Smriti Irani would’ve justified jailing Tagore for his nationalism: Ashis Nandy

tagore- patriotism.jpgPolitical psychologist Ashis Nandy believes that the main reason for the BJP to appoint unqualified people to important institutional posts is because the party lacks intellectuals and competent people within its ranks. At the same time, the BJP does not trust outsiders to take on these responsibilities. In a conversation with Monobina Gupta, Nandy explains why he does not believe that India is moving towards fascism, and how the government is ill-equipped to deal with the pressures and contradictions of an expanding, new middle class.

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Rural rejuvenation: The anatomy of a failed strategy-Niranjan Rajadhyaksha (Mint, 11 June 2015)

The clock has turned full circle: rural distress is climbing once again.
Let us rewind to the year 2004. The National Democratic Alliance surprisingly lost the national election. The new alliance that took power that year was led by a rejuvenated Congress. The party believed it had won because the previous government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee had ignored the rural areas. Manmohan Singh became the new prime minister. His speech to the nation on 15 August 2004 mentioned the need of a New Deal for rural India. The focus would be investments in irrigation, rural roads, electricity, primary education and agricultural infrastructure.
The actual strategy of his government over the next 10 years was quite different from what had been suggested initially. The United Progressive Alliance focused on policies that do not seem to have done much to free Indian farmers from the unending cycle of distress. Here are some elements of that failed strategy:a

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Busting the government myths around land acquisition law (India Resists, May 4, 2015)

Image result for land acquisition bill 2014Information received from the Finance Ministry through RTI calls the bluff of government claims.

A big question that is begging a credible answer today is- why is the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government hell bent on road rolling amendments on to the land acquisition law without even implementing it despite vociferous opposition from several quarters.

Several spokespersons for the government and the political parties which support it have repeatedly said that the amendments to the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act (LARR Act) enacted by Parliament in 2013, first promulgated as an Ordinance and then re-promulgated because they could not get the approval of Parliament last month, are necessary to arrest the slowing down of the economy and breathing life into the stalled development projects. The mainstay of this argument has been that the process of acquiring privately owned land for developmental projects laid down in the LARR Act is too cumbersome and requires simplification.

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Professor, P.O.W. – Arundhati Roy (Outlook, May 18, 2015)

May 9, 2015, marks one year since Dr G.N. Saibaba, lecturer of English at Ramlal Anand College, Delhi University, was abducted by unknown men on his way home from work. When her husband went missing and his cellphone did not respond, Vasantha, Dr Saibaba’s wife, filed a missing person’s complaint in the local police station. Subsequently the unknown men identified themselves as the Maharashtra Police and described the abduction as an arrest.

Why did they abduct him in this way when they could easily have arrested him formally, this professor who happens to be wheelchair-bound and paralysed from his waist downwards since he was five years old? There were two reasons: First, because they knew from their previous visits to his house that if they picked him up from his home on the Delhi University campus they would have to deal with a crowd of angry people—professors, activists and students who loved and admired Professor Saibaba not just because he was a dedicated teacher but also because of his fearless political worldview. Second, because abducting him made it look as though they, armed only with their wit and daring, had tracked down and captured a dangerous terrorist. The truth is more prosaic. Many of us had known for a long time that Professor Saibaba was likely to be arrested. It had been the subject of open discussion for months. Never in all those months, right up to the day of his abduction, did it ever occur to him or to anybody else that he should do anything else but face up to it fair and square. In fact, during that period, he put in extra hours and finished his PhD on the Politics of the Discipline of Indian English Writing. Why did we think he would be arrested? What was his crime?

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Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal’s vast business empire: All you wanted to know

Parkash Singh badal vast empire

Orbit Aviation Pvt Ltd, from whose bus the Moga girl was thrown off last week after a molestation attempt, is only one of the vast network of businesses in which the family of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal has a direct or indirect interest. The empire includes several transport companies, a hospitality firm, and a media business.

Transport

Orbit Aviation
Into both aviation and road transport. Has fixed-wing aircraft and choppers. Dy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal’s father-in-law, Satyajit Majithia, and brother-in-law, Gurmehar Majithia are directors of the company. Two old Badal family loyalists, Mohd Jameel and Mohd Rafiq, too are directors.

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