Columns

Why bullet trains are unsuitable for India

Many will be surprised to know that 80 years ago, trains ran at a faster speed in North America and Western Europe than in India today. On the shorter distances (up to 500 km), daytime inter-city trains achieved average speed of 120 to 130 kmph, and on the longer routes (more than 1,000 km) speed was only marginally lower. For example:   The 286 km distance from B

In poll-bound Gujarat, what Rahul misses is Modi’s organisational strength

The assembly elections in Gujarat are expected by December, and the Elections Commission is touring the state on Monday to check the preparedness. It is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state, and he is not going to take it easy. He has made two weekend trips in the past one month, setting the stage for fight. From the opposition, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi too has made two v

Learning to build the smart cities

With an outlay of Rs 50,000 crore for the 100 Smart Cities initiative and Rs 48,000 crore for 500 cities under the Atal Mission For Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), the government is targeting to address the growing challenges of rapid urbanisation in a sustainable manner. AMRUT aims to provide in cities basic services and amenities relating to water supply, sewerage, septage mana

Is insolvency an exit route for promoters of housing firms?

In ordinary circumstances, a real estate company can take loans from banks only to bridge gap between ‘inflow’ and ‘outflow’ of funds required to complete the project as per contractual specifications and handover the possession of the dream abode to home-buyers within the scheduled time. Interest on such loan and repayment thereof can then be repaid from collection of c

Only midwives can transform maternal healthcare in India

 A midwife has a key role to play in the healthcare system and she is in charge of prenatal care, the delivery, and postpartum services. However, retention of midwives, especially in rural areas, is a major challenge for many countries, one that threatens to negate all the hard work and resources being invested in their training. In a way, these health workers are the warriors on

The challenge of judicial reforms

As argued in the previous article, it is patently clear why India should not postpone efforts to reform the judiciary. The problems facing the judiciary are well understood. Much of what needs to be done has been analysed to death in the media, learned journals and books, and is reflected in gov

Yashwant Sinha’s tirade is driven by personal agenda

Some people are born with silver spoon in their mouth. Some tend to acquire it. Former finance minister Yashwant Sinha is neither. He belongs to a unique genre of career bureaucrat-turned-career politician who are not content with merely acquiring silver spoon for themselves but try to ensure its perpetual possession for their progenies. It would not be wide off the mark to read

Something rotten at the heart of BHU

There was something eclectic about the Banaras Hindu University (BHU). As one crossed the gates, the sprawling campus came in view, representing a microcosm of the entire universe of education. Driving from the Sir Sunderlal hospital to the IIT and dairy farms at the end of the university, one would simply marvel at the genius of the man who founded it – Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya.

What ails Banaras Hindu University

From 1969, following an amendment in the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) Act, the university’s executive council is entirely nominated by the president of India on the recommendations of the HRD ministry. None of the executive council members are elected, which dilutes the democratic structure of the university. Also, the university today doesn’t have a teachers’ association an

Facebook and post-truth

It is not very often that Facebook advertises in newspapers. Last time it did was a year ago when it was promoting `free basics`— a limited internet service provided for free to subscribers of partnering telecom service providers. The internet platform’s reach is unparalleled vis-a-vis to traditional media. Yet, on September 21, the US based social media giant gave advertisements in

In Yogi regime, police return to notorious past of encounter killings

Lucknow, September 15 The Uttar Pradesh Police releases official data on crime control under the new dispensation of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Reveals that in 180 days of the new government, 420 encounters have taken place leading to the elimination of 15 supposedly dreaded criminals. The last ten of the

India-Africa relations: A peep into energy ties

Since the dawn of this century, owing to their growing interdependence, India’s ties with the African states have gradually been acquiring significance in a rapidly globalising world. Such interdependence is manifesting itself quite clearly in economic, developmental and politico-strategic spheres of bilateral as well as multilateral activities. Amidst all these wide-ranging areas of coop

Incumbents` loss is Jio`s gain

The telecom regulator has opted for the Bill and Keep (BAK) model for interconnection usage charges, that one operator pays to the other for call termination. At one stroke, the telecom regulatory authority of India (TRAI) regulation on interconnection has facilitated savings of Rs 5,000 crore to Reliance Jio and loss of revenue for the incumbents of approximately Rs 3,500 crore. The m

Housing for all: A realisable dream

The Indian constitution states that “the state shall strive to promote the welfare of the people, protecting as effectively as it may a social order in which justice, social, economic and political for all.” It is on these basic values that India continues to endeavour to provide its people basic socio-economic requirements such as food, employment and shelter. In gen

Why judicial reforms matter

Two path-breaking judgments by the Supreme Court on privacy and triple talaq were a reminder of how much we have begun to rely on the judiciary to make sense of a conflicted world. Seventy years after Independence, India’s judiciary has many accomplishments to its credit. A large judicial infrastructure has been created, with a powerful Supreme Court, 24 high courts with some 600 judges o

Women who fought it out

Instant triple talaq – which the supreme court banned recently, while asking the government to legislate against the decadent practice – is something Muslim women had no doubt wanted to speak up against but couldn’t muster strength to bring about progressive change. It took five Muslim women, who received little if any support from the community and were opposed by religious l

Mohan Bhagwat’s views on Hinduism not new: that’s old RSS position

In a candid conversation with diplomats from 50-odd countries recently, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat is learnt to have drawn a distinction between Hinduism and Hindu-ness. Bhagwat`s considered view, according to reports, was that while Hinduism can be guided by certain rigidities, codes and dogmas, Hindu-ness is a liberated concept, free from such limitations. Here`s what he is report

Transforming jobs into work & why it’s good for us and the earth

We are already in an age where some people have a job, some have work and a lucky few have both. ‘Job’ and ‘work’ are used interchangeably. Within a fast changing urban context, however, there is a fundamental distinction between the two. A job is a product of a classical urbanism whose end state is a city. It’s a city that’s always powered by a large scale u

Don’t jump to conclusions on Gauri Lankesh murder

 Journalist Gauri Lankesh`s murder in Bengaluru on Tuesday has quickly turned into a war of ideologies with intelligentsia and media jumping the gun to blame the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the RSS for the murder even before the investigating agencies have had the time to open a case file. That reminds me of this passage from Fyodor Dostoevsky`s classic, "Crime and Puni

The Antrix Devas deal: A Fall Gal`s Story

 L`affaire Antrix Devas no longer makes newspaper headlines, but little snippets about it keep surfacing periodically. It has a strange history, starting from 2003, has seen three PMOs and two enquiries, first by former cabinet secretary BK Chaturvedi, then by former chief vigilance commisioner Pratyush Sinha, and then a CBI enquiry. Strangely again, as newspaper reports say, the CBI`s pre



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Grand Diwali celebrations in Ayodhaya on eve of diwali

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