Column

HCs Can Admit Contract Cases

THROUGH the Judgement of the case – Uttar Pradesh Power Transmission Corporation Ltd. (UPPTCL) and Another v. CG Power and Industrial Solutions, delivered on May 12, 2021, Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and Justice Indira Banerjee, at the Supreme Court, have pointed out that it is now well settled by a plethora of SC decisions that relief under Article 226 of the Constitution of India may be granted in a case arising out of contract. However, the SC has stated that the writ jurisdiction under Article ..

VALID CONCERN

BEYOND the string of controversies that have suddenly gripped women’s cricket in India lies a red-flag raised by ousted national coach Woorkeri Venkat Raman about star culture causing harm to the team. Raman’s letter to Indian Cricket Board (BCCI) President Sourav Ganguly and National Cricket Academy (NCA) head Rahul Dravid is an important document that sheds light on many things that might cause irreparable damage to Indian women’s cricket in the long term. Raman was not retained as the head coach ..

The Bliss of Silence

The word Silence has its own beauty. For, utterance of the word itself unconsciously creates an imagery of calmness in one’s mind. Cacophony, shout-outs, noise wrongly labelled as music, loud expression of one’s thoughts, shrillness of arguments, honking of idiocy, blowing of own trumpet, attention-seeking cries, loudmouthing, rumbling of ideologies... all these and something more of sound that is filling today’s world day in and day out, highlight the need for that much-needed bliss called Silence. ..

Why do we follow a wrong model of language-studies?

THIS question has come up for detailed consideration every now and then at various places. ‘Loud Thinking’, too, has picked up this issue on countless occasions. That is because no society can ignore its importance. For, when a society follows a wrong model of language-learning, it is only inviting trouble for it in the long run. Visiting schools and discussing educational issues with right people has been an integral part of my professional work. That often took me to forlorn frontiers of our school ..

Unholy Act

AT LEAST 96 unidentified bodies – many of them decomposed and bloated – were found floating in the Ganga over the past few days, triggering fears among local residents in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh that bodies of COVID victims were being dumped in the river. While 71 of the bodies were fished out in Bihar’s Buxar district, at least 25 bodies were found in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh’s Ghazipur district. While authorities in both districts are yet to confirm if the bodies were of COVID victims, saying ..

bitter truth

THE truth of how the world fell prey to the devastating coronavirus pandemic by not paying enough attention to early warnings of the virus, is a bitter truth that nobody can brush aside easily...

Inspiration

Do you want to make the situation better for everyone involved? Add kindness to it. Do you want to make beneficial use of your strength rather than merely showing it off? Invest your strength in kindness. ..

Akshaya Tritiya: The day that brings good luck and prosperity

Akshaya Tritiya is celebrated across the country with religious fervour. In Vidarbha, it is popular as Akhaji or Akha Teej. It falls on Shukla Paksha Tritiya in the month of Vaishakha. The word Akshaya means never diminishing. Hence, the benefits of doing any Japa, Yajna, Pitra-Tarpan, Dan-Punya on this day never diminish and remain with the person forever. Akshaya Tritiya is believed to bring good luck and success. Most people purchase gold on this day as it is believed that buying gold on Akshaya ..

Bhagwan Parshuram: The immortal living God on earth

Parashurama Jayanti is celebrated as birthday of sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu named Bhagwan Parshuram. Drik Panchang says, “Parshuram Jayanti falls during Shukla Paksha Tritiya in the month of Vaishakha. It is believed that Parashurama was born during Pradosh Kala (one and half hour before sunset) and hence, the day when Tritiya prevails during Pradosh Kala is considered for Parashurama Jayanti celebrations.” The purpose of the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu is to relieve the Earth’s burden ..

Data Protection Needed

IT WAS in 2017 when the Supreme Court in K S Puttaswamy-I recognised the Right to Privacy as a part of fundamental rights. Further, it also realised that digital privacy is as important as spatial privacy (Justices D Y Chandrachud and Sanjay Kishan Kaul deserve honourable mention). Keeping this objective in mind, the Union Government had appointed a Committee under the chairmanship of Justice B N Srikrishna for proposing skeletal legislation for filling a void in the discipline of data protection. ..

MYANMAR CRYING

MORE than 100 days after the military coup in Myanmar that toppled the elected government of Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, the nation continues to resist the Junta with little success. The military, or Tatmadaw, have seized control after the shocking takeover but has trampled the ideals of democracy with its muscle might. Over 800 people have died in the anti-coup protests while more than 1,000 have been detained by the military. Lethal force is being unleashed by the Junta to crush resistance even as a report ..

Targeted Lockdowns

WE ARE caught between the devil and the deep blue sea in respect of imposition of lockdowns. According to a paper published by the Frankfurt School of Finance, not imposing a lockdown leads to higher numbers of deaths which, in turn, leads to lower economic growth. On the other hand, imposition of lockdown leads to a direct reduction of economic activity and lower economic growth even though some improvement takes place after a time. According to Financial Firm Jeffries, three states of the United ..

CENTRAL ISSUE

IN POLITICS, every communication has to be countered with a repartee or even reprimand. That is what Congress party’s Interim President Mrs. Sonia Gandhi seems to have done in response to a letter from Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) President Mr. Jagat Prasad Nadda. Instead of paying attention to the issues raised by Mr. Nadda, the Congress leader appears to have accused the BJP of playing letter-politics and muddling issues. In a way, Mr. Nadda’s letter does not seem to have served much purpose -- ..

Of the city’s nightly feel

RETURNING home every night from the day-long hobnobbing with news in The Hitavada taking different routes has been the loosefooter’s hobby for the past four decades. The shortest distance between office and home is 3.6 kilometers. But the journey back to home in the night is far longer -- may be in double-digit kilometers. And the reason is simple -- to haveafeel of the city by night. That is an entirely different feel. By night, the city of Nagpur is an altogether different entity -- very endearing, ..

Of the process of poetry - III

THIS definition takes us into an entirely different imagery, far more pregnant with possibilities and potential. It comes very close to the mental state of a poet in the process of creation. It is absolutely easy to imagine a child restive in sleeplessness, waiting for the dawn to emerge in the distance -- so that she can get going with the next day. Of course, life must go on, and nobody understands this better than a little child. Yes, life must go on despite the sleepless night, despite the ..

CHINESE VIRUS

EVEN as the world grapples with untold misery heaped upon it by the coronavirus, all investigations aimed at finding out the source of origin of the virus have drawn a blank so far. In this light, the document written by Chinese scientists and health officials, accessed by the ‘Weekend Australian’ newspaper should come as the biggest evidence pointing at China’s dirty designs to use the SARS viruses as bioweapon. The paper revealed that Chinese military scientists were discussing the..

Crisis Management

INDIA is in a state of biological war against an invisible enemy (coronavirus), which has imposed unprecedented health emergency of this century. While the magnitude of cases and sudden spike, in second wave, has pushed many countries into unsurmountable shortages, but it does put a question mark on handling of the pandemic this time, in comparison to much better handling of pandemic last year during first wave by India. While specialists may cite many reasons for such hike, from double mutation ..

Right Choice

THE rise of Mr. Himanta Biswa Sarma as Chief Minister of Assam under a second consecutive term for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has multiple meanings in the current socio-political situation of North-East. Equally pregnant with meaning is the intended shift of Mr. Sarbananda Sonowal to New Delhi to shoulder some central responsibility either in the Government or in the organisation. It was Mr. Sonowal who led the BJP to power five years ago, and again now in the recent legislative elections. ..

Let us present to kids the glory of mother-tongue

THIS has become a major social and educational issue in the past quarter of a century. More and more families have children studying in English medium schools -- in which there is a planned neglect of mother-tongue as a great source of joy, if not as a medium of instruction. In home after home, we come across children who cannot read or write in their respective mother-tongues properly. And by all standards, this is an unfortunate situation. The effort here is not to cast an aspersion on English as ..

Salutes To Armed Forces

   “Along with the efforts put together by the scientific community, health professionals, civil administration, the Armed Forces, too, have been pitched in this battle against an invisible yet deadly enemy. Indian Army, Air Force, Navy, and other organisations in the Ministry of Defence like Director General Armed Forces Medical Services, the Defence Research and Development Organisation, the Ordnance Factory Board, National Cadet Corps, Cantonment Boards are engaged to help ..

JAPAN’S DILEMMA

  ALREADY struggling to keep things in order before the country hosts the prestigious Olympics Games in July this year, Japan is now facing a stiff opposition from the local populace over hosting of the event. The Olympics 2020, postponed to 2021, due to the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic are still scheduled to be held with new safety protocols including no travel permission to overseas fans. However, now with even the local people taking to on-line petitions against the Games it ..

EVERYONE’S MAN

  DESPITE his various stints as Union Minister in different Governments, Chaudhary Ajit Singh, who lost his battle to COVID-19 at the age of 82, remained an accidental politician, happy to remain confined to his own domain. Yet, the biggest achievement for this graduate from IIT-Kharagpur and Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago was the way he managed the legacy of his legendary father late Chaudhary Charan Singh. Though he could never match the high position in national politics that ..

TAPPING UK TRADE

AFTER the hiccups in personal meetings to chalk out a long-term plan for mutual benefits, Britain’s Prime Minister Mr. Boris Johnson and PM Mr. Narendra Modi finally could hold a virtual summit to kickstart a long-lasting Indo-UK partnership in crucial sectors...

WTO Versus Humankind?

IN THE main two vaccines are available to us today—Covishield developed by AstraZeneca and produced under its license by Serum Institute of India; and Covaxin developed by Bharat Biotech. Serum Institute has to pay one-half of the sale price to AstraZeneca as royalty; or it has to pay Rs 75 as royalty if it sells Covishield to the Central Government at Rs 150. Serum Institute says that it is not economic for it to produce Covishield in the balance Rs 75. For this reason, they have offered to sell ..

SERIOUS ISSUE

THE violence unleashed by goon-gangs on workers and supporters of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in West Bengal is proving to be a more serious and weightier issue than the third-time oath of Ms. Mamata Banerjee as Chief Minister of the State. No matter the allegations and counter-allegations about who is indulging in violence, the State is now confronted with a massive question-mark on the integrity of Madam Banerjee’s leadership. And beyond all doubts, it is obvious that this is happening because ..

This, too, shall pass

Water, water, everywhere, Nor any drop to drink. The curse of Samuel Coleridge’s ancient mariner seems to live on. The irony is way too agonising. He couldn’t have water, whilst it was everywhere. And we are struggling for something as omnipresent as oxygen. It is heart-numbing. Tragedies shouldn’t be this perfect. This pandemic has gone too far. Wave after wave, the hurricane has taken far too many lives. It has left no soul unaffected. Pain – little or in mammoth forms has stabbed all hearts. It ..

Of the process of poetry - II

THIS appears to be rather too simplistic a definition offered by none other than a poet of the eminence of William Wordsworth. Each of these eight words is true. Yet, the process of poetry is not as simple as it may make some to gather an impression from this definition. Read any Wordsworth poem -- or for that matter by any one in any language anywhere in the world -- and you would know that creating poetry has several layers to it, and is very complex far beyond words to capture it successfully...

NOWHERE!

IT WAS a sharp irony for the die-hard supporters of the Congress party to see ‘reluctant’ national leader Mr. Rahul Gandhi’s tweet celebrating Trinamool Congress’ victory in the West Bengal Assembly elections. Mr. Gandhi’s exuberance stemmed from the fact that Ms. Mamata Banerjee’s party had managed to defeat the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)...

Vaccine Diplomacy

WITH COVID-19 spreading globally and the pandemic is seen far from ebbing, vaccine diplomacy has become a new dimension in India-China spat to win diplomatic and economic influences in South Asia. So far, China was using trade and investment mantle, including loaning through Belt and Road Initiative, to exert its political and economic influences in developing and poor nations in South Asia and South East Asia. The COVID-19 shifted the power game to soft power influences. There are three biggest manufactur..

NEW METHAPHOR

THOUGH the outward picture looks more or less the same, a new political metaphor is making its presence felt at subterranean levels -- which can be sensed from the way five States voted in the legislative elections. On the surface, most States behaved in a traditional manner, but all indicated that new equations and new alignments can be sensed in the distance. There may not exactly be an anti-incumbency wave sweeping the country as the voters opted for continuation of Bharatiya Janata Party in Assam, ..

HONEST ISSUES

The stern, no-nonsense observation by the Madras High Court’s first Bench of Chief Justice Mr. Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Mr. Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy stating that the Election Commission is singularly responsible for the second wave of COVID-19 in the country, has to be understood in totality. The honourable judges have verbalised the sentiment of the entire nation on a major concern. Earlier, too, a Bench of the honourable Delhi High Court consisting of Justice Bipin Sanghi and Justice ..

Building N-Submarines

THE Indian Navy has recently decided to give top priority to building a fleet of nuclear submarines, armed with nuclear-tipped Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs) and build a fleet of six such attack submarines. At present the only India-made nuclear sub is INS Arihant. Another submarine leased from Russia for ten years in 2012 (INS Chkara II) will have to be returned soon. The programme for building another aircraft carrier has been shelved for now. At present India has only one aircraft ..

GOODNESS PAYS

WHAT being decried and debunked derisively as ‘vaccine diplomacy’ until now is now paying back for India. Help is pouring into India from all over the world for its fight against the second surge of the scourge of coronavirus. The countries by which India stood in their hour of crisis are now beginning to return favours to India by filling in medical supplies whose shortage is troubling the country in a big way. In this hour of crisis, thus, the world appears to be a better place with all countries ..

Of the process of poetry

OF COuRSE, there is no standard definition of poetry, but William Blake offers a wonderful interpretation of the poetic process. Perhaps the best. Poetry is hardly words. Poetry is hardly the lines and stanzas. Poetry is also not freedom with grammar for an effect. And finally, poetry is also not the poem by itself. Poetry is beyond all these - the words, the lines, the stanzas, the freedom with grammar! It is in the grain of sand or in the wild flower or in the palm of one’s hand ... That is what ..

Section 482: Limits On Power

IN THE judgement of the case – Sandeep Khaitan, Resolution Professional for National Plywood Industries Ltd. v. JSVM Plywood Industries Ltd. & Another delivered on April 22, 2021, Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and Justice K. M. Joseph, at the Supreme Court have prefaced their findings in the judgement with the observation that the contours of the jurisdiction under section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code are far too well settled to require articulation or reiteration, while at the same time pointed ..

on song

IN THE past few years, Indian sportswomen are proving to be almost equal partners of men in achieving new highs in most sports. If Mithali Raj became the second woman in the world to score 10,000 runs in women’s cricket, she was only following in the great footsteps of M.C. Mary Kom and others in women’s boxing. And to give these women company in the rarely populated zone of high achievement, Indian women are have been doing very well for themselves and the country in sports like tennis, badminton, ..

Mahaveer Jayanti: The day to begin journey towards righteousness

The Jain community of the entire world is gearing to celebrate Mahaveer Janmakalyanak or Mahaveer Jayanti or birth anniversary of Bhagwan Mahaveer, the 24th Teerthankar of Jain community, on April 25. In the present situation, Mahaveer Jayanti will be celebrated in low key manner. Vardhaman Mahaveer preached the path of righteousness. According to him, “Samyak Darshan (right faith), Samyak Jnana (right knowledge) and Samyak Charitra (right conduct) are the four basic principles to be followed together ..

Disgust We Can’t Ignore

   As the nation combats the coronavirus pandemic, it must conduct its public affairs with an utmost sense of justice and non-partisan evenness. This is the import of the observation of the judges when they said that they were part of the nasty and evil society. We can only ill-afford to miss the message.Nagpur, April 22: Mincing no words in deprecating the callous and negligent attitude of the authorities in complying with its directions to supply 10,000 Remdesivir vials to Nagpur, ..

GREAT SCHOLAR

   THOUGH he was personally very philosophical about life-and-death cycle, the death of great Islamic scholar and author Maulana Wahiduddin Khan has caused deep anguish to all those who worked for social unity beyond religious barriers. Though he lived up to the ripe old age of 96 years, everybody wished him to live forever. His passing away is certainly a great loss to the larger Indian society. Maulana Wahiduddin Khan spent every moment of his fulfilling life in offering a correct ..

GOOD CLARIFICATION

THE Central Government has done well to prove through official statistics that very small percentages of persons have contacted coronavirus after they have been vaccinated with first or second doses. These details should remove the fears some elements were trying to fan up in the society about the ineffectiveness of vaccination. It was only unfortunate that ..

US Investment In India

WHILE American investors were upbeat in India, despite COVID 19 ravaged the economy, Japanese investors slipped into coma. Both are among five top foreign investors in India. US investment in India surged by 297.2 per cent in 2020 over the preceding year and Japanese investment fell by 59.4 per cent during the same period. In 2019, investment from both USA and Japan were neck to neck, with marginal increase of USA investment over the Japanese investment. The truth behind this paradox lies with USA ..

unfortunate!

THE episode of death of as many as 24 coronavirus patients owing to a leak in oxygen supply in a Nashik hospital is truly unfortunate, to say the least. It only adds to the overall trauma the larger society has been facing for the past one year in general and during the current second surge of the ugly virus in particular. In the recent times, several incidents of fire in hospitals killing several patients (COVID or non-COVID), too, have come to light from across the country. All these point ..

UNCALLED

FOR AS IF it is its policy, the Congress party has been pressing for imposition of strict lockdowns in most States around the country, even though it may in power in some of those. On the face of the demand, it appears fairly logical that the country’s oldest party is seeking initiatives to break the ugly virus chain through lockdowns. This stance of the Congress party, however, is quite confusing in the sense its leaders have spared nothing to blast the very idea of lockdown earlier. It appears that ..

Survival Of MSMEs

AN OCTOBER 2020 study by McKinsey Consultants in the European Union has found that one-half medium, small and micro industries (MSMEs) believe that they will not be able to survive more than 12 months. The condition in our country is likely to be much worse because our MSMEs have faced the problems of demonetisation and GST earlier. The simple fact is that the cost of production of MSMEs is more in comparison to large industries and they cannot survive unless given special protection. First reason ..

ISLAMIST EXCESS

THE current turmoil raging in Pakistan seeking expulsion of Ambassador of France from the country, is nothing but an Islamist excess that does not stand to reason. Islamist groups are protesting publication of what they call blasphemous caricatures in a French journal last September. These groups have unleashed violence in several cities in Pakistan and are attacking security forces. The atmosphere is so politically-vitiated that many in the security forces, too, are joining the bandwagon in what ..

Of an essential omission

THE Ram Navami shobhayatras have been Nagpur’s pride, not just for its massive scale and the number of processions, but also for the core idea that was germinated more than half a century ago. That idea grew into a habitual expectation of massive celebrations all over the city that took out nearly a dozen major shobhayatras every year to mark Ram Navami. So good did the idea prove itself in time that it became one of Nagpur’s signature-events -- covered by international media agencies in great ..

GOOD CITIZENSHIP

INDIA Inc. is proving to be very alert to the needs of the current moment and is gearing up to lend a helping hand to the Government’s efforts. Many a corporate company has stepped forward to start manufacturing medical-grade oxygen in existing facilities. Some corporates are also known to have stopped the production of their mandated items only to accommodate the..

Vietnam Elects Leaders

VIETNAM has elected a new Government, and although many Americans might not pay much attention to Vietnamese politics, there are significant reasons for them to do so—especially now. With one of the fastest growing economies in the world, Vietnam has become an important trade partner with the United States, reason enough to give it consideration. But secondly, the country’s internationally recognised success in containing the COVID-19 pandemic offers many lessons on what a socialist-oriented economy ..

BEST DECISION

THE decision of people in authority first to curtail the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar and then to cancel the Ram Navami celebrations in Ayodhya in view of the growing coronavirus pandemic should be considered one of the best in the recent times. What was utterly essential at this point in time has been done, for which the authorities deserve appreciation. Now, it is expected that devotees and religious and social organisations cancel the upcoming Ram Navami celebrations and get engaged in worship individually ..

Of the sheer bliss of reading

NOBODY will reject or dismiss the universal truth in this expression of subtle but strong motivation behind reading, so aptly captured by American literary critic Harold Bloom. Much to the contrary, most of those who find solace in reading will agree with Bloom after some initial conflict of nuances of the motivation that drives them to books. Of course, some may suspect that there is certain escapism in Harold Bloom’s statement. They may feel that there is also a negative dimension to why people ..

Empowerment With Substance

THROUGH her judgment in the case –Treasa Josfine v. State of Kerala, delivered on April 9, 2021, Justice Anu Sivaraman at the Kerala High Court, Eranakulam, has done her bit to provide much needed substance to the much talked about, a little hollow concept of empowerment of women, which receives lot of lip-service without required visible progress, as it is suffering lot of sabotage from within due to our obsolete mindset. Referring to the basic contention of the State Government that the provisions ..

RE-ADJUSTMENT

THE discomfiture of ace shuttler Kidambi Srikanth represents the sentiment of the sporting community the world over. Repeated COVID-19 tests left him with a bleeding nose ahead of a tournament. Later, he could not participate in the Toyota Thailand Open in Bangkok because his room partner -- B. Sai Praneeth -- tested positive (which was a false positive). Thanks to the changed conditions, sportspersons have lost the freedom to train as per their plans and abide by regulations that actually militate ..

Don’t quarantine the children; insulate them

THERE is no relevance of the theme of this edition of ‘Loud Thinking’ to the current coronavirus pandemic. There is a larger and deeper meaning to it, which we must understand. It suggests something very critical in the crucial zone of parenting or child-upbringing. It suggests that parents or elders in the family need to think far more deeply about how to handle the issue of wonderful young minds and bodies growing within the confines of the home. This headline -- “Don’t quarantine the children; ..

Strengthen Economy

ALREADY recovering from a major slump caused by last year’s prolonged lockdown, restaurants and clubs in Delhi and elsewhere are yet again filled with trepidation since the announcement of a night curfew in various cities of the country from the start of April this year. While some restaurateurs said the move was still better than a complete lockdown and some business could be had in the daytime, most said the economic toll it took on them would prove disastrous. Fine-dining restaurants have their ..

FRESH TURMOIL

PAKISTAN finds itself embroiled in a fresh turmoil as Islamist politics has taken a violent turn in the past few days. Thousands of people are pouring out into major cities to lodge protest against the Imran Khan Government whose Police opened fire on angry mobs killing several people. The Police also have arrested reportedly countless hundreds of people for rioting and attacking Government servants. The events suggest that all the mishandling of the situation by Prime Minister Mr. Imran Khan is ..

DISCONCERTING

THE very scene of countless thousands of persons converging on the Kumbh Mela for a holy dip in the Ganga, only adds to the overall sense of unease in the people as the country struggles to face the second wave of coronavirus. The general sense of discomfiture increases manifold when pictures of pilgrims ignoring COVID-19 norms get flashed in the media. Of course, similar unease also troubles the people when they see pictures of election rallies and roadshows with thousands of people in 25 per cent ..

Words Sans Meaning

“IF THEY go, we’ll all have to go. That’s the reality of it,” said a British source about President Joe Biden’s announcement that the last American troops will be out of Afghanistan by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. (What can possibly have possessed him to choose that date?) Not only the remaining 2,500 US troops in Afghanistan will go, but also the 7,000 British and other NATO troops in the country. Actually, they were ready to go long ..

RIGHT STANCE

INDIA’S approach to climate issues needs to be applauded for the fine mix of self-motivation and self-restraint, leaving no chance for anybody to misinterpret where the country stands as regards global concerns. Union Minister of Environment Mr. Prakash Javdekar has made the Indian stand clear during his discussion with French Foreign Minister Mr. Yves Le Drian. He said that India would certainly achieve its climate goals and even go beyond, but would never get pressured by anybody to overstate its ..

NON-PARTISAN

THE action of the Election Commission against some unacceptable campaign practices by the leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party in West Bengal should answer directly the barbed criticism by Trinamool Congress leader Ms. Mamata Banerjee. ..

Low Interest Rates

THE Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has continued its policy of low interest rates in the recently announced monetary policy. Commercial banks can continue to borrow monies from RBI at a low rate of 4 per cent per annum. The average cost incurred by the banks in acquiring deposits, however, remains more than this because they have already taken fixed deposits from the public at higher interest rates. Thus the average cost of acquiring deposits at present is about 7 per cent. This average cost would have ..

Low Interest Rates

THE Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has continued its policy of low interest rates in the recently announced monetary policy. Commercial banks can continue to borrow monies from RBI at a low rate of 4 per cent per annum. The average cost incurred by the banks in acquiring deposits, however, remains more than this because they have already taken fixed deposits from the public at higher interest rates. Thus the average cost of acquiring deposits at present is about 7 per cent. This average cost would have ..

REBUILD SYSTEM

NO MATTER how successfully India has handled the COVID-19 crisis for the past one year to win global praises, the general condition has emphasised the need to start building again the overall healthcare systems in the country so that it would not have to face the crisis it is confronted with currently. We must thank the coronavirus crisis paradoxically for giving us an opportunity to take a good second look at what we would need in the future, and rebuild accordingly the healthcare ecosystem. The ..

SIXTY YEARS!

SIXTY long years ago, Soviet union’s cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin took that pioneering flight into outer space. Before that, a couple of animals had been sent on such journeys around Planet Earth, as essential steps in Man’s quest to reach to the farthest possible frontiers of the universe. Space research had begun much earlier, locking two of world superpowers in a race in which even a loser was a winner, in a sense. For, the effort was to master space, to go beyond the horizon and deep into something ..

A Setback To Left

THE Left movement in Latin America got a big jolt on Sunday as the conservative banker Guillermo Lasso won the presidential elections in Ecuador in the run off by defeating the Left leaning candidate Andres Arauz who was much ahead in the opinion poll till the polling day. Arauz, the protégé of the former president Rafael Correa topped the first presidential poll on February 7 and was expected to win the run off on April 11, according to most political analysts. Ecuador is presently under lockdown ..

DELIBERATE

THE events during the campaign for Legislative Assembly elections in West Bengal demonstrate beyond doubt that Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader and Chief Minister Ms. Mamata Banerjee has chosen to invite confrontation with the Centre as part of her overall political strategy. Each of her statements during the first four phases of polling process demonstrates quite candidly that somehow, Madam Banerjee is instigating not just her cadres to resort to unlawful methods but also daring the Central agencies ..

Gudhi: The Icon of Victory

Hindu Calendar begins at new moon day of Chaitra month. Within a month of Zoroastrians rejoicing their Navroz on summer equinox, all Indian States celebrate Indian New Year. In Maharashtra, we call it ‘Gudhi Padawa’. In Kashmir it is ‘Navareh’, ‘Yugadi’ in Karnataka; ‘Udagi’ in Andhra Pradesh; ‘Pana Sankranti’ in Odisha; Sindhi community celebrates ‘Chait-e-chand’; and in Manipur it is ‘Sajibu Nongma Panba’. The Balinese people from Bali Island (Indonesia) have their new year on the same day. They ..

Of finding oneself

THIS is one pang faced universally by countless people who often see the world beyond themselves, or who omit self from their own consideration. Mir Muhammad Taqi Mir often brings to fore such stabs of human emotion in masterful words. It is this ability of Mir’s that even led the unofficial poet laureate of Urdu to say: Rekhta Ke Tum Hi Ustad Nahi Ho, Ghalib, (You Are Not The Only Master of Rekhta -- treasure of Urdu expressions --, Ghalib,) Kehte Hain Agle Zamane Mein Koi Mir Bhi Thaa! (They say, ..

Why don’t we encourage adventure in youth?

IF ADVENTURE, dare-devilry are considered the core attributes of youth, then there is a question that we -- as a society -- must ask ourselves: “Why don’t we motivate our youngsters to pursuing adventure as a way of life, as a driving force to forge ahead in life?” This is not a simple question to answer, as some may tend to suggest. Looking for its appropriate answer can be a fairly complex process. But let there not be any confusion in our minds that as a society, we have hardly pushed our youngsters ..

Clash Of Definitions

  Kolkata (WB), April 7 (Agencies): The Election Commission is said to have sent a notice to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for trying to fan religious sentiments by asking people of Muslim community not to allow its vote to split during the legislative elections in the State. Even as the electoral arena was agog with Mamata Banerjee’s speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi thundered in one of his election rallies that the whole Opposition and some sections of the media ..

CLEAN DEAL

  THE assertion by Dassault Aviation that supplied to the Indian Air Force (IAF) ultra-modern Rafale jet fighters, that there were no irregularities in the deal, should bring to end the controversy if the French manufacturer had paid a 1.1 million Euro bribe to some middleman, as was alleged by a media investigation in France. Some political vested interests in India were trying to prove that corrupt practices were involved in the Rafale deal, though it was made clear that in the Government-to-Go..

FOLLOW FAIR NORMS

  EVEN as the country fights against the second surge of coronavirus, its systems are getting strained at multiple points, including its medical systems comprising not just the treatment but also the supply of appropriate medicines at fair prices. It has been noticed that a lot of agencies and persons engaged in coronavirus treatment are taking a disadvantage of the shortage-conditions and are fleecing the helpless public. Thus, this is not just an issue of stricter regulations, but also ..

CRITICAL PHASE

EVEN as the Centre seeks larger participation of people in controlling the second wave of coronavirus, it has marked the next four weeks as a very critical phase. The contagion can increase with great intensity in the next four weeks as the new mutants of the virus are spreading fast making it mandatory for the entire country to strictly adhere to COVID-appropriate behaviour. Concerted efforts by the entire society only can stop the pandemic from assuming dangerous proportion but given..

Interest Rate Cut

THE Government had announced a cut in the small savings rate on March 31st but withdrew it in a few hours. For example, the interest rate on 5-year National Savings Certificate (NSC) was cut from 7.9 per cent to 6.8 per cent. The interest rates on Kisan Vikas Patra, Senior Citizens Savings Scheme and Provident Fund were reduced and restored in tandem. There is no serious reason for the depositors to cry foul, however. The interest rates need to change in parallel with the rate of inflation. For ..

real concern

FALSE narratives heaped on the nation by vested interests on a regular basis to create instability in the society, is the real concern that needs to be dealt with first. Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi was more than right when he pointed out this reality at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Foundation Day meeting of its leaders and workers. He asserted that the nation is often faced with the situation of having to deal with deliberate confusion some elements create on otherwise clear issues such ..

Oh, the difference to me!

THE early morning scooter ride through the Seminary Hills last week was certainly a pleasurable experience, but certainly not as rewarding as it used to be say until about 15 years ago. It is true that the current summer scorch has deprived the Seminary Hills area of a lot of its greenery. The visitor finds himself staring at the dried, yellowed tree-tops in what can be considered one of the best forest patches any city can have. Despite this summer-bereftness, one cannot escape feeling very sad that ..

POWER OF AI

DEDICATED thrust on building newer and smart technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the area of focus for the Armed Forces’ immediate future. This need was very well expressed by Chief of Indian Air Force Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria while delving on the use of AI for air warriors. Automation is the name of the game in the changing geopolitical situation even as warfare tactics assume newer dynamics around the globe. The IAF understands the importance of ..

Unfolding Tragedy Of Tibet

TIBET, famously called the roof of the world; a State in the Himalayas neighboured by India and China has for long been in a State of tussle with Beijing. China lays the claim over the entire Tibet and calls it its own territory; however, Tibet has always strived for an independent existence. This is among the many conflicts currently brewing in south Asia, probably the worse as far as the power imbalance is concerned. The water tower of Asia has for long witnessed the cold and dark nights under ..

ICEBERG'S TIP

THE resignation of Mr. Anil Deshmukh as Maharashtra’s Home Minister following a Bombay High Court Directive to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to complete the probe into his alleged indulgence in money extortion practices actually represents only a tip of the proverbial iceberg of corruption that often underlines political activity in many places of consequence. Given the overall situation, Mr. Deshmukh’s resignation came on expected lines. In the light of allegations levelled against him ..

JAB FOR ALL

HEALTH experts’ suggestions to the Centre to open the vaccination process for all, irrespective of their age group, holds solid ground especially after the new finding that young people infected by the coronavirus were spreading it to more people. Prof Mr Zhengmin Chen of the University of Oxford has stated that the second wave of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom was started by..

Protests In Burma

THE non-violent democratic resistance in Burma* (or Myanmar, as the Army renamed it in 1989) is living through terrible times, but statistics are on its side: most non-violent movements eventually win. But it’s hard to stay non-violent when you are up against a force as ruthless and brutal as the Tatmadaw. The Burmese Army, known as the Tatmadaw, is distinguished by the fact that in its 73-year history it has never fought foreigners. It is the second-biggest Army in Southeast Asia (350,000 troops), ..

wage war

THE latest Naxal attack in Chhattisgarh claiming lives of as many as 22 jawans of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) offers a fresh reason for the Government -- and the nation -- to wage an all-out internal war on Left Wing Extremism (LWE) and crush the Maoist uprising that is so openly aimed at overthrowing the lawfully elected Government with full constitutional sanction to carry out its work as per the moral, ethical and historical tenets that have guided the Indian thought and action through ..

iconic actor

THERE are not many in that very special league of actors -- men and women -- who represent people’s aspirations in the most genuine aspirations from multiple angles. Standing as tall as anybody in that league, iconic actor Rajinikanth has won one of the greatest honours that any thespian can aspire -- the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for lifetime achievement in filmdom -- very deservingly, very much to the liking of countless millions of his fans whose adulation for the man has not been dimmed by barriers ..

SPEEDY

FOR the sixth month in a row the Goods and Services Tax (GST) collections have remained above the Rs 1 lakh crore mark even as March saw a record mop-up of Rs 1.23 lakh crore. ..

Threats To Economy

THE second wave of Corona Virus is further threatening the economy. There is need to review the Budget proposals in the light of this development. The challenge today is to restart the cycle of fast economic growth and employment generation that has been hit by demonetisation, GST and lockdowns. These actions have hit the small industries in particular. These same small industries were creating most of the employment. Thus, employment generation is no longer taking place, employment in our manufacturing ..

MODERN FARMING

FOR long years, India has been deliberating on changes to be introduced in the agriculture sector with thrust on modern technology and augmentation in farmers’ income. Not that nothing has been done in this regard so far, yet, the fact remains that India’s agriculture sector is still to wake up to modernisation. Technology has managed to penetrate into the sector with moderate gains. It is, indeed, time to change gears and give full impetus to adoption of modern practices in the agriculture sector...

Solidarity With Tibetans

THE Tibetan Support and Policy Act of 2020 was passed by the US Congress, which is a landmark victory for the people of Tibet and their struggle. This Bill acknowledges the struggle of people of Tibet against the brutal and oppressive Chinese occupation and is in solidarity with six million Tibetans who are suffering inside Tibet. Washington has always fought the non-democratic forces and stands firm hand in hand with the Tibetan brothers and sisters and their freedom struggle. Washington DC has ..

BEYOND SYMBOL

EARTH Hour may have the status of a symbol in Man’s global fight to save Nature from total degradation. But its importance is far beyond just a symbol; it suggests that the human community has to unite to reverse the damage Man’s greed has caused to Nature, as very rightly stressed by Mr. Marco Lambertini, Director General of Worldwide Fund International (WWF) as world celebrated Earth Hour at 8.30 p.m. on the last Saturday of March. Switching off lights at that moment all over the world at local ..

Unscientific Planning

LAST year, a UK-based newspaper reported that unscientific planting of trees was causing environmental harm instead of the benefits intended. The UK Government had carbon sinks in mind when it ordered the planting of trees in large numbers, but planting in peatlands and wetlands destroyed soil quality and led to more emissions. India, with plans to create a 3 billion tonne carbon sink from forests by 2030, seems to have failed to learn from this episode. A study by the Legal Initiative for Forest ..

THE Message

THE message from Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi from his various speeches in Dhaka and also from the opinion piece in the Bangladesh newspaper ‘The Star’ is clear and clean. Expounding India’s vision and position on multi-lateral relations in the subcontinental neighbourhood, Mr. Modi stated that India and Bangladesh favoured a terror-free atmosphere where peace was the dominant condition. He also indicated how expansionism was an anathema that every democratic country should shun. The Prime Minister’s ..

Open secret of how champions are made - III

IT IS a terrible misconception people harbour that champions -- in any field -- are made in strong body supported by strong hands and legs that can achieve any physical feat with ease. If that were the case, great Indian classical dancer Sudha Chandran would never have been the legend she ultimately became. For, she has only one leg, the other one having been lost in an accident. But with an artificial leg, Sudha carved a special niche for herself not only in the field of performing arts but also ..

A Great Moment!

    “Happy my first foreign visit after COVID-19 pandemic onset will be to our friendly neighbour Bangladesh with which India shares deep cultural, linguistic and people-to-people ties,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his departure statement. The Prime Minister noted that he was visiting Bangladesh on the invitation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. He will also call on Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid. ...THE historicity of Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi’s ..

HOLLOW WORDS

   THE process of disengagement of Chinese and Indian troops under way in eastern Ladakh is a long-drawn effort and also cast in the dark shadow of China’s deceitful behaviour. The Chinese military has claimed that situation in eastern Ladakh had eased distinctly, giving an impression to the world that its troops has backed out from the friction points after the longest stand-off with Indian forces. Hollowness in the words cannot be missed by experts and analysts who are ..

HONOURING

  LEGENDARY playback singer Asha Bhosle is no stranger to top recognition and awards. Already owner of a generous kitty of national honours, Asha Bhosle has received another feather to add to her cap with the Maharashtra Government’s decision to confer ‘Maharashtra Bhushan’ award on her. The top award of Maharashtra has gone to a deserving legend whose musical journey is for generations. Despite being in her 80s, Asha Bhosle still resembles a bubbling fountain of youth. ..

PUT PUPILS BACK ON TRACK

EXACTLY one year ago on March 24, 2020, when lockdown was announced in India, all schools, colleges, and educational institutions were also shut down. Closure of about 1.5 million schools imparting primary and secondary education affected 286 million children, and closing of 993 universities, 39,931 colleges, and 10,725 stand alone educational institutions affected 37.4 million students. Everybody felt it would continue for a very short time. Our ruling leaders said that the Mahabharata was fought ..

Of the lost serenity of a scenic area

WALKINg around in Ram Nagar, Ram Nagar Hill Top area on a Sunday afternoon brought up forgotten memory files in the mental space. That is the area where I spent my wonderful, fun-filled, happy childhood through school and then youth through college. That was a different scene -- sixty years ago -- so firmly wedged in the mind that I refuse to accept the change that has come over the area in the past few decades. Mind gets weighed down with certain sadness at the loss of the serenity that enveloped ..

SCOPE WIDENS

OPENING up vaccination process for all people above 45 years of age is another good move by the Central Government as the age group covers a considerable strata of society. The 45-plus age group is the middle sector in the society and vulnerable to the virus because of the chances of co-morbidities like hypertension and diabetes. Vaccination to this group was extremely necessary as it covers a sizeable population to develop resistance against the virus...

Beyond Labour Code

THE Government is to soon notify the rules for implementing the new Labour Code. Some provisions of the Code are pro-labour. For example, the proceedings in a case of misconduct by a worker have to be completed in 90 days. Gratuity will now be payable to workers who have worked more than one year. Fixed-term employees have been given entitlement to all benefits that are payable to permanent employees. Other provisions are anti-labour. Closure or retrenchment for establishments employing less than ..

fake concern!

THE appeal by senior Pakistani diplomat Mr. Aftab Hasan Khan that India and Pakistan should work to forge a durable peace, comes in line with the recent position taken by Prime Minister Mr. Imran Khan and Chief of Army General Qamar Javed Bajwa offering India an olive branch. Because of the quick frequency of these appeals in the past fifteen days, a question crops up whether Pakistan is actually serious about the so-called peace initiative, or there is a hidden agenda that India must decipher correctly. ..

WISE DECISION

HEEDING to the call of expert groups monitoring the efficacy of Covishield vaccine, the Centre has taken a timely and wise decision to revise the interval between two doses of the vaccine to four to eight weeks. Present protocol mandated the second dose to be administered between four to six weeks. Extending the time window to eight weeks is a prudent move as scientific data in many parts of the world suggested that protection against COVID-19 is enhanced if the second dose..

India Is Key To Indo-Pacific

THE importance attached by the US to the Indo-Pacific, places India at an advantageous position, both in defence and economic sectors. While the world was combating the COVID pandemic, international leaders were also busy in realigning the world as per their country’s priorities and goals. One region, which has emerged on the top of this new realignment, is the region of the Indo-Pacific. The Indo-Pacific comprises the Indian Ocean, the western and central Pacific Ocean, and the seas connecting the ..