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India in the age of bread and circus - Siddharth Singh, Mint
It is the age of powerlessness at the Centre. For all practical purposes, a lame duck Manmohan Singh is presiding over a system where chief ministers call the shots. Nearly a dozen chief ministers, led by Mamata Banerjee, may have just ensured the freezing of the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC). And if any proof of the Union government’s weakness was required, the Prime Minister provided it himself. Read Full Article››
Thank You Narendra Modi - Rev. Valson Thampu, Niticentral
Last night I slept well. Because of you. I want to thank you for what you said in the Parliament. And the way you said it. It was exorcism of sorts. Demons must flee so that humans can remain. And normalcy return.  You spoke with a sort of ritualistic vehemence. Nothing less would have sufficed. Every word was in the right place. It is long since we, as Indians, heard anyone proclaim, “The Constitution is our scripture” or “The welfare of all is our religion”. I believe firmly (and I have been, for long, one of your critics as you know)...
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Suresh Prabhu, the Railway star - TN Ninan, Business Standard
We have a new star in the government, and his name is Suresh Prabhu. If you want to read an intelligent, purposeful, well-crafted speech that conveys clarity of thought even as it brims over with ideas and policy initiatives on every front, please read Thursday’s railway budget speech. Compare it with the speeches of previous railway ministers, with their endless lists of new train services, and you will immediately see the difference between political posturing and a professional, organizational approach.
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My land is more vital than your national project - Sandip Sen, Economic Times
My farm land is non-negotiable. Damn a national project ? Right Mr Kejiriwal, Anna Hazare, Medha Patkar, Lalu, Mulayam, Sharad Yadav and Nitish and of course Sonia Gandhi and others who oppose the revision in land bill. The opposition gang up is to stop the recently elected BJP make good its development promise. The existing law passed by the UPA would make it impossible for national projects ( not necessarily private projects ) to take off, thus ending the policy paralysis of the UPA Government.
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Rail budget: Full steam ahead - Mint
No new trains. No increase in passenger fares. Four goals. Five drivers. 11 thrust areas. That is the topline of the railway budget presented by Suresh Prabhu on Thursday. It is the budget that has the potential to be transformational—by increasing capacity and improving technology on the supply side, by improving quality of service on the demand side, and by focusing on transparency and efficiency on the operational side.
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With FinComm recommendations, Centre-state relations set to undergo dramatic change - Arvind Panagariya, Times of India
Any big change requires big ideas, decisive leadership and happy coincidence of circumstances. Nothing illustrates this better than the unfolding story of cooperative federalism in India. As chief minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi had often argued that the central government implemented schemes were at odds with the state’s needs and priorities. For example, schemes that provided funds for electrification were at best of limited value to Gujarat since...
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Me and my mandate - Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Indian Express
Deep metaphysical truths about politics often emerge in a hyper-politicised state like Bihar. I remember a conversation with a group of Nitish Kumar supporters who were upset when he broke his alliance with the BJP. One interlocutor said, “Inka gunah hai ke yeh paristhiti mein aur apne mein bhed nahin kar pa rahe hain (his besetting sin is that he cannot distinguish between his circumstances and himself)”. Politicians are vulnerable when they are unable to distinguish what is due to circumstances...
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Nalanda’s cosy club - Ashok Malik, IndianExpress
In the heat of the moment, it is easy to lose perspective. Let us step back and consider what the Nalanda University project is all about. Nalanda University and the South Asian University (SAU) were conceived by the UPA government as world-class institutions that, while being located in India, would be outside the purview of the University Grants Commission and government regulations. This special dispensation was meant to allow these universities to draw on government of India funding but recruit international faculty and students...
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Stop Loss Alert: Whose Tax Money Is It Anyway? - Shankkar Aiyar, NewIndianExpress
Most times, the government doesn’t quite know. In many cases, the government just doesn’t seem to care. To appreciate the magnitude of losses, dredge government finances. Back of the envelope calculations show the government loses about Rs 1.5 lakh crore of taxpayers’ money a year—or Rs 16 crore an hour—in leakage, theft and losses (and this excludes the messy Rs 7 lakh crore spend on social sectors). A mere 20 per cent cut in losses translates into Rs 30,000 crore of spend power.
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Justice in the Supreme Court - M J Akbar, SundayGuardian
Among the honourable practices in our legal system is the opportunity a judge has to recuse himself, that is to withdraw voluntarily, from a case in which there might be any suspicion of personal feeling vis-à-vis a litigant. We are not discussing corruption; in fact, a judge who is corrupt will insist on presiding over a matter. But honour among brother judges is maintained only when the decision is voluntary. If a judge is removed from a bench, then it becomes a judgement on the judge himself.
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The curious case of India's missing files - Ajay Mankotia, Mailonline
The raiding party was dumbstruck. Just moments ago it had inspected the seal on the door of the steel almirah and found it intact. Now, after removing it and opening the door, it found the almirah completely empty. Files and documents pointing to a huge tax evasion had vanished into thin air! Later, on closer inspection, it was discovered that the rear steel sheet had been cut open, welded back and re-painted.

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