Mortal remains of CRPF jawans who lost their lives in Pulwama terror attack
Mortal remains of CRPF jawans who lost their lives in Pulwama terror attack | PTI Photo | Manvender Vashist
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After Pulwama, India effected a doctrinal shift

Vivek Katju | Former diplomat

Hindustan Times

India’s response to the Pulwama terror attack—that took place a year ago — marked a doctrinal shift of how it would handle Pakistan-sponsored terror — that it would no longer accept loss of lives, writes Katju.

“The foreign secretary’s statement (at the time) marked a dramatic departure both from the policy followed by successive Indian governments prior to the surgical strikes after Uri in 2016, but also to what those strikes represented,” he notes.

Hello US, Howdy Trump

Seema Sirohi | Author

The Economic Times

Sirohi lays out important initiatives and trade deals that have been “bubbling up” in lieu of US President Donald Trump’s visit to India later this month. These include signing a deal on 24 MH-60R Seahawk helicopters for the Indian Navy and whether India will join the US-led Blue Dot Network. More importantly, Trump’s visit will be to swing more Indian-American votes his way in the upcoming US Presidential election, explains Sirohi.

Our Unsafe Campuses

Pratiksha Baxi | Associate professor, Centre for the Study of Law and Governance, Jawaharlal Nehru University 

The Indian Express

Baxi explains that the mass sexual molestation of women students at Gargi college during their annual fest points to the impunity enjoyed by male mobs. She argues, “Even as arrests happen, no accountability has been fixed on the college administration and police for their failure to prevent a mob of about 100 men from trespassing into the campus. The rioters created a nasty traffic snarl, which went without public comment as well.” Baxi also links it to the violent action against students in Jamia and JNU and notes, “There is enough evidence to argue that the state has incubated a vicious culture of impunity to discipline and punish students.”

Bangladesh fares better

Swati Narayan | Visiting fellow at the Institute for Human Development

The Indian Express

Narayan argues that the “dog-whistle scaremongering” that Bangladeshis will come to India if citizenship is granted to all is deluded as Bangladesh’s economic growth rate surpassed India’s this year.

“Berating our neighbours with the false bogey of illegal immigrants, in light of the Citizenship Amendment Act, is nothing but an unjustifiable Islamophobic distraction. Instead, it would be far wiser for the Indian government to humbly learn the recipe of South Asian success to improve the lives of citizens from the impressive “Shonar Bangla”.”

Heralding a politics of change

Harbans Mukhia | Taught history at Jawaharlal Nehru University

The Hindu

Mukhia argues that the Delhi verdict was a result of the city youths’ resistance to BJP’s divisive, hate-filled politics. 

He adds, “BJP’s vitriol in public is now being met with roars of disapproval from the crowd. The youth are at the forefront of this condemnation of the BJP’s ‘divide and rule’ policy. And, they have voiced their disapproval through ballot power.”

Towards a new world order

R.K. Krishna Kumar | Trustee at Tata Trusts

The Hindu

Kumar describes the new world order as one with effective safety nets such as free education, healthcare and high taxes on the rich.

He argues, “I recognise that much work is yet to be done to uplift the global economic order, but the important point is that new tools are now emerging. What is required is a global consensus and the will to make the planet more sustainable, so that all individuals can live with justice and equality, ensuring that not a single child is hungry or seriously unwell because of poverty or lack of affordable medical help.”

Railways must welcome creative destruction

Raghu Dayal | Senior fellow, Asian Institute of Transport Development

The Financial Express

Dayal finds GoI’s plans for an integrated Indian Railway Management Services (IRMS) inadequate. For Indian Railways to “virtually reinvent itself”, a “rigorous” selection process and training is needed to allow an “enduring management cadre to evolve”, he writes.

Embracing technological destruction

Chandra Bhushan | CEO, iForest

Financial Express

Bhushan discusses Solar Energy Corporation of India’s recent auction of the “world’s largest solar-plus-energy-storage tender” as a sign of “technological disruption” in the renewable energy sector. He concludes that the traditional coal and gas plants, and state-supported discoms are likely to “collapse” in place of “affordable renewable-plus-battery storage technology”.

Bond markets more bankable for infra funding

S.A. Raghu | Independent financial consultant

The Hindu Business Line

Raghu addresses some “unanswered questions” about the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) given vast Indian debt markets and the possibility of public sector banks being called upon to pitch in. He recommends a “revamped” bond market to help finance the NIP.

Ambitious goals for defence

Premvir Das | Former Director General, Defence Planning Staff, and has been a member of the National Security Advisory Board    

Business Standard

Das discusses the shut down of R-Naval, “a major private sector company aspiring to become a producer of military platforms” which forced GoI to “en-cash all its bank guarantees”. This, he identifies, is India’s main problem — the “inability to design platforms and equipment needed by the militaries”. Generating this capability on our own is the only way India can be “self-sufficient in the field of defence hardware”, he writes.

It may not be too late for efforts that can rescue growth in India 

Himanshu | Professor, JNU

Mint

Himanshu discusses the “worrying” trend of high food inflation which is “unlikely to fall in the coming months” and further disadvantages the poor in India. The government was “generous in compensating the corporate sector for the loss of economic momentum” but “it is the poor and middle classes which pay for the generosity of the government through reduced expenditures and subsidies”, he writes.

The impact of income inequality on the evolving brain

Kapil Vishwanathan | Vice chairman, Korea University

Tara Thiagarajan | Chief scientist, Sapien Labs

Mint

Vishwanathan and Thiagarajan explain how brain activity and cognitive stimuli are closely related to access to digital technology. They examine brain activity alongside income levels to explain how income inequality comes into play. “We have a long way to go to realise the cognitive potential of the country”, they conclude.

Today’s Editorials

The Hindu: Hindu comments on the central government’s decision to take another group of foreign envoys on a tour of Jammu and Kashmir, in ‘Managing perceptions’. The daily reminds that the government must recognise that these gains in the immediate present are superficial in the absence of a change in the situation in Kashmir.

Hindustan Times: In ‘Disentangling politics and crime’, HT welcomes the SC’s move asking political parties to publish the data of politicians with criminal records. It says that this well-intentioned order will force the parties to become more transparent. But it’s important to make sure that the law is not misused by incumbent governments to target political rivals, the daily cautions.

The Times of India: TOI comments on the recent mass sexual harassment case in Gargi college since  the attackers finally got arrested after six days. It says that the incident is symptomatic of an atmosphere that has been created which allows assault on students, be it Jamia ir JNU. TOI demands strong action.

The Indian Express: In ‘A good first step’, Express comprehends Pakistan’s decision to convict Hafiz Saeed as a result of the pressure of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The conviction of Saeed and Masood Azhar has given Indian diplomatic victories, but little relief in ground, it comments. However, it suggests that India should not term this conviction as cosmetic which would indicate that such pressure from FATF has no value.

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