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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››
Modi the masterblaster must go for the big hit - Chetan Bhagat, Times of India
Remember the days of Kapil Dev? Or Kris Srikkanth? Or if you are from the current generation, think of Chris Gayle and Virender Sehwag. What did you expect when these batsmen came to the crease? Well, that they will settle in quickly and start making the big hits soon. The run rate will quicken, the match will get more interesting and, hopefully, it will be saved. The Modi government was also seen as a big-hitter government. At least by the few people who care about the economy...
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Modi’s Idea of India-2 - Ashutosh Varshney, Indian Express
My previous column (‘Modi’s idea of India-1’, January 27) interpreted the external features of PM Narendra Modi’s idea of Indian nationhood. Modi, I argued, is redefining the idea of India by emphasising the blood ties of India’s “diaspora” with the “homeland” — politically, if not legally. His concept is closer to the German-Japanese conception of nationhood than the French-American one, which relies on birth in a territory, not blood ties. India’s Constitution-makers had rejected the German-Japanese model.
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Why Indians can't write good memoirs - Utpal Kumar, Mail Today
In the land where George Orwell was born, writes Jaspreet Singh in his 2013 book, Helium, “1984 was never imaginary. In India, it was real.” And it was real, in a most vicious and violent manner. That year saw 3,000 Sikhs being massacred in Delhi within three days just because the two assassins of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi happened to be their co-religionists. Even more unfortunate was what unfolded thereafter. Despite setting up one commission of inquiry after another...
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Modi’s idea of India-1 - Ashutosh Varshney, Indian Express
What is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s idea of India? In what ways is it different from, or similar to, the idea of India inherent in India’s Constitution? We now have over a year and a half of record, both speeches and actions, to answer this highly significant question. I will present my interpretation in two columns. This column lays out the external dimensions of Modi’s idea of India. The next column will concentrate on the internal features. No Indian prime minister in history has courted the Indian diaspora more ardently.
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India’s challenge in a new Iran - Harsh V Pant, Mint
The official start of the lifting of crushing Western sanctions on the Iranian economy in return for major concessions on the country’s nuclear programme has recently begun. While this US-Iran thaw has the potential to alter the strategic landscape in West Asia, this relationship’s biggest test is still to come. With the Obama administration’s time in Washington running out, it’s too early to assess whether the budding diplomacy between the US and Iran represents...
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A harvest-time gift - Ashok Gulati, Indian Express
The Narendra Modi-led government needs to be complimented for taking the first major step to revamp the crop insurance system to address the increasing distress in Indian farming. With back-to-back droughts, and unseasonal rain and hail in certain pockets, it became clear that the risks in farming are on the rise, and the existing system of crop insurance was nowhere near meeting the needs of the peasantry. The sums insured were low (based on the cost of inputs rather than prospective income)...
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Is world taking a right trun? - Minhaz Merchant, Mail Today
With right-of-centre governments in power in the world’s major democracies - India, Britain, Germany and Japan, similar to the trend seen across the United States, Europe and South America - is there a global ideological shift taking place? Venezuela and Poland are the latest countries to lurch politically right-wards. Britain has had a right-wing conservative government since May 2010. Germany’s Angela Merkel completed 10 years in office last November. Japan’s right-of-centre...
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The Quintessential Statesman - Rajesh Singh, Pioneer
Winston Churchill once said, “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” Churchill was a famous man and his quote is as famous, but it fits only partially on another famous personality: Atal Bihari Vajpayee. India’s former Prime Minister did stand up for something (more than once) sometime in life, but he had no enemies and at best only political rivals. This is not the only template that goes awry on the charismatic leader who could well have been the focal point of the country’s...
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Modi's year of Possibility - Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar, Bloomberg
More than most world leaders, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi must've cheered the end of 2015. The year was an annus horribilis for him, marred by policy paralysis, embarrassing electoral defeats and mounting doubts about how transformative his term will turn out to be. He has a chance to regain momentum in 2016, but only if he's smarter and bolder about pushing his reform agenda. Last year, voters hammered Modi in elections in Delhi and Bihar, states he'd swept in the 2014 general election.
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Dalits rebooted, suited - Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar, Economic Times
Indian business has long been represented by Ficci (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry). The new kid on the block is Dicci – the Dalit Industrial Chambers of Commerce and Industry. It boasts of nearly 4,000 members, heralding the new era of Dalit businessman. This represents a social and economic revolution. Last week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a Dicci meeting of over 1,000 Dalit entrepreneurs. Modi said he would like to double the number of Dalit entrepreneurs...
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