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Reinvigorating reinsurance

After the liberalisation of the insurance industry in 2000, private firms (mostly in partnerships with foreign firms) have readily taken to the sector. Till FY18 there were 23 private firms in the life insurance sector and 21 in general insurance segment. However, it was only in 2016-17 that the first private domestic reinsurance firm, ITI Reinsurance, entered the industry and was yet to begin

Informal power

Villages without power supply are easy to find though the government says there are none. The lines are laid, but many villagers are too poor to pay for electricity. BPL (below poverty line) families, entitled to free supply, are waived the installation charge. But they don’t have money to wire their homes. Others are held back by the fear that bills will rise beyond reach. &nbs

Estonia eyes on more e-Residents from India to open startups

Riho Kruuv, Ambassador of the Republic of Estonia talks to Vishwas Dass on key issues like the importance of e-Residency programme of the Government of Estonia and why Estonia is becoming a preferred investment destination for Indian startups and budding entrepreneurs. The Ambassador says Estonia offers a Euro 500 million European Union (EU) market to Indian entrepreneurs. &n

Betting on nostalgia

“Aandhi” (Storm), director Gulzar’s movie starring Suchitra Sen and Sanjeev Kumar, was made in 1975, when Indira Gandhi reigned supreme in Indian politics. The film, based on Kamleshwar’s Hindi novel ‘Kaali Aandhi’, depicted the life of a woman politician, and it was believed to be partly inspired by the life of the then prime minister. Suchitra Sen too app

On a personal note: Bhagyashree

Despite the stupendous success of her debut film Maine Pyaar Kiya, which won her the Filmfare award for Best Female Debut in 1990, Bhagyashree chose marriage over stardom. After a break, she acted in a few Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Bhojpuri and Kannada films. She has also appeared in television soaps. In 2015, she became the brand ambassador of the Bhagyashree Scheme, launched by the g

Budget a helping hand for neo-middle class

An official who worked closely with Narendra Modi during his stint as the chief minister of Gujarat told me an anecdote to explain his style of working. Just before the 2007 state assembly elections, Modi had found himself pitted against a strong lobby of Patel farmers and the RSS-backed Bharatiya Kisan Sangh.   What got the goat of the affluent Patidars was Modi&rsqu

“Let’s look at monuments not just as history but as art”

Swapna Liddle’s wide and warm smile is the kind of comfort one looks for on a cold January afternoon. Her love for Delhi, its monuments, its history, resulted in a doctoral thesis on 19th century Delhi. Led by a mind trained in history, she has ambled numerous times among Delhi’s unnumbered monuments, cherishing the well known and exploring the less known. From these leisurely f

Fernandes: a die-hard proponent of anti-Congressism – with shifting loyalties

It was some time in 2011. Lal Krishna Advani was in his chamber in the parliament complex waiting to receive George Fernandes, a long-time friend and political comrade-in-arms. Fernandes was ushered in assisted by his wife, Leila Kabir, and sundry aides. His walk was infirm. Advani looked at him quite pensively and asked, “Do you recognise me, George?” Fernandes showed no si

"Dance is all about enjoying the process"

Born to Padma Bhushan awardee Kuchipudi dancers, Dr Raja and Dr Radha Reddy, Yamini gave her first dance performance at the age of three. She has received Sangeet Natak Akademi award, National Bismillah Khan Yuva Purasakar and Devadasi National Award among others. She was the first dancer ever to perform at the Wigmore Hall London in 2011. She has performed for various heads of countries at

“ITDC aims to deliver the best to all our stakeholders”

Ravneet Kaur, IAS, chairperson and managing director (CMD) of India Tourism Development Corporation Ltd (ITDC) speaks to Rahul Trivedi about this government undertaking’s growth plans. Edited excerpts from the interview:   ITDC’s financial performance has been on upswing in recent quarters. What is fuelling this growth? ITDC ha

The Kumbh: The grandest spectacle on earth

It is an incredible sight. As our small boat moves towards the Sangam (the confluence of the river Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati at Prayagraj) much before the break of the dawn, a sea of humanity surges forward to take a holy dip in icy waters in an extremely cold weather by north India’s standards. Thus begins the Shahi Snan (the royal bath), marking the launch of the Kumbh Mela,

Interview: Yogi Adityanath on how he’s changing the perception of UP

As my vehicle drove through the gates of Bungalow no 5 on Kalidas Marg, the official residence of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, I could discern a marked difference. Austerity was in the air. Just before I reached there, he had hosted a plain vegetarian lunch for top police officers who had gathered in Lucknow to celebrate the police week. Barring a few vehicles of these offi

“Extreme weather is the new normal”

Climate change is for real. And the recent Kerala floods and the deepening farm crisis make this a dreadful phenomenon for India. IMD chief KJ Ramesh talks about how well- or ill-prepared the country is to deal with the change in climate.   From cyclones to unexpected snowfall, 2018 witnessed some severe weather events. Climate ch

"An artist has to feel and behave responsibly"

Famously known for his onscreen role as ACP Pradyuman in the popular TV series CID, Shivaji Satam is a veteran who has worked in theatre, television and films. Before taking up full-time acting, Satam worked as a cashier in Central Bank of India. His performances in many Hindi and Marathi movies have been appreciated. He has twice won the Maharashtra State Film Award for the best actor.

India on a right track with Train 18

In just 18 months the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai has rolled out the country’s fastest train. The engine-less ‘Train 18’ has even crossed the speed of 180 kmph in a trial run. ICF GM Sudhanshu Mani talks about the factory’s future plans where it plans to not only manufacture more trains like Train 18 but also manufacture sleeper class train sets fit for r

A limp loss, a paltry victory

The Rajasthan assembly election outcome has thrown up many curious surprises. It was a near-unanimous prognosis, both of poll pundits and pre-poll surveys, that ruling BJP under Vasundhara Raje would suffer a massive defeat. The reasons attributed were that the people were angry with Raje’s style of functioning and administration, the BJP rank and file was cut up with her, and the state

Back to ‘lamppost politics’

The Indian electorate’s tryst with cyclical elections invented a phenomenon called ‘lamppost elections’. Implicit in this formulation was the notion that the people would elect a minion against a titan if they decide to do so. Irrespective of the stature of a leader in front, even a lamppost can be a victor.   Of late this lamppost syndrome is forgot

"Fitter, healthier people deal better with any kind of pollution"

Supermodel Milind Soman takes on other roles too: actor, film producer, fitness icon. A competitive swimmer in school and college, Soman was a national champion and won a silver for India at the South Asian Federation Games in 1984. He now completes marathons barefoot. In 2015 he prevailed in the Ironman triathlon in Zurich, swimming 2.4 miles, cycling 112 miles, and running 26.22 miles in

Yogi Adityanath and the law of karma

Ahead of the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, a BJP poster made news for showing Yogi Adityanath riding a tiger and other parties’ leaders riding a donkey each. Yogi’s fondness for tigers is well known, but in hindsight, the chief minister seems to be riding a metaphorical tiger – and does not know how to get off its back. The tiger here is the utter disregard for rule of law

Quantum urbanism in action: To protect earth, rethink waste

How can Quantum Urbanism help us rethink waste? It is as much a question as it is an open invitation to explore our relationship with waste and how deeply wedded that relationship is to systems thinking and everything else that comes bundled with it.    Simply put, Quantum Urbanism is a way of reconfiguring urban life at the level of each individual’s s



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