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NEET politics

The national eligibility cum entrance test (NEET), a single window examination for entering medical schools for MBBS and BDS courses across the country, was introduced with an aim to remove the hassle of appearing in hundreds of examinations separately. The move was introduced to lessen corruption and irregularities. However, the government took the ordinance route to keep the states out of the

Fundamental rights vs fundamentalism

The Shayara Bano case has placed the Muslim personal law under the judicial scanner yet again. The supreme court is set to examine triple talaq, polygamy and other discriminatory practices against women on the touchstone of the fundamental rights guaranteed under the constitution. Though there have been petitions in the past pointing to the need for reform, Shayara’s petition has u

Leprosy: The stigma prevails

A couple of days back, Odisha assembly passed its Panchayat Laws (Amendment) Bill permitting leprosy patients to contest Panchayat polls. The polls are scheduled to be held in 2017. With this, the state has abolished its 52-year-old law, which banished leprosy patients to contest polls, calling it “redundant”. However, there are several existing Indian

The temptress of fate

At 63, Jayalalithaa doesn’t qualify to be referred to as a ‘child’. But if the events of the last three-odd months in Tamil Nadu are anything to go by the appellation ‘destiny’s favourite child’ would seem to be an improbably precise description of her. Today, on the back of a spectacular victory in the just-concluded assembly el

All’s not well as wells end

Of the many thought-provoking stories by literary legend Premchand, there is one about a landlord’s arrogance and water scarcity. It is titled ‘Thakur ka Kuan’ (the landlord’s well) and perhaps now is a right time to revisit it. A villager named Jokhu is quite ill and badly wants a sip of water. There is a common well for villagers but its water has been

And unquiet flows the Yamuna

Like a child, the Yamuna gushes down the Yamunotri glacier, its free flowing and crystal clear waters cutting through mountains and valleys. The youthful Yamuna generously nurtures life on its way. But its free-flowing spirit is abruptly interrupted at Hathnikund barrage in Haryana. There, the water is diverted through the western and eastern Yamuna canals. Then a tired river proceeds towards

Scary scarcity of water

One billion people will be facing severe water shortage in India and neighbouring areas by 2050 thanks to climate change and expansion of economic growth, according to a projection made by the researchers of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Their new study says that in future it would be growth rather than climate change which would be more responsible for water stress.

The forest hymn

Loknath Nauri comes home with a large herd of cattle. He had taken them out for grazing in the forest. But surprisingly they are not milch cows. “Only one of these gives milk and that too is mostly consumed by the calf,” says Nauri in a genteel voice. A middle-aged man with salt and pepper hair and a pencil moustache to match, Nauri knows there’s more to this herd than milk.

Tamil Nadu Polls: LED replaces cardboard cut-outs of politicians

Tamil Nadu streets are submerged in the election fever. During any poll season, the skyline in the state remains cluttered with larger-than-life cut-outs of political leaders. However, this time, the giant cut-outs of the political leaders, hallmark of the state during assembly polls have been replaced with Light Emitting Diode (LED) cut-outs. Seve

Water scarcity: It’s the crop pattern

“The world has enough for everyone’s needs, but not everyone’s greed.”                                     – Mahatma Gandhi This was an important advice given b

Direct democracy dobara in Delhi

Installation of CCTV cameras. Setting up of a library. Putting up streetlights. Setting up of Mother Dairy booths. Opening of dispensaries.   These were some of the basic demands that had emerged when the Delhi government last year went to the people to hear from them their needs through mohalla sabhas ahead of the state budget.   

Selecting for the top UN job

The world’s most important diplomatic post is up for grabs. The process of selecting the next UN secretary-general (UNSG) has already begun. However, despite the fact that the final selection of a candidate would have wide ramifications globally – the UN faces serious challenges of wars, migration, climate change, famines, proliferation of weapons, issues of discrimination and much

Ujjain banks on green Kumbh to turn smart

The story of every Kumbh mela, where a colossal tented city springs up on the banks of a sacred river every 12 years, is simultaneously the story of the eternal and the ephemeral, the mundane and the magnificent. It is the story of saints and moksha-seekers who are joined in their belief that, at a certain time of year, the holy waters contain the nectar of divinity that can free them from the

Article 356: ‘The dead letter’ comes alive once again

On August 4, 1949, Dr BR Ambedkar, while brushing aside the objections that were raised in the constituent assembly over adoption of emergency provisions, such as the president’s rule in states, stated that “every part of the Constitution” could be abused for political purposes. He was right but no other topic has probably kept the nation as engrossed as finding ways to guard

The land of Mohan and Mahatma

Porbandar is a small city with narrow and congested lanes, bustling with people, shops, cows, and children. Amid this hustle and bustle is a beautiful big white building, Kirti Mandir – where Mahatma Gandhi was born. In sharp contrast to the chaos and noise outside, there is a sense of peace and calm inside the gates of Kirti Mandir. The place houses a museum that is 79 fe

Needle of Suspicion: Vaccine leaves experts on pins and needles

Every few days one more child dies after receiving the pentavalent vaccine… Yet as these deaths mount, it has been announced that pentavalent vaccine is to be introduced in 3 more states… “These deaths have become so frequent that in Tamil Nadu, in spite of official denials, people have stopped going for vaccination and the immunization uptake has fallen by 2

What makes a city smart?

The debate on what indeed is a ‘smart city’ continues to reverberate even almost a year after the mission on smart cities was launched in June 2015. Environmentalists keep insisting on clean and green dimensions as the key themes for smart cities, while sociologists talk of social equity, architects of signature structures, technologists of ICT as the main driver and town & coun

How a 22-year old man’s arrest has kept Gujarat on the edge for months

Gujarat witnessed violence in 2015 when the Patidar community stood together to demand reservation for Patels in OBC (Other Backward Class) quota.  It’s been nine months since then but the simmering tension is failing to get doused. Still to find a silver bullet to deal with the ongoing Patidar agitation, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led Gujarat government was once

Why Bastar women are scared

As the battle rages on and security forces and Maoists have sharpened their attacks on each other in recent times, there have been rumours and stray reports of excesses, in particular of an incident of mass rape. Now there’s official confirmation of it: seven tribal women were sexually assaulted by security personnel in one incident. National Commission for Scheduled Tribe

The hate for Bhagat Singh’s hat

The great revolutionary Bhagat Singh is often remembered as shaheed-e-azam (king of martyrs) not just because of his supreme sacrifice, but also for his ideas. He was one revolutionary who gave a clear picture of his dream of a free India and wrote a lot to explain the philosophy of his organisation, Hindustan Socialist Republican Association. He was not fighting for political freedom only; his

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