Make EVM foolproof

The aspersions cast on the electronic voting machines (EVMs) go a long way back to the year in which it was first employed. It was the bye-election of Parur Assembly constituency of Kerala in 1982 and the EVMs had been installed in 50 polling stations. Consternation rose the minute the result was announced. Of six candidates, Sivan Pillai of the Communist Party of India came out on top securing 123 votes more than AC Jose of the Congress (A) Party.

The clarion call of Kashmir

The outcome of bypolls is often not considered to be a reflection of larger public sentiment. It might be true for the rest of the country but not in Jammu and Kashmir where the bullet overshadowed the ballot in Srinagar on Sunday. The low turnout, unprecedented even by the standards of the valley, reflects that Centre’s Kashmir policy has been caught in a vortex of uncertainty.

The Chinese soup

China has declared that New Delhi has “severely damaged China’s interests and China-India relations” in permitting the Dalai Lama to visit Tawang. Considering this is the seventh visit of the Dalai Lama to Arunachal Pradesh, it is only a mark of the current poor state of the Sino-Indian relations that we are hearing such rhetoric. New Delhi is not too bothered since the Modi government appears to be needling China deliberately in the past year.

Why rivers can’t be persons

Since its inception it was intended that the organs of state in independent India will play an active role in all aspects of life. The country was founded on the principle of being a welfare state, but in the past few years the zeal with which lawmakers and judges have continuously waged a battle on individual freedom and liberty has reached new heights. From right to work to right to food and now the utterly bizarre notion of right to internet. The Indian state is determined to give freebies to a vast section of the population at the expense of their hard working citizens.

How RBI played it safe

The first monetary policy in this new financial year had a different preoccupation, and by some accounts, an interesting pre-occupation. Pre policy consensus among economists and the markets was that there were going to be no rate cuts this time. All eyes were on how the RBI would view the excess systemic liquidity and what actions they would take.

Women of today

The idea that the metropolis defines behaviour and expectations is a sociological fact. People come to the cities for work and over two or three generations, they see it as their home. They may or may not own property. They feel that this is where they belong. The headiness of the city lies in what David Émile Durkheim, a French sociologist, social psychologist and philosopher, referred to as volume, density and heterogeneity. In the metropolis, there is an air of continuous excitement. Things are always happening and the anticipation of events keeps the weekly calendar packed.

Cut & Thrust: It is dermatome time

Time to pull the dermatome out. This surgical instrument is used to produce thin slices of skin from a donor area, in order to use them for making skin grafts in plastic surgery operations.
Of course, right now the beleaguered Indian banking industry needs a gigantic dermatome for it has to scoop out large dollops of dead skin that the body is infested with. One would think that with the imponderables out of the way for the political economy, the road was clear for transformational reform.

The muslim in new India

For the second time since partition, the Indian Muslim stands at the cusp of history. The idea of a pluralistic India, so distinct from monistic Pakistan, came under first real test in the early 90s when a militant mob razed Babri Masjid in Ayodhya to claim lord Ram’s birthplace asserting the might of the majority like never before in Independent India.

Let’s breathe easy

Extremely harmful air pollution levels in Indian cities have been a subject of intense discussion in media and elsewhere for quite some time now. Supreme Court has also been trying to impress upon the central and state governments to find immediate solutions to the killing air pollution. “This pollution problem is very serious. If you talk for years for a solution, then it is a problem,” a bench of Justices MB Lokur and PC Pant observed during a court hearing on January 16, 2017.

Sow some optimism

In recent years, the agrarian crisis has been largely discussed and described in terms of farmer’s suicides. Obviously, this is a serious issue and merits very careful consideration and appropriate remedial action, considering the fact that agriculture is the main life giving profession of humankind. Although this matter rightly attracts attention, we need to go into greater depth on the problems being faced by farming communities in our country. I suggest a 10-point action plan to reverse with trend of decline in the productivity of major crops.