Column

WATER BOILS

 AS WATER stocks continue to deplete in dams, rivers, and reservoirs in most parts of the country, ground situation has worsened to the extent of a public revolt. Apart from the frequent clashes over water sharing, a disturbing event has come to fore from Dalwat village in Maharashtra where some villagers allegedly damaged a dam gate to divert stored water. This breach underlines the severity of water crisis in drought-hit regions of many States. In Maharashtra, the problem is assuming dangerous ..

India-US Tariff War

   By SUBRATA MAJUMDER: USA is the second biggest trade partner of India, after China. In 2017-18, USA accounted for 9.7 per cent of India’s total trade. Incidentally, India’s trade relation with China and USA are diagonally opposite to each other. While China is the trigger for trade deficit, USA is a pivotal for export growth, yielding trade surplus.  ON May 5, President Trump tweeted for a fresh look for high tariff on Chinese goods worth US $ 200 billion imports ..

DIVINE POWER

 EVEN though prayers per se have been an integral part of human civilisation, a Prime Minister dedicating as many as 17 hours to meditation in a Himalayan cave was unheard of. But when Mr. Narendra Modi found time to relive his original inclination, he just launched his journey to Badrinath and Kedarnath shrines in the Himalayas. Having been involved deeply in the election campaign, having been treated as the centre of the electoral hurricane, having suffered being the lone target of the entire ..

Mere Pendency Of Civil Case

 In order to see whether any prima facie case against the accused for taking its cognizance is made out or not, the court is only required to see the allegations made in the complaint. In the absence of any finding recorded by the HC on this material question, the impugned order is legally unsustainable.  IN THE judgement of the case – Md. Allauddin Khan v. the State of Bihar and Others, delivered on April 15, 2019, Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre and Justice Dinesh Masheshwari, at the ..

TEST FOR VIRAT

  THE slam-bang Indian Premier League (IPL) season ended on a happy note for late starters Mumbai, pipping Chennai Super Kings (CSK) to the post. Now the focus is back to international cricket when the big event, 50-over World Cup, kicks off in England at the beginning of next month. All the teams have been in the process of building their squads for the big event. Pakistan have been particularly lucky to have been playing in England just ahead of the World Cup for the last few weeks, giving ..

Join Development

 There is no doubt about the fact that the impetus Indian economy and its development coordinates have received in the past five years are unprecedented. It has been the Government’s constant involvement and interest that has seen the much-required push.  The roadmap has been prepared which was in a mess five years back. The process has rolled out and the results will be visible a few years down the line. No one can deny that the underpinnings of the economy have been strengthened ..

UNACCEPTABLE

 THE uncouth statement made by Bharatiya Janata Party candidate Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur regarding the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi deserved the rebuff which Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi gave. His assertion that he cannot forgive Sadhvi Pragya, and Bharatiya Janata Party President Mr. Amit Shah’s clear stand that her statement militated against the party’s philosophy, therefore, presented a common picture of outright rejection of the utterance.   This rejection made ..

How do we tackle young suicides?

 l He was a good-looking boy with average scholastic performance. In his 12 standard examination, he got ‘compartment’ in two subjects. That evening, he never returned home. For, he chose to end his life by jumping into a lake.  l The girl was brilliant, to say the least. Everybody looked at her with a lot of expectations. The family knew that she was a cut above the rest. Yet, in her 10th standard examination she ended up with 90% marks. Shocked by what she must have felt to ..

EU’S FUTURE

 THE fears expressed by majority of Europeans on likely disintegration of the European Union are reflection of the tenor of times. The bloc will face a stern test on May 23 when it goes for elections even as forces of protectionism are raising their stakes against globalisation. Already walking a tight-rope over immigration issues, the EU is finding itself on thin ice. It is reflected in the survey conducted in major European countries. The figures show a “realistic possibility” of ..

We The People -- III

If such a voicing and assertion of popular will starts taking place beyond the electoral process, then only our democratic experiment will succeed in true terms defying the electoral politics. It is time ‘we the people’ realised this. It is time ‘we the people’ started making our own presence felt to the people in positions of authority, whether in politics or in administration.WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST ..

complex issue

THAT the issue of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is complex and involves a deep-driving diplomatic activity, becomes clear from the latest development that the Comprehensive Nuclear test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) has offered India ..

ANC Mulls New Path

 By MARK WALLER:  The ANC won 57% of the vote, its poorest showing yet, but a triumph for a party that has been fighting for its survival after becoming mired in corruption scandals under its former leader, Jacob Zuma, who was forced to resign in February 2018.  THE African National Congress has been returned to power after bruising national and provincial elections that saw it fend off competition from the main Opposition parties, the larger center-Right Democratic Alliance and the ..

REPREHENSIBLE

  THERE can be no doubt that the Election Commission’s decision to curtail campaign period in West Bengal by 20 hours ahead of the declared schedule has come fully out of compulsion of the situation of unprecedented violence unleashed by Trinamool Congress goons. So fierce was the attack on the rally of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Mr. Amit Shah that he could remain safe only with the intervention of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel present on the spot. It ..

TIMELY ACTION

  THE Central Government has taken a very timely action in extending the ban on Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) for five more years. This is so, not only because the existing situation in Sri Lanka is volatile, but also because there are signs of remnants of the terror group trying to regroup and once again stoke the fires of separatism. While much of the terror group has been decimated in Sri Lanka, where they had fought a prolonged battle for a separate Tamil State, there are sympathise..

Systemic Efficiency

  The task before Modi is not merely to attain improvements in some Ministries under some individual Ministers, but to set in place systemic changes that continue to provide good governance to the people even under changed circumstances.  PRIME Minister Narendra Modi has appreciated the performance of the Ministries of Railways, Civil Aviation and Power. The credit for these improvements lies with the individual Ministers at the head of these Ministries, and the backing given to them ..

new paradigm

 THE decision of the Indian Army to move its Air Defence Units as close to border as possible to thwart any possible air attacks by the enemy then and there, stems from a critical security imperative. The Army has decided to take the step following the Balakot airstrikes and a possibility of a misadventure by Pakistan Air Force. The idea is to stall right at the border any attack by Pakistan through air. The most important facet of this decision is that it is not defensive in nature but actually ..

Of innocence of god’s touch

  Vijay Phanshikar:  Forty-four years ago, exactly on May 15, a seed of something great was sown in Nagpur. A madmanlike gentleman with a terrific spark in eyes and soft but straight manner of speaking brought out in the open from under his dark countenance something very bright, very brilliant, very golden in every which the way. He had a clutch of eager children with gaping mouths around him. In their tiny hands, they held some sheets of drawing paper and pencils and brushes ..

Rise of Brexit Party

 By John Rees:  The Brexit Party’s successful launch is a considerable challenge to the Left and to the Labour Party. By any metric the rise of the Brexit Party is phenomenal. In a matter of weeks the party has held rally after rally with thousands in attendance, and notably in working-class areas like Newport and Peterborough. It has every chance of getting the largest share of the vote in the Euro elections. And it has a social media following already in the hundreds of thousands. ..

SL CLAMP-DOWN

  THAT there would be a backlash in the wake of the terror attack on churches and hotels during Easter celebrations in Sri Lanka, was not entirely unexpected. But the manner in which the Sri Lankan Government has been dealing with the situation in its aftermath, has been quite in tune with the demand of the circumstances. Since the crackdown on suspected terror outfits began, the Sri Lankan authorities have taken stringent measures. While they are in the midst of major investigations with ..

ominous signs

  TRUE, the situation in Jammu and Kashmir had never eased fully even as the State went through the motions of the Lok Sabha elections. Yet, the latest incident of heavy stone-pelting on Security Forces in Bandipora area injuring as many as 47 men offers re-emergence of ominous signs of how the situation is far from having been brought under control. When the Security Forces went to the area to control law and order situation following the alleged rape of a three-year-old girl by a local ..

FLIGHT OF THE RICH

 THAT there is increased flight of high-net-worth-individuals (HNWIs) from the country is not a phenomenon typical to India, nor is it a new development. Flight of rich individuals has been happening all along. Britain has been on the forefront of millionaires migrating to that country in large numbers. Now there is a reversal. Britain is seeing exodus of millionaires since the last two years, thanks to Brexit. With US imposing heavy tariffs on Chinese goods, China too is facing the same problem. ..

A Relook At Nuke Deal

 By SANKAR RAY:  The treaty compromised safety, as all nuclear power plants are capable of undergoing severe accidents that are hugely expensive to deal with. Estimates of the cost of dealing with the Fukushima accident range from around $200 billion to $600 billion. This problem of large financial consequences of nuclear accidents was realised in the 1950s, and nuclear reactor vendors have tried to wash their hands off the consequences of any accident at reactors they have sold and profited ..

ENDORSEMENT

 THAT lawmakers from as many as 18 countries observe India’s electoral process, see how India uses the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) capably and rue how their respective lands cannot boast of such a fine efficiency, is a matter of immense pride for the country. There never was a doubt in the world about the greatness of India’s massive election machinery that is operating successfully for the past seven decades. But when lawmakers and administrators from 18 countries coincidentally ..

Of a connect between cohorts

 By Vijay Phanshikar: “A newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself.” - Arthur Miller, American playwright, essayist, and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. NEWSPAPER!  Perhaps the best non-official institution of democracy! Perhaps, the best tool in the hands of the people! Perhaps, the only way the people can express themselves authentically, in the most potent non-official forum of democracy with an official status! There is a continuous, living poetry ..

Every Man in his Humour Letters to the Editor

   1st ApacheSir, The first AH-64E Apache attack helicopter built for India was formally handed over to the Indian Air Force (IAF) at Boeing production facility in Mesa, Arizona in USA. The first batch of these helicopters is scheduled to be shipped to India by July this year. Selected aircrew and ground crew have undergone training at the training facilities at US Army base Fort Rucker in Alabama. These personnel will lead the operationalisation of the Apache fleet. IAF had contracted ..

ML and AI: The puzzle not yet solved

  By NISHANT ARORATHE most buzzed-about disruptive technologies that are changing business landscapes today are Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Almost all of us have heard or read about them but do we actually know what the fuss is all about? The enterprises are trying to harness the explosion of digital data and computational power with advanced algorithms to enable collaborative and natural interactions between people and machines. However, there’s still a ..

Unwritten Family Partition

 By Adv. R. S. Agrawal  The plaintiff has admitted that the oral partition had taken place and the same was not reduced in writing. Everybody got right/share as per the oral partition. The respondents herein – the original plaintiffs instituted the suit praying for the judgement and decree in their favour that he be declared the owner of the suit schedule property and also for permanent injunction restraining the appellants herein (original defendants) from interfering with his ..

GHOSTS OF 1984

  GHOSTS of the 1984 Sikh riots are still haunting the Congress party, with the casually-made remarks by Mr. Sam Pitroda, described to be Guru of Congress President Mr. Rahul Gandhi, about the unholy massacre that rocked not just New Delhi in the shadow of Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi’s assassination but the whole nation. Naturally, every Sikh is eternally hurt by the unprecedented violence unleashed by goons to avenge the killing of Mrs. Gandhi. Naturally, therefore, strong reactions ..

Voting For Peace

   There has been no comprehensive package for their betterment, no concrete planning for their resettlement, no policy innovation or strategic breakthrough to ensure their safety in their own land.   Kashmiri Pandits are some of the worst sufferers of human displacement in the recent history of the Indian subcontinent. There is no catastrophic occurrence, no inclement weather to drive them away, no war or pestilence. Kashmir is a beautiful place with God’s abundance. ..

Happy signs of the return of book culture

    By Vijay Phanshikar: THE atmosphere of calm focus in the reading room of a public library was absolutely wonderful. A casual visit to the place in West Nagpur brought a sense of happiness that was beyond words to capture for description. There were at least fifty people in the large reading room, mostly congregated around a large table in the centre with nearly 25 chairs -- all occupied by people of all ages reading newspapers or magazines. There were many others in the ..

HELP THE

 HAVING witnessed a slump in the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector for some time, the appeal of the engineering exporters’ apex organisation to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to facilitate easy and cheaper loans to exporters deserves to be considered seriously. The MSME sector, after getting some set-back for some time now for various reasons, is trying to find its feet again.  In this situation paucity of finance should not become an impediment in its revival. Revival ..

Mother’s love

IN this tightly technology driven age, life has undergone a drastic change. Maddening materialism has become the Alpha and Omega of modern man’s life. Truly speaking this abominable transition has, in actuality, shorn humanity of most of its kindred affinities and tender feelings like love, brotherhood, kindness, compassion, devotion, dedication and so on .This onslaught of confounding materialism has indeed taken a heavy toll on man by rendering him absolutely emotionally bankrupt. In this ..

FIGHTING HUNGER

 HUNGER and malnourishment have remained perennial obstacles in many backward and conflict-ridden regions of the world. Every country carries a certain share of this problem which is gradually assuming worrying proportions, especially in the African continent. A United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation report has pegged the number of hunger-affected people at 52 million, which is over two-thirds of the region’s population. Civil instability and criminal neglect of rural areas ..

We The People -- II

                By Vijay phanshikarTHESE words are very precious. For, through these words, “We The People Of India ... have given to ourselves this Constitution”. As the country nears the end of the current phase-wise election for the next Lok Sabha, the preciousness of the words in the Preamble comes alive in our minds. For, through the Preamble -- and also through the process of universal adult franchise ..

Brexit Jam Continues

 By AL NEAL: For the first time in the Conservative Party’s 185-year history, rank and file members have forced an emergency meeting, scheduled for June, to discuss party leadership, and allow up to 800 senior Conservative members to vote on whether May should resign the premiership. AS EXPECTED, the Easter Holiday Brexit reprieve was short-lived. And as April rolls into May (no pun intended), progress in breaking the European Union divorce deal deadlock is lacking. While the October ..

RAHUL’S FLIP-FLOP

     CONGRESS President Mr. Rahul Gandhi’s flop -flop ended with an unconditional apology to the highest court of the land. This did not come that easily as it seems now. There was much procrastination on the part of the Congress President in owning up his mistake. The Supreme Court had to admonish Mr. Gandhi over his last affidavit wherein he very articulately avoided tendering apology and nearly justified his statement against the Prime Minister. He had in fact blundered ..

THE LIE NAILED

 FINALLY, the Directorate General of Military Operations (DGMO) has nailed the lie the Congress party was trying to foist upon the nation by asserting that the Army has no record of the six surgical strikes being claimed by the party. There are no records of any surgical strikes before September 2016, the DGMO has said in response to a query under the Right To Information (RTI) Act. Union Home Minister Mr. Rajnath Singh, too, has insisted that there were no surgical strikes during the regime ..

MUSCLE FLEXING

  CHRISTINE Lagarde, the chief of International Monetary Fund (IMF), echoed the concerns of the world when she said that the ongoing trade war between the United States and China is the greatest threat to world economy. Speaking to journalists in Paris recently, the IMF chief said that “rumours and twits” made an agreement between the two nations difficult. The situation is exacerbated by the utterances and threats by US President Mr. Donald Trump. A few days ago hopes were kindled ..

Curb Powers Of Whip

  Legislators were changing parties like dresses—from morning to afternoon and again in the evening. This made it impossible to make a stable Government. Our Parliament then enacted Constitution 52nd Amendment in 1985. It provided that the MPs and MLAs would be disqualified if they voted against the direction of the Party.  FRENCH philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau laid the foundations of modern democracy. He said that persons elected by the people had a right to rule over the ..

absolute need

  THANKS to the changing global realities, world powers, too, have begun feeling strongly that the United Nations must undergo appropriate reforms as part of which countries like India must be invited to join the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). French envoy to the world body, Mr. Francoise Delattre, voiced this need by stressing that India, Germany, Brazil and Japan were ‘absolutely needed’ as permanent members of the UNSC. Mr. Delattre said, that was a strategic priority ..

Of a summertime shelter

 Vijay Phanshikar: Summers at their scorchiest peak take me back in time to college days when I would find resort under trees anywhere in the city to spend afternoons, generally reading books or engaging in heated conversations with friends. No, we refused to take shelter in our homes, and sought refuge under trees, generally by lakeside. We swam, too, in those terribly hot afternoons and rested under trees. And one of the most favourite resorts was the Sonegaon lake’s eastern bank ..

Vital SC Direction To RBI

 All these years, big time financial criminals managed to hide under the Government and RBI shelters to protect themselves from public exposure. The right to information on those who get their identity protected after wilfully squandering public funds was denied.  THE Supreme Court’s epoch making judgement directing the Reserve Bank of India to disclose the list of ‘wilful’ bank defaulters and annual inspection reports could not have come at a better time when Indian banks ..

BE CAUTIOUS

  EVEN as the Lok Sabha elections are heading towards end, Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) is witnessing a controversy over the timing of the Legislative Assembly elections there. While many parties are accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of putting pressure on the Election Commission (EC) to delay the legislative polls, the BJP has asserted that it is willing for the elections even tomorrow morning. And even as this controversy continued, the people lined up for Lok Sabha polling in good ..

Of Man’s true story

By Vijay Phanshikar:   Manus maze naav, manus maze naav(Man is my name, Man is my name)Daha dishanchya ringanat ya pudhe mazi dhaav(In the domain of ten dimensions do I keep advancing)......Meech ithe osadavarti(Here on this barren heath)Nangar dharuni dublya haati(Holding the plough in my weak hands)Kankan hi jagawili mati(I woke up each grain of the soil)Durbhikshyacha chhatadavar hasat ghatlaa ghaav ....(And smilingly stabbed the famine in the chest)......Sukhech mazi mala bochati(My ..

Solitary Confinement

  The sum and substance of Supreme Court’s judgement in the case is that even if the Sessions Court has sentenced the convict to death, subject to confirmation of the HC, or even if the appeal is filed before the High Court and the Supreme..

Global Terrorist

  “The growing incidence of terrorism globally has united countries much more than it did in 2000. Today almost every country is a sufferer and this naturally derives a consensus between them.”  “This global unity and understanding of the threat terrorism poses to civilisation, pressured China. India’s constant peg that Azhar was operating from Pakistan and was the man behind most of the violence in the region, at last, found a voice in this joint action.” ..

‘terror tool’

  THAT Pakistan uses terrorism as a tool against India, now stands endorsed -- this time by none other than Mr. Michael Morell, former Acting Director of the United States’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Though the whole world had always known this, the endorsement by a top American spy and Intelligence administrator adds a special value to common knowledge.  This drags Pakistan’s ugly underbelly out in the open in bad light. In the past few years, the US is getting ..

Let us save our youngsters from disaster - II

  By Vijay Phanshikar: THE reader-response to ‘Loud Thinking’ (April 21) was encouraging in terms of numbers as well as in terms of sheer collective concern the larger society feels about youngsters. Each caller or visitor insisted that he or she would be interested in contributing to the cause of saving youngsters from disastrous bad habits, if at all there is going to be some social initiative in this regard. This collective concern is the most encouraging aspect of today’..

RISING TREND

   THE report on the survey on voter turn-out this election by the State Bank of India (SBI), comes up with a very encouraging finding. According to this report, the voting percentage in this year’s Lok Sabha polls may be highest since 1947. This is not a hypothetical finding. The prediction is based on the voting percentage during the first four phases that have been completed so far. After the completion of four phases the national average of voting percentage has already reached ..

Of Course, We The People

Of Course, We The People..

don’t distort

THE efforts of some elements to distort reality and present an altogether negative picture of the successful diplomacy India made possible getting terror mastermind Masood Azhar proscribed by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) need to be condemned..

THE GST HIGH!

 SINCE the introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime on July 1 2017, the revenue mop-up has recorded a major high, indicating stabilisation of the One Nation One Tax policy. The GST collection in April recorded a high of over Rs 1.13 lakh crore, which is an increase of 10 per cent as compared to last year’s figures. While tax mop-up before beginning of the new fiscal can be termed as one of the reasons in the high revenue collections, it is also a result of the anti-evasion steps ..

Trump-Backed Coup

  By C.J. ATKINS: n In an all-or- nothing gamble, the Trump administration’s man in Caracas, Opposition leader Juan Guaidó, has opened what he’s calling the “final phase” of the effort to overthrow the elected Government of Venezuela. VENEZUELAN Opposition leader Juan Guaidó took to the streets a small contingent of heavily armed troops early on Tuesday, calling for the military to rise up and oust Socialist leader Nicolas Maduro. In an all-or-nothing ..

GRAT STEP

  FINALLY, diplomacy helped the world take a step forward in its fight against terror when the United Nations proscribed terror mastermind Masood Azhar as a global terrorist. Finally, with smart moves using the UN mechanism, the United States, the United Kingdom, and France were able to push a direct resolution that singled out China whose obstinacy could no longer protect Pakistan from getting officially branded as a home to terrorism. Leave alone a smart play of words -- which is an integral ..

EC’S CONCERN

   THE Election Commission has stoutly and rightly defended penal provision for electors if their complaint alleging malfunctioning of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) and Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) turns out to be false. The provision for criminalisation of false reporting of fault in EVMs is a strong deterrent for habitual mischief-mongers who have almost made it their right to raise questions about functioning of EVMs. A petition has now come before the Supreme Court ..

Rise In Billionaires

   By NANTOO BANERJEE:  Interestingly, the pharmaceutical sector accounted for the most of wealthy entrepreneurs in the country’s fast growing list of rich individuals, followed by the software and services sectors. The average wealth of these super rich Indians in the Barclays list is around Rs. 5,900 crore.  INDIAN billionaires are far outpacing the country’s industrial and economic growth numbers. Notably, the number of individuals in the Barclays Hurun India ..

vital engine

  VICE-President Mr. Venkaiah Naidu has very rightly said that education is the vital engine of development and that the country has to reshape higher education to meet development needs of future generations. He said that it will be the best gift that the country can give to its children and young generation. But this realisation has come rather too late in the day while the West has gone miles ahead in its development. The Vice-President was right when he said that despite huge potential, ..

SPRUCING FORCES

   THE figures released by Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, on rise in military expenditure in the world, are clear indications of the present times where national security has assumed an important priority. As per the data, world’s military spending increased by 2.6 per cent last year which is 2.1 per cent of the world GDP. The United States and China, locked in a race for the tag of global power, accounted for half of the world’s military spending. From ..

Chinese ‘BRI’ Debt Trap

  The fear of debt trap lies with China luring small and weaker nations with massive loans in the name of infrastructure development. And, when their debts are not paid, it captures their land and resources. It violates the global norms for development loan, as it leaves little room for debt relief.  CHINESE President Xi Jinping will have to hard - sell BRI (Belt and Road Initiative) in encompassing marine, rail and road projects across 65 countries from Asia to Europe and Africa, that ..

muscle power

   A FEW days ago a special observer, appointed by the Election Commission of India to assess the law and order situation in poll-bound West Bengal, had come up with his observation that the State resembled Bihar of 15 years ago. And he appeared to be prophetic in his observation as unbridled violence was unleashed in the State with the ruling party and the Opposition indulging in lawlessness. However, thanks to the heavy presence of the Central security forces, violence was brought ..

FINE EXAMPLE

  GLOBAL software giant Infosys has carved out an example worth emulating by every corporate house as a social responsibility. It is heartening to note that the management of the software giant thought it its fundamental responsibility to safeguard nature and dedicate its efforts to conservation of environment. Out of this commitment to national cause the company has turned its sprawling 360-acre campus into a vast rain forest. It is apparent that much effort must have gone into raising ..

Informed Choice

   By Nilanjan Banik and G. Venkat Raman  In the US elections, research shows that there is a clear relationship between economic conditions and how the voters vote. Seth Masket, an eminent political scientist, argues how growth in real disposable income per capita is a relevant indicator, favouring the incumbent.  AS SOCIAL scientists, we are trained to assume every individual is smart. He takes all available information into account to maximise his objectives. For a ..

CHINA'S DESIRE

  A SIGNIFICANT fact that cannot be missed by geopolitical analysts from the just-concluded 2nd Belt and Road Forum (BRF) in China was the selection of Pakistan Prime Minister Mr. Imran Khan as one of the only seven speakers who addressed the gathering of world leaders. Pakistan is a key partner in Chinese President Mr. Xi Jinping’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that aims to join economies in Asia, Africa, latin America, as well as Europe through road and sea routes.   ..

Effect Of Non-Disclosure

 By Adv. R. S. Agrawal: The Health-plus policy falls in the Non-medical General category where the insured is not subjected to a medical examination before the issuance of a policy. Hence, it is a solemn obligation of the proposer to truthfully fill out the details required by the insurer in the proposal form on the basis of which the insurer takes a decision in regard to the issuance of the policy.  ACCEPTING the Life Insurance Corporation of India’s contention in the judgement ..

DADA'S PICK

  FORMER Team India captain Saurav Ganguly, fondly referred to as ‘Dada’ by his fans, predicted that the forthcoming World Cup in England would be a tough tournament as there are no easy teams. But at the same time he still rates India as the favourite title contenders with Australia, Pakistan and England making it to the semi-finals. With ten teams participating in the tournament in a round-robin format with every team playing each other, the tournament will be a keenly contested ..

Devaluing Democracy

    “Never in India election heat used to be so incinerating that it could burn the country’s very fabric and weaken its roots. Elections have always been fights; that’s what it’s about—but earlier the fights used to be on issues and ideas, on philosophies and certain moral stands leaders took.” n   “It was never a story of sleazy dogfights, where each one is trying not to outsmart the other on the arguments of progress and promises, ..

INTEL SHIELD

   LAST year when the island nation of Sri Lanka was embroiled in a political turmoil with uncertainty over government and governance, a crucial factor was bleeding profusely due to utter neglect of the leadership. Intelligence agencies, the backbone of national security, were at loss with no clear directives or help from the Government that had locked itself into a game of political oneupmanship. The ramifications of such a conundrum were bound to hit Lanka as the tear-shaped country ..

Conflicts, insecurities in society

 MOST of us dread a conflict situation in our life because it makes us uncomfortable and stressful. As a result, we learn to avoid, suppress or withdraw from conflict or even act as though it doesn’t exist. It is very rare that we choose to see the existence of conflict as positive and see that it presents an opportunity for us to move forward if only we are willing to face it and deal with it effectively. The conflict in human life begins from the time the infant is yet in its mother’..

SHUN SCREEN

  EARLY childhood, especially the first five years of life, is a crucial period for babies as it determines their cognitive development and impacts lifelong health. It is a period of rapid development and demands extreme attention from families whose lifestyle patterns cast big effect on a child’s growth. Latest guidelines from the World Health Organisation (WHO) have sounded alarm bells over growing obesity in kids below five years due to the large amount of time spent in fiddling ..

BOLSTERING IAF

 THE successful strikes on Jaish-e-Mohammad’s terror camps in Balakot by the Indian Air Force and subsequent shooting down of Pakistan’s F-16 jet by the old guard MiG Bison two months ago has proved the combat capabilities of the IAF. However, analysis of the strikes has also brought to fore the urgent need of enhancing India’s air defence and offensive techniques. An IAF report has called for induction of advanced technology, modern fighter jets and deadly missiles to ..

Lanka Pays Dearly

   By BARUN DAS GUPTA WHAT is most sinister about the serial blasts in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday is their subterranean ramifications. There is not an iota of doubt that the Colombo authorities had been informed by New Delhi that the IS was planning a terror attack on big hotels and the Indian High Commission in Colombo. Despite this advance Intelligence, those entrusted with the responsibility of security in that country, did nothing to foil it. They were guilty of dereliction ..

EVM BOGEY

  THERE may be some Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) malfunctioning as the election process advances into the fourth phase. Yet, the complaints against the EVMs need to be listed in the category of a bogey. It is obvious from the manner of complaints that most political parties are lodging complaints and making impractical and unfair demand about VVPAT support etc only as an advance escapism, in the sense they would be ready to defend their electoral setbacks by citing flawed machines. ..

Public Funding Of Polls

 By Dr. Bharat jhunjhunwala:  Since 1984, Australia has used a system of public funding of federal elections. Political parties and candidates are reimbursed for their election expenses in proportion to the votes they secure, provided they poll at least 4 per cent of the votes cast.     THE role of money—whether black or white—in elections cannot be eliminated. But it certainly can be reduced. The makers of our Constitution were aware of this issue. Therefore, ..

pure malice

  OBVIOUSLY, the honourable Supreme Court will pursue its course of action for what it sees as a distortion of its observation by Congress President Mr. Rahul Gandhi. However, beyond all the legal process, the nation has often felt agitated about the use of words “Chowkidar Chor Hai” by Mr. Gandhi as his election slogan while referring to Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi.   The common people resent use of this slogan against the Prime Minister of the land for reasons ..

Of the jaded psyche

  Vijay Phanshikar: Spending some time at the Nagpur or Ajni or Itwari Railway Stations, the Ganeshpeth Main Bus Stand, and the Sonegaon Airport was a favourite activity many, many years ago during the school and later college days. There, we came across a wonderful range of people coming into the city or going out of it -- with their bags, families. Some faces had dried tears while some were brightened with broad smiles. Each visit, thus, brought us closer to many human emotions expressed ..

OPPN IN DISARRAY

      THAT the Aam Admi Party (AAP) and the Congress failed to arrive at an understanding over seat-sharing in Delhi and Harayana, is hardly surprising and does not make a news. But one thing is very clear from that disagreement between the two disparate political entities that not just Congress and AAP have unbridgeable differences over power-sharing, but the entire Opposition is in total disarray. The current election carnival has made it amply clear that those who ..

India’s Open Sky Policy

  By Nantoo Banerjee  Notwithstanding the fact that situation has caused a big embarrassment for Modi Government at this crucial election period, the administration could do little to make Jet airborne anytime soon as the airline has failed to pay even the aircraft lease dues.   IT may be a bad news in the midst of the ongoing parliamentary election season that the country’s second largest airline by traffic share, Jet Airways, having some 22,000 employees on board, ..

REAL CONCERN

  INDIA has done well to raise some of its real concerns with China when Foreign Secretary Mr. Vijay Gokhale called on Chinese Foreign Minister Mr. Wang Yi in Beijing. One of the crucial points raised by Mr. Gokhale was as regards blacklisting of terror mastermind and chief of terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) Masood Azhar. Mr. Gokhale also raised a few other points as well, as media reports have us believe. But the issue of proscription of Masood Azhar is most crucial in terms of India’..

STRONG NAVY

        FROM being a ‘buyer’ to become a ‘builder’ the Indian Navy has charted a fabulous course in the last six decades. The third arm of the Indian Armed Forces is now a self-reliant Navy with potent submarines, warships, and aircraft carriers in its fleet. The crucial role it has to play in the Indo-Pacific region along with Japan, Australia and the United States, makes it mandatory for the Indian Navy to induct more submarines and ..

Socialism In Washington

  By TIM LIBRETTI:   We might as well crown Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez the Don Draper of the beltway—because there’s no mistaking that she has fundamentally re-shaped political conversation in Washington, D.C., offering a cure to bicameral boredom and a fresh approach to problem-solving.   AS DON Draper of AMC’s hit series ‘Mad Men’ likes to say, “If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation.” ..

we condemn

  WE join the world in condemning the terrorist attacks on churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka on the Easter Day, killing 290 innocent people, either engaged in prayers or in other leisurely Sunday activities. We join the world in prayers for the departed souls whose only fault was to have been present at the spots selected beforehand by the terrorists. We join the world in going beyond just condemnation and prayers and seek an action that would declare a good human resolve to fight ..

Acquittal Of Murder Accused

  The top court was of the opinion that since the appellant – 2 was a juvenile on the date of commission of the offence and though till date he has already undergone considerable jail sentence partly as an undertrial and partly as a convict, yet the appeal filed by the appellant – 2 has to be allowed as was done in the case of Raju without going into merits of the case and passing any other consequential order in that regard.  THROUGH its judgement in the case – Ashok ..

GOOD MOVE

  The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has done well to get in touch with some of the English counties to allow some seven Indian Test players to play in the English county season. Thus, even while the board was busy with the selection process for the upcoming World Cup in England, simultaneously it was also thinking of giving the Indian Test specialists some practice in English conditions in preparation for the tour of West Indies and later the inaugural World Test Championship, ..

Join Mainstream

   The prospects of peace are ever dwindling and ever elusive. It is only in the last 4-5 years that we have seen a renewed focus on Kashmir. It is only in the last 4-5 years that we have seen adequate Government interest and involvement in improving the fate of Kashmir. Several stalled projects in limbo for decades were re-started and completed. Rail and road connectivity has been strengthened like never before and so have power and digital connectivity. This has done a world ..

Imperative

   THE decision of the Election Commission (EC) to spend large numbers of companies of central Forces to ensure smooth polling for Lok Sabha elections has an obvious reference to an ugly reality that West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress (TC) chief Ms. Mamata Banerjee is creating stumbling blocks in the electoral process. Many of her actions in the past few months have indicated her effort to dare the federal governance as well as authority to conduct and monitor elections ..

Let us save our youngsters from disaster

  - Vijay Phanshikar   IT WAS a shocking sight to find a group of two-three girls, perhaps college-going, or even first-time employed, indulge in smoking cigarettes. Evening shadows had vanished behind the tall trees on the west, and twilight was making visibility poorer by the passing minute. And under that cover, those girls stood tucked in a corner, merrily smoking.  A closer look revealed their blackening lips and blood-shot eyes, besides, of course, their unkempt ..

Save Jet Airways

   Sir, It is really a sad and discouraging news that once a reputed and efficient Jet Airways is now completely grounded rendering as many as 22,000 people jobless. After King Fisher, Jet Airways is the second airline to be grounded. The result is lot of inconvenience to air travellers and pressure on Go Air and Indigo to cope with the rush.   I recently read that the fare from Mumbai to Delhi was around Rs. 30,000 for a single journey. In fact, this is equal to Mumbai, New ..

Inspiration

  Appreciate where you’ve been, enjoy where you are, and nourish enthusiasm for where you’re going. Fill your awareness with gratitude for the ever-changing experience that is your life. Cherish the good times you’ve known, keeping them with you always. Be mindful and thankful for the strength and wisdom you’ve gained in all the other times.  Toss the gloominess and trivialities out of your thinking. You have so many beneficial, positive, meaningful matters ..

Titular dignity

 ‘VASUDEIVA kutumbakam’ is certainly a norm in India. You would find Indians are endearingly related to one another. The extended family of Indians has an all inclusive extension in India. Anyone senior to you by a couple of years is a ‘Didi/ bhaiya’ or ‘akka/ anna.’ One can gauge their affection for each other by the way they address others. ‘Kaka,’ ‘Mama,’ ‘Kaku,’ ‘bhaijaan,’ ‘Chacha,’ ‘Bhau,’ ..

Of A Great Connect

   By Vijay phanshikarWhen Mr. Narendra Modi stood before the elite audience at the World Economic Forum at the Alpine resort of Davos in Switzerland, the world listened in rapt attention. Shahjahanpur, April 18 (PTI) Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said, on Wednesday, that in the last five years of the Modi Government, the country has earned respect across the world. ... THOUGH the statement was made during an election rally, its importance cannot be underestimated. In brief ..

UNFORTUNATE

  THE grounding of all Jet Airways operations, howsoever described as temporary, is a serious development that cries for national attention and subsequent action without which domestic aviation sector may suffer terrible blows in coming years. The closure of the premium airline in private sector, thus, cannot be taken as a usual development in the commercial world since the company had achieved a critical mass in serving air commuters across the country and outside.   By no standard ..

Aspirations Galore

 By ANJAN ROY:  Schools have sprung up with their air-conditioned class-rooms and large campuses, imposing gates and fleet of bright yellow buses make a perfect picture. They are private schools and putting the familiar picture of ramshackle Government schools as things of remote past.  IF YOU happen to go around rural Uttar Pradesh, you will not fail to notice the numerous beautiful buildings on the wayside every now and then. These are grand structures almost like some five-star ..

FARFETCHED!

  THE muted and guarded response by the world community to India’s historic feat of shooting down its own low-orbit satellite with an Anti-Satellite (A-SAT) missile last month was a huge acknowledgement of the Indian space programme’s efficiency. That India managed to become only the fourth country to have A-SAT capabilities, on its own, was also set to become a point of consternation to a few with similar capacities. Two responses emanating from the United States sum up the ..

DENIGRATING EC

   FIRST the CBI, then the CAG, later the Supreme Court and now the Election Commission (EC), certain groups operating on a flawed political premise and vested interests are indulging in denigrating the credibility of all these venerable institutions. By casting aspersions on the ability of the EC to conduct free and fair polls, some individuals, including former bureaucrats and civil servants, are deliberately trying to change the narrative of the ongoing election process.   To ..

True Secularism

  By Dr. Bharat jhunjhunwala: Secularism suggests that religions must coexist peacefully. It is built on the assumption that the religions are different—maybe even opposed to each other. The premise is that the One God has given different messages to different religions.    THE victory of NDA in the 2014 elections was built on the grounds of corruption, policy paralysis and economic growth. Caste-and religious divisions were on the back foot. The last five ..

on the brink

    THE fact that Pakistan is seeking a USD 6-8 billion bailout package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), shows how much on the brink of an economic precipice it is perched and how difficult it may find to emerge from that precarious condition. Those who understand the details of Pakistan’s failed economic and political management over the past seven decades, do not feel surprised at all. In fact, Pakistan should have reached such a point of no return much earlier. ..

WELCOME ... BUT

WITH the Central Government deciding to earmark ten pc quota in education and jobs for economically weaker section (EWS) it was only expected that a separate provision for the new category would be made. The Union Cabinet on Tuesday decided to add two lakh seats in central educational institutions to accommodate the EWS. That will be a massive step, which will ensure that there would be no encroachment on the entitlement of traditional reserved categories. The much desirable fall-out of the decision ..

Is Nepal drifting towards China ?

The extent of closeness between India and Nepal is often not appreciated by our hostile neighbours. Our historical, cultural, ethnic, religious and kinship ties go back a long way and traditionally open border continue to reinforce these realities. Sadly political discourse between India and Nepal generally ignores these vital aspects.   The India–Nepal treaty of 1950 has been criticised by the Nepali political elite as an unequal one. On April 11, Nepal Gove..

Isolate Pakistan

Srinivasan Umashankar, Nagpur   Sir, The country is surrounded by two countries, China and Pakistan potentially dangerous in different ways. While Pakistan is displaying its open hostility and hatred towards India, China is silently engaged in creating unrest in India to divert the attention of the people from core issues which can impact the economy.   China has stepped up ties with Pakistan and building massive infrastructure along the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor much ..

Male Warms Up To India

By Barun Das GuptaDuring President Solih’s fruitful visit to India in December, 2018, India announced a line of credit of $1.4 billion toward budgetary support for the social and economic development of the country. This marked a new era of development.INDIA,Maldives relations are now back on an even keel after they touched their nadir during the presidency of Abdullah Yameen (2013-18). Dissent was suppressed, all Opposition leaders were imprisoned, President Mohamed Nasheed was deposed an..

‘A Cattle Call’

   All the nine presidential hopefuls endorsed Project Labor Agreements, where unions and contractors agree on union representation for workers in return for a set of work rules and grievance procedures to cover problems on the job.  IT’S called, in political parlance, “a cattle call.” The phrase refers to what happens when presidential hopefuls parade their positions, one by one, before a group, large or small. And that’s what nine Democrats– ..

HARSH REALITY

  EVEN though Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi said it at an election rally, one of the hard realities of Kashmir pertains to the utter neglect of the issue of displaced Kashmiri Pandit community by the Congress party. So bad is the condition of Kashmiri Pandit community as such that it has added a very serious and even dangerous dimension to the issue. When hordes of goons were attacking people from the Pandit community, when they were demolishing the Pandit households, when they were raping ..

SC’s Line On Banning Film

  Motivated by a mission to support meaningful Bengali cinema, the petitioners produced this film. Their grievance, which forced them to move the court, has been that “the State of West Bengal is misusing police power and acting as a ‘super-censor’ atop the CBFC and is violating the petitioners’ fundamental rights through the Kolkata Police which is under its Department of Home”.  VERY recently the Supreme Court had an occasion to take a critical look at ..

DARK HOUSE

   THIS Indian Premier League (IPL) season, the showpiece international event of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), could very well prove the West Indies a dark horse in the upcoming World Cup. This possibility may appear bizarre given the state of cricket in the Caribbean island nations in recent years with the cricket board there incessantly embroiled in disputes with players and also within the body. Players have been fined for not appearing for the cricket board’s ..

Precarious Fate

  Measures are taken to relocate them to safer or higher areas but they are temporary steps that don’t solve any problem permanently. In India the rhino habitat is limited to parts of Assam and North Bengal, which limit their diversity, movement and safety channels. There are two major threats that the rhino faces in the Indian context – one is poaching and the other is natural calamities. In most of South Asia flooding is a natural phenomenon that occurs almost every year and ..

JUST FICTION

   THE allegation, even though from some Armed Forces veterans, that the Government is politicising the Armed Forces, is nothing but political fiction. For, the letter that is supposed to have been written to President Mr. Ram Nath Kovind, has not been received as yet by the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Despite this, it has been in circulation, having been written reportedly by some Armed Forces veterans. However, a few veterans whose names have been mentioned among the authors of the letter ..

Infectious enthusiasm of first-time voters

      TO SEE hundreds of first-time voters line up at polling stations in scorching summer noon was a heartening sight. Talking to some of them was still better. For, they represented something very upbeat, something very aspirational, something that may be described as young India. Their eyes shone in delight, their voices had a pep and they talked about their expectations from the nation, not just from the people in power. Listening to their ideas, engaging them in ..

good resolve

 THE resolute manner in which some regions voted in big numbers despite serious terrorist threats in the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections, signifies a very welcome victory of the democratic ideal. People in disturbed areas such as Kashmir, Bastar in Chhattisgarh, and Gadchiroli in Maharashtra defied the threats from separatist militants as well as Left Wing Extremists -- that is Naxalites or Maoists -- and voted in truly encouraging numbers was a remarkable feature of the first phase of ..

A-cut’ above

  THIS is the latest amongst the hopping teens and sprinting youth, a signature style of masculinity! From times of yore, we’ve heard of Shammi Kapoor-style, Dev Anand-style, Rajesh Khanna-style, and lately, youngsters swooning over the Varun Dhawan and Ranveer Singh-style statements! Yet, nothing to beat or debate the present ‘veggie hairstyles’! As I walked down through the college gate, I almost gasped at the sight before me! A group of a dozen youngsters presenting ..

Unholy Nexus

 By Vijay phanshikar    l Islamabad, April 6 (IANS): Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal has said that Islamabad will never accept India repealing Article 370 of its Constitution that gives autonomous status to Jammu..

ARTS EDUCATION

  THE Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has taken a welcome and much needed decision to make education in arts mandatory for classes 6th to 8th from next academic session. Not only that, the CBSE has also taken another welcome and innovative decision to introduce ‘cookery classes’ to promote culinary art. Obviously the CBSE appears to feel concerned that schools, while laying much stress on the study of sciences, mathematics and subjects in humanities, have left little ..

Technology For Security

   Security is a ‘science’ in the sense that it rests on concepts, precision and detection of fault lines. It works on clarity - the bedrock of science - that admits of no compromise on this count. A nation and an individual have two basic needs, economic well being and security. I HAD the benefit recently of listening to a well established American IT expert on the challenges for security strategists in these times of a literal tsunami of technological advancements. He ..

APOLOGISE M’am

   THE admission by Prime Minister Mrs. Theresa May that the Jallianwala Bagh massacre was a “shameful scar” on British Indian history, is quite in order of goodness, but incomplete because she has avoided expressing her nation’s apologies for the tragedy that took away nearly 2,000 lives a hundred years ago just because a power-drunk officer instructed blocking of the only entry-exit point at Amritsar’s famed location and ordered indiscriminate firing on a peaceful ..

GRIM COMMENTARY

   THAT State of Maharashtra has the highest number of polluted rivers in the country, is a grim commentary by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on the state of environment. Maharashtra has other distinctions as well, like, it is the most urbanised State in the country and its economy the richest. These attributes are sure recipe for the ugly condition of rivers in the State. The NGT’s observation is also a sad commentary on the failure of the State as well as local self bodies ..

Mantra Of Fiscal Deficit

  The mantra of fiscal deficit was created to prevent the corrupt Governments from siphoning off public money. The mantra was not created for “development” policy of an honest Government. The mantra was made for controlling corruption by the developing country Governments.   THE fiscal deficit consists of the money borrowed by the Government to finance its expenditures beyond its income. BJP and Congress agree that the fiscal deficit should be reduced. That is, the ..

Declare war

    THE killing of Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Mr. Bhima Mandavi and four others in a Naxal landmine blast near Dantewada just 48 hours ahead of voting in Lok Sabha election is a clear indication that time has come to declare a war on Naxalism afresh without losing time. It is obvious that the purpose of this blast was to deliver a blow to the establishment of the State of India when it was getting ready to exercise universal adult franchise to elect the next Lok Sabha. This ..

CBR -- in search of public utilities

Vijay Phanshikar,      It is one of the most busy roads in town -- the Central Bazar Road, with one end joining the Wardha Road on the east, and the other end just stopping short of entering the sprawling premises of the Visveswarayya National Institute of Technology. This nearly three-kilometer stretch has everything that any modern street can think of having -- hotels, hospitals, newspaper offices, Government premises, farms, colleges, schools, outdoor restaurants, ..

Pressure On Trump

   By Mark Gruenberg,  By a 247-175 vote on April 4, the Democratic-run House okayed the final version of Senate Joint Resolution 7, invoking the War Powers Act to force Trump to withdraw US troops and aid from the murderous Saudi-led war in the small Arabian peninsula nation THE United State Congress is ordering GOP President Donald Trump to end US military involvement in Yemen. His advisors are telling him – via a veto – to stay in. Since the Korean War in the early ..

MENDING FENCES

  THAT India and Sri Lanka have decided to enhance their defence cooperation, is a welcome tiding from the seemingly estranged neighbourhood. The neighbouring country, which appeared to be drifting towards China in a substantial manner in various fields, now has shown willingness to mend fences with India. Sri Lanka, it appears, has realised the fallacy of over-dependence on a country whose design is expansionist in nature. This realisation has possibly come when China sought a free lease ..

uncalled for

  THE current haggling over on which days should the Army move its convoys on Jammu-Kashmir highways is quite unnecessary. The refusal of the Army to abide by the order of the J&K Government to move the convoys only on Sundays and Wednesdays claiming that its operational freedom would be hampered, sounds logical. For, when such days are to be specified and known to all, then the Army’s operational freedom and need to maintain secrecy would be compromised with. Seen from this angle, ..

HABITS DIE HARD

  THAT cash is the most preferred mode of transaction in the election campaign material business this time as well, should surprise no one. For the buyer and seller of this merchandise cash is more convenient than the Government ordained cashless transactions through digital wallets or other online payment modes. For the political parties and individual contestant cash payment is a sure way of evading the Election Commission’s hawk eye on poll expenses. Besides, most of the money being ..

NYAYA At What Cost?

   An impact evaluation study by UNICEF in Sub-Saharan Africa showed that with the exception of temporary price rise during payment period, cash transfers has no impact on the prices. However, these evidences should be considered with a pinch of salt. They rest on the assumption that the money will be spent on useful goods, that will help the local economy in becoming more productive.  THE idea of launching Nyuntam Aay Yojana, a cash transfer scheme that intends to provide Rs. ..

habitual

  IT IS out of sheer habit that Pakistan Foreign Minister Mr. Shah Mahmood Qureshi made the senseless statement that India was planning an attack on his country between April 16 and April 20. It is only natural that India has called the statement “irresponsible and preposterous” and has rejected it outright. It is also natural that India calls the statement as an attempt to kick up a war hysteria in the region. After having cut a terribly sorry figure the world over following ..

Right To Get Gratuity

  The entire argument of the appellant is that the State Act confers restrictive benefit of gratuity than what is conferred under the Central Act. Such argument is not tenable and that liberal payment of gratuity is in fact in the interest of the employees. Thus, the gratuity would be payable under the 1972 Act.  THROUGH the judgement of the cases – Nagar Ayukt Nagar Nigam, Kanpur v. Sri Mujib Ullah Khan and Another and Nagar Nigam, Gorakhpur v. Ram Shanker Yadavand and Another, ..

rich choice

   that as many as 200 applications have been received by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) for the post of national coach shows growing interest in Indian football, not only within the country but also from European greats.  The top..

Public Health Epidemic

              “Living in districts with air pollution from intense crop residue burning (CRB) is a leading risk factor for acute respiratory infection (ARI), especially among children less than five years.” “The study for the first time estimated the health and economic costs of CRB in northern India pegging it at $30 billion or nearly Rs 2 lakh crore annually for just the three north Indian states of Punjab, Haryana and ..

security first

   THE nation is witnessing one of the most critical and great churnings in recent decades as the political community and the people engage in the election process. As political parties release their respective election manifestoes one by one, the voters get exposed to the different ways poll strategists evolve to woo them. No matter the details of individual lists of campaign promises the parties have made, the most significant issue that the situation has churned up pertains to national ..

Of book-worms and book-worms

     l “When you say you read a lot of books, are you a book-worm?” THE school girl who raised that question with a celebrity was not the lone person harbouring a doubt. Countless people often ask such a question. For, they remain under a populist impression that those who read a lot of books are book-worms, all the time engaged with books and not doing anything. There are people who read hundreds of books every year, and often face such a question. All one can say ..

SPURRING GROWTH

   ON THURSDAY the Monetary Policy Committee (MCP) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) effected second consecutive cut in the lending rate by 0.25 pc. The majority decision of the MCP shows that the apex body itself was divided over the move to cut the lending rates with two of the members favouring status quo.  Thus at this juncture of the economic situation there is no unanimity on whether there is need for lowering the cost of borrowing. But given the prevailing situation, it ..

A Democratic Wish

     It is okay that election campaigns see a lot of muck getting churned out against rivals. But it is not at all okay that in the zest to discredit the rivals utter falsehood is foisted upon people. “...  The outcome of Robert Mueller’s investigation was as disappointing for Democrats as it was buoying for Republicans. But in the end, it may have been a boon for US democracy. For nearly two years, the fate of the Trump presidency has been bound up in ..

true danger

    IF THE fact that as many as 1.2 million people died due to air pollution in 2017 in India, does not disturb us, then what does? -- is the question we the Indians must ask ourselves. It is a very disturbing fact that air pollution is the third highest cause of deaths in the country. And these statistical details are only one fourth of the story, so to say. For, countless other millions of people remain near-continually sick due to air pollution throughout the year, and their ..

STARK REALITY

   THAT over 113 million people in 53 countries faced acute hunger last year is a stark reality that haunts the world. And the usual culprits for this grave humanitarian crisis are the climate-related disasters, insecurity, conflict and economic volatility. While the world knows that some of the African nations present the most chronic cases of hunger and starvation due to droughts, conflicts and instability caused in their lives by these conflicts and economic reasons are also ..

Life-Shattering Inflation

   By DEBORA REY: Families living on the streets outside shopping malls, bus stations, and parks have become an increasingly common sight in Buenos Aires, as an economic crisis, soaring inflation, and a spike in utility bills fueled by austerity measures have left more people unable to afford a home.  A SMILING two-year-old Valentina Aleman runs down a sidewalk in Buenos Aires, dodging cardboard boxes, a worn-out sofa, and a broken refrigerator without noticing the cars zooming ..

greater power

  THE grant of presidential permission for sale of 24 submarine-hunting American Seahawk helicopters worth USD 2.6 billion is one more point forward in a series of cooperative moves between the United States and India over the past some time. That the move would add immensely to the strength to India’s naval prowess, is one side of the story, the other side being the success of ever-enhancing diplomatic script India and the US are writing together over the past few years. The addition ..

Universal Basic Income

In economic parlance, it is said that the poor have a higher “propensity to consume.” This will lead to increase in demand, a corresponding increase in production and set in motion a fortuitous cycle of economic growth leading to higher revenue collections.   CONGRESS President Rahul Gandhi has promised to pay Rs. 72,000 per year as basic income to the 20 per cent poorest families of the country. This can be called Targeted Basic Income Scheme (TBIS). It will provide a basic ..

strange ideas

  TWO of the promises made in the Congress party’s election manifesto pertaining to amendment of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and the Sedition laws indicate the dangerous way the party is tilting just to capture certain vote-banks. Other promises such as filling up of 22 lakh vacancies in the Government or offering farmers a debt-free life are okay by themselves, but the ones pertaining to the AFSPA and Sedition laws indicate that the party is trying to woo certain sections ..

Saga of an ill-planned road

  Vijay Phanshikar, What happens when urban infrastructure comes up in an ill-planned manner, is evident from the story of what is now being described as new Jail Road that is expected to connect the Humpyard Road with Wardha Road -- that is from the Ajni Railway Station to the Rahate Colony intersection where a Metro Rail Station is coming up. Not just the people but also the authorities now admit that the whole road project has been planned and executed thoughtlessly.  The inconvenien..

CASH, LIQUOR, DRUG

   THAT the Election Commission’s officials have seized cash, liquor and drugs worth over Rs. 1400 crore throughout the country shows that its vigilance network is quite alert and is working over time. According to the data provided by the Election Commission Gujarat tops in seizure of such inducements followed by Tamil Nadu. The laudable drive by the Election Commission is to ensure that the elections are conducted in a free and fair atmosphere and tame the play of black money. &..

FPIs Root For NDA

 By Nantoo Banerjee:Goldman Sachs sees a high possibility of a NDA victory due to low inflation, monetary easing by the Reserve Bank and growing FPI inflows, driving Rupee’s exchange valuation to a seven-month high. As a result, the Sensex gained a little over 17 per cent during the Fiscal year 2019 and Nifty gained a little over 14 per cent.   FOREIGN investors (FPIs) in the Indian stock market seem to be heavily betting on the return of a BJP-led political alliance to power. ..

populist bane

  THAT the world is thinking actively about the concept of Universal Basic Income (UBI) in a bid to combat poverty is one thing, the Indian version of the idea, as reflected in the campaign promise by the Congress party is nothing but a populist bane that would tear the economic fabric asunder in no time. With an additional burden of subsidy worth Rs. 3.6 lakh crore, the national economy will never be able to support such an idea. Yet, in a bid to return to power somehow, the Congress party ..

NEW SOPs FOR CRPF

   THE Pulwama massacre has lent some vital and hard lessons to the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) authorities. A new set of dos and donts have now been introduced under the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to ensure greater safety during movement of convoys. During the Pulwama terror attack as many as 2500 CRPF personnel were moving in a convoy of 75 vehicles. The CRPF authorities have realised that this is an open invitation to disaster. In a suicide attack such huge contingent ..

Chicago’s Poll Battle

    By JOHN BACHTELL:   Lightfoot has ascended in voter polls mainly due to the perception she is above the corruption that historically infests Chicago politics and is independent of the infamous “machine” and the various ward fiefdoms. UNITED States of America’s third largest city will elect a new Mayor April 2 when voters go to the polls to settle a runoff between Lori Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle. History will be made regardless of who wins. Voters ..

rethinK issues

  THE condition in which Jet Airways finds itself today cannot be brushed aside as the individual problem of one company in civil aviation sector. There is, of course, much substance in the statement of Civil Aviation Minister Mr. Suresh Prabhu that the Government is not responsible for the airline management’s limitations and failures.  Yet, sincere efforts need to be made to find out what has caused what appears to be a near-sudden collapse of a leading civil aviation company, ..

Of matter of heart

 By Vijay Phanshikar,   Heartening. THIS is one word that has made such an impact on human thought. The humans use this word so often, and almost without giving it much of a thought, though. Yet, the deep meaning the word conceals in its folds is absolutely fascinating. Heartening! The thesaurus offers these alternatives to ‘heartening’: Cheering, Comforting, Encouraging, Hopeful, Inspiring. Each of these shades is so meaningful, and so wonderfully indicating a plethora ..

Securing Space

  Now with India having acquired this rare capability of shooting down satellites, it would no longer be easy for adversaries to launch satellites and direct them towards India as the fear of being shot down will lurk large.     Today, several countries clandestinely collect data on the basis of their satellite inputs and since most countries don’t have the capability of stopping satellite movements in space, it is an easy process to pry into countries’ ..

on backfoot

  THE latest developments in the diplomatic arena as regards efforts to have terror mastermind Masood Azhar proscribed as a global terrorist have put China almost on the backfoot. Cornered by assertions by diplomats of many countries including India, the United States, the United Kingdom,, France, and others that China is sheltering terrorists, Beijing has sought to clarify its stand in fairly mild words that in effect say that it is wrong to level such an allegation. Such a response to ..

CROREPATIS ABOUND

COME election season and very interesting facts come to the fore in the form of declarations the candidates file while submitting their nomination papers. A report compiled by an NGO, Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) on the 2014 Lok Sabha elections reveals that, a whopping 83 pc of the sitting MPs of Lok Sabha are crorepatis while 33 pc of them have criminal cases pending against them. While these cases may go on for ages in the courts without conclusion, those with political clout, muscle ..

The A-SAT Metaphor

To some, this may be a feeble catching up with others in the domain. But to the larger Indian society, this so-called small development has a great meaning that is not just symbolic in nature. In actuality, its meaning has swelled India’s pride in self to a level that very few other developments can achieve.The anti-satellite weapon test conducted by the Defence Research and Development Organisation ... is more about Delhi’s changing approach to space weapons than a great technological ..

A step forward

A step forward..

RIGHT TO KNOW

   IT IS heartening to note that people have begun to use their right to know in a most constructive and profitable manner. The Right To Information (RTI) Act has empowered the people of the country to exercise their right to seek official information on matters of public interest, which otherwise would remain hidden beneath mounds of dusty files or denied public perusal, invoking the official secrets regime. In this connection the direction of the Chief Information Commission (CIC) ..

Probe Vindicates Trump

  By Arul Louis, With the Russia probe behind him, Trump may see an opportunity to navigate the treacherous political waters without the dark cloud of impeachment dogging him in the 20 months before the Presidential election.  AFTER being hounded for over two years by accusations that he treasonously colluded with Russia to win the 2016 Presidential election, US President Donald Trump has won an exoneration after an arduous investigation and his Opposition has received a setback. ..

political will!

  EVEN as India basks in the glory of the successful Ballistic Missile Defence Interceptor test titled Mission Shakti, shocking facts are emerging from inside the scientific community that such a test had been stalled earlier in the absence of political will to achieve the mark. India could have conducted such a test right back in 2007, and subsequently in 2012-13 as well, but the political leadership in those times was not willing to permit it.  This version of the country’s ..

Of debris that hurts deep, dirty

  Vijay Phanshikar,     The Telangkhedi lake bund had always been a wonderful place -- for morning or evening strolls, for sitting on the parapet wall staring at the rippling waters, for gazing at the sky whose reflection of varied colours often lighted up the placid, mirror-like surface of the waterbody. In the good, old days when the lake bund was rather a secluded place, or subsequently when a whole lot of commercial activity emerged there, thanks to the official ..

PEOPLE’S AGENDA

   RAVAGED by unprecedented floods last monsoon, having lost homes and hearths, saw near ones dying, the people of Kerala now want the political community to make climate change a dominant theme in the electoral discourse. Whether the political community acknowledges the concern of the population remains to be seen, it is now for the common people to take the initiative in this regard, in whatever way they can contribute to mitigating devastating effects of climate change. Because over ..

Growth Shackled

   I believe that the policy of import substitution was correct. The reason of its failure was that we did not simultaneously promote domestic competition and import of advanced technologies.The policy of import substitution was not meant to chain us to obsolete technologies.   THE income of a Chinese Citizen was 1.2 times that of an Indian Citizen in 1980 according to the data released by the International Monetary Fund. The income of a Chinese Citizen became 4.4 times that ..

shun politics

   THIS is the time to keep politics aside and acclaim the achievement of India’s defence scientists. This is one rare moment when the whole nation must applaud the achievement -- beyond politics, beyond biases. This assertion becomes necessary in view of the efforts of some uncouth elements to blame the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) for abusing the scientific achievement for political benefit. This charge is a huge ..

EPOCHAL

WHEN Dr. Vikram Sarabhai first spelled out his idea of India’s space programme in the mid-1950s, one of the thrust areas of his presentation was national defence. Even though the overall stress was developmental, national defence was also a core idea. That dream -- nay vision -- now stands fulfilled. As Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi addressed the nation sharing the all-critical news that the Indian defence scientists destroyed a pre-determined, Low Earth Orbit live satellite at a..

People’s Manifestoes

   By Nantoo Banerjee, The CSF has prepared a draft manifesto for consideration of all major political parties which demands policies and programmes to ensure health, education, employment and social security to especially disadvantage..

patently bad

   CONGRESS President Mr. Rahul Gandhi has come out with a patently bad idea that cannot sustain itself in the current economic conditions of the country. His electoral promise of giving 5 crore of the poorest of poor people a monthly hand-..

FIT FORCES

  A PERENNIAL dilemma of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) is dealing with the rising number of medically unfit personnel in combat ranks. It is not just an impediment in border security, anti-Naxal, counter-terror operations but the problem also is of administrative hassles for unwanted medical expenses. At present, over 55,000 troops in combat ranks are in the “low medical category” which is a significant number given the continuous operations the central paramilitary ..

Universal Medicare

   By DR. ARUN MITRA There is need to study the health profile from the perspective of universal healthcare. There are no special schemes for the senior citizens who form the largest number of ailing persons. Primary care which forms basis of a healthy society has no mention.  DEVELOPMENT, progress and economic growth of the society and country is proportional to the participation of workforce in these activities. Health of people is therefore of utmost importance. Only a ..

brexit blight

    THAT a demand for the resignation of British Prime Minister Mrs. Theresa May has come up as several Members of Parliament (MPs) feel that she has not handled the Brexit issue properly, indicates how Britain is struggling to cope with the stress and strain of tackling the challenge within democratic framework. The current atmosphere in the United Kingdom is proving to be a litmus test for the British democracy as the nation has not been able to firm up its mind this way or that ..

NEVER PROMISE MORE THAN YOU CAN PERFORM

    TG L  IYER,  There isapoem on persistence and determination which says: “When things go wrong as they sometimes will Whenthe roadyouare buildingseemsalluphill When the funds are low and the debts are high And you want to smile but you have to sigh When care is pressing you down a bit Rest if you must but don’t you quit For life is queer with its twists and turns As every one of us sometimes learns And many a failure turns about When he might have ..

Summoning Additional Accused

    The appellant was examined by the prosecution. An application was filed by the prosecution to summon all the 8 accused, wherein the appellant had asserted that all of them were present at the scene of crime; and had assaulted and injured him, his family members and associates on exhortation by Krishan Dev, which resulted in the demise of his father and brother. Hence, it was submitted that there was sufficient material on record to summon all those persons to face trial in ..

diverse views

DIVERSE views are being expressed on ‘workload management’ in view of the forthcoming cricket World Cup, beginning at the end of May and the 20Twenty Indian Premier League (IPL) carnival, that got underway on Saturday. It was Indian Captain Vi..

Chanda Sainik School A dream come true

(top)Sainik School campus, Chandrapur. (bottom)Fully-equipped auditorium in campus has seating capacity of 1,000. (Right) Brig (retd) S V Gaopande, who is heading the PMC team and also is Campus Commander, explaining the plan for Sainik School.   By Kartik Lokhande,  Sitting on his chair in a tin-shed, which is the temporary office of project management consultant (PMC) agency, Brig (retd) Sunil Gaopande is feeling the summer heat getting intense every passing day. At the ..

Uttara Huddar, a personality stranger than fiction

Uttara Huddar - A blessed soul.    By Rajendra Diwe,  There is a house in Vidya Vihar Colony in Pratap Nagar area. She was living alone and isolated in two small rooms behind the small main house. The first room, filled with a large number of books, cuttings of news-papers, hand written papers, a small chair placed near the door, a cot made up of iron opposite the chair and between both chair and cot, she was sitting on swing of wooden platform (Bangai). She was about 76, ..

Votary Of Peace

  “India has been the worst sufferer of terrorism for decades and no one knows better than us how damaging it is for humanity. It is unfortunate that despite terrorism spreading its wings, countries are not on the same page and they quarre..

keep going

   THAT the Central Government has banned the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) led by rabid secessionist Yasin Malik for participation in separatist and terrorist activities since 1988, indicates that the Centre is pursuing its anti-insurgency agenda with zeal and dedication. And even as the ban was being imposed on JKLF, the security forces arrested Sajjad Khan, a close aide of Pulwama terror strike mastermind Mudasir Khan, demonstrating further how unrelenting the Government ..

To teach importance of voting, a school HM sings Kirtans!

    By Shrikant Ukhalkar, The biggest celebration of democracy needs participation from each and every citizen so as to strength the voice of the voters and thus, united voice of the nation. However, some do keep themselves away from doing their national duty and participating in the election by casting their vote. Such people need to be woken up from their slumber. Though many governmental and non-governmental organisations are busy spreading awareness about the need to vote, ..

A wonderful journey of exploring self

      l He was a boy of few words. But he always carried a calm smile on his well-groomed face. Everything about him looked good, rather ideal. He dressed well, if not expensively. His hair was well-kempt, his shoes polished. None of his fellow-students ever remembered him to have forgotten his books or notebooks or pens or drawing box back at home, in school and later in college. He often claimed modestly that he was good in studies, but often ended up with high marks. ..

Town Fashion

   Stardom of the bollywood stars is synonymous to the tag of being a fashion icon. Be it the travel pictures, looks in the movies or just a post on instagram - most of it is motioned to be a life that is full of fancy diets, exercise routines and glamour indulgences. But what it all comes down to is one thing - Fashion! Clothes have been an integral part of making a statement in the B-town. Be it the celebrities or the B-Towners there is no denying that exceptional clothing style sets ..

Metamorphosis of Guru-Shishya tradition

    By prof shtrutee dhanorkar yeolekar,   Today is the era of technical advancements. Gone are the days when people used to believe that knowledge cannot be gained leading a lavish lifestyle. This was the basis of designing “Gurukul” system in such a way that students during their education should gain maximum knowledge by staying away from all the pleasures of materialistic world. ‘Guru-Shishya Parampara’ is India’s cultural identity. It ..

LONG AWAITED STEP

        FINALLY the first step towards establishing the office of anti-corruption ombudsman has been taken by recommending the name of former judge of the Supreme Court Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose. On Sunday the high level committee comprising Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi, Chief Justice of Indian Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Lok Sabha Speaker Mrs. Sumitra Mahajan and eminent jurist Mr. Mukul Rohatgi decided on the name of Justice Ghose. Thus social activist Mr. ..

And That Matters

In an embarrassment to the Congress, Tom Vadakkan, once seen as a key aide of Sonia Gandhi, joined the Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday, saying he was “deeply hurt” over the Opposition party’s stand post-Pulwama terror strike, and that his decision was “not about ideology but patriotism”...

BAD DIPLOMACY

  BAD DIPLOMACY WHAT China is doing as regards its refusal to support the proposal in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to have Jaish-e-Mohammed mastermind Masood Azhar listed as a global terrorist is sheer bad -- and brazen -- dip..

URBAN DECAY

THE collapse of the foot overbridge near Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) in Mumbai, is a classic case of urban decay and decadence...