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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››
The dynasty factor - Smita Gupta, Hindu
It won’t be easy for the Congress to address its crisis of credibility, circumventing the shortcomings of its impossible-to-change leadership. A defeat as devastating as the one the Congress suffered in the recent general elections in almost any other major political party around the world would have called for a change in leadership. But not in the 128-year-old organisation that brought freedom to India 67 years ago. “Any change that is contemplated,” a former Union Minister, echoing colleagues, said...
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Lalu & Nitish: Hand in hand for first electoral test - Santosh Singh, Indian Express
Forced by circumstances to join hands, former Bihar chief ministers Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar will find their alignment put to the test in byelections to 10 assembly seats on August 21. Their separate fronts having notched a combined tally of more votes than the victorious NDA managed in the Lok Sabha polls, the bypolls will be a test for whether they can retain those shares in alliance against a front that has since settled at the Centre.
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Much ado about nothing: Civil services must pick the best - Srivatsa Krishna, Times of India
Precious time of the nation and its leadership is being wasted on a non-issue, namely Union Public Service Commission (UPSC)’s new Civil Service Aptitude Test (CSAT). We must be the only country on the planet where candidates protest and want to decide how their aptitude for civil services should be tested! Will the same bunch have the courage to tell IIT/IIM or GMAT examination authorities to drop some sections...
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‘Hindu Rashtra’ Reflects Inclusion, Not Theocracy - Rakesh Sinha, NewIndianExpress
The comment by a Goa minister that India is a Hindu Rashtra is not something which goes against the spirit of the Indian Constitution or annihilation of secularism. The connotation Hindu is inclusive  in its origin and evolution. Any effort to draw a parallel between Hindu nation and theocratic states needs to be contested. India is the only nation in the world which is co-terminus with a civilisation. In other words, India is an organic example of continuity of age-old civilisation.
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Flush out black cash in India - Sandeep Bamzai, Mail Today
The black money conundrum gets more and more convoluted. The haze doesn't seem to lift. Twice last week, Arun Jaitley reiterated the BJP's commitment to bring back the black stash, but as we now know the government doesn't have a 'go to' plan. The worthies who make up the panel constituted by the Supreme Court on black money as Mail Today reported recently, is fighting the problem under the influence of the art...
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'For the Pakistan army, the war against India is a 'jihad' or war of civilizations' - Indrani Bagchi, Times of India
South Asian political and military affairs expert Christine Fair's recent study on the Pakistan Army concludes that Pakistan would not be satisfied even if there was a solution to Kashmir, because for the Pakistan army, the war against India is a 'jihad' or war of civilizations. In India to promote her book, 'Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army's Way of War', Fair tells Indrani Bagchi that she believes Pakistan's North Waziristan terrorist clean-up was just an eye-wash...
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To mock Putin's pride and test his paranoia is folly - Simon Jenkins, Guardian
Why does foreign policy default to stupid? From the moment that we heard of the Malaysian airliner shot down over Ukraine it was clearly an accident. Whoever’s finger was on the trigger, the tragedy cannot have been meant. This was not another 9/11. It was cock-up, not conspiracy. Yet foreign policy craves conspiracy. Vladimir Putin blamed the Ukrainian government. Ukraine blamed the pro-Russian rebels. America’s UN ambassador, Samantha Power, “cannot rule out” Moscow’s responsibility. London howled blue murder all round.
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When Babus outwitted Jaitley - Arvind Panagariya, Times of India
The presidential address to Parliament on June 9, 2014 had focussed nearly exclusively on projects and schemes, eschewing policy. Therefore, many had eagerly awaited the budget speech for a policy vision of the new government. Unfortunately, it too left observers guessing on whether the government would tackle tough reforms or rely principally on better implementation. Had this been the budget of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), arguably it could have passed as spelling directional shift. 
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Let there be light - Bibek Debroy, Economic Times
Unless your general knowledge is particularly good, you may not have heard of Gbadolite, as opposed to Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Gbadolite is the capital of the country's Nord-Ubangi district. More importantly, it was the ancestral home and residence of ex-President Mobutu Sese Seko, president of Zaire (DRC's former name), between 1965 and 1997.
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The collegium has now become nothing more than a cabal - Abhishek Sudhir, Hindu
The very credibility of the judiciary is at stake after recent allegations of misconduct against judges. The time is now ripe for reforming the process of judicial appointments to ensure that the judiciary is accountable to the public and free from interference. Justice Markandey Katju, a former judge of the Supreme Court and no stranger to controversy, has once again set the cat among the pigeons by alleging that three former Chief Justices of India made...
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