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Poverty of ideas - Arvind Panagariya, Economic Times
Evidence that poverty has declined since India began to liberalise in the 1980s, that the acceleration in growth to 8-9% range since the mid-2000s has resulted in accelerated poverty reduction and that these trends hold for each broad social group rather than just the aggregate population is as irrefutable as it gets in social sciences. In the accompanying graphic, taken from a recent study by Megha Mukim and the author... Read Full Article››
Expose Pakistan’s insincerity - Chinmaya R Gharekhan, Asian Age
Every time Pakistan says it wants to talk about Kashmir, India finds itself on the back foot. We agree, reluctantly, only because it is a part of the “composite dialogue” and only after we get them to agree to talk about terrorism, which also is one of the baskets of the composite dialogue. There is no reason for India to be on the defensive on the Kashmir question. In fact, we should be the ones to want to discuss Kashmir since it is Pakistan which is in illegal occupation of one-third of our state...
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Indian model for global tolerance - JS Rajput, Pioneer
Certain sections of Indian society want to erase the ancient Indian civilisation from the pages of history as they do not find it congenial to their interpretation of ‘secularism’. These sections have also scripted the downfall of the Congress which depended on them for intellectual inputs. They wanted to be the messiah of the minorities, practiced communalism, and criticised those who talked of nationalism and India’s glorious contributions to human knowledge and spirituality.
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Taking charge - Balbir Punj, Indian Express
Securing the release of the Catholic priest, Father Alexis Prem Kumar, from his Afghan Taliban captors should be viewed in different ways. The Jesuit priest himself said on arrival at the Delhi airport from Kabul: “It is because of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi [that] I am here. He saved me.” What Father Alexis said was an understatement. He alone, having faced possible execution, knows the wave of hope and trough of dejection as the prime minister took personal charge of the negotiations to secure his release.
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Defence – where Make in India matters - Anil D Ambani, Business Line
When I met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, I was struck by one telling comment he made during our conversation. He said, “Anil, do you know, that even the tears we shed in this country are not our own? Every tear gas shell used by our security agencies is actually imported!” The Prime Minister’s anguish was entirely genuine and for me, literally an eye-opener. It left me in no doubt about the Prime Minister’s ‘Make in India’ initiative and what a remarkable change of mindset it represented compared...
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The twain shall meet - Ram Madhav, Indian Express
When the Jammu and Kashmir BJP gave the call for “Mission 44+” during the run up to the assembly elections in the state, we had our own assessments and calculations for how we could achieve it. We foresaw various post-poll scenarios and worked on different permutations and combinations. But frankly, not even once did we think of a situation where we would be joining hands with the PDP. Something that was unthinkable and unimaginable has happened. Today, J&K has a coalition government led jointly by the PDP and the BJP.
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Jaitley's bold new trajectory - Rajiv Kumar, Mail Today
I was full of trepidation because of the huge expectations from the Budget. This was clearly a make or break Budget for the Modi Government as it would have lost the benefit of the doubt, which it has enjoyed until now. Moreover, the fear was that with the electoral outcome in Delhi, the Government could get scared and veer away from the path of reforms. It is indeed to the credit of the Government that they have proven our fears to be unfounded. The Budget is replete with forward looking and reformist measures...
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Independent India’s first federal budget - Haseeb A Drabu, Mint
The first full-year budget of Arun Jaitley is what the Indian Constitution is meant to be: unitary in form and federal in spirit. The Union Budget for 2015 is arguably independent India’s first federal budget. No budget in recent memory or distant history has transferred this magnitude of financial resources to the states as this budget has done—not even in 1974-75 when the share of states in excise duty was doubled. This, the stated position of cooperative federalism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi...
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Thank You Narendra Modi - Rev. Valson Thampu, Niti Central
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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