Verbatim
Laveesh Bhandari - Gold consumption is high in India not because it satisfies the unmet narcissistic needs of Indian men and women, but because the other investment options are not good enough. Households therefore prefer to invest in gold whether in the form of jewellery or coins, rather than chose other investment options. And therefore taxing gold or controlling its imports will be welfare reducing; the right policy response therefore is to focus on improving other investment options. Gold is simple to purchase, does not require paperwork, and prices are set internationally and therefore less susceptible to rigging. There is therefore only one sensible government response to high gold imports - improve the accessibility and trustworthiness of other investment options, and gold consumption and imports will automatically reduce. 
Veeresh Malik - The core issue here is whether they are "public authorities" or not. What, to the average common man, can be more public than a political party? Our political formations, across the spectrum, have no hesitation or shame in using every resource possible towards getting across a message that they are not in any way public authorities. Yes, we know that already, most of them are straightforward dynasties. Dynasties are only responsible to their kith and kin. Luckily, India has a great unbroken tradition of dynasties coming apart, typically in the 3rd or maximum 4th generations.
Akhilesh Mishra - Between the late nineties and today, India has undergone a transformation unmatched in any other similar period. People are no longer satisfied with how things were done – they want them better and sooner. If precedent were to hold, the left front would not have been thrown out in West Bengal and Laloo made a non player in Bihar. The aspirational politics that is sweeping India sees politicians either thrown out or retained, depending on their delivery levels. This was not the case earlier. It is because of this aspirational politics that the message from Modi, that he has ensured uninterrupted power in Gujarat, has spread to even hinterlands of UP and Bihar. As the Modi election machinery rolls in the coming months, this message will reach every household in many creative ways. The 2014 election is not going to be judged by historical standards – it may well create a new history.
Gurudas Dasgupta - From the sequence of events it is clear that the topmost law officer of the government, the Attorney-General of the country, who is supposed to advise the government how to work within the parameters of the law and constitution, had actually acted with an ulterior motive brazenly against his constitutional mandate and duty and helped the Minister and officers of CBI to change the report to the Supreme Court suppressing the facts as revealed during the inquiry. On 30th April when the Supreme Court censured the government for breach of trust, Mr. Vahanvati continued to insist that he had not seen the report whereby he made himself unfaithful to his constitutional mandate and had, in fact, sought to mislead the highest forum of the judiciary of the country.
Minhaz Merchant - All that is wrong with our cricket mirrors all that is wrong with our politics. The BCCI’s accounts are opaque. Its board comprises 30 state and affiliate cricket chiefs most of whom are politicians cutting across parties. The IPL’s cash machine has become a double-edged sword. It has co-opted otherwise respected cricketers, commentators and administrators. Their silence has been bought. Our politics is a victim of patronage, feudalism and corruption. The opacity of political party balance sheets, the presence of criminals in parliament, and the lack of accountability in family-run political parties mirror the malaise that afflicts Indian cricket. In the end it is strong public opinion alone that can compel change and cleanse both Indian sport and politics. The two are locked in a self-fullfilling embrace. We need to break the nexus and the time to do that is now.
Virendra Kapoor - Shashi Kant Sharma, Defence Secretary, is a surprise appointment as the new Comptroller and Auditor General following the retirement of Vinod Rai. the fact that as a senior officer in the Defence Ministry he had been a vital part of the decision-making process involving the most controversial purchase of Tatra trucks and the Agusta Westland helicopters, it ought to have automatically ruled him out for appointment as CAG. Conversely, the fact that as a bureaucrat he was a party to these deals may be precisely why he was appointed the CAG. He cannot be expected to pick holes in the very deals he had sanctioned as a senior bureaucrat in his new role as the CAG. Simple. But this shows how brazen the UPA has become in trying to put a tight lid over its scams. However, the last word on Sharma's appointment as CAG is still to be said. A conscientious citizen has challenged the appointment through a PIL in the Supreme Court.
Venky Vembu - When television news anchor Rahul Kanwal got through to Srinivasan and asked him about Meiyappan’s arrest, the BCCI president reacted with thuggish belligerence: 'Shut up, just shut up. I will fix the whole lot of you.' It’s amusing, of course, that “fixing” appears to be uppermost on Srinivasan’s mind even at this stage.This IPL series has shown up the carnival to be a can of worms and India’s cricket administration to be rotten at its core. As a first step towards fixing it over the long haul, Srinivasan and his political patron and IPL chairman Rajiv Shukla should be made to resign, and the Chennai Super Kings team disqualified.
Venky Vembu - The UPA 2 government was conceived in corruption – and never really recovered from that taint. Right from the day the election results came in, the back-channel negotiations began for the reappointment of A Raja as Telecom Minister to advance the interests of certain telecom majors (in return for illegal gratification). It was an enterprise which set the stage for India’s biggest corruption scandal and virtually set the political tone for the rest of the four years. As subsequent exposes have established, Manmohan Singh and other key Ministers knew full well that mischief was afoot, but pointedly looked the other way. That was the beginning of the slide, and the UPA government in general – and Manmohan Singh in particular – was mortally wounded from that episode. But rather than press ahead with remedial action, the government slid further into the cesspool of corruption.
Swaminathan SA Aiyar - There was for years an old "social contract" between politicians and business. This provided for complex rules and regulations that made it impossible to do business honestly in many fields. But it was possible to do business dishonestly, through pay-offs . Some called this "efficient corruption" : politicians took money and delivered clearances. However, the anti-corruption mood of the courts, and new fears of getting caught (like Pawan Bansal) have ended "efficient corruption" . Politicians may still take money but not deliver on clearances , what some call "inefficient corruption" that freezes investment and growth. The old social contract has broken down.
Anuradha Dutt - Nothing epitomises Congress's oligarchic culture, hinging on a power cabal that centres in a ‘High Command', than disgraced former Union Minister  for Law and Justice Ashwani Kumar's parting statement in his own defence while demitting office. “Whatever the PM and the party High Command thought fit, as a loyal foot soldier, I have done, and I am proud of the fact that I have been a loyal foot soldier of the party”. There is no word about his loyalty to the nation, which, for patriotic Indians, should have precedence over party, Prime Minister and high command. But not in the Congress's scheme of things, which, in the final reckoning, is a matter of perpetuating the Nehru-Gandhi family's hegemony.
Prof Udaditya Bharali - Manmohan Singh's continuing as an MP from Assam for more than two decades has not served any purpose. Instead it has only demeaned the democratic system. He is in no way associated with the society in Assam. Most people in Assam had never heard of him till he was first sent to Rajya Sabha in 1991. Moreover, the manner in which he proved his residential status in Assam way back in 1991 was not proper. He has not lived even for 22 days in his rented house in Guwahati in the past 22 years.
Arvind Kejriwal and Prashant Bhushan - Sibal’s go ahead for conciliation is significant especially in view of the fact that the main company in this case — Hutchinson Telecommunications International Ltd — is his son Amit Sibal’s client. This is amazing. One Law Minister resigns over corruption charges. The other person takes over and within a day, starts working in favour of the private firm. Was part of this Rs 2,000 crore given to Kapil Sibal?
Venky Vembu - Manmohan Singh should take heed of the smoke signals that are being put out by Sonia Gandhi’s loyal supporters,  insinuating that it was he – and he alone – who wanted to shield Bansal and Ashwani Kumar. The message is this: when it comes to ring-fencing Sonia Gandhi from the taint of corruption that overruns the UPA government, everyone  - even the Prime Minister – is expendable. In propitiating the Mother Goddess, there are no ‘holy cows’, and everyone is potentially a sacrificial lamb that is ripe for slaughter. So, watch your back, Dr Manmohan Singh. The word is out that you too are a bali ka bakra, who can be sacrificed at the appropriate time. Can you already hear the swish of the executioner’s knife?
R Jagannathan - A fundamental contradiction lay at the heart of every UPA crisis – the separation of power from responsibility, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh having the responsibility but not the power, and Congress President Sonia Gandhi having the power but not the responsibility. Sonia Gandhi‘s decisive blow against Bansal and Kumar shows where the real power lies, and ends the charade.  Manmohan Singh has been shown his place. The assumption that the two share a deep relationship of trust was always partially untrue, for the real relationship was between Feudal Baroness and Loyal Regent.
Kishore Trivedi - The groans of frustration and fear in the Congress camp are only growing louder by the day. Wherever Modi goes, whatever Modi does, haunts the Congress. If he addresses India Today Summit, they tweet mindlessly against it. If he is in Kolkata, their fear becomes palpable. If he goes to Kerala or meets a Minister there, the party panics! There is nothing that Modi does these days that does not send the Congress panicking.
Bishwajit Bhattacharya - Things can't get any worse. Whether or not two law officers committed perjury before the highest court can be the subject of an interesting debate. What is beyond debate, however, is that the duo has, jointly and severally, discredited the institution of Law Officer of the Government of India. What compounds the deception before the Court is that only the law officer making a public allegation against the other has been eased out. From the highest standards of ethics set by highest law officers such as M C Setalvad, C K Daphtary, Soli Sorabjee and Ashok Desai, where have we sunk today? From advocacy to servility?
Rajeev Dhawan - Four things emerge from Vahanvati's tenure as Attorney General: (i) He is more a hitman for the government than its conscience keeper. (ii) He has interfered with and compromised the CBI's investigative independence and undermined the rule of law. (iii) He has subverted the spirit of the Supreme Court's decision that the independence of the 2G investigation be zealously guarded. (iv) He is a very charming person but may have mortgaged his conscience to the government for the post or future prospects.
Vinod Mehta - How is it possible for the officers from the coal ministry and the PMO, who attended the dubious meeting, to have done so without seeking the PM’s permission? Dr Singh has been damaged before by previous allegations which hint at misgivings about his integrity. For me, it is no pleasure to attack Dr Manmohan Singh. Alas, things have come to such a pass that probing questions have now become unavoidable. The worst—and I hope untrue—conclusion to draw from Coalgate, 2G, etc is that the man is in love with being prime minister. And will do anything to stay put.
Shobhaa De - The problem in India is nobody dares to nail netas. Who has the guts to nab even one of the Big Boys? An Arvind Kejriwal can name nam­es and get members of his team to bring up iss­ues and personalities on television. But Arvind has zero clout. And no resources to fight the powerful. He may have public support. But that’s never enough. Going after even a chhota-mota player, forget the Prime Minister, requires enormous will and more importantly, pots of serious money.
Arun Kumar Singh - Surely India can take advantage of China’s “over stretched” military machine and convey a tough message — that aggression does not pay — by undertaking a series of tit-for-tat incursions into Chinese territory. It could also cut off supply lines to the Chinese intruders and make their position untenable. In 1987, a massive Chinese incursion into Sumdorong valley (Arunachal Pradesh) was stopped dead in its tracks, without a single shot being fired by the Indian Army, by moving troops to tactically advantageous positions. Today, the “problem” in replicating the “Sumdorong manoeuvre” appears to be the installation of one more “hurdle” — the NSA, presently a post held by a retired diplomat of good standing, has taken over the task of rendering professional military advice to the government on military and nuclear matters. A failure to react to the present Ladakh incursion screams of lack of resolve and will result in loss of territory and a repetition of similar Chinese actions elsewhere.
Brahma Chellaney - India’s leadership fails to distinguish between caution and pusillanimity: the former helps to avert problems, but the latter conveys weakness and invites more aggression. India today risks becoming the proverbial frog in the slowly warming pot, as described by the US scholar John Garver: “A Chinese fable tells of how a frog in a pot of lukewarm water feels quite comfortable and safe. He does not notice as the water temperature slowly rises until, at last, the frog dies and is thoroughly cooked. This homily, wen shui zhu qingwa in Chinese, describes fairly well China’s strategy for growing its influence in South Asia in the face of a deeply suspicious India: move forward slowly and carefully, rouse minimal suspicion, and don’t cause an attempt at escape by the intended victim.”
Ravi Shankar - Nitish is India’s most communal politician. At a time when the Supreme Court is cracking down on red beacons on cars, Bihar’s maulanas are saying cheese; the chief minister has been generous in giving away red lights—a symbol of power in India—to the maulanas. Clerics head Bihar’s Minority Commission, Wakf Board, Haj Committee and Madrasa Board. Since 2005, he  has authored an animal farm that exceeds Orwellian premonition by balancing the interests of the Shias and the Sunnis, the Deobandis, the Barelvis and the Tablighis—a feat neither Lalu Prasad Yadav nor the Congress could achieve. By accusing Modi of playing the bull in the minority manger, Nitish has successfully claimed the rabble-rousing space of the secularist and camouflaged his divisive politics as the country’s great polariser.
Amjad Ali Khan - I'm jobless here in Delhi. I'm not on any government's committee and there's no encouragement from the government at all. But the world is supporting me. I miss Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. When Atal Bihariji (Vajpayee) was there, he invited me to be on the Padma award committee. When Narasimha Rao was the prime minister, he had invited Princess Diana for dinner and my wife and I were among the invitees. I would like to advise cultural departments, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry or the ICCR, but they don't need my help. Instead I was invited by Stanford University last summer to teach. Nobody in India invites me to teach at any university.
Zafar Sareshwala - A transformation is necessary among Muslims. Since the polity has become bipolar, it (choice for Muslims) has to be between the Congress-led UPA and the BJP-led NDA. I am completely disillusioned with the Congress and am opposed to separate identity politics for or of the Muslims. I tell my religious leaders and groups, don’t be a political handle of a particular political dispensation. Have Muslims given their vote and support to the Congress in inheritance? Why exclude the BJP? My appeal to them is simple: that if they have issues with Modi they should talk to him.
Arun Prakash - For a politico-bureaucratic establishment that has stubbornly refused to acknowledge, by word or deed, the sterling contribution of the soldier to India's freedom struggle, its post-Partition consolidation and to combating the repeated assaults on its territorial integrity, the construction of a national war memorial at a central location in the Capital would be a belated but welcome gesture. It would bolster the pride and morale of not just a million and a half Indian men and women bearing arms, but also of the large fraternity of veterans who "gave their today for our tomorrow".
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