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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››
The Indian train is the pulsing vein of the nation - Gayatri Jayaraman, Mail Today
What more could the 5 am queue at the Delhi airport on a weekday morning need, but a large joint family with children fed on an exclusive diet of refined sugar, leaving on vacation, loading more than 17 bulging-to-capacity suitcases onto the check-in counter’s belt? It takes a while for you to realise the count has just gotten started, to shuffle impatiently, wait another 20 minutes, before you snap and, refraining yourself from hurling the queue separator at the counter staff, ask, in this-is-so-polite-I’m-livid tone...
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Delhi caught between conjecture and law - KN Bhat, Asian Age
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal appears to be a classic case of triumph of hope over experience. As recorded in recent history, his first marriage with the office of Delhi chief minister was solemnised on December 28, 2013. It lasted all of 49 days. During that brief period too he had a running feud with the lieutenant-governor over, among others, the issues of prior consent of the L-G before the Jan Lokpal Bill could be tabled in the Assembly. It is a different matter that the bill did not take a shape till the night before it was tabled...
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Waning confidence in economy has been decisively reversed over past one year - N K Singh, Hindustan Times
Beauty, like success, lies in the eyes of the beholder. Predilections and prejudices invariably influence our conclusions. True, a year is too long a time in politics. Nonetheless, it may still be too short a time slice for the five-year Narendra Modi mandate. There are obvious significant improvements. Many challenges remain. It would be difficult to deny that sagging confidence and expectations emanating from earlier policy paralysis have been decisively reversed.
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Missing the big picture on Big Data - G Sampath, Hindu
Why is the government so anxious to make the ownership of an Aadhar card, which is officially voluntary, practically mandatory? Why did the online fashion store recently turn app-only, which means you can’t shop on it through the website or mobile browser but only by downloading the app? Why is Facebook developing solar-powered drones to beam Internet from the sky? And why do both Facebook and Gmail keep badgering you for your cell phone number?
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The foundation has been laid - MJ Akbar, Indian Express
The mild outbreak of long faces among pundits one year after Narendra Modi became prime minister is entirely dependent on short memory. A recent review of Mihir Sharma’s aptly named book, Restart: The Last Chance for the Indian Economy, in The Economist offered a glimpse of the gloom in May 2014: flight of capital, catapulting inflation, mess in public finance and a nervous power grid that kept India in the thrall of incompetence. Throw in top-to-toe corruption breezily protected...
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Kick-starting an economic revival - Subramanian Swamy, Hindu
When Narendra Modi took oath as Prime Minister on May 26, 2014, there were great expectations from him making decisive moves to put the economy back in recovery mode and on to a high growth trajectory of a ‘10+’ per cent per year growth rate. It is ‘10+’ because the Finance Ministry had chosen to use Paasche’s Index instead of Laspeyres Index to calculate growth rate, which, under present inflationary conditions, will artificially raise growth rate figures (see Paul Samuelson and Subramanian Swamy...
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China visit and after – Undoing Nehru’s folly - Claude Arpi, NitiCentral
A few months ago, a European diplomat confidentially told me, ‘in fact, the job of Modi is just to undo the knots in which the UPA tied up India in the past’. He was probably thinking of the complex Defence Procurement Policy (DPP) put in place by A.K. Antony, the UPA’s Defence Minister, who made the DPP so complicated that it became impossible for India to arm itself or even ‘make arms in India.’ This is the sad story of the Rafale deal; finally, during his recent visit to France, Prime Minister Modi had cut the MMRCA ‘bind’...
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Asia’s voice will be stronger if India and China speak in one voice: Modi - Indian Express
It is not surprising that China’s economic growth and its new leadership in research, science and technology have taken place together. I particularly like the old Chinese saying, “If you think in terms of a year, plant a seed; if in terms of 10 years, plant trees; if in terms of 100 years, teach the people.” In India, too, the ancient saying is “Vyaye krate vardhate eva nityam, vidhya dhanam sarva dhan pradhanam (the wealth that increases by giving...
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The Killing of Osama bin Laden - Seymour M Hersh, London Review of Books
It’s been four years since a group of US Navy Seals assassinated Osama bin Laden in a night raid on a high-walled compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The killing was the high point of Obama’s first term, and a major factor in his re-election. The White House still maintains that the mission was an all-American affair, and that the senior generals of Pakistan’s army and Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) were not told of the raid in advance. This is false, as are many other elements of the Obama administration’s account.
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A long march to a new relationship - Nirupama Rao, Hindu
In 1950, the year of establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of India and the People’s Republic of China, the Indian Sinologist, Prabodh Chandra Bagchi, offered this summation of their “thousand year” relationship: “To Friends in China:..The road is long, so do not mind the smallness of the present. We wish you may accept it.” This note of forbearance is not easily assimilated in either country today, populated as both of them are by young “dreams”, incandescent nationalisms, and power in the process...
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