However, as desirable as it is that laws should be strictly enforced, there is a flip side to this. Significant decisions by the Supreme Court often have significant economic consequences.
Underestimating Industrial growth - Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar, ET
India’s industrial production and GDP have been plunging for three years. But one person believes that major revisions are going to make the data look much better. Pronab Sen, former chief statistician, thinks that the current GDP growth estimate of 5% for 2012-13 may be way short of reality, and revisions could take it above 6%. This is not a pipe dream.
IAS is dying, what's next? - Rohit Bansal, Pioneer
The headline, dear reader, isn’t the rant of an IAS (Indian Administrative Service) hater. Au contraire, I have dear friends in the service, and like many in this country, if I were smart enough in that format of the game, I might’ve been one myself!
Big Brother in Beijing keeps an eye on Tibet - Claude Arpi, Pioneer
Recently The New York Times carried an article, “Who’s Afraid of Chinese Money?” Jonathan Mirsky, the author, recounts the story of the British Prime Minister John Major in the autumn of 1991; he was the first Western leader to visit China after the Tiananmen events.
The lessons India can take from US on handling Pakistan - Praveen Swami, FirstPost
The smoke was still rising from the Twin Towers in New York when a top United States diplomat arrived in Pakistan seeking its help in the war against Osama bin Laden. Then assistant Secretary of State Richard Armitage wanted Pakistan to grant the United States unrestricted overflight rights, deploy its troops against fleeing Taliban and give access for intelligence operations targeting al-Qaeda.
Could India steal a page from Mexico? - Claude Smadja, Business Standard
Here in Guadalajara, Mexico, for our annual Mexico Business Summit, there are a few things to observe that could be of interest and of relevance for India as it slides into election mode. Enrique Peña Nieto, in office for less than one year, has launched a number of reforms which could prove to be real game-changers.
‘The Hindu’ undivided family - Salil Tripathi, Mint
As I write this, the drama at The Hindu continues to unfold. The newspaper’s editor Siddharth Varadarajan and executive editor M.K. Venu have left, Arun Anant is no longer chief executive officer, and N. Ravi and Malini Parthasarathy, who had quit two years ago in protest when N. Ram brought Varadarajan in, are back in senior positions. Ram, curiously, remains at the helm. The board is divided, but The Hindu family, it seems, is united again.
India through a global CEO’s eyes - D Shivakumar, Business Line
This binary prediction of Pandit Nehru is true for India and global business. India didn’t matter in some sectors till a decade ago, but it matters now, in automobiles, aerospace, outsourcing and technology. Most global executives’ exposure to India comes through the rich heritage of ‘management’ human capital India has produced. Every global leader you speak with quotes Ram Charan on ‘execution’, C.K. Prahalad on ‘ Bottom of the Pyramid ‘, Sumantra Ghosal on ‘culture’ and Nitin Nohria, Shrikant Datar on ‘rethinking the MBA’! India-born management gurus have helped shape India’s image.
5 questions on coal beyond Birla & the PM - M Rajshekhar, Economic Times
In the coal block allocations issue, the conversation today pivots around an industrialist, a bureaucrat and the prime minister. Beyond these individuals, there are five larger questions. How they unravel will determine how and when India solves its coal impasse, reports ET.
The US-Saudi crackup reaches a dramatic tipping point - David Ignatius, Washington Post
The strange thing about the crackup in U.S.-Saudi relations is that it has been on the way for more than two years, like a slow-motion car wreck, but nobody in Riyadh or Washington has done anything decisive to avert it. The breach became dramatic over the past week. Last Friday, Saudi Arabia refused to take its seat on the United Nations Security Council, in what Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi intelligence chief, described as “a message for the U.S., not the U.N,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
Window of opportunity to demand transparency from China - Sanjoy Hazarika, HT
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has flagged Indian concerns on China’s plans for damming and diverting the waters of common rivers like the Tsangpo-Brahmaputra to his Chinese counterpart, Li Keqiang.
The CBI and the bureaucrat - RK Raghavan, Hindu
The Kumar Mangalam Birla affair once again raises fundamental issues with regard to the role of the civil servant in controversial government decisions. Retired Coal Secretary P.C. Parakh is in serious trouble with the Central Bureau of Investigation over the 2005 award of a coal block to Hindalco headed by Kumar Mangalam Birla; a screening committee headed by Mr. Parakh had earlier endorsed the Neyveli Lignite Corporation, a public sector unit, for the allotment. 
Be strong at home to be strong abroad - Economic Times
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has had reasonably successful visits to Moscow and Beijing. There are no spectacular breakthroughs: the likes of the nuclear deal with the US happen but rarely. 
The Insider as the Outsider - Barkha Dutt, Hindustan Times
At first, we barely knew what Rahul Gandhi thought. He hardly ever spoke, except during elections. His interventions in Parliament were erratic 'Kalavati' moments - headline grabbing narratives of sincere anguish that swiftly retreated into the mostly silent spaces from where they had suddenly emerged, just like the story of the Vidarbha widow who became a national name after he mentioned her, only to find that her life did not substantively change.
Food security: a battle won but a war lost - Mint
India’s recent food security law appears to be facing an unlikely challenge from the regime governing global trade rules. The procurement subsidy India will have to pay farmers to raise food purchases and operationalize the law may fall foul of its trade commitments, according to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Disconnected with reality, Rahul fights on - Ashok Malik, Pioneer
This past week, Rahul Gandhi addressed campaign meetings in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. He brought up a whole range of issues — his mother, father, grandmother, the assassinations of 1984 and 1991, religious violence and terrorism, the Muzaffarnagar riots and the allure Pakistan apparently holds for sections of Muslims in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP’s alleged commitment to “capitalism”, the Congress’s solidarity with the poor, mosquitoes, stomach infections and so on.
Growth matters: Lessons from the Gujarat model - Surjit S Bhalla, Indian Express
Almost a year ago, on December 13, 2012, I published an article in The Indian Express ('The Modi metric') with the explicit goal of evaluating Gujarat's development in terms of both economic growth per se and improvements in living standards. Gujarat was just about to go to the polls, and there had been constant (and continuing) debate about whether, under Narendra Modi's stewardship, the much-hyped economic growth had also delivered results to the poor. 
Rahul Gandhi casts the victims as suspects - Indian Express
Rahul Gandhi's claim in Indore on Thursday, that Pakistani intelligence agencies have approached young Muslim men who lost members of their families in the communal violence in Muzaffarnagar, is troubling — and not just in the way Gandhi intended it to be. Surely, intelligence inputs of such a sensitive nature are not to be bandied about in this manner?
The prime minister's defence - Shekhar Gupta, Indian Express
You have seen the government rise to defend the allocation of the Talabira coal block to Hindalco only because there is an implied threat here to the prime minister's office. This is unusual, welcome, yet really late. Under UPA 2, by now, the redefining of India's corporate class as the "chorporate" class is complete.
Modi's security must be stepped up - Indian Express
Serial bombs blasted across Patna on Sunday, as the Gujarat chief minister and the BJP's prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, addressed a teeming rally of tens of thousands of supporters in Gandhi Maidan.
Banality of PM's foreign jaunts - Harsh B Pant, NewIndianExpress
Spurned by his own party, mocked by the opposition and hounded by the media, prime minister Manmohan Singh has sought refuge in foreign climes in recent months. So after his rather perfunctory trips to the US and Southeast Asia, it was the turn of Russia and China earlier this week. Both states are important in their own ways for Indian foreign policy priorities. And yet at the end of the prime minister’s trips, there is little to show for any substantive achievement.
Modi vs Rahul: The big fat Hindi heartland fight - Piyush Srivastava, Mail Today
As the political battle for 80 parliamentary seats in Uttar Pradesh intensifies, BJP's prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi and Congress's undeclared candidate for the top post Rahul Gandhi are receiving maximum applause from their supporters for their aggressive campaigning.
Justice black and white - Tavleen Singh, Indian Express
Two reasons cause me this week to ignore the campaign speeches of Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi and write instead about the judiciary. The first is a judgment that came from the Delhi High Court last week on the affairs of the most exclusive private school in India that is funded by us taxpayers but provides admission almost exclusively to children of high officials and political leaders.
The mystery called Manmohan Singh - Vinod Mehta, Times of India
Politicians are quite transparent in their end-ambitions. LK Advani wants to be prime minister, AB Vajpayee (once he got the job) wanted to achieve a breakthrough with Pakistan, Sonia Gandhi wants the Nehru torch handed over to her son, Jayalalitha wants Karunanidhi's head garnished with rasam, on a platter (and vice-versa ) and Mulayam Singh wants to address the nation from the Red Fort. But, what does Manmohan Singh want? Does anyone know?
The risk of shaking hands on wobbly legs - MJ Akbar, Sunday Guardian
If Barack Obama can blindside Israel on Iran, there is no reason why he should lose any sleep over India as he gifts strategic and financial rewards upon Pakistan for ensuring safe passage to American troops exiting Afghanistan. In September, Obama gave Dr Manmohan Singh a nice smile over a farewell meal.
Rahul, Vadra, Sachin: The abuse of informal power - Santosh Desai, Times of India
Increasingly, Narendra Modi’s speeches write themselves; every time Rahul Gandhi says something, Modi gets fodder for his next speech. Rahul Gandhi’s comments have a strange disconnected quality about them. It is not easy to unite Muslim clerics and Narendra Modi on many issues, or to make BJP the guardian of minority rights, but he seems to have managed it quite effortlessly. Coming on the back of his emotional plea recounting the sacrifices made by his family, again hardly the kind of pitch that is likely to resonate today, his statements have an other-worldly quality, and head scratching follows quite frequently.
Modi makes a direct pitch to Muslims - Indian Express
Narendra Modi's "hunkar" rally was always going to be a dramatic event, as one of the most awaited speeches in the political calendar. While Bihar will be key to his electoral fate, it is also significant for Modi as a site where all the other political forces are implacably and personally hostile to him.
Sending former security officers, civil servants to head Muslims institutions conveys the wrong message - Indian Express
Academic fights are so vicious because the stakes are so low, goes the saying. But the discontent over high-level appointments to Muslim-focused institutions like Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) involves the important question of whether it takes a special kind of person to head them.
AP division: A challenge to Indian federalism - Jayaprakash Narayan, Hindu
The decision to divide Andhra Pradesh raises important questions about federalism and the nation’s future. This is the first time in India that a state is sought to be divided without the consent of the State legislature, and without a negotiated settlement among stakeholders and regions, and in the face of public opposition.
Coal scam gets deeper: PM knew, but failed to act - Pioneer
While Prime Minister Manmohan Singh goes around giving himself a clean chit on the coal block allocation scam and bravely declaring that he is willing to face a probe by the Central of Investigation, he must explain why he did not tackle the coal mafia which had infiltrated deep into the Union Coal Ministry.
We’ll share the honours, and agree to disagree - Robert J Shiller, NYT
The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science has sometimes been awarded to economists who disagree profoundly. Notably, in 1974, the Nobel committee gave a joint prize to Gunnar Myrdal, a Social Democrat in Sweden and a proponent of the welfare state, and Friedrich Hayek, a conservative who believed that government should be minimal.
Rahul Gandhi’s big political gamble - Anil Padmanabhan, Mint
Ever since the political campaign slipped into top gear, there is a discernible trend in the speeches of Rahul Gandhi, the Congress party’s lead campaigner and presumably its prime ministerial candidate. The ring of class is more than just a hint. It is actually an all-out claim that the young man is championing to shape his party’s political narrative in the 2014 general election.
Manmohan certainly not humble. Honest? Not too sure - A Surya Prakash, Pioneer
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told media persons a few days ago that he was not above the law and that he was ready to face questions from the Central Bureau of Investigation in regard to the latest FIR filed by the agency and the controversy surrounding coal block allocations to Hindalco.
Muslims have lost faith in so-called secular parties - Shahid Siddiqui, HT
Indian Muslims are in a dilemma. At a time when the nation is getting polarised, they are not sure which pole should be their destination. From the most powerful Muslim scholars to the common man in the streets of Aligarh, they are all asking the same question: “Who should we vote for in 2014?” I have never seen Muslims so unsure, confused and fearful of the future as they are today.
India in the eyes of Isaiah Berlin - Dileep Padgaonkar, Times of India
One of the most stimulating interviews this columnist conducted for the Times of India was with Sir Isaiah Berlin, a historian of ideas, at All Souls in Oxford in 1989. He was then at the zenith of his fame as a pre-eminent member of the Anglo-American establishment. During the Cold War years he had promoted its causes with considerable brio. That provoked his critics, mainly communists and their fellow-travellers, to deride him as a half-baked scholar, a phoney liberal, a social butterfly and a megaphone of western imperialism.
Narendra Modi's real report card - Arvind Panagariya, Business Standard
With the bid by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for the office of the prime minister of India in full swing, attacks on the Gujarat story have intensified. Given the narrowing of the contest to one between Mr Modi and the Congress, one would expect the critics to compare the accomplishments of the former in Gujarat to the latter's nationally. But no critic would hazard such a comparison.
Many Pakistans, same old India - Ajai Shukla, Business Standard
Since the 26/11 Mumbai terror strike in 2008, India's security czars have summed up New Delhi's Pakistan policy as follows: there are many Pakistans; we will deal with each appropriately. In other words, the government in Islamabad does not speak for all of Pakistan.
India-China border agreement reflects India's sinking regional position - Frederic Grare, Indian Express
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's trip to China last week was, by all appearances, a success. Coming just a few months after Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's visit to New Delhi, it left the impression of healthy and sustained working relations.
Case for drone strikes in PoK - V Sudarshan, NewIndianExpress
This could be mischievous but you decide: It could be persuasively argued that Atal Bihari Vajpayee did us a singular disfavour, akin to Nehru taking the Kashmir issue to the UN, by not pushing beyond the LoC during the Kargil conflict when there were sound political and strategic reasons to do so.
Is Nitish losing ground? - Ashok Mishra, Hindustan Times
The offensive launched by two senior leaders - Shivanand Tiwary and Narendra Singh - against Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar and his style of functioning at the Janata Dal (U) chintan shivir (strategy meeting) on Tuesday was not unexpected. Tension had been building up for long, with some being upset at the split with the BJP and others over trends within the party.
So, why did Bihar regime ignore Centre’s alert? - Pioneer
With Union Minister for Home Affairs Sushil Kumar Shinde categorically saying that his Ministry had alerted the Bihar Government on a possible terrorist attack during Mr Narendra Modi's Sunday rally in Patna, the bottom falls from State Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's claim that his regime had received no warning and that there had been no security lapse. The Chief Minister has been on an overdrive since the serial blasts that snuffed out half a dozen lives, to deflect attention from his Government's failure on the security front.
India is yet to understand the business significance of sport - Mint
It isn’t a happy time for sports fans in India. On the heels of its departure from the Formula 1 circuit next year comes news that the planned Indian Premier League-styled Indian Football League has been stymied even before it could start. The ambitiously planned event, which promised to bring names like Thierry Henry, Fredrik Ljungberg, Robert Pires, Louis Saha and Hernan Crespo to Indian soccer audiences, has now been postponed by six months since a place couldn’t be found for it in the sport’s calendar.
Stop wasteful military deals - Bharat karnad, NewIndianExpress
Reduction of the Rs 4 lakh-crore fiscal deficit will require a drastic winnowing of defence expenditure programmes. The wasteful military procurement system that fetches, as it were, as much chaff as grain, offers obvious targets for excision. Among them the egregiously wrong-headed deals for the Swiss Pilatus PC-7 turboprop trainer and the French Rafale MMRCA (multi-role, medium range combat aircraft).
CBI and the coal blind spot - Sreenivasan Jain, Business Standard
In his two previous meetings with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), former Coal Secretary P C Parakh says, he spoke to them at length about the flaws in coal allocation that he was attempting to remedy during his stint in the ministry. His battle with "The System" to shift to a bidding-based method of allotting coal blocks - and how it was opposed at every step - is public knowledge. It is, for instance, catalogued in detail in the Comptroller and Auditor General's report.
Unduly hawkish: RBI's focus on rate hikes will hit consumption, investment - IE
While the RBI governor, Raghuram Rajan, has done well to bring in interest rate futures and other policies like credit enhancement for corporate bonds, it is unfortunate that he has chosen to lay more emphasis on the CPI than on the traditional WPI while gauging inflation. The excessive reliance on the CPI suggests that one or more rate hikes will take place over the next six months.
An atmosphere of suspicion demoralises civil servants - KM Chandrasekhar, IE
There has been much discussion recently on "administrative paralysis" and "fear among civil servants". The performance of the administration should be viewed in the context of several factors. First, there is always a general decline in both performance and decision-making when an election, whose outcome is not entirely clear, approaches.
Saudi Arabia is upset at thaw in US-Iran relations - Roger Cohen, NYT
Here's how the Saudis see it: President Obama has sold out the Syrian opposition, reinforced President Bashar al-Assad after having called for his departure, embarked on a dangerous duet with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran, played the wrong cards in Egypt, retreated from initial criticism of Israeli settlements that promised a more balanced American approach to Israel-Palestine, tilted towards the Shiites in the growing regional Sunni-Shiite confrontation, and generally undercut the interests of the kingdom.
Good economics is good politics: Higher growth increases chances of incumbents returning to power - Krishnamurthy Subramanian & Prasanna Tantri, Times of India
Does good economics make for good politics? Historically, in India, good economics hasn't been considered good politics. However, recent experiences in Gujarat, Bihar, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh have pushed forward the view that good economics can make for good politics as well. Nevertheless, anecdotes can't substitute for systematic evidence.
Bihar blasts: the thin line between indifference and criminal negligence - Nirmala Sitharaman, Deccan Chronicle
The rallies political parties hold for the general public remain etched in the memory of their cadres. With great dedication and commitment, together with party sympathisers, they organise these events so as to hear a few leaders of the party. The messages conveyed through some key speeches become milestones in the histories of nations.
History is why China is provocative - KC Singh, Deccan Chronicle
The Economist restates a truism often applied to Rajiv Gandhi post Bofors — that the “more embattled a leader is at home, the brighter the lure of foreign horizons.” The magazine refers to the recent peregrinations of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, topping a trip to Indonesia and Brunei for the Asean and East Asia Summits, with one to Russia and China. It is the last one, on October 22-24, that I examine here.
Sardar Patel's legacy: The Iron Man isn’t Congress’s private property - Pioneer
Just why is the Congress so enraged over the so-called appropriation by the Bharatiya Janata Party of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel's legacy? Prime Minister Manmohan Singh went out his way to point out in his speech at the inauguration of the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Memorial Museum in Ahmedabad on Tuesday that he was proud to belong to a party of which Sardar Patel was a member.
We've had enough of povertarian politics - Gautam Mukherjee, Pioneer
Even as political parties take to the rally circuits demonising their opposition, we need to be proud of this  robust campaigning and electoral process. We have conducted it better: from mega phones and rickshaws, wall posters and TV advertisements, talk shows, on-the-stump harangues, the internet and cellphone, through low-tech and high-tech, over jungle and stream, ballot-box to EVM; than any other country.
Our maritime safety is adrift - Ajai Sahni, Hindustan Times
It is nearly five years since the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attacks, which many said would be a turning point in India's policies and strategies on terrorism. Many proud slogans were coined and 'Never again' and 'zero tolerance for terrorism' were the most famous among them.
New revelations about Amit Jogi could spell embarrassment for Rahul - Shalini Singh, Hindu
New material on Amit Jogi, son of former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Ajit Jogi, suggests that his nomination by the Congress party to contest Assembly elections from the Marwahi constituency could spin into a potential embarrassment for Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi who recently took the moral high ground against criminalisation of politics.
Bihar too soft on naxals, says intelligence report - Aman Sharma, Economic Times
Bihar is vulnerable to a major naxal attack and risks becoming a "bridge" for Maoist movements in Nepal and India because of its "soft handling" of left-wing extremism, a top government intelligence body has warned. In a six-page report, the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) under the Cabinet Secretariat has warned the prime minister, senior cabinet ministers and top officials that while there has been an overall decline in naxal violence in the country this year, Bihar has been witnessing a reverse trend...
The perverse patriarchy of the highest court - Samanwaya Rautray, ET
The Supreme Court was right to spare Sushil Sharma the gallows for shooting his wife Naina Sahni, but its logic for converting his death sentence to a life term was flawed, perverse and patriarchal. No one who knew Sharma, a brash, gun-toting former Youth Congress leader, was shocked by the crime.
Rapid urbanisation will unravel the politics of caste - Pradeep Chhibber & Ashutosh Varshney, Indian Express
What will happen to caste as India rapidly urbanises? This is one of the most intriguing, and significant, questions for Indian politics and society in the coming two to three decades. In traditional India, the caste system was a social institution that provided a hierarchical ordering of castes in a geographic area.
The future of journalism: Objective or opinionated? Impartial or activist? - Bill Keller & Glenn Greenwald, New York Times
Much of the speculation about the future of news focuses on the business model: How will we generate the revenues to pay the people who gather and disseminate the news? But the disruptive power of the internet raises other profound questions about what journalism is becoming, about its essential character and values.
Nehru crippled Sardar Patel memorial plan - Priyadarshi Dutta, NitiCentral
While speaking at the inauguration of the redesigned Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Musuem at Ahmedabad, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stated that there were more areas of convergence between Nehru and Sardar Patel than divergence. Singh also took delight in the fact that he was a member of Indian National Congress, the party Patel had belonged to. Fine words! But the Prime Minister needs to be reminded that Nehru had stymied the Congress Working Committee’s (CWC) proposal to raise a national memorial to Sardar Patel.
Patel the pragmatist - Subhash C Kashyap, Indian Express
As the general election draws nearer, the competitive clamour to usurp Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel's legacy gets louder. It is necessary to look beyond the controversies and view the great artificer of post-Partition India in proper perspective. Before Independence, the Congress was not so much a political party as a national movement and an umbrella organisation for adherents of diverse ideologies. 
SC ruling will promote good governance: officials - Bharti Jain, Times of India
The bureaucracy gave big thumbs up to the Supreme Court ruling fixing tenures for civil servants and ordering recording of oral instructions on file, stating this will offer legal protection to honest bureaucrats who can take correct decisions without fear of reprisals. 
Third Front is an illusion - Pioneer
Those who believe that the coming together of 14 regional and Left parties on a common platform in Delhi on Wednesday signals the imminent formation of a robust Third Front regime, must stop having utopian ideas. It is one thing for parties with disparate goals and ideologies to share the dais to spew venom at opponents and another to form a cohesive Government.
Even in outer space, China beats India - G Madhavan Nair, Pioneer
The Indian space programme was initiated by the visionary leader Vikram Sarabhai. He declared that India could be second to none in terms of acquiring the latest technologies related to space and their application to solve the problems of the common man. The Indian space programme has lived up to his expectations and today we have self-reliant technologies such as the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle. We have also demonstrated how space-based assets can be put to use for improving the quality of life of common man.
Not a front, but an ideological bulwark against Narendra Modi - Vinod Sharma, HT
The assemblage on one platform of leaders from parties other than the Congress and the BJP is no precursor to another third front experiment. It’s at best an anti-BJP, non-Congress ideological bulwark against the ‘divisive idea’ that’s Narendra Modi.
The curious battle for Vallabhbhai Patel - Mint
Sometime on the eve of Independence, the Congress high command was holding one of its innumerable sessions. Mohandas Gandhi was presiding. Among other things, on agenda was the issue of deciding the next leader of the party. In a casual fashion, Gandhi informed Jawaharlal Nehru that a majority of the Pradesh Congress Committees were in favour of Vallabhbhai Patel.
Many escape velocities out of poverty - Bibek Debroy, Economic Times
People have started brushing up on physics. If you are poor, 11.2-km-a-second (Earth) may be required to break out of the poverty trap. If you are SC/ST, it might require 59.5-km-a-second (Jupiter), and if you are an SC/ST woman, it might require 617.5-km-a-second (the Sun). Accelerating to such escape velocities is easier if an object is first placed in a low Earth orbit. Why don't poor people reach such orbits?
Right Angle Political vs personal - Swapan Dasgupta, Asian Age
Chief minister of Bihar Nitish Kumar is an experienced and consummate politician with a firm grip on the administration of his economically backward state. As such, his speech to a Janata Dal (United) convention in Rajgir on October 29 was a masterly performance and constitutes the most coherent attack on the prime ministerial candidate of his erstwhile coalition partner, the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Modi reaching out to Patna blast victims poses problems for Nitish - Sanjay Singh, FirstPost
Locked inside one of the railway toilets on Sunday morning on platform No. 10 of Patna railway station, Ainul alias Tariq committed one grave mistake. He was a new Indian Mujahideen recruit and his training in binding bombs had been rushed. He connected the wires the wrong way and set the bomb off, severely injuring himself.
Model predicted Patna attacks by IM - Aaron Mannes, RK Raghavan, Animesh Roul & VS Subrahmanian, Hindu
The deadly explosions that struck a Bharatiya Janata Party rally in Patna on October 27 confirmed that terrorism will remain on top of the agenda for an over-stretched Indian police and a heavily burdened Intelligence Bureau (IB). Investigations have revealed the involvement of at least six individuals in the planting of 18 explosives (of which only seven exploded) in Gandhi Maidan. The Indian Mujahideen (IM) is the leading suspect for the daring attack.
Sardar Patel: A true Indian giant - Balraj Madhok, Mail Today
I met Sardar Patel on March 8, 1948, at his residence in New Delhi to apprise him of the worsening situation in Jammu & Kashmir. As the founder secretary of the Jammu-Kashmir Praja Parishad, I raised concerns of the minorities in the state and the impending loss of Muslimmajority regions of Gilgit, Baltistan and the so-called Azad Kashmir to Pakistan.
My Sardar vs yours - Shekhar Gupta, Indian Express
In this season of competitive absurdity it is tough to say which one is more ridiculous. The Congress claim that the legacy of Sardar Patel is too holy to be exploited for electoral purposes, or the BJP's literal giganticism in building a statue of the Iron Man in, what else, iron, and almost two and a half times the size of the Statue of Liberty.
Gujarat’s Muslims: in a politically correct trap? - Surjit S Bhalla, Indian Express
The debate about Narendra Modi's economic record has just gone international (perhaps even viral!). In an October 27 editorial, the prestigious New York Times stated in an editorial: "His rise to power is deeply troubling to many Indians, especially the country's 138 million Muslims and its many other minorities. His economic record in Gujarat is not entirely admirable, either."
Party in search of a Sardar - Rajesh Ramachandran, Business Line
Swami Vivekananda is by no stretch of imagination a Marxist or even remotely aligned to the economic or political thought of the German philosopher. But that did not stop the young Marxists of the Democratic Youth Federation of India, a frontal organisation of the CPI(M), to celebrate the Hindu renaissance hero in Kerala last year. Vivekananda justifiably belongs to the pantheon of religious leaders who recast Hinduism to suit the times.
Being Hindu Indian or Muslim Indian - Chetan Bhagat, Times of India
One is always apprehensive about writing a column on religion. Most Indians don't discuss it in public, fearing misinterpretation. The only people who talk about religion are passionate extremists. Consequently, in our society extremists control our religion and politics panders to this. Important religious issues are ignored in the process. One such issue is confusion that exists in the minds of youth about interpreting their own religion and its place in modern society.
The Indian state as a poor learner - Arun Maira, Mint
Nations progress by learning to do what they could not do before. In the nineteenth century, industrialization enabled Western countries to grow their economies at a much faster rate than others. In the twentieth century, industrialization propelled growth in Japan, Taiwan, and Korea. In the twenty-first century, China has lifted millions out of poverty by rapid industrialization. Industrialization is a process of countries learning to do more complex things than they could before.
SC order will loosen neta’s grip on bureaucrats - Pioneer
The Supreme Court's directives that civil servants must not take oral orders from the executive and that the Government should assure a fixed tenure for them, will go a long way in unshackling the bureaucracy from excessive political influence. While the impact of the rulings will not be limited to the Government in power and will have a bearing on successive regimes, the fact is that the court's intervention has come in the backdrop of a series of actions the Congress-led UPA and a few State Governments have taken to clip the wings of honest bureaucrats who dared to do the right thing.
Guide the ship to the shore - Gopalkrishna Gandhi, Hindustan Times
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was the most powerful man of his time. The Mahatma was the most respected, Jawaharlal Nehru the most loved and Subhas Bose the most longed-for. But in terms of the iron control he exercised over the largest political apparatus in the country and the grip he had on political currents and cross-currents in virtually every province in India, the power wielded by the Patidar from Karamsad, Gujarat, had no match. No near-match, either. Not by far.
Giving the Babu a spine - TN Ninan, Business Standard
By asking that braces and struts be provided from all sides, will the Supreme Court be able to buttress the civil service spine so that it stands straight instead of bending over backwards, forward and sideways? Somehow, I doubt it. First, it is not certain that governments will do what the court has ordered. If the legislation asked for is not passed in three months, whom will the court haul up? The chief minister, or the speaker? That could provoke a constitutional crisis.
Reddy for Trouble: CM Kiran prepares to stand his ground against the Congress and Telangana - Amarnath K Menon, India Today
Who will move first? The Congress party High Command or the defiant Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy?  Both sides are playing the proverbial cat and mouse game that is apparently nearing an end. Kiran Reddy is opposed to the bifurcation of the state and is bracing to go down fighting as the hero for Seemandhra or as some now describe him as the 'Samikyandhra Simham.'
Don’t feed on the intolerance of Patna bombers - Swapan Dasgupta, Times of India
Had the bomb planted just beyond the secure D-area of Patna’s Gandhi Maidan actually exploded last Sunday during Narendra Modi’s Hunkar rally, the country could well have been suffering the fallout of a colossal tragedy. It was plain lucky that the explosion, which would inevitably have resulted in a stampede and ensuing acts of violence, didn’t happen. Yet, it is a commentary on the growing bitterness of politics that the significance of this close shave has been deliberately underplayed. Indeed, attention has been sought to be willfully diverted from a sinister act of subversion.
Poverty falls fast for dalits and Muslims - Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar, ToI
During the period of fast economic growth in the 2000s, how did poor minorities fare? Some heartening answers have been provided in a Columbia University paper by Panagariya and More (Poverty by Social Religious and Economic groups in India and its Largest States, 1993-94 to 2011-12). Poverty has declined much faster for dalits and tribals than for upper castes or the overall population. And it has declined faster for Muslims than for Hindus or the national average.
A Congress Patel would've loathed - Rajesh Singh, Pioneer
The tussle between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party over Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel has had one significant fallout: It has compelled the ruling party at the Centre to publicly own up the Iron Man. For decades since independence and through its rule at the Centre, the Congress had steadfastly refused to accord Sardar Patel a status on par with Jawaharlal Nehru.
Nitish can smirk, but Modi is the winner - Kanchan Gupta, Pioneer
Let it be said, and said right away, that if the alleged Indian Mujahideen jihadis who planted more than 16 bombs in the stretch of Patna’s sprawling Gandhi Maidan where Narendra Modi addressed a mammoth public rally on October 27, are guilty of trying to trigger a stampede with catastrophic consequences, then Nitish Kumar is guilty of not preventing a situation that could have been used by assassins to target the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate.
Sins of emergency repeating themselves - Swapan Dasgupta, Pioneer
It is sad that Indian newspapers, unlike their British and American counterparts, have not yet digitised their archives. Had they done so, I would have been able to offer readers a selection of the choicest quotes from Professor KK Tiwari, once a Minister of Information and Broadcasting in Rajiv Gandhi’s Government.
Who is afraid of Narendra Modi? - Ram Jethmalani, Sunday Guardian
Before I proceed with my weekly piece, let me wish my readers a very Happy Diwali. May this Diwali truly usher in the victory of good over evil and bring peace and prosperity to our people and our country. Now, to my piece. Narendra Modi has created the political upheaval that I expected he would.
The vote is for 2014, not 1947 - MJ Akbar, Sunday Guardian
During a week when we pondered over the iron man of India, Sardar Patel, and remembered the iron lady, Mrs Indira Gandhi, a question kept flitting through my thoughts. Did the great Sardar dismantle the princely order of the British Raj only so that it might be replaced by a princely order of an Indian Raj?
New playground of terror is Bihar - Yatish Yadav, NewIndianExpress
Terror lives in the shadows like a hydra ever thirsty for the blood of innocents. It thrives in dusty outposts that time forgot, lurking in the claustrophobic alleys and back streets of small towns and the slums of cities, fed by the dark rhetoric of hate and nourished by the greed of power-hungry politicians and funded by Pakistan’s ISI. When one head is cut off, another rises in malignant reprisal.
Modi takes a leaf out of Congress book, plays politics of grief on enemy turf - Prabhu Chawla, NewIndianExpress
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi is known for his innovative epiphanies. His cannily choreographed rallies are the envy of many a corporate and political leader. NaMo has become a mantra, a mission and a model of governance. Offence is always his best defence. But he is on a course correction spree.
Modi escaped, Chandy did not, Rahul erred; we may be in for a season of violence - TJS George, NewIndianExpress
Will this election be the most violent in our history? There has never been so much hatred among political rivals as we see today. There is also a now-or-never desperation among aspirants to power. The result is a volatile atmosphere in which anything is possible. Almost all political parties have professional killer gangs at their disposal. Many have killers and kidnappers in their cabinets.
Historical fiction - Ashok Malik, Asian Age
India was fortunate to have the galaxy of political and social leaders it did in 1947. No country that emerged from the postwar process of decolonisation was even close to as fortunate. Many of the other nations born in the 1950s and 1960s had only one or two great leaders: a banyan tree and very little that grew under it.
Srikrishna panel: New state will lead to large-scale migration & social unrest - Manan Kumar, DNA
The controversial chapter of the Justice Srikrishna Commission report that was stashed away in a separate cover for being too direct and volatile reflects rather poorly on the state of education and predicts migration woes leading to conflicts social unrest and adverse impact on farming.
The threat to free speech - Arun Jaitley
The fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution of India are an integral part of the constitutional basic structure. They are un-amendable. The most pre-eminent out of the freedoms enshrined in Article 19 of the Constitution is the Right of free speech and expression. It is pre-eminent because unlike other fundamental rights which can be restricted on account of certain reasonable restrictions, the right to free speech cannot be restricted on the ground of any undefined reasonable restriction.
It is time to undo the combined blunders of Gandhi and Nehru - Sandhya Jain, Pioneer
As a conglomerate of once-impressive ideological and regional stalwarts (some still formidable in their respective States) met in the capital to explore the contours of a possible Third Front alliance for the 2014 general election, one noted the visceral hatred for the Gujarat Chief Minister across large parts of the political spectrum and associated fellow travellers. So primeval is the loathing that it must be motivated by deeper reasons.
History shows that Congress has often sidelined nationalist voices within the party - Hari Om, Pioneer
In the States of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Mizoram, and in Delhi, the election process is in full swing. New Governments will be in place after December 8. The crucial general election, which will undoubtedly be of the presidential type between BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and Congress’s undeclared prime ministerial candidate Rahul Gandhi, is also round the corner.
No reason to ban opinion polls - Indian Express
The Congress has deservedly invited widespread derision for telling the Election Commission that it thinks opinion polls should be banned. The EC had sought the views of all national parties on these surveys of the public mood. The Congress, which had supported opinion polls, suddenly reversed its position, declaring them unscientific and non-transparent.
Foreign policy: Delhi has fallen between many stools - C Raja Mohan, IE
It was a British diplomat, Henry Wotton, who famously said at the dawn of the 17th century that "an ambassador is an honest gentleman sent to lie abroad for the good of the country". The evolution of diplomacy over the last four centuries has, of course, made this dictum a lot less insightful. But Wotton remains right about one thing. Ambassadors must be honest men and women who must be truthful at home.
Decoding Narendra Modi-speech - Santosh Desai, Times of India
For a long time now, politicians in India have given speeches, and the world has gone about its business, without too much connection between the two. Till Narendra Modi came along. Now every speech he makes is covered live and in lingering detail by almost all channels and talking heads dissect his words with the certitude that only they are capable of.
Bharat too is India - Soumitro Das, Times of India
Rural primacy means that since the bulk of our electorate lives in the countryside, rural concerns and issues get priority over other, let's say, urban middle-class issues in politics. This is as it should be. Politicians should respond first to people who live their lives in almost constant distress and need the government much more than the urban middle-class does.
Protecting India’s steel frame - Mint
It is no secret that India’s once-powerful civil service is now a mere instrument in the hands of an increasingly erratic and unresponsive executive branch. A number of reform commissions and committees have reported on what needs to be done to arrest the country’s falling administrative standards. To no avail. The reports of various committees and commissions, including the most recent one—the Second Administrative Reforms Commission—are merely consigned to cupboards in secretariats.
Protecting babus from politicians - Sanjeev Ahluwalia, Business Standard
The Supreme Court has struck yet another blow for democracy by protecting babus from politicians. Not bad in itself, but puzzling in the context of the larger objective of protecting democracy. Democracy is all about citizens electing politicians to manage the "commons" and regulate the markets. A babu is merely an "ahlu" in the sabzi; employed as a technician to work objectively with any elected government, irrespective of ideology, translating broad political objectives into policy options and implementing the ensuing policy.
Ban on opinion polls would be an undesirable move - Business Standard
It is clear that, in spite of denials from the government, there is a momentum in the political class to ban opinion polls. A few months ago, Parliament was informed that the Election Commission had proposed that the results of opinion polls not be published or broadcast in the entire period between the notification of elections and the completion of the last phase of voting.
Who guards the guardians? - Percy S Mistry, Financial Express
Following revelations by the Assange-clone, Edward Snowden, of the scope of the US’s National Security Agency's (NSA) spying over almost everyone indiscriminately, the question that has plagued humanity through the ages, Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Who guards the guardians?), has become profoundly pertinent yet again! Oddly, Snowden is now regarded world-wide, especially by allies of the US, as a new (converted American-Russian) cyber-superhero protecting global democracy and freedom, rather than the embarrassing traitor that the US (and now only the US) insists he is.
Left’s anti-communal convention an exercise in irrelevance - Ajoy Bose, HT
The ‘People’s Unity Against Communalism’ convention held recently in New Delhi appears to have been an exercise in irrelevance. It was not a launching pad for a new political and electoral alliance as admitted by the convention’s organisers. Nor does it constitute a political bulwark to tame the communal beast that threatens to raise its ugly head once again in various parts of the country.
Debunking the ‘facts’ on Muslims and Narendra Modi - Asifa Khan & Zafar Sareshwala, FirstPost
When it comes to Narendra Modi, his detractors, it seems, have a licence to twist “facts” out of shape. A case in point is Christophe Jaffrelot’s article in The Indian Express of 7 November, where he suggests that even though Modi is trying to adopt a new “tone” on Muslims, the “facts from Gujarat tell another story.”
India must confront Rajapaksa's war crimes - Callum Macrae, Times of India
A few - depressingly few - Commonwealth leaders are currently agonizing about whether or not to attend CHOGM 2013 in Sri Lanka. The most important of those leaders is Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. But whichever way he falls on that question, an even bigger one looms - a question whose answer will be of existential significance to the Commonwealth itself.
UPA2 let PM down on foreign policy - Sanjaya Baru, Indian Express
Nobody talks of a "Singh doctrine", concluded The Economist (London) last month in a hasty review of Indian foreign policy, even though several learned essays have already been published on the subject. To be fair, though, given the missteps of the second UPA government, it is understandable that many are unable to decode a "doctrine" shaping India's wayward policy in recent years.
Supreme Court's order on civil servants will not result in radical change - Shailaja Chandra, Indian Express
The first prayer made before the Supreme Court by T.S.R. Subramaniam, a former cabinet secretary, and 83 others (including myself) was for setting up independent civil service boards (CSBs), which would, inter alia, prescribe fixed tenures for civil servants.
Be realistic on Pak, drop untenable assunptions - Shyam Saran, Indian Express
In August 1991, I was privileged to cover an important meeting between then Prime Minister Narasimha Rao and a special envoy of the Pakistani prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, Ambassador Shahryar Khan, in South Block. Shahryar Khan had brought a message of peace and friendship from his prime minister, significantly conveying that "India will see a qualitative change in the situation on the ground".
Congress rattled by results of opinion polls - Rajesh Singh, Pioneer
Let us assume that the Election Commission of India decides to play along with the Congress and bans opinion polls. Let us also assume that the political class ‘respects’ the election panel’s decision and goes along with it despite the reservations that quite a few parties have on the issue. What happens if the media — both the print and the electronic versions — defies the Election Commission’s directive and goes ahead with the surveys on the premise that it is not obliged to follow the commission’s directive that militates against the right to free speech? It would lead to a legal technicality.
Growth and inclusion - Business Line
That growth is the best antidote to poverty has been well established from the results of successive National Sample Surveys, including the last one for 2011-12. The Planning Commission has used this data to show that the rate of poverty decline between 2004-05 and 2011-12 was almost three times more than that between 1993-94 and 2004-05. The fact that the Indian economy grew by an average 8.3 per cent a year over the latter period, as against 6.2 per cent from 1993-94 to 2004-05, played no small part here.
Caged parrot or a poor man's Hercule Poirot? - Ruchika Chitravanshi, Bus Std
Meant for bigger things, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) ended up belittled by the highest court of the land as a "caged parrot", with nowhere to go. The agency's head Ranjit Sinha agreed with the observation. A closer look inside the metaphorical cage, however, reveals not a coy bird but a fairly industrious beast of burden.
The looming debate over drones - Praveen Swami, Hindu
The small, portly man was laid out in bed that autumn morning in 2009, wrapped in a shawl, the intravenous line in his arm carrying ever-waning hope that he might yet beat back acute diabetes and a crippling renal disorder. He had come home to his father-in-law’s home in the small village of Makeen just days earlier, family sources would later tell reporters, along the troubled South Waziristan Agency’s border with Afghanistan. He had just one last wish: to have a son.
Modi attempts a new tone towards Muslims - Christophe Jaffrelot, Indian Express
In 2002, during the election campaign that followed the Gujarat violence, Narendra Modi made at least one controversial speech targeting Muslims. On September 9, in Mehsana district, he described the relief camps where riot victims had been given shelter as "children producing centres" where the governing philosophy was "hum paanch, humare pachees". Eleven years later, the BJP's prime ministerial candidate has adopted a different tone.
The guns of November 2008 - Sunil Sethi, Business Standard
Do nations, like human beings, want to forget their worst nightmares? Public memory is often short, and from the viewpoint of unsuspecting victims trapped in terrorist attacks, there may be closure, even forgiveness, in the act of blocking out tragedy. But countries can't afford the same: the risks are too great, a recurrence of the stalking danger palpably high.
A more flexible design for allocation needed - Mahesh Uppal, Financial Express
The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) recently reiterated its proposals for the forthcoming auction of radio frequencies or spectrum for 2G wireless services. By mostly accepting them, the government will bring back bidders and break the impasse in the sector.
Indian Navy emerging as a major air force - Ajai Shukla, Business Standard
The Indian Navy is on its way to becoming a major air force, with the fleet air arm having achieved several landmarks this year. In May, the first MiG-29K squadron was commissioned at the INS Hansa in Goa, with 20 world-class Russian fighters. In August, the first indigenous aircraft carrier, the INS Vikrant, was launched at Kochi. Later this month, Russia will hand over the INS Vikramaditya, formerly the Admiral Gorshkov, which will supplement the INS Viraat to become the navy’s second aircraft carrier.
Political optimism over Modi outweighing the gloom on the economic front - R Srinivasan, Business Line
India watchers can be excused for turning schizophrenic. How else can they be expected to react, if, virtually simultaneously, they are presented with two wildly divergent views on the future prospects of the India Growth Story? On the one hand, one had a significant new report from investment bank Goldman Sachs, ‘Modi-fied’ its stance on India, upgrading it to marketweight (investment grade), on the premise that a possible win for a Narendra Modi-led BJP will result in a turnaround in sentiment — and an to 10 per cent jump in stock prices.
UPA's failed foreign policy - Ranabir Ray Choudhury, Business Line
This is a sad comment to make, but it does appear that the foreign policy of the two UPA governments over the past decades has been a failure. As ‘evidence’ we have the Prime Minister’s view, made public at the recent New Delhi conference of heads of Indian diplomatic missions, that his government was “seeking a “fundamental reset” in the foreign policy of the country.
The Mars mission, if successful, will put India in a vantage position in the space race - Dinesh C Sharma, DNA
The Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) launched successfully from the Satish Dhawan Space Station in Sriharikota on Tuesday afternoon is now set on a long journey to the Red Planet. The orbiter will find its way to Mars — some 400 million kilometres away — through a complicated and highly challenging trajectory. The orbiter will rotate around the earth several times and at designated points its speed will be increased gradually using an on-board propulsion system. 
Lessons from Rajiv: Congress must amend Modi’s security - Sanjay Singh, FirstPost
RPN Singh, Minister of state in Home Ministry has got his facts completely wrong. He is either not aware of the basic history of contemporary Indian politics, that too on issues concerning his own party icon, Rajiv Gandhi or in his over enthusiasm to denounce the BJP he chose to make a completely erroneous narration.
Mounting malaise in developed countries - Robert J Samuelson, Washington Post
By now, it’s obvious that the economic crisis is evolving into something bigger and, possibly, more ominous. The aftershock of the financial collapse and Great Recession has been so severe and stubborn that it has spawned profound political and psychological spillovers. Distrust of government and pessimism about the future are growing. There’s a mounting sense that governments have lost control over events. This fosters a broader alienation from authority.
If PM goes for CHOGM, UPA can forget about Tamil Nadu - G Pramod Kumar, FirstPost
Will Manmohan Singh attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) scheduled to be held in Colombo on 15 November? Will the UPA, as usual, cite diplomatic and geopolitical compulsions not to disappoint Sri Lanka even as political parties and the state government in Tamil Nadu continue their demand that India should boycott the meeting?
Jet-Etihad deal stinks - Pioneer
That the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation should have successfully pushed through the Jet-Etihad deal in the face of serious concerns which the Prime Minister's Office raised over the agreement, speaks poorly of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's hold on the Government. Two inferences can be drawn from the situation. The first is that the PMO, after having expressed reservations, was persuaded to tone down the criticism and allow the deal to go through.
Dragon leads India up the garden path - G Parthasarathy, Pioneer
Rarely in history has a country moved from rags to riches and from relative isolation to a power either feared or respected worldwide, in such a short time, as China has done, after Deng Xiaoping assumed the reins of power. Bent on overturning a Communist system which had perpetuated poverty and throwing the slogans of Marx, Lenin and Mao into the wastepaper basket, Deng proclaimed: “Poverty is not socialism. To be rich is glorious”. What followed were policies that produced a sustained, near double-digit annual growth rate, for over two decades.
Leaving it to the pros - Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Indian Express
What kind of a judgment is T.S.R. Subramanian and Ors vs Union of India? The judgment has been widely lauded for pushing civil service reform. Some of its suggestions may have a degree of merit, though their actual impact will probably be far less radical than supporters assume. But the more you read the order, the more disturbing it appears.
Watching the Watchmen - Janmejaya Sinha, Indian Express
Of late, investigative agencies have been in the news for the first information reports (FIRs) they have filed against many top industrialists, including Kumar Mangalam Birla and Naveen Jindal. Last year, all of Delhi was preoccupied with the agitation to pass a Lokpal bill with overwhelming power invested in said Lokpal and a (naive) belief that its introduction would stem corruption in India. 
Combining intelligence and policy - DC Pathak, Mail Today
Intelligence does not dictate policy, but it provides the substratum on which national security estimates rest. Our responses to security events at home, in our neighbourhood, or in the world at large cannot be in complete variance from our Intelligence assessments. A disconnect between the two should cause concern.
ISRO and its defence role - Pramit Pal Chaudhuri, Hindustan Times
India’s space programme has both strategy and stardust in its eyes. The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro), it is often forgotten, helped develop India’s strategic missiles and provided satellite and telecom support to the military.
India should boycott the CHOGM - Sankaran Krishna, Hindustan Times
Edward Said once observed, amid the growing Islamophobia of the West and the relentless Israeli drive to erase the conditions of its own emergence, that there was nothing else to do but keep stubbornly reminding everyone of the phenomenal injustice meted out to the Palestinian people.
Patel, Nehru and Big Business - Bhupesh Bhandari, Business Standard
Narendra Modi's recent observation that India's fate would have been different had Sardar Patel been the country's first prime minister, instead of Jawaharlal Nehru, has caused a stampede of public opinion. Differences between the two leaders were insignificant, some have said, and these actually proved healthy for the nascent democracy.
Samajwadi Party seems to have revived the riots business in UP - Abheek Barman, Economic Times
Last year, something remarkable happened in the electoral politics of India’s largest state, Uttar Pradesh, home to around 200 million people, the same as the entire population of Brazil. Yes, of course, the Samajwadi Party (SP) swept out rival Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) to seize power in Lucknow, but that is not the main point here.
Foreign Banks India Ltd - Business Line
By promising a more liberal policy for opening branches in return for converting themselves into companies registered in India, the RBI has given foreign banks a chance to expand their presence in the country even while subjecting them to greater regulatory oversight. Currently, foreign banks operate in India solely through branches of their parents incorporated in jurisdictions where Indian regulations have limited applicability. 
Conscience and cowardice - Shekhar Gupta, Indian Express
Before the prime minister decides — if there is still room for a decision — whether he should go to Colombo for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) or not, he needs to remember the weeks leading up to the election five years ago in the summer of 2009.
On Gujarat and Modi, mixing up numbers, slipping on facts - Piyush Goyal, IE
I was more amused than concerned after reading Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma's interview in The Indian Express ('BJP trying to set up a "battle between two leaders", says Anand Sharma', November 5), where he dished out half-truths in an attempt to buttress the Congress' flimsy criticism of the BJP and Narendra Modi. Surely, Sharma is entitled to his opinions, but not to his own set of facts.
Democracy’s memory cleansing - Dipankar Gupta, Times of India
Leaders who remember the past condemn others to live by it. Rahul Gandhi opened 1984 wounds when he recalled his grandmother's assassination. On the other side, Modi brought back Partition memories when he dusted Sardar Patel out of the closet.
Nitish's loss may be Modi's gain - Aditi Phadnis, Business Standard
The Nitish Kumar-led Bihar government is in unstable equilibrium and in serious danger. Internally, the chatter in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which was in alliance with Kumar till recently, is that the continuance of the current government is in Narendra Modi's hands - the government can fall when he wants it to fall. As no one else is in a position to form a government, a prolonged spell of President's Rule will follow. Of course, no one knows whether this will happen or not, or indeed, when. But Kumar is in retreat.
CoWs for trade - TN Ninan, Business Standard
The Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations is all but dead. Meanwhile, countries are busy signing bilateral and regional free-trade agreements - India has done so with South Korea and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), for instance, and is negotiating one with the European Union (EU).
The politics of economics - Business Line
Politics and economics are closely interconnected in any democracy. So it is perhaps no surprise that foreign brokerages and rating agencies are calculating how India’s political future — now that we are just months away from a general election — will determine its economic prospects. Goldman Sachs has made headlines for linking its bullish prognosis — upgrading the rating on Indian equities from ‘underweight’ to ‘marketweight’ — to the possibility of a “business-friendly” BJP government led by Narendra Modi.
Rahul Gandhi is right on Indian jihadists - Praveen Swami, Hindu
It began, if a story like this can be said to have a beginning, in the summer of 1985, as a great tide of hate washed over the decaying industrial city of Bhiwandi. They had gathered hoping to defend their community from riots: the small-time gangster, Muhammad Azam Ghauri, the ultra-pious Abdul Karim, the skilled doctor Jalees Ansari. The men would parade up and down the grounds of the Young Men’s Christian Association in Mumbai’s Mominpura, carrying lathis, doing drills borrowed from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s shakhas.
Ten questions you wish someone would ask Sachin Tendulkar - G Sampath, HT
From time to time, newspapers and magazines excrete massive interviews with the selfish-gene-cum-genius. And the general format remains the same as always: cleverly flattering questions followed by seriously vapid answers. Since I am in the enviable position of never having to call Sachin for a quote ever again... I would like to share a list of 10 questions that I have waited for somebody to ask him, in vain. If anybody can get him to answer these questions, I hereby publicly undertake to buy anybody a drink.
Mass appeal: why crowds come to hear Narendra Modi - Mike Collett-White & Sharat Pradhan, Hindustan Times
No matter that Narendra Modi's election rally on Friday was held in a field outside a remote town not far from the border with Nepal. Still they came, on foot, clinging to the back of tractors, crammed into rickety buses. In the end up to 50,000 people gathered before a stage decorated with the orange colours of Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), to hear the 63-year-old harangue the government and encourage them to dream of a better future.
Iqbal's vision was a forerunner to Taliban ideology - Tufail Ahmad, NewIndianExpress
On December 29, 1930, addressing the 25th session of All India Muslim League at Allahabad, Iqbal dismissed Indian nationalism as “false” and demanded a separate state for Muslims comprising northwestern provinces, now Pakistan. The Islamist thinker defined Islam as “an ethical ideal plus a certain kind of polity” which he explained as “a social structure regulated by a legal system and animated” by Islam. As India has emerged into a vibrant republic today as conceived by Gandhi, Nehru and Ambedkar, the malfunctioning state of Pakistan grew out of Iqbal’s vision.
New global trade pacts may cut out India, China - Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar, Economic Times
A new global trading system is being erected, almost unnoticed in India. One of its unstated aims is to check China's rise through economic discrimination. But it could end up discriminating against India too. 
Will Antony bite the bullet on critical but controversial missile deals with Israel? - Rajat Pandit, Times of India
Will defence minister A K Antony bite the bullet this time? An important meeting of the Antony-led Defence Acquisitions Council (DAC) is slated for Monday to consider two mega defence deals that are controversial but considered critical to plug operational military gaps.
US signals greater acceptance of Modi, putting 2002 behind - Chidanand Rajghatta, Times of India
The antagonistic official US view of Gujarat chief minister and BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is gradually being tempered, seemingly in the light of his frontrunner status to lead India. The subtle changes come amid continuing efforts by his expatriate fan base to exculpate him for the 2002 riots.
'Rs. 450cr on Mars trip is worth the money' - Mahendra Singh & Surojit Gupta, ToI
India's Mars Orbiter mission uses cutting edge technology which places it in the league of a handful of nations, a top official has said, and rejected criticism about the money spent on the programme. Former ISRO chief and Planning Commission member Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan said the spin off the Mars mission was huge for the country's progress.
Modi trusted for his vision of India's future - Swapan Dasgupta, Pioneer
In 2010, in a speech commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain that saw off the proposed Nazi invasion of Britain, David Cameron referred to his country as the “junior partner” of the mighty US during that battle. Needless to say, the British Prime Minister was wrong: The US did not join the war against the Axis powers in Europe until December 1941 when Hitler declared war in solidarity with Japan after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
Nehru, Patel and the cocky Nizam - Rajesh Singh, Pioneer
Ever since veteran Bharatiya Janata Party leader LK Advani wrote on his blog that Jawaharlal Nehru had called Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel a “total communalist” when the latter forcefully suggested military action against the Nizam of Hyderabad, charges have been flying thick and fast.
When a tree fell in Delhi - Utpal Kumar, Pioneer
In the land where Orwell was born,” writes Jaspreet Singh in his recent book, Helium, “1984 was never imaginary. In India, it was real.” And it was real in a most violent, revolting manner. For, that was the year which saw 3,000 Sikhs being massacred in Delhi just because the two assassins of Indira Gandhi were their coreligionists. Unfortunately, as we observe the 30th anniversary of this ghastly act, there’s complete silence about the pogrom.
UP is a failed state courtesy Akhilesh - Ram Jethmalani, Sunday Guardian
The state of Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state, sending 80 members to the Lok Sabha, is the kingmaker for any government formation in Delhi. In addition to being notorious for crime, casteism and corruption of the worst kind, it has also become the most communally violent state in India. According to official information released by the Ministry of Home Affairs, over 100 communal clashes occurred during the year 2012 in UP.
Nehru vs Patel: Ideological rift, hardly a trivial one - Rakesh Sinha, NewIndianExpress
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel has resurfaced in the politico-ideological discourse. Much of the debate, however, centres on who the real heir of his legacy is—the Congress or RSS—leading to a drift from historical accounts to political and polemical sloganeering. Fact is, Patel and Nehru represented two distinct ideological positions, personalities and worldviews. Prof. Rajni Kothari has rightly summed it up—their differences were indeed fundamental.
United roar of Tamil pride silences centre - MC Rajan & R Prince Jebakumar, NewIndianExpress
It’s Advantage Jayalalithaa. Again. The most vocal champion of Sri Lankan Tamils, the articulate Tamil Nadu Chief Minister has ensured that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s trip to the island nation to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) is all but off, cementing her position before the 2014 polls.
Let's talk about jobs - Rashesh Shah, Economic Times
Every time growth numbers move up or down a few percentage points or the industrial production data is announced, there is a frenzy of headlines and markets react violently. Yet what these numbers provide is only a part of the story. The most critical aspect of the story - jobs - is largely ignored.
The snag in the Singh doctrine - Rajesh Rajagopalan, Economic Times
One of the central problems with the Indian foreign policy has been its refusal to understand the role of power in international politics. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's speech at the meeting of Indian ambassadors about the five principles of India's foreign policy shows that this unfortunate tendency continues.
People want to move on, want good governance - Prakash Javadekar, Hindu
BJP’s national spokesperson, responding to the article “Narendra Modi and why 2002 cannot go away”, by N. Ram, published in The Hindu on November 6, 2013, says the Gujarat administration and the police were in no way complicit in the 2002 riots, and Mr. Modi has been able to reach out to the people, including Muslims, through “good governance.”
PM missing CHOGM a signal of foreign policy paralysis - Times of India
With the Congress red-flagging Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's participation at the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo out of populist electoral considerations, the country's foreign policy has hit an all-time low. Under pressure from the DMK as well as ministers within the government, a divided Congress core group has impressed upon the PM not to visit Sri Lanka.
How the government selects bank chiefs - Tamal Bandyopadhyay, Mint
The government cleared the appointment of Arundhati Bhattacharya as the chairperson of State Bank of India, the nation’s largest lender, a week after her predecessor Pratip Chaudhuri’s term ended. For one week, the corner office on the 18th floor of the State Bank headquarters on Madame Cama Road at Nariman Point, Mumbai’s business district, was not occupied but the bank’s four managing directors were running the show.
A new gold standard for imports - CK Venkataraman, Business Standard
Is there a win-win situation for gold imports? At the heart of this problem is the government's objective of containing gold imports to, say, 600 tonnes on an annualised basis against over 1,000 tonnes in 2011-12.
Arvind Kejriwal must know era of free utilities is over - Business Standard
Delhi's Assembly elections, which for the last few poll cycles were held a few months before the general elections, have often served as a bellwether of popular support in urban India. However, what has for a long time been a straight fight between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress has been complicated by the presence this time around of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) led by Arvind Kejriwal, which has made a strong start to the campaign. 
Minimum strangulation price - Business Line
It may seem strange that the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) has sought an enquiry into the “anti-competitive market behaviour” of state agencies in procurement of rice and wheat. The CACP’s mandate, after all, is to recommend minimum support prices (MSP) for crops to ensure reasonable returns to farmers. The Centre’s responsibility is to see that farmers receive the MSPs based on the CACP’s recommendations.
A very strange bull market - Aarati Krishnan, Business Line
Tuning into CNBC in the netherworld, big bull Harshad Mehta was gripped by sudden nostalgia. ‘‘Another bull run is on in India. The Sensex has hit 21,000 and here I am, missing all the action. I must check this out”, he said, teleporting himself straight to the Fort area in Mumbai.
Don’t blame Goldman. Solve Delhi-Gurgaon project instead - Subhomoy Bhattacharjee, Indian Express
Banks, which lent money for Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway will possibly lose more than 80 per cent of their money if the courts support the road regulator's contention that the project should be terminated. This is however a project, which does not need even high school math to show it has a powerful revenue stream. 
Sardar Patel would have been horrified by UPA's stand that Muslims have the first right on national resources - Balbir Punj, Pioneer
When Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said at a recent function in Ahmedabad that Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was secular, he, in fact, disowned the entire edifice of secularism put together by the secular pack of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, since independence. There is a vast difference between the concept of secularism that the Sardar professed and the one that has been practiced by the Nehru-Gandhi clan for the last 60 years.
Shoot the messenger: Does Congress want to impose another Emergency? - Meghnad Desai, Financial Express
When thousands crossed over from Pakistan to India on the advent of Partition, Delhi had a great problem accommodating the refugees. The authorities in charge did not have any idea how many people they were looking after. No one had the time or the facility to count. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru asked Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis, the great statistician, how could they estimate the numbers.
Why is India hosting CIA and Taliban? - Sandhya Jain, NitiCentral
By facilitating a meeting between America’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Afghan Taliban in Goa, the UPA Government seems to have unilaterally compromised India’s strategic interests in Kabul and its friendly relations with Tehran, besides ‘forgiving’ the Taliban for its dubious role during the hijack of Indian Airlines aircraft IC-814 by Pakistani terrorists in 1999. Although an obliging media has maintained discreet silence on the issue, the episode would be known to all major world capitals, particularly as Sartaj Aziz, advisor to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, was in New Delhi at the same time, meeting separatist leaders from Jammu & Kashmir.
When Delhi polls collide: India Today predicts BJP win - Lakshmi Chaudhry, FirstPost
“The India Today Group-ORG poll shows BJP is poised to win the elections with 36 of the 70 seats,” declares the latest Delhi poll survey, which touts BJP’s Harsh Vardhan as new “squeaky clean middle class icon” on the block. Despite his late anointment, the good doctor was named by 19 percent of the voters as the best CM candidate, trailing a mere three percent behind Kejriwal’s 22 percent.
Implementation of Rajan panel’s report on states will be suicidal for UPA - FirstPost
Q: What do you make of the FM’s statements? He said the Prime Minister has directed that the proposals be examined and necessary action be taken. The Ministry of Finance has been asked to take the necessary action but it is unclear how the Finance Commission will actually respond to this committee’s report. Let me return to a point I have made. If you compare the share that the north-eastern region will get as a result of the implementation of the Rajan committee’s formula with the three central transfers that are currently taking place.
Entry of AAP shows that politics can be rebooted - K K Kailash, IndianExpress
These assembly elections are marked by a lack of new ideas from the challengers. William Riker, one of the most original political scientists of our times, on­ce observed that the art of politi­cs is to find some alternative that beats the current winner. It follows that politicians will continually attempt to find ways to get the prefe­r­red outco­mes and results.
Had it not been for Sardar Patel - Karan Singh, IndianExpress
In view of the recent burst of interest in the media, I would like to recall the association that I was privileged to have, over six decades ago, with the great Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. In fact, had it not been for the Sardar, I would have spent the rest of my life in a wheelchair. In my youth I had developed a problem in my hip and had been confined to a wheelchair for many months. 
Congress displaying signs of desperation - A Surya Prakash, Pioneer
The I&B Minister wants to prosecute persons who “denigrated” the office of the Prime Minister. He must act on the most publicised denigration, when Rahul Gandhi threatened to tear up a Government ordinance. The mighty Congress, which is India’s oldest party and claims to represent people of all regions, religions, languages and cultures, appears to be totally shaken and bewildered ever since the Bharatiya Janata Party took the momentous decision to anoint Mr Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate,. It is already behaving like a bad loser.
'Nehru was the only leader of note not to attend Rajendra Prasad's funeral' - Ashok Jahnavi Prasad, Pioneer
The nomination of an interim President following the adoption of the Constitution had run into acrimony due to Nehru's correspondence with Rajendra Prasad. The Iron Man stepped in and brought matters to a satisfactory conclusion. This year, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s anniversary assumed special significance because of the unseemly spat that took place between Mr Manmohan Singh and Mr Narendra Modi at a function meant to commemorate the memory of this great man.
In search of India's Nate Silver - Karthik Shashidhar, Mint
A question that has come up with unfailing regularity on social media forums recently is: “Who is India’s Nate Silver?” For the uninitiated, Silver is an American election analyst who shot into the limelight in 2008 when he correctly called the results of the presidential elections in 49 of the 50 states. He did one better in the 2012 US presidential elections when he correctly predicted the results in all 50 states.
Kejriwal’s campaign is energetic, but he isn’t substantially different - Mint
Arvind Kejriwal’s politics and his political strategy for the forthcoming state assembly elections in Delhi are interesting. On Sunday, this former income-tax officer revved up his campaign with a Jhadu (broom) Chalao Yatra, and will cover Delhi’s 70 constituencies in a month’s time. Overall, his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has continued to stick with its original platform—anti-corruption—that gained prominence in the past year or so. This was the result of the largely urban campaign to get a new Lokpal Bill.
India Is Lackadaisical on Terror - Sadanand Dhume, Mint
As India approaches the fifth anniversary of the Mumbai terrorist attacks, its government may be tempted to pat itself on the back for a job well done. By Mumbai’s grisly benchmark—166 people killed by 10 Pakistani gunmen—the past five years have been marked by relative calm.
Defence production: Of whipping boys and holy cows - Ajai Shukla, Business Standard
When it comes to explaining why the military still makes do with substandard equipment even though India remains the world's largest defence importer, we have a handy whipping boy. Rather than confronting the complex planning, policy and structural issues that block indigenous weaponry, we just aim a kick at the Defence Research and Development Organisation, or DRDO.
Has the UPA already given up? - Rasheeda Bhagat, Business Line
Has the UPA government conceded defeat a good five months before the 2014 General Elections? And accepted that the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, is giving it sleepless nights? It would seem so if you take the recent statements made in quick succession by two of its ministers, both from the Congress. Last week Jairam Ramesh, Minister for Rural Development, gave a pretty good hint of the defeatist mood within the Congress echelons in his interview to Reuters.
Why Western criticism of India’s Mars mission is blatant racism - Balaji Viswanathan, FirstPost
India has now successfully launched its mission to Mars. The mission was achieved at an extraordinary low price tag of $74 million – one-tenth of what a similar mission would cost NASA or ESA. If this successfully reaches Mars, India will be the first country to have the Mars mission succeed on the first try.
My experience of living in Modi's Gujarat - Dr Vathsala Mani
I’m a 72 year old South Indian Brahmin lady – not belonging to Narendra Modi’s caste, I must mention in these days of caste-ridden mindsets – just survived the attack of the Emperor of Maladies, cancer that I have been suffering from for the past two years.  I have no expectation from life for myself, even if Modi were to become the Prime Minister of the country.  But I want the teeming millions of my compatriots, especially the younger generation, to learn that there is another side of the Modi story than the one they get bombarded with from anti-Modi industry.
Congress beyond dynasty - Ramachandra Guha, Times of India
On May 8, 1964, Indira Gandhi wrote to her friend Dorothy Norman that "the whole question of my future is bothering me. I feel i must settle outside India at least for a year or so..." She was thinking of moving to the United Kingdom where both her sons were then studying. In the event, her father, Jawaharlal Nehru, died before the month was out. 
ISI printing fake notes outside Pak - Rakesh K Singh, Pioneer
Pakistan’s ISI has diversified printing of fake Indian currency notes (FICN) to Malaysia and Singapore in its bid to deny involvement in the illegal trade. The Pakistani agency is also using the fake currency to fund Naxal outfits and insurgent groups in the North-East. Earlier, FICN was printed only in Lahore and Indian Intelligence agencies have gathered details of the location, the printing facility and the ISI and Pakistan Army officials running the show in Lahore.
Chhattisgarh says a big no to Maoists - Pioneer
The people of Chhattisgarh deserve to be congratulated for defying the Maoists and turning up in large numbers to exercise their franchise in the first phase of the State's Assembly election. Of the 18 constituencies that went to the poll on Monday, as many as 13 were in the districts of Bastar and Rajnandgaon, bang into the country's Red terror corridor. Yet, voter turnout registered a high of 67 per cent, with some constituencies such as Chief Minister Raman Singh's home turf Rajnandgaon moving as far up as 81 per cent.
India at risk: Makes you question, think - Ashok K Mehta, Pioneer
Service chiefs were raring to have a crack at Pakistan after the Parliament attack, but strategic restraint won the day. Jaswant Singh’s new book elaborates on this incident and on other contentious issues. The partition of India and the occupation of Tibet by China are at the heart and root of our current national security challenges.
Chhattisgarh's turnout has a heartening message - IndianExpress
As Chhattisgarh wound up the first phase of polling, across 18 constituencies of Bastar and Rajnandgaon, the affirmation rang loud and clear: even in a Maoist-created climate of intimidation, most people deeply value their vote. Hundreds of thousands of voters poured into polling booths to exercise their franchise. Even as a corrosive cynicism about politics seems to have become the fashion in metropolitan India, Chhattisgarh voters have sustained its turnout at a heartening 67 per cent.
Narendra Modi, historian - Vivek Dehejia, Mint
Narendra Modi has unleashed a firestorm of criticism for his recent suggestions that, for instance, Sardar Patel might have made a better prime minister than Pandit Nehru or that Congress leaders bear responsibility for the partition of undivided India. Nugatory factual lapses and his fixation on large-scale statuary aside, Modi’s interrogation of the received, hegemonic narrative that has been promulgated by the Congress is a welcome development...
Sonianomics and Rahul-flation: the price we pay for dynasty - R Jagannathan, FirstPost
With consumer price inflation hitting 10 percent once again in October 2013, it is crystal clear that UPA-2 has imposed heavy costs on the Indian citizen. A government that claims dedication to the welfare of the aam aadmi has managed to break his back by imposing the worst form of taxation on the poor: high and recurring inflation.
In Colombo, we will stand up for our beliefs - David Cameron, Times of India
The meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government this week is a unique gathering — representing 53 sovereign countries, a third of the world's population and 20% of the global economy. It is a purely voluntary club, bound together by shared history, deep and diverse links between our peoples and — at our best — strong common instincts about the importance of open societies and open economies.
Sonia Vs Modi: Who is the real divisive leader? - R Jagannathan, FirstPost
The emergence of Sonia Gandhi on the electoral maidan in Chhattisgarh in the final stages of campaigning allows us to examine two larger questions that everyone has been talking about: who is India’s really divisive leader, and what is the real successful model for an Indian politician? Her aggressive language against the BJP and Narendra Modi in a state which has actually implemented her pet food security project competently is part of a well-thought-out plan to hide who the really divisive leader in India...
A letter Rahul Gandhi didn't write to Manmohan Singh - Jaithirth Rao, IndianExpress
I want to bring to your attention the current nonsensical travel policy of our government. Our great scientific genius, Shri Jairam Rameshji, after consulting various hysterical NGOs rather than scientists, has come to the conclusion that Bt Brinjal should be banned both in India and Bharat. He has also ensured with his usual brilliance that all other GM-Bt food crops will not be grown in our great country
The garb of policy-making - Hindu
Facing a series of corruption charges, some of them borne out by audit reports and police probes, the last thing that the United Progressive Alliance regime would want is to reinforce in the public mind the image of being a government that seeks to restrain independent agencies from going behind its policies and decisions to look for evidence of wrong-doing.
UPA has let India down - Vir Sanghvi, Hindustan Times
When the history of this period of Indian politics is written, October 2013 will be remembered as the month when the intelligentsia and the commentariat decided that it was inevitable that Narendra Modi would become the next prime minister. Till October, opinions were divided and doubts were often expressed. Would the BJP win enough seats on its own? Would Modi be acceptable to allies? Wasn’t a Third Front a more likely outcome? And so on.
Don’t Sup With the Devil: India hasn’t learned from its mistakes - Brahma Chellaney, Economic Times
The image of then External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh – after having just chaperoned three terrorists to freedom – walking hand-in-hand with the Taliban regime’s foreign minister, Mullah Wakil Ahmed Mutawakil, on the runway at Kandahar Airport in late 1999 still haunts. Now, FM P Chidambaram has greeted Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef in Goa. 
PM, FM criticise CBI, but what of the govt's own inaction? - Business Standard
At a conference organised by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in New Delhi this week, the agency received two successive rebukes from the highest level of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. First, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that the agency must exercise "caution" when it is investigating policy decisions, and learn to differentiate between those that had mala fide intent and those that were genuine errors of judgement. He added that "some decisions which appear sensible ex-ante may ex-post turn out to be faulty".
Probing one of its own: Supreme Court faces litmus test of a lifetime - Pioneer
Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam has done well to initiate an inquiry into the allegation of a former law intern that she was sexually harassed by a sitting judge of the apex court. The accusation was made earlier this month in a blog hosted on the legal website, Journal of Indian Law and Society, and was brought to the Chief Justice's attention on Tuesday after it was reported in the media. He lost no time in responding to the grave issue; that very day he set up a three-member probe panel to look into the charges.
Congress: The more it sinks, the more it stinks - Gautam Mukherjee, Pioneer
The Congress's inexorable slide down the slippery slope of power, curiously seems to be stirring up its more irrational and authoritarian tendencies rather than leading to any significant soul-searching. The apex of the UPA Government seems to get agitated lately whenever there is criticism coming its way — from any quarter whatsoever. It is having great difficulty with losing its grip on power after nearly 10 years.
How Sardar Patel tackled the 'Hyderabad Cancer' - Rajesh Singh, Pioneer
Sardar Patel’s resolve to teach the Nizam of Hyderabad a lesson made him unleash a flurry of actions that culminated in the obstinate ruler’s surrender. KM Munshi, then India’s Agent-General in Hyderabad, provides a definitive account of the events in one of his books. The Hyderabad Nizam’s fate was sealed in December 1947 when Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel asked his confidant and lawyer KM Munshi to assume charge as India’s Agent-General in Hyderabad.
CHOGM: Cameron talks tough to Colombo, India sings old Tamil welfare tune - G Pramod Kumar, FirstPost
Sri Lanka has reached “nowhere near enough improvement” even after four years since the defeat of the LTTE, and the country must account for the past and respect human rights today, according to British Prime Minister David Cameron. Colombo as the location of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) gives the member countries an “opportunity to raise our concerns clearly and directly — and to focus the eyes of the world on Sri Lanka,” he said. “Together we must say clearly to the government of Sri Lanka — our hosts — that there must be accountability for the past and respect for human rights today.”
Shadows over Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka - Charles Haviland, BBC
The streets of Colombo are glistening for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (Chogm). But controversy still rages over war crimes allegations, press freedom, judicial independence and the safety of minorities. The BBC's Charles Haviland reports on the rights issues that refuse to go away. New fountains are flowing, there are new pavements and new street lamps have been constructed. A motorway has just opened linking the airport to Colombo for the first time.
Dear Mr Cameron, India’s plumbers are better than Polish ones - Dhiraj Nayyar, FirstPost
An ardent cricket fan, UK Prime Minister David Cameron would know the metaphor of batting on a sticky wicket. It is a difficult, unpleasant exercise. Cameron’s India visit, his third as Prime Minister, has coincided (perhaps not entirely coincidentally) with a raging debate on immigration back home. Wickets in the UK don’t get stickier than that.
Modi’s campaign far more successful than sceptics predicted - Vir Sanghvi, Hindustan Times
When the history of this period of Indian politics is written, October 2013 will be remembered as the month when the intelligentsia and the commentariat decided that it was inevitable that Narendra Modi would become the next prime minister. Till October, opinions were divided and doubts were often expressed. Would the BJP win enough seats on its own? Would Modi be acceptable to allies? Wasn’t a Third Front a more likely outcome? And so on.
CNN mixes fact with fiction, insults India - Bharat Barai, NitiCentral
India’s so called exotic charm has long captured the minds of chroniclers, writers, scholars and several others living overseas. The products of this exotic charm has always been mixed – we either see engaging commentaries or we are driven towards the ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ kind of discourse where India’s poverty, the street gangs, etc, are glorified. However, a new low was scripted when Katrina Lantos Swett and Mary Ann Glendon penned a rather half-baked and deplorable CNN blog post, which talked about ‘religious tensions’ simmering across India.
Is Modi’s fascination for Sardar Patel new and phony? - Part I - Madhu Purnima Kishwar, Manushi
All hell broke loose when Modi announced that the Gujarat government was going to honour the memory of Sardar Patel by building the tallest statue in the world, to be named “Statue of Unity” – wrought with melted iron from the used agricultural implements of farmers collected from each and every village of India -- to honour the role of Patel in bringing together hundreds of princely states to be part of the Union of India. The Congress Party and its allies went ballistic, alleging that Modi was misusing the name of a “Congress leader” for partisan ends, that Modi’s new found love for Patel was phony.
Naveen Patnaik: Dark horse rising - Neerja Chowdhury, Times of India
The 2014 mother of all battles is increasingly becoming a fight between Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi. And yet, as things move, the post-poll scenario may well become a toss-up between a Modi-led BJP and a Congress — and Left — supported Third Front, or a variant. As of now, the prospects of a Congress-led UPA-III do not look promising.
A question of accountability - S Narayan, Hindu
Two recent events have focussed attention on the relationship between the political executive and public servants. At the international conference on corruption organised by the Central Bureau of Investigation on November 11, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urged that if there was no evidence of wrong-doing, there should not be any presumption of criminality. He also said that Section 13 d (3) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, introduced when P. Chidambaram was the Minister for Personnel two decades ago, would be removed.
Whose tribunal is it anyway? - Prabha Sridevan, Hindu
Delivering the V.M. Tarkunde Memorial lecture on “An Independent Judiciary” in November 2011, Ruma Pal, a former Judge of the Supreme Court, said: “In a Kalidas-like action of cutting the branch of the Constitutional tree on which the judiciary is sitting and what in less picturesque language one can describe as a judicial sell-out to the Executive, the Supreme Court has upheld the legislations establishing tribunals in a number of decisions subject to certain ‘adjustments’ in the law which are more in the nature of sops to the concept of judicial independence rather than an assertion of it.”
Ten reasons chess may never make it as a spectator sport - Finlo Rohrer, NYT
The current World championship between Norwegian prodigy Magnus Carlsen and defending champion Viswanathan Anand is a rare moment when the spotlight is on the world of chess. At these high-profile moments the same question is asked: Can chess ever truly make it as a spectator sport? Here are 10 reasons why it might not.
Real estate reforms: Lessons from Campa Cola colony - Business Standard
The Supreme Court’s stay till end-May next year of its own order regarding the demolition of extra, illegal floors in Mumbai’s posh Campa Cola colony is unlikely to end what has been a contentious episode even by the standards of Mumbai’s troubled real estate sector. The visuals of residents resisting the bulldozers and town officials carrying out their lawfully appointed work had moved the judges, according to reports: the Bench said that “we were badly disturbed by the events reported by the media last evening”.
Competition in abusing Modi is now the sycophantic karma of the Congress - Ravi Shankar, NewIndianExpress
In theatre, the theme is the soul of the story, which moves the gallery to claps or catcalls. Like every play, elections, too, have a theme. In India’s first election, it was newfound national pride. Others followed as the decades rolled by: poverty and war in the 1970s, assassination and corruption in the 1980s, religion in the 1990s and development in the Noughties. In this grimly fought, cacophonically vicious election, where the Congress party is combating extinction, Narendra Modi is fighting for New Delhi job and the regional parties are testing their scales for the best pounds of flesh, the leitmotif is invective.
Suddenly Rajan bats on front foot - MC Govardhana Rangan & Shaji Vikraman, ET
Raghuram Rajan did something unusual on Wednesday, unusual for a Reserve Bank of India governor that is - persuade the market to see things the way he did. And the markets did as he wanted - reacted positively.
Why Rajan is right on the Economy - Economic Times
Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan has correctly predicted a current account deficit (CAD) that will be sharply lower than the near-$88-billion figure for last year.
Junk the Real Estate Bill, it makes no sense - Shirish B Patel, Economic Times
The government's Real Estate Bill, 2013, seeks to set up a regulatory authority to protect consumers and promote the real estate sector. It will effectively do neither. All it mandates is that projects above a certain size are registered on the authority's website; and that real estate agents dealing with such projects are also registered.
The old familiar - Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Indian Express
Across Asia, the major powers are gearing up for the next set of challenges. In Japan, Abenomics promises to shake up a trapped economy. In China, the recently concluded Communist Party plenum outlined a series of steps, such as market oriented reform, reducing inequality, tackling overcapacity, freeing up rural land markets, environmental goals, to make the country's growth sustainable.
'China won't like it': Refrain of UPA's foregn policy - C Raja Mohan, Indian Express
China won't like it." That has been a consistent refrain of the UPA government and the Congress party in shaping India's recent foreign policy. New Delhi's self-induced fear of provoking China has restricted the pursuit of beneficial engagement with other major powers and Asian neighbours. India's self-denial is hardly consistent with its proclamations on "strategic autonomy".
'Fear' of opinion polls - Rajdeep Sardesai, CNN-IBN
In the land of astrologers and soothsayers, it is faintly amusing to see our politicians in a lather over opinion polls. The very netas who plan their lives according to the stars are now choosing to call the polls "unscientific"! Barely five months ago, when the polls were predicting a Congress win in Karnataka, the party which now wants polls banned was praising their accuracy.
A road to development - Nirvikar Singh, Financial Express
How can government promote economic development? This is a perennial question, and it has not gone away with the collapse of the Soviet model 20-plus years ago. The debate often becomes acrimonious and ideological, but through it all, one can be hopeful about the accumulation of experience and understanding. The road from experience to understanding is not straightforward, and requires rigorous analysis of data.
Choking on CHOGM? - Srinath Raghavan, Asian Age
The Prime Minister’s decision not to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Colombo has occasioned plenty of critical commentary. The government has been lambasted for selling out India’s interests in the marketplace of political expediency. Underpinning this criticism is a set of assumptions about how India ought to deal with Sri Lanka. 
Changes in SC/ST Act will increase fissures in society - Abantika Ghosh, IE
A day after the cabinet, despite objections of two senior ministers, approved amendments to the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act that make mere knowledge of the victim's SC/ST status sufficient to establish the perpetrator's guilt, it has come under criticism. Lawyers, former cops, politicians and academics slammed the move.
Thanks to Modi, Sardar Patel lives again - and 'true secularism' is discovered - TJS George, NewIndianExpress
Our scientists lift us up to Mars, our politicians drag us down to the pits. The cameras on Mangalyaan will not make our dogfighting parties look any better. Not when Sardar Patel himself is turned into a battle axe to hit one another with. Narendra Modi’s bid for the legacy of Sardar Patel is understandable. But trying to win it by erecting the world’s biggest statue is condemnable. Size is not substance. More importantly, the politics of the Patel statue is divisive and it will diminish India.
Toothless foreign policy of PM - Bharat Karnad, NewIndianExpress
Optics are often as, if not more, important than the contents of foreign policy in an age of instant impact and political reverberations. Despite rendering seminal help and material assistance to the Mahinda Rajpaksa regime to eliminate the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and close out the civil war in Sri Lanka, India finds itself on the outs with Colombo.
If it may please the Supreme Court - Arun Mohan Sukumar, Hindu
The tragedy of a legal education is that it prepares you to be a free-spirited being in a regimented world. If John Grisham novels — where the protagonist wins “justice” after a gripping courtroom drama — got you hooked to the law in the first place, chances are law school will nurture that idealism to tell you how the world should be , not how it is .
First hand account of Nehru-Patel differences over Hyderabad action - LK Advani
On the eve of Sardar Patel’s birth anniversary last year, that is, on October 30, 2012, the Pioneer of New Delhi published a news report which said that following some sharp comments made by Prime Minister Nehru in which he disapproved Sardar Patel’s decision to send the Army into Hyderabad, Sardar Patel walked out of an important Cabinet Committee meeting.
Or else, Modi - Shekhar Gupta, Indian Express
The first person to call me that September morning in 2002 was a friend who had been present at a political (NDA) dinner the previous night and said I was under attack there from many BJP ministers. Apparently, the only ones to rise to my defence instinctively were Sushma Swaraj and Arun Shourie, also members of the Vajpayee cabinet.
Economic performance, poll test - Surjit S Bhalla, Indian Express
The Indian economy is in very bad shape; we know that. Also, state elections are here and national elections will be in a few months. A heady mixture. Somewhat surprisingly, but interestingly, the Congress party and its ministers have decided that they will fight economic fact with economic fact and show that the Congress's economic record over the last 10 years has not only not been bad, but the best that the Indian economy has enjoyed, ever. 
Cheap rupee delivers, again - TN Ninan, Business Standard
In March 2012, the rupee was about 51 to the US dollar - not much cheaper than it was a decade earlier. Through the latter half of 2012, exports continued to fall and soon the deficit on the current account (the sum of all trade, in both goods and services) was more than six per cent of GDP - over twice the danger level, and never reached before. The rupee came under pressure, reaching 54 by March 2013, then dropping to 57 in June and nearing 60 by mid-July - in part also because signals about a change in the US monetary stance encouraged an outflow of money.
INS Vikramaditya settles the aircraft carrier debate - Ajai Shukla, Bus Std
INS Vikramaditya, to be commissioned as an Indian Navy warship at Severodvinsk, Russia on Saturday, will be the navy's second aircraft carrier, supplementing the venerable INS Viraat. With INS Vikrant, being built in Cochin Shipyard, due to join the fleet by 2015, the navy continues the tradition of sea control through aircraft carriers, inherited from the Royal Navy.
Telecom: Lowering base prices is not a scam, it’s good economics - FE
Though the Telecom Commission has broadly okayed Trai recommendations on the auction reserve price after hiking them by upto 25%, BJP leader—and former finance minister—Yashwant Sinha’s letter to the prime minister on the brewing scam could well give the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) pause.
A game of Chinese checkers - G Parthasarathy, Business Line
Rarely in history has a country moved from rags to riches and from relative isolation to a power either feared or respected, as rapidly as China. The process began after Deng Xiao Ping assumed the reins of power. Bent on overturning a Communist system which had perpetuated poverty, and all but throwing the slogans of Marx, Lenin and Mao into the wastepaper basket, Deng proclaimed: “Poverty is not socialism. To be rich is glorious”.
The blackmail before partition - Balbir Punj, NewIndianExpress
Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh is the latest politician to absolve the Muslims from the responsibility of having forced a bloody partition of the country in 1947. Of course Mulayam’s assertion is a part of party propaganda in an election season. And propaganda cannot be a substitute for history.
Dynasty in decline as India Modifies itself - Kanchan Gupta, Pioneer
The idea of Dynasty as representative of a maai-baap sarkar, whether we like it or not, retains a certain appeal among the under-classes, more so in far-flung areas where people lead isolated lives and are still dependent, if they can afford it, on Doordarshan and All India Radio for information. Many do without even that; concerns of the chattering classes are irrelevant for the under-classes. That’s how the Congress has willed it for more than six decades, creating a vast vote-bank of impoverished masses whose ignorance is converted into political capital at the time of elections.
From Sachin, to all - Indian Express
All my friends, settle down, let me talk, I will get more and more emotional. My life — between 22 yards for 24 years — it is hard to believe that that wonderful journey has come to an end. But I would like to take this opportunity to thank people who have played an important role in my life. Also, for the first time in my life, I am carrying this list, to remember all the names in case I forget someone.
The Congress leadership is in denial - Chetan Bhagat, Times of India
Not so long ago, the Congress seemed invincible. Rahul Gandhi was a youth icon. The people loved Manmohan Singh and were in awe of his impressive CV. Meanwhile, the BJP was in a shambles, with more infighting than members and more PM candidates than seats in Parliament. 
Sachin: For team or for self? - Sumit Chakraberty, Tehelka
Sachin Tendulkar showed early on in his career that he could carry the team on his young shoulders. He curbed his natural attacking game to bat out the last day at Old Trafford and save a Test match for India which had seemed all but lost. It was an innings of rare maturity from a cherubic figure all of 17 years old, and signalled the arrival on the world stage of a prodigious talent. It was the first of many individual milestones too, but on this first occasion, the milestone was incidental.
What killer vegflation means for India's economy -- and its politics - Shreekant Sambrani, Business Standard
Eat your greens!" mothers used to sternly admonish reluctant children. "Don't ask for greens!" harried Indian mothers might well plead these days. The once-lowly vegetables have been mightily influencing inflation. As everyone knows now, their prices rose 46 per cent in October as compared to a year before, and a 35 per cent increase in September. That has made double-digit food inflation a standard feature of our economic history now for the sixth year. Consumer prices have now nudged past the 10 per cent mark as well.
Modi is getting his message through - Tavleen Singh, Indian Express
Narendra Modi said some very important things in his speech in Chhattisgarh last week, but they escaped the notice of political pundits and did not make newspaper headlines or TV prattle. Unless you actually watched the whole speech, you would not know that he said anything other than that if Sonia Gandhi was sick she should give Rahul charge of fulfilling the election promises the Congress made in the last general election.
There’s no need to turn Sachin into a deity - Palash Krishna Mehrotra, Mail Today
It could have been the worst anticlimax in the history of Indian cricket: Sachin's swan song - a two-match goodbye series especially organised for him, and he is given out lbw in the first test, a terrible decision. Dhoni knew that the crowds had come for Sachin.
For Patel, nation first, creed later - Rajesh Singh, Pioneer
It would be a mockery of history if we gloss over the serious differences that existed between Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, just as it would be petty to ignore the profound respect that the two shared for each other.
Modi must give India the change it wants - Swapan Dasgupta, Pioneer
Those who are pathologically allergic to the Gujarat Chief Minister aren’t those who chew paan and spit venom against someone who began life selling tea on a railway platform in Gujarat. No, a pointless remark that Modi’s origins would rule him out from the Prime Minister’s post would never escape their lips. The real detractors of Modi wouldn’t provide him such a wonderful propaganda handle — one that would prompt an automatic unity of the less privileged.
To be Hindu is not communal - Ram Jethmalani, Sunday Guardian
Hindu disunity has always been the delight of its enemies, and often, it would appear of itself. Our history has been cruel to us, but by and large, our failures and our defeats are directly attributable to the disunity and treachery within ourselves. Start from Alexander's victory and King Ambhi, to Jaichand and Ghori, Jagat Seth and Clive, Rani Laxmi Bai and the Scindias.
States bolster Modi’s pan-India image - Aakar Patel, Asian Age
The coming Assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Prad­esh, Delhi and Chhattisgarh will set the tone for the 2014 general elections. Will the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi be a factor in them? To answer this, first let’s look at the position of the two major parties in the states. The BJP is sweeping Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, according to a consensus in the opinion polls.
Patel and Nehru viewed secularism differently - Vivek Gumaste, Hindustan Times
As a resurgent BJP and an edgy Congress trade barbs related to past events, each accusing the other of mangling historical facts and staking an exclusive claim to Sardar Patel’s legacy, there is one element in this wrangling that merits elaboration: Patel’s supposedly communal inclination and Nehru’s disapproval of the same.
Crumbling police force, callous political class - Joginder Singh, Pioneer
Terrorism is a virus that is spreading across India. When under attack, most State Governments behave like cornered pigeons that close their eyes hoping that the cat will not see them. The other problem is that the fight against terrorism is mixed with politics, especially, when elections are around the corner. Bihar is one State where terrorists have struck twice this year in a big way.
What the Constitution really says about forming new states - K Vivek Reddy, IE
India has often been described as an "indestructible union with destructible states". It is this power to reorganise the state of Andhra Pradesh and create a Telangana state that is now being contested. Despite the fairly clear process stipulated in the Constitution for creating a new state, the opponents of Telangana, including the chief minister, have invoked the Constitution to oppose its creation. This deserves close scrutiny.
Sachin: The long goodbye - Santosh Desai, Times of India
Sometimes, a purer, deeper, more truthful script emerges from the one that has been carefully written and blows us away. Sachin’s farewell party has been some months in the making and a lot went into contriving a big finish. A new series was hastily put together, an appropriate team was found (unthreatening but not a rank minnow), Sachin’s last test was also to be his 200th, a nice fat round number to end things with and finally the venue was Mumbai, his home ground, so that his mother could finally see him play.
An open letter to Rahul - Arvind Panagariya, Times of India
China soon after the import licensing on consumer goods was terminated in 2001. But with a workforce of almost half billion and significantly lower per-capita income, we should not be outcompeted in labour-intensive manufactures by China in either the domestic or world market.
The state of the state - Subir Gokarn, Business Standard
Whether the state, as an institution, is doing the right things and has the capacity to do them are fundamental questions in a liberal democracy. As India approaches the next general election, these are particularly significant questions. However, the articulation is as yet fuzzy and needs to get sharper if it is to translate into a meaningful strategy.
China carries out reforms once again; India is a study in contrast - Mint
Every decade or so, when China changes its top leadership, significant reforms—both economic and social—are not far behind. At a four-day meeting of its leadership, which ended on Friday, a slew of reforms, among them key political and social ones, were announced. The contrast with India’s inability to undertake meaningful changes is instructive.
The Geopolitics of the Gregorian Calendar - Stratfor
When England adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752, some 170 years after it was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII, Benjamin Franklin wrote, "It is pleasant for an old man to be able to go to bed on Sept. 2, and not have to get up until Sept. 14." Indeed, nearly two week