Afghan pullout, refugee crisis and the test of America’s moral leadership

One of the things candidate Joseph Biden had been hammering away in the run up to the November 3, 2020 Presidential election was the crisis ...

Sustainability and New India: Are we on the right track?

While the world moves to talk about creating corporate shared value, we are still talking about sustainable development merely from the lens of the environment

India needs more than patent waivers to deliver more COVID vaccines

German chancellor Angela ...

After 50 years, TN politics is free from grip of film industry

In Tamil Nadu’s theatre o...

 BJP-led Centre prioritises downfall of Mamata govt over battling COVID

Inasmuch as the right to life is a fundamental responsibility of the elected government, which is being endangered by the vicious political violence in post-poll West Bengal, it is the entitlement of the government to function without undue oversight of the Centre, backed by its authority, to issue veiled threats to overpower the new regime. The...

India needs a Mahatma now to call out Modi’s ‘kingly’ fancies amid a pandemic

One of the things a hostile power does when it conquers a country is to raze its buildings down. Because, a temple, a mosque, a place, even a statute is memory, signage of the way you have traversed to the present. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, though not the leader of a foreign, hostile power, aims at altering the signage, wipe your mind clean ...

Federalism: Modi the PM champions what Modi the CM did not

Modi, as Chief Minister of Gujarat, was an advocate of states being given greater autonomy and critical of the Centre’s intrusion into the state’s domains; yet, after forming the government in the Centre in 2014, his regime has ignored the Sarkaria panel report completely

BJP’s loss in UP panchayats a ‘warning’ ahead of 2022 assembly polls

Political erosion of parties often happens silently and goes unobserved for some time. It dramatically manifests itself only at some next critical event, like elections. The results of the panchayat elections in Uttar Pradesh, trickling in since last week, have taken many by surprise. Nobody expected such a sharp decline in the BJP’s performance. Vast sections of even otherwise pro-BJP media have described it as a “warning bell for the BJP” ahead of the 2022 assembly elections.

Republicans stand by Trump amid Liz Cheney’s strident dissent

If the hoopla in the Grand Old Party of recent days is anything to go by, Republicans are stuck with Donald Trump for the foreseeable future, at least until 2024. On the one hand, conservative law makers are still arguing and debating on the extent to which the former 45th President ought to have a say in the party’s affairs. And, on the other h...


Know the strengths and weaknesses of DRDO’s COVID cure

The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) may have approved Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO) ‘medicine’ for “emergency use” in treating COVID patients, but health experts are apprehensive about using the drug since they argue its utility has not been established yet.

Explained: What triggered sudden escalation of Gaza Strip violence?

Al Aqsa is the third holiest site in Islam. The mosque sits inside a 35-acre site known by Muslims as Haram Al Sharif, or the Noble Sanctuary, and by Jews as the Temple Mount. The site is sacred to Christians, Jews and Muslims

Edamalakkudy panchayat: The only COVID-free haven in Kerala

In the midst of the mayhe...

WATCH: Do COVID patients need steroids? If so, when?

Alarmed by the indiscriminate use of steroids by physicians to treat COVID patients, Dr Randeep Guleria, a member of the national COVID-19 task force and director of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi, has cautioned that it could lead to “faster viral replication and severe viral pneumonia.”




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Decomposing bodies float in Ganga, spread panic about infection

Bengaluru mourns death of iconic bookshop owner

24 patients die due to oxygen shortage in Karnataka

After U-turn on media coverage, EC’s credibility at lowest ebb

The Election Commission has made a dramatic U-turn in its approach to media coverage by stating that it is committed to a free media, who it even terms as its "natural ally". This volte-face by the EC seems to be an outcome of a lesson learnt after appealing to the Madras High Court for a gag order against the media and then approaching the apex court against the High Court’s stinging criticism of its conduct.

Is SEBI fair in requiring fund managers to buy into schemes they manage?

A mutual fund scheme may not perform for several reasons, including a fund manager’s lack of competence or diligence. It depends on the state of the domestic and world economy, the flow of funds from retail and foreign investors into the equity market, the political situation and on

BJP’s ‘One India’ vision is an obstacle for its success in state polls

The BJP is struggling to make a mark in state elections, as was evident in the latest results in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, because of an inherent ideological flaw in its DNA.

Mamata’s win shows liberals antidote to BJP’s Hindutva poison

Mythology could be a good crystal ball for an era where politicians are more myth than reality. And, where else to begin except in West Bengal, where the election had blurred the lines between mythology and politics with competing chants of Jai Shri Ram and chants of Chandi. So, as the legend goes, all the gods and minor deities once became help...

Finish vaccinating priority groups before lowering eligibility threshold

When vaccination eligibility is thrown open to all adults, for every 2.33 million shots available each new day, 770 million potential claimants are in queue

COVID and the Neta: Modi, Kejriwal, Mamata, and other capital crimes

It is of course easy to blame Modi and his election campaign for the COVID mess; but there is a valid reason for the liberals’ unwavering focus on him as the single biggest source of the current crisis: his pathological need to be at the centere of everything

For Indian labour, May Day will never be the same again

8 and 8 and 8. This indicates the victory of workers, who achieved a healthy division of 24 hours of their life. They should not work for more than 8 hours, take rest for 8 hours and utilise the remaining 8 for education and entertainment

COVID censorship on Twitter: What’s the remedy for breach of freedom?

The Central government that ‘locked down’ the whole nation the previous year to fight the corona virus has now chosen to block down the voices to hide corona failures. On its request, Twitter promptly censored 52 tweets.

Political landscape in Biden’s 100 days different from what FDR, LBJ faced

Roosevelt and Johnson are remembered in American history for different reasons — FDR for presiding over at a very difficult time in the Great Depression, when not only the country was battling its worst economic crisis with a total collapse of the banking system, but also a society that was at the very bottom of its confidence; and Johnson for his Great Society Reforms, the civil and voting rights acts and reforms that established the basis of what African Americans and minorities had been longing for a long time

Corona, the myth buster: How the pandemic is revising Modi’s legacy

The defining image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s corona legacy has been drawn by an Australian cartoonist. In a devastating caricature, David Rowe has immortalised Modi as a Badshah-like figure astride a dead elephant, a metaphor for India in April 2021. Rowe has depicted Modi as a colourful, arrogant dandy holding his favourite accessory – a m...

Modi is now the principal emblem of Hindu nationalistic fraternity

The recent statement by the newly-elevated Sarkaryavah (general secretary) of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Dattatreya Hosabale underscores the cessation of the ideological fountainhead's role as the fraternity's moral compass. In this way, it inaptly marks absolute unity within the top echelons of the Sangh Parivar.

How sluggish Chepauk pitches have robbed T20 cricket of its charm

The mercurial Ben Stokes dismissed it as ‘trash’. VVS Laxman, more forgiving, termed it ‘far from ideal for T20 cricket’. The Rajasthan Royals’ all-rounder and the Sunrisers Hyderabad mentor were both alluding to the playing surfaces on offer at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai for IPL 2021, slow burners that sucked the joy out of the 20-ov...

Non-functioning govt that completely failed its citizens in a pandemic

The Centre and states should share the liability for the death of the citizens in the country. It is due to their non-governance or misgovernance that we are in this situation today. The mismanagement of the pandemic by the government is nothing short of a disaster. In spite of warning bells, the government was blind to the visible inadequacies of our health infrastructure.

The heavy price people paid for EC’s inflexibility, inaction in state polls

The consequences of the Election Commission’s (EC) decision to follow a one-point agenda – a violence-free poll devoid of rigging – have converted the process into an unarguably COVID-19 super-spreader series. Besides, disease and death have been added to the price that voters and contestants have been forced to pay to fulfil the declared objective of free and fair elections.

In the gloom and doom of corona, IPL is an ode to life’s caravan

In a poignant scene in the movie Titanic, while the ship is sinking, when everyone is running around to save their lives, a group of violinists starts playing ‘Nearer, my God, to thee.’ For them, the show must go on. Even at the risk of being left behind to die. Sceptics could argue that the string quartet was wasting its time. When death is sta...

The world can’t afford vaccine imperialism when millions wait for a jab

In normal times anything involving one billion people would have been an event with a lot of fanfare; but this is pandemic season where the coronavirus is wreaking havoc with a vengeance on countries like India and other developing nations that are now in the grip of the third or fourth waves. Some 143 days after the first COVID-19 vaccine was appr...

Nation and its people are at war. Govt is just too scared to declare it 

With health and economy in shambles, Modi is facing, despite his putting on a brave face, the worst weather of his sail. He still talks in cliches and superlatives, and soundbites and slogans. All of it looks and sounds jaded. And all around him, the sea is raging

Kejriwal’s ‘live’ during COVID meet right in principle, flawed in executi...

If parliamentary proceedings can be telecast live, why can’t a meeting to discuss India’s COVID crisis be held in full public view? The public needs to know what their elected leaders are doing to deal with one of the biggest calamities that has fallen upon India. In this context, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rebuke to Arvind Kejriwal for speaking live on camera during the meeting on the pandemic appears unjustified and harsh.

With bipartisanship unlikely, Biden will find his tenure even more challenging

Billed as the American Families Plan, the president is expected to touch on child care, education, community colleges, health and expanding access to health care

COVID apartheid: Asking states to pay more for vaccine discriminatory politics

Is the Indian Centre a different entity than the Indian states? Are people residing in the states lesser citizens than those whose lord and master is New Delhi?

Mere bonhomie won’t do if India wants militancy-hit Bangladesh on its side

The Indian government has allowed an element of complacency to compromise its strategic outreach towards Bangladesh lately. Judging by the ferocious intensity of the recent widespread anti-India protests in Chittagong, Comilla and elsewhere, which led to 10 deaths and loss of property, an imminent reset of India’s bilateral ties with its eastern ne...

Modi’s lockdown U-turn admission of his flawed pandemic response

Modi’s uncle Scrooge brand of kanjoosi (penny-pinching) isn’t limited to direct interventions alone. His government made another blunder of not spending on vaccines in advance, ramping up medical facilities, augmenting oxygen supply lines

India’s failure on the vaccine front, and what needs to be done now

The role of the different instruments of policy in tackling the crisis caused by a powerful second wave of COVID infections has come under scrutiny. There is no doubt that masks, sanitisers, social distancing, testing and quarantine continue to be the mainstay of the policy responses. At the same time, global experience shows that expanded vaccination may also help reduce the spread of infections and weaken the links between infections and death. Hence, countries are racing to vaccinate as large a share of their populations as they can in the shortest time-span.India is a laggard in this race to vaccinate the population.

American carnage: Looking beyond the statistics of gun violence

The attack was the work of a lone gunman, ostensibly mentally unstable but someone who had managed to procure two assault rifles in July and September last year in spite of a hand gun seized from him by authorities; and his own mother alerting officials of her son’s mental state

Justice Yadav’s post-retirement appointment part of political malaise

The recent appointment of retired district judge Surendra Kumar Yadav as deputy lokayukta by the Uttar Pradesh government once again raises two disquieting questions.

Vietnam and Afghanistan: A tale of two wars and the lessons learnt

President Joseph Biden has said that by the time the US marks the 20th anniversary of terror attacks on twin towers in New York on September 11, 2021, all the remaining troops from Afghanistan would have come home, putting an end to the longest war the United States has been involved in overseas. The Vietnam War comes a close second with a formal involvement period of 18 years and 9 months.

All talk, no vaccine, poor optics: The three COVID mistakes of Modi govt

If there had to be one defining drama of the coronavirus pandemic in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s advice of maintaining do gaz ki doori (a distance of two yards) soon after addressing election rallies in West Bengal where people without masks were packed like broiler chickens, would get the Oscar. Not too far behind would be images of Home...

A ‘Mandela’ is required to restore India’s electoral morality

Lest you are flummoxed, the Indian “Mandela” is a Tamil movie (with subtitles) that was released a few days back on Netflix. One of a series of new wave films, thanks to newfound opportunities in the world of OTT, Mandela neatly captures the crisis that Indian elections are confronting -- with loads of dark humour, satire and an uncanny resemblance to a dominant political party. One character, for example, extols nationalism while another promises Rs 15,000 to each individual in the village if he is elected.

In Norway, even PM not above COVID law — fined $2,300 for birthday bash

On April 9, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg was fined 20,000 kroner ($2,352) for breach of COVID rules during her 60th birthday celebration on February 26

Return of Big Government under Biden good news for the world

When America sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold. That facetious expression -- a 20th century adaptation of Napoleonic Europe’s “when France sneezes, all of Europe catches a cold” -- not just describes the consequence of large inequality but also intones our inherent dislike of inequality. But inequality can produce occasional boons, too....

US, Russia pull India in opposite directions; Modi diplomacy under test

India is facing a diplomatic jam, having to decide between retaining its traditional relationship with Russia or a greater involvement with the rival US-led Quad group of countries.

A defining moment in US-Japanese relations

In spite of all the friction between two strong allies over the last 50 years, many Japanese Prime Ministers have made sure that their first overseas trip is almost certainly to Washington, DC. In fact reports had even surfaced that Yoshihide Suga had at one time expressed the hope that he would be in  the United States in February 2021, taking the Biden administration by surprise, as they wanted no personal visits of a foreign leader until such time there was a better handle on the coronavirus. After tossing around a few dates, the stage is finally set for the Biden-Suga summit on April 16, some three months after Biden came to the White House

India should keep Bangladesh close for fruition of Act East vision

The violent protests orchestrated by Hifazat-e-Islam against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bangladesh visit that led to a dozen deaths in police firings, have driven home the rising surge of radical Islamist challenge faced by the Sheikh Hasina-led Awami League government. Modi’s visit was just an excuse to intensify the agitation for regime chang...

Inflation? Growth? There’s much ado over ideal monetary policy target

Is inflation targeting the right goal of monetary policy? Or should it target growth or financial stability? Considerable heat is generated on these questions. This debate has as much operational significance for the real world as a debate on the comparative merits of Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle or of Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni.

Bubble burnout a threat for cricketers, BCCI can take cue from England

The postponement of Season 13 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) by five-and-a-half months gave India’s cricketers their first extended, if enforced, break from the game last year. As if in retaliation by some dark force, it’s been an unending routine of quarantine, travel, train and play since the last week of August.

Mamata: A one-woman army who has rewritten rules of Indian politics

This year’s political landscape is almost entirely dominated by men in India. The exception is Mamata Banerjee. Neither married into a powerful political family nor born in one, Banerjee made her way up armed with inexhaustible energy, especially for a political fight, determination and a capacity to take risks that sent her career through a series of ups and downs.

Dia Mirza says pollution affects male sexuality and we laugh it off

What got lost in the SHORT shelf-life of a tweet is a LONG story that has been conveniently ignored for years now: the impact of aggressive human activities on environment and human health.

Biden has ambitious plans for America, but will they really work?

US President Joseph Biden has come up with a huge infrastructure spending plan billed as the ‘new’ New Deal to push the country forward in different ways that benefits all. As soon as the President finished his speech at Pittsburg, the Republicans panned the idea and Corporate America asked as to who will cough up the $ 2 trillion required to implement the deal. Add to this another $ 2 trillion or so the Biden administration is planning to spend as human capital expenditure on kindergarten to grade 12 schools and institutions of higher learning to make education not only free or affordable but also more equitable.

Method in music: Why ‘Enjoy Enjaami’ stands out in talking about environm...

A music video titled Enjoy Enjaami (Enjoy My Dear) of Dhee featuring Arivu that was released a couple of weeks back turned viral immediately after the release. More than six crore people have watched it. It has become a kind of a new sensation among the south Indian music enthusiasts. Though not as viral as Enjoy Enjaami, after a week of its releas...

NRC in Assam: Further agony in store for those rejected

The Centre is directing the Assam government to issue ‘rejection’ slips to people excluded from the ‘final’ list of National Register of Citizens (NRC). This will leave 19 lakh people to the mercy of foreigners’ tribunals, which if not convinced could render them statelessness

India’s CSR journey must alter course to cater to pandemic-ridden society

Corporate Social Responsibility, CSR, in short, has been a buzzword for years. India is among the few countries in the world, where doing social good is a matter of compliance and not merely dependent on the goodness of corporate leaders. CSR has taken multiple shapes and forms in the last decade but let us first understand the CSR journey in India to suggest what direction it could and should take in the future.

How Team India turned COVID odds, adversities into a mega victory

Few knew what to expect when an extended Indian cricket contingent emplaned for Sydney, from Dubai, in the second week of November last. The world as we had come to know had been thrown out of sync by the sweeping coronavirus pandemic. Masks, social distancing and sanitisation had become the norm; sporting excellence could only be pursued within th...

Outrage in America as Jim Crow laws on voting rights surface

There is perceptible anger in the United States over how a few Republican State Houses are going about their versions of the Voting Rights Bill, intended to ostensibly provide a clean mechanism for electors to exercise their constitutional rights.

UN rights vote widens New Delhi-Tamil chasm, pleases Colombo

Unlike other states, the BJP’s attempts to ingratiate itself to Tamil Nadu runs into a huge obstacle called Sri Lanka. Earlier this week, the BJP-led central government did itself no favours by abstaining from voting at the United Nations on human rights violation against Tamils in Sri Lanka.At a time when Assembly elections are on in Tamil Nadu, it would not have been surprising had the Indian government decided to vote for the resolution condemning the violation.

UN report on happiness truly lets India down. This must be a conspiracy!

If anyone thought all this talk of some global, anti-India conspiracy was just propaganda by the ruling BJP’s IT cell, here is clinching proof: India has now been placed fourth from the bottom in the 2020 World Happiness Ranking, brought out in the United Nation’s World Happiness Report 2021. How can this be, except as the result of a conspiracy to denigrate India?

Britons blame Modi govt for non-delivery of SII vaccines to UK

India has come under fire ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government barred the Serum Institute of India (SII) from sending promised five million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines to the UK and thereby severely delaying the country’s COVID-19 vaccination programme.

With new CJI, hope emerges for fast-tracking trials involving politicians

Justice N V Ramana, who has given dynamic directions for speedy trial of cases involving ministers and legislators, will be the 48th Chief Justice of India. His term offers a new hope of quicker trials in criminal cases involving politicians holding constitutional positions. In a peculiar case, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy,...

Delhi Bill shows democracy is for the BJP, of the BJP, by the BJP

The Indian democracy these days is essentially the government of the BJP, by the BJP, and for the BJP. Whatever be the outcome of an election, the BJP ultimately comes to power --either through electoral mandate, or through defections and manipulation, and, if nothing else works, through parliamentary fiat.

Hosabale’s task is to ensure greater synergy between BJP and RSS

The wait for Dattatreya Hosabale was longer than most expected. Long seen as a person close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, besides being an 'outsider' within the sangh parivar, the old-guard resisted this change for six years.

Low vaccination, tardy tracing, rising COVID cases: New challenges for India

Compare this with India’s current vaccination rate. Till March 20, India had vaccinated just 44 million people, a mere 1.6% of the total population. At this rate, as a report pointed out, India will need 10.6 years  to administer both doses to 70% of its population to attain herd immunity.

Low industrial growth to goonda raj: Reality check deflates Yogi’s tall claims

On March 18, 2017, Yogi Adityanath was sworn in as the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. On March 19, 2021, a bylined article in his name appeared in The Indian Express, in which he made unsubstantiated lofty claims about his government’s achievements in the last four years. As he enters his fifth, pre-election year, Adityanath also sets the tone for his return to power. Yogi talking about development for the first time, instead of harping on renovation of some temple or Hindu religious site, might appear as a welcome gesture. But upon closer examination, his claims turn out to be far from truth

COVID 2.0: Can the country cope with another lockdown?

The epochal COVID-19 pandemic seems to be returning with a vengeance, just when Indians were gloating, and the rest of the world awe-struck, at the sudden drop in COVID cases in the country.

Joe Biden & Team set eyes on 2022 elections

Neither US President Joseph Biden nor Vice-President Kamala Harris is taking things easy, as the duo dropped ample hints that suggest the Democrats are already in the preparation mode for the elections of November 8, 2022.

Pratap Bhanu Mehta quits: Govt wins critics war through ‘Gabbar’ syndrome...

If not for the sheer pusillanimity of the Ashok University management, the forced exit of Pratap Bhanu Mehta from the so-called liberal arts institution would have been a parody of the Indian film Sholay.

New rules: Government seeks total control of media

If a newspaper publishes a report or comment that is not palatable to the government, the secretary or minister in charge of the information and broadcasting ministry can approach the Press Council of India (PCI), the independent self-regulatory body that upholds professional standards in the media

Finance Ministry is right on valuation of perpetual bonds, wrong on Sebi

Off with his head! Imperious authority drips from every syllable of that command, beloved by the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland. Suppose the Queen wished to take a lesson in democratic-era propriety in phrasing such exercise of lethal power, she couldn’t do better than to look at the operative part of a letter dated March 11, 2021, signed by an under-secretary to the Government of India in the Department of Financial Services, to the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi): “it is requested that the revised valuation norms to treat all Perpetual Bonds as 100 year tenor be withdrawn”.

BJP praising as well as maligning freedom movement

On March 12, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched 75-week long celebrations to mark the 75th anniversary of India's independence. A re-enactment of the Dandi March, launched 91 years ago and which shook the British Empire, was also flagged off by the premier.

India-Bangladesh relations to get more intense and rewarding

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi packs his bags for a historic trip to Dhaka later this month, he can look back with satisfaction at India’s signature bilateral relationship with Bangladesh, that some think constitutes the edifice of his neighbourhood outreach.

The Quad has the ability to bark, but can it ‘bite’ China?

Seventeen years after the four countries—India, USA, Japan and Australia—came together to help victims in the aftermath of the tsunami,  the Quad is again trying to get its act together to take on a tsunami of another kind—the slow but sure rise of China as a superpower and the challenges that it poses for the Asia-Pacific region. On March 12,  ...

With a massive stimulus bill passed, Biden sees light at end of the tunnel

Barely half way through his first 100 days in office, US President Joseph Biden addressed a restless nation still reeling under the pandemic, putting out hopes that perhaps light is at the end of the tunnel and that by its July 4 Independence Day the country can be back on track celebrating with barbeques, fireworks and what not.

AAP’s ideological dilemma and tryst with tricolour nationalism

A Delhi government is basically a permanent lame-duck, unable to push through its agenda, with law and order with the Centre, a Lt Governor placed atop the government as super CM and whose only job is to scuttle the ambitions of the ruling party ruling Delhi.

China’s ambitions and posturing in Indo-Pacific region worry Quad nations

Even without the leaders of the Quad meeting virtually on March 12, the Asia Pacific, or more recently being referred to as the Indo Pacific, has its share of problems

Does the government have any business to be in business?

Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi discovered the virtues of the private sector and asserted they play a big role in national life and the service of humanity

DMK promise of ₹1,000 aid for women marks new high in populist economics

The DMK’s promise of monthly assistance of ₹1,000 to all ration-card holding women has set off an interesting and acrimonious debate on an entirely nascent social welfare concept – universal basic income

Women of the world, it is absolutely alright if you are not a superwoman

Popular media constantly makes us feel we are not good enough, instilling a fear in us of missing out on something big, of not making enough money or that we are marrying too late or for debating whether to have a kid or not, or for not maintaining the ideal weight!

Back to his old business: Kim Jong Un starts nuclear sabre rattling

Only last October, on the 75th anniversary of the Workers Party, North Korea’s strongman Kim Jong Un appeared to shed tears in public, apologizing that perhaps he had not done enough to solve the “difficulties” of his people.

Safe deposit lockers: What banks owe their customers

Bank customers hire safe deposit lockers from private or public sector banks to keep their valuables. Sometimes they complain that their valuables have gone missing. It is vexatious to fix responsibility for such missing items. The following case reveals the magnitude of the problem

India helpless as pro-Pak Taliban set to resume power in Kabul

The clock is ticking for Afghanistan. There is still no clarity on what the situation will be once the May 1 deadline for US and NATO troop withdrawal ends. The Taliban is straining on a leash, impatient to get back Kabul, which it lost following the US invasion 20 years ago. Though none of the main actors – the United States, NATO and the government in Kabul – is saying it, the fact is the Taliban has won the marathon conflict. By some accounts, the longest war the US has fought anywhere.

Modi wants ‘national spirit’ to drive ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’. T...

While initiating the programme on Mahatma Gandhi's birth anniversary in 2014, the government assumed that the drive neither required institutional reforms, nor was it necessary to make municipality workers, engaged in the sanitation department, as stakeholders in the programme. Barring the political and bureaucratic leadership, no one 'owns' the flagship programme.

Indian govt must intervene to tackle Big Tech, as Australia has done

Last week, Australia’s parliament passed a law that requires platforms such as Google and Facebook to negotiate a “fair” remuneration for the content they use and share from local media companies.

Centre’s new rules for digital content vague, loaded with draconian clauses

The Modi government’s recent set of rules to regulate digital content on news websites and OTT platforms is being called by observers a means to curb freedom of expression through digital media. Even independent observers who are open to the idea of minimal regulation on the digital media, especially on sensitive issues like child pornography and a...

Trial by spin: Pitch scrutiny should not mar beauty of Test cricket

It is only 22 yards long and 10 feet wide, but this little strip engulfed by the vast expanse of the outfield is the single most significant piece of the puzzle that’s the game of cricket

A painful churning for conservatives and liberals in America

Close to six weeks after leaving the White House, former president Donald Trump is still making news, some of it himself and much of it by politicians who believe that hanging on to his coattails would bring rich political dividends. In the process elders in the Grand Old Party are trying to hold together a ship that is being pulled apart by extremists and the mainstream – the perfect example being all the noise that is coming out of Orlando, Florida, where the Conservative Political Action Committee is holding a convention

India’s ability to play spin deteriorating fast — blame it on workload

One of the greatest non-hundreds in Test history came at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru, back in March 1987. On an absolute minefield where the challenge was to control rather than extract turn, Sunil Gavaskar produced an innings for the ages against the rampant Pakistani spin twins, Iqbal Qasim and Tauseef Ahmed.

In the rush to go electric, do not end up in China’s control

The world is racing to embrace electric mobility, dumping the internal combustion engine. In the process, it is also racing to give China a stranglehold over the automobile ecosystem, specifically through its control of cobalt, lithium and assorted rare earths that go into the motor-battery combination that powers electric vehicles

Cash still rules in India despite policies that were aimed at curbing its use

Yet, as demonetisation proved, cash was king. In the past few years after that disruptive event, the situation is the same. Despite digital democracy, we are still obsessed with paper money.

India, China thaw is good but dangers still lurk in relationship

China has partially disengaged its troops from the border in Ladakh, and it's all good. New Delhi is in the process of clearing a slew of FDI proposals from Beijing, the media is going gung-ho about how the freeze has thawed and business is back on track with India’s mercurial neighbour

BJP is stretching itself in Bengal, but Mamata may still prevail

The BJP is on a high in Bengal. However, it is not all hunky dory and there is no BJP wave on the ground. That is, as yet, even as the state prepares for a bloody fight for the assembly polls two months from now

At Delhi Metro, Sreedharan was looked up to; he will not be indulged in politics

All his professional life, Elattuvapil Sreedharan was seen as an apolitical person, a quality that made him acceptable to various parties and political leaders. So it is a surprise that he is entering politics at the age of 88 as a member of the BJP. 

America is back on global stage, says Biden, and Iran could be the first test

It must have come as a small measure of satisfaction to allies across the Atlantic and Pacific when the US President, Joseph Biden, stressed in a virtual meeting with leaders of the G7 that Washington was into the old scheme of things, meaning that it will be back on the global stage that the earlier administration of Donald Trump had walked out of

Why we are awash with conspiracy theories

Everyone is conspiring. Mostly against the government. Some against social codes. Some against religions. Some against cows, science, medicine and vaccines. The police are on a cross-country run to carry out weekend arrests with the connivance of magistrates on duty.

Survival of EPS’s ‘minority’ government a ‘miracle’ harmful for democracy...

The ruling AIADMK would have us believe that the Edappadi K Palaniswami government deserves all the praise for completion of four years in office. On the other hand, a close look at events over the past four years would show that the credit would not go to the AIADMK but to its ally, the BJP, the Centre, the Union Law Ministry, lenient and benevole...

The Khalistan movement is long dead; its ghost haunts Indian democracy

The ongoing long-drawn farmers’ protest against the three farm bills continues without any let up. Whether it is succeeding in its aim is one thing but among its consequences is the virtual exhumation of the long-dead Khalistan issue. Strangely, the attempts by the state and its agencies to project the agitation as part of some grand conspiracy ...

Ashwin, the cunning off-spinner, elevates wicket-taking to a fine art

As far as homecomings go, this will be pretty hard to beat. As far as a sense of the occasion is concerned, it’s difficult to look beyond R Ashwin. The MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai had hosted its last Test in December 2016.  Ashwin’s last Test hundred had come four months earlier, in Gros Islet in the Caribbean. He commemorated Test cricket...

Modi’s Chennai visit shows BJP plans to win over Tamilians, one step at a time

‘Project Tamil Nadu’ remains on top of Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) political agenda. This was evident from the whirlwind four-hour Chennai visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday (February 14).The fact that the saffron party has decided to field its top gun to woo the electorate, though the assembly election is two months away, explains the importance it lends to the state.

Donald Trump is acquitted by Senate; right time for Democrats to move on

After six weeks of high drama following the January 6 rioting on Capitol Hill and five days of intense proceedings in the trial of the former President Donald Trump, the United States Senate voted to acquit the 45th President on the sole charge of inciting insurrection.

CIC’s stamp on ‘secrecy’ in Lokpal defeats ethos of RTI, SC rulings

The Central Information Commission’s recent order, upholding the Department of Personnel and Training’s refusal to disclose the minutes of meeting of the selection panel of Lokpal, the country’s anti-corruption ombudsman, raises doubts on the understanding of both the authorities about Supreme Court judgments and RTI laws. The DoPT’s refusal cam...

What banks privatisation would mean for govt, customers, shareholders

Some months back, NITI Aayog had recommended the privatization of three public sector banks, namely Bank of Maharashtra (BoM), Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) and Punjab and Sindh Bank (P&S Bank). In her Budget speech, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that the government budgeted ₹1.75 lakh crore from stake sale in public sector companies and financial institutions, which includes two PSU banks.

India losing control over its sphere of influence in South Asia

The coming to power of the Rajapaksa brothers in Sri Lanka in November 2019 was viewed with trepidation in New Delhi for their pro-China reputation. Over a year later, the fears seem to be coming true with at least two significant Rajapaksa government decisions that go against India and favour China.

Centre guilty of Vizag steel plant’s sad state as protests rage against sale pl...

In the wake of massive protests, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting the Centre to reconsider its plan to disinvest Vizag-based Rashtriya Ispat Nigam. He has termed the unit, which is India’s first shore-based steel plant set up in 1971, “a testimony to the will of Telugu people.”

Trump’s trial will open Pandora’s box, but his acquittal is what many dre...

The stage is all set for February 8 in the United States, as the Senate prepares to start former President Donald Trump's trial, on a single charge of inciting violence on Capitol Hill on January 6, which left five persons including a police officer dead.

TN governor right in referring case of Rajiv murder convicts to President

Tamil Nadu governor Banwarilal Purohit has taken the right stand in not accepting the recommendation of the state government to release the seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, and referring the matter to the President. The governor has not taken the easy option of pandering to chauvinistic elements and has refused to play to the gallery on a matter of national importance with ramifications on the country’s security.

No, Jeff Bezos is not denuding Amazon by stepping down as CEO

Let us note, first of all, that the man who founded Amazon in a garage in 1994, touting it as the world’s largest bookstore, is not exactly going off to the hills to spend the rest of his life exploring the meaning of life.

The sanctions game and Myanmar: Will it work?

The Biden administration perhaps never thought that its first foreign policy challenge will come from Myanmar, a small country tucked away in South East Asia and one of the members of the powerful Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). Aside from the customary denouncements of the military coup from Washington, capitals of Europe and part...

Sitharaman’s Budget: Federal justice takes a bigger blow

The states in India got ₹ 2,34,222 crore less in their share of gross tax revenues from the Centre in the 2020-21 as per the Revised Estimate (RE) compared to the Budget Estimate (BE). The gross transfers to the states from the Centre in the Revised Estimate of 2020–21 was ₹ 5,49,959 crore compared to the Budget Estimate of Rs.7,84,181 crore. To...

Decoding Myanmar coup: Shattered dream of a commander and some fear

On Monday morning, the Myanmar military staged its first coup since 1988. However, it bore the features of previous military takeovers. Most senior civilian politicians, including Nobel laureate Aung Saan Suu Kyi and a wide range of critics of the armed forces were forcibly detained without formal charges.

Stuck between coup and disgraced Suu Kyi, democracy the loser in Myanmar

The 12-year-old half-hearted attempt at democratic rule in Myanmar has been rudely shattered by a military coup that yanks the nation back to authoritarian rule. 

Finance Commission breaks status quo of poor municipal fiscal governance

The final report of the 15th Finance Commission for the five year period 2021-22 to 2025-26 was tabled in Parliament on Monday (February 1) along with Union Budget 2021-22. The Centre also tabled an explanatory memorandum on its responses to the recommendations of the commission. Of special significance is its acceptance of the recommendations o...

Farm budget disappoints, makes little attempt to promote crop diversification

There hasn’t been a big increase in the share of wheat or rice procured by the previous or present governments though Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tried to score points with the Opposition in her budget speech by claiming that her government’s payout to farmers had vastly increased. Much of her budget speech on agriculture was directed at...

Sedition: State’s weapon to suppress legitimate expression

The nation, under NDA rule, is paying ‘homage’ to Mahatma Gandhi with false cases of sedition. This is supplemented by physical attacks by the police and goons on all sorts of ‘satyagraha.’