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Road to growth: NDA beats UPA, and in less time - Surya Sarathi Ray, Financial Express
While its ambitious national highway (NH) construction targets have been hard to reach, the NDA government has clearly outdone the previous UPA dispensation when it comes to expanding the country’s national highway network. Four-and-a-half years into its tenure, the NDA has built 33,361-km of highways, a trifle more than what UPA did in the seven years between FY-08 and FY14 (see chart). Of course, pure-play public private partnership (PPP) ventures, which had come to a grinding halt...
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Modi diplomacy redefining India - Pathikrit Payne, Pioneer
Rarely in the recent past has there been any country like India which has been able to extract so many concessions from the US even while successfully meandering through American sanctions against purchase of state-of-the-art defence systems from Russia. The signing of the deal for S-400 air defence systems worth $5.43 billion earlier this month  between India and Russia is significant in many ways. It is not just another deal but an exemplification of the coming of age of a regional powerhouse...
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Elections in five States: Grand alliance talks on hold for now - Hari shankar vyas, Pioneer
All talks on the grand alliance of the Opposition parties have been put on the back burner for now, and no one will talk about a united front until the results of elections in five States are out. In fact, the Opposition parties are not even talking to each other about the mahagathbandhan these days. The parties, which have nothing to do with the elections in five States, say the decision on alliances will be taken only after the results.
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The green state of mind - Narendra Modi, Indian Express
Yesterday, the United Nations honoured me with the ‘Champions of the Earth Award’. While I was extremely humbled at receiving this honour, I do feel that this award is not for an individual. Instead, it is a recognition of Indian culture and values, which have always placed emphasis on living in harmony with Mother Nature. It was a proud moment for every Indian to see India’s proactive role in mitigating climate change being acknowledged and appreciated by the United Nations...
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India-Russia reset: S-400 sovereignty test - Manish Chand, Pioneer
Reset seems to be the reigning buzzword, and strategic autonomy the operative mantra in India’s diplomatic lexicon. In fact, it is set to be the year of diplomatic reset for India with three of its key strategic partners and major global players, including the US, Russia and China. Amid a rapidly mutating geo-strategic environment, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held his first informal summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Wuhan in April, paving the way for a new phase of post-Doklam stability in India-China relations.
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Press freedom and responsibility - Venkaiah Naidu, Pioneer
Dissent is always welcome but not advocacy of disintegration. A democracy can thrive only when all shades of opinion are expressed freely. Any attempt to stifle or shut out contrarian viewpoints will stunt intellectual development. It is a singular honour for me to deliver the 3rd Justice JS Verma Memorial Lecture on ‘Freedom & Responsibility of Media in the evolving media space’. I am, therefore, thankful to the organisers for having invited me to share my views with all of you.
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Modi's big, clean bet - Arun Jaitley, Economic Times
When John F Kennedy made an announcement in 1961 that the US would put a man on the moon by the end of the decade, no one thought it was possible. It did happen, eight years later. When Narendra Modi announced in 2014 that India would become open defecation free by 2019, changing the behaviour of 60 crore people who then defecated in the open, no one thought it was possible. But today, just four years later, India is on the cusp of being rid of open defecation.
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Make India Vishwaguru again - M Venkaiah Naidu, Indian Express
Ever since I became the vice-president, I have been visiting various universities to attend their convocations. I keep reflecting on the glorious Indian heritage, the heights to which education had reached in the past and the ways in which we can re-infuse that spirit of excellence in our education system. We have a rich tradition of debate and dialogue in the pursuit of knowledge. The Upanishads are an eloquent testimony to the constant, constructive dialogue between the teacher and the taught.
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Atalji’s way - Ravi Shankar Prasad, Indian Express
Atal Bihari Vajpayee left a profound imprint on the polity, public speaking and, above all, the democratic awakening of India. A leader who was away from the public gaze, who had not spoken or was not heard in public for many years, who left the office of prime minister more than 14 years ago, yet he could generate so much emotion, empathy and profound goodwill in his death — that is the true legacy of Atal Bihari Vajpayee. After the death of Shyama Prasad Mukherjee and Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay,...
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Atal to Modi: Amazing continuity - Sandhya Jain, Pioneer
When Atal Bihari Vajpayee was finally elected for a full tenure in 1999, his detractors began to acknowledge his virtues (liberal, poet, orator, consensus-builder) and denigrate his party and parent organisation, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Yet the slogan, ‘right man in the wrong party’, was inaccurate as Vajpayee founded the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with LK Advani in 1980, after the Janata Party regime fell on the pretext of the Jan Sangh members’ affiliation with the RSS.
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