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27 February 2017

To raise resources, give and take needed

Rapid infrastructure development and public investment to strengthen competitive markets are the stepchildren of the annual Budget process. This continues a trend, started by the previous government, of shoring up state government finances, at the risk of being stingy on spending in areas of its own core, constitutional mandate.

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27 February 2017

ISRO has impressed; now for policy innovation

The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) accomplished a major feat last week by launching 104 satellites at one go, breaking the record held by Russia (37 satellites) and the earlier US record (29). Launching dozens of satellites in different orbital slots is an extremely complex manoeuvre. India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), the tried and tested workhorse of Isro, proved yet again that it can achieve more complex missions. Despite this impressive achievement, some international reports tried to underplay it by saying that these were simply nano satellites. Inserting multiple satellites in space is significant irrespective of the weight.

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10 February 2017

The end of Davos man

President Donald Trump’s initial policy pronouncements on migration and his increasingly evident determination for creating jobs in America itself are new markers in this post-globalisation era. They end an epoch that began 25 years ago today, when the Maastricht Treaty was signed, creating the European Union. Three years later WTO was inaugurated. By the turn of the century, Project Globalisation had gained unstoppable momentum courtesy the internet.

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10 February 2017

Modi’s parliamentary speech: What it tells us about his pitch for 2019

On February 19, in about 10 days from now, the Narendra Modi government completes 1,000 days in office. The milestone may be only statistically symbolic but comes in a period of intense and defining political significance. On March 11, the verdict in five state elections, particularly the large state of Uttar Pradesh, will be known. Immediately after that negotiations for the next vice-president and president will begin.

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27 January 2017

Safeguard poor, bring India back on track…

In a welcome change of national focus, becoming rich is no longer enough unless the poor are taken along. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is very au fait with international headwinds, was prescient in his December 31 address. For the first time, it was not the youth, nor non-resident Indians, nor Hindus, that the PM was focusing on. His attention was primarily on the travails of the poor.

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27 January 2017

Bridging the Gulf

India’s ties with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are set to get a major boost with the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan, visiting New Delhi as the chief guest at the Republic Day parade.

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27 January 2017

Indo-Pak Ties Likely to Remain Fraught in 2017

2017 marks the 70th year of Independence and the ‘Great Divide’ between India and Pakistan. The 69th year – 2016 – saw a steep deterioration in the already not so normal state of relations between the two countries and it is highly unlikely that the 70th year will see some sort of breakthrough in their adversarial relations. At best what might happen is what has happened innumerable times in the past – one or two steps forward, one or two steps back.

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13 January 2017

Democracy, diversity, development: Was 2016 dominated by their dark sides?

2016 was witness to dramatic political changes. Everything that seemed improbable, even unthinkable somehow found new ways of manifesting itself, and that too repeatedly.

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13 January 2017

A red herring: Is Modi looking to create a New Indian?

Purity versus pollution have been part of the Indian way of life for millennia, manifested most perniciously in our caste system, which divides people between the highest, who are ritually the purest, and the lowest who are the most polluted. Ritual purity is the feature of many religions, but nowhere has it had the malign impact that it has in India.

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13 December 2016

Of Good and Bad Populists that Shape Nation’s Politics

A new wave of populism appears to be sweeping across Europe; western and eastern. Populist leaders have sprouted all over, gaining (or having gained) public support. A new narrative, an alternative brand of politics is being shaped. The trend is evident all over — from the United States of America to Britain to France, and even in Greece, Finland, Hungary and Poland. Most of it is Right-wing; some Left-driven. Donald Trump’s election as the next President of the US; the Brexit referendum in Britain; the rise of Marine Le Pen’s National Front in France; the increasing consolidation of Greece’s Syrzia party — these should all be seen in the larger context of a redefining of the political mood in Europe.

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