Sunday, March 18, 2018
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Concerned citizens' group report - I
Escalation of cross-border shelling: Devastating impact on lives of border people
Death can come to these villagers unannounced. Earlier, the villagers used to evacuate their homes at night and come back to tend to their farms and cattle in the morning. Now with day time firing from Pakistan, even that is not of much help. People can die while doing the most mundane things - during their morning ablutions, while praying, working in their fields or even just loitering in the streets. The cross-border firing has been so intense this January that many villagers complained that they could not even cremate their dead locally and had to take the bodies all the way to the Ranbir Singh Pura crematorium. Jammu, FEBRUARY 23-27, 2018: In view of the rise in cross-border firing between India and Pakistan on the Line of Control (LoC) and the International Border (IB) in Jammu and...
Kashmir Times News Report
New super humans
By Tajamul Hussain
Horses smell, love, recognize faces, jump over fences and do a whole lot of things far better than a Figo or a high-end Lamborghini. But then horses were replaced by cars, for the latter are superior in the handful of tasks that the system really needs. Elon Musk's Tesla is on to eliminate the human experience of driving a car, save lots of time, money and human lives and of course in the process eliminate millions of human jobs. The controlling logarithm knows the position and intentions of every vehicle on the road and disallows cars to collide. Like taxi drivers, many of us humans are highly likely to the way of horses. Instead of limitless cannon-fodder, countries now need only small numbers of highly trained soldiers and a handful of experts who know how to produce and use sophisti...
Kashmir Times News Report
Tillerson's exit signals further shift to Right
US diplomacy's morale reaches its lowest ebb
By Mark Gruenberg
Pleasing few people but himself, GOP President Donald Trump dumped Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in an early-morning tweet on March 13, replacing him with CIA Director Michael Pompeo, a former Kansas right-wing congressman, foe of the Iran nuclear deal and past advocate of torture of alleged "terrorists." "We were not really thinking the same," Trump said of Tillerson, the former ExxonMobil CEO, at a planeside Q-&-A before flying to Los Angeles. "With Mike Pompeo, we really have a very similar thought process. I think it'll go very well." If the Senate, now barely controlled by the GOP, 51-49, confirms Pompeo in the State Department's top job, he would be at least the fourth former military man in the Trump administration's upper echelons. The others include chief of staff John Kelly...
Kashmir Times News Report
Token censure of Saffron vandals will not do
Modi's empty chiding cannot rein in Sangh goons
By Amulya Ganguli
The delight which Tripura's saffron governor Tathagata Roy, the go-between between the RSS and the BJP Ram Madhav, the Hindutva gadfly Subramanian Swamy, and others in the Sangh Parivar expressed over the toppling of Lenin's statue in a town in Tripura was short-lived because it did not take long for the act of vandalism to go viral, as they say about widely circulated social media items. What is more, Narendra Modi, for a change, broke his customary silence on the antics of the saffron brigade and condemned the pulling down of statues, if only because he realized that such desecration could not be the monopoly of the Parivar as was, for instance, the breaking of a mosque or of the legs of a police horse. Besides, the outbreak of mob violence ranging from Tripura to Tamil Nadu to West B...
Kashmir Times News Report
Dirty tricks by backroom boys of BJP in Nagaland
Defection game still on despite ministry formation
By Barun Das Gupta
If the proverbial leopard cannot change its spots, can the BJP change its politics of domination? Just before last month's assembly elections in Nagaland, the BJP took a calculated risk by breaking its ties with the Naga People's Front (NPF) with which it was running a coalition government for years. It not only parted company with its old ally, but split the NPF by weaning away the party's president and three-term chief minister Neiphiu Rio. The BJP then helped Rio float a new party - the Nagaland Democratic Progressive Party - and entered into an alliance with it. The two parties fought the elections jointly. The BJP got 12 seats and the NDPP 18, adding up to 30. The BJP then roped in the lone JD(U) MLA and an independent, raising the total to 32, a wafer thin majority in a House of 6...
Kashmir Times News Report
A claim for dignity
By Pratap Bhanu Mehta
The "long march of the farmers" in Maharashtra refocused attention on the crisis in certain regions in Indian agriculture. It should be the headline news that jolts the nation out of a complacent stupor. The protest made a series of long-standing but familiar demands: Loan waivers, increase in MSP, implementation of Forest Rights Act and wider diffusion of effective property rights, improvements in irrigation. Experts can debate the different measures needed to address these demands. But the moral significance of a moment like this is not just about the technicalities, or political partisanship. It is about the terms of the social contract. From that point of view, the farmers' rally was a deeply poignant and dignified reminder of important political truths. First, there is a structural ...
Kashmir Times News Report
Farmers pushed to the point of sheer desperation
By Humra Quraishi
We have been very unfair to our farmers. Political rulers haven't bothered to look at their plight, even when farmers took to taking the extreme step - killing themselves in sheer desperation. The spotlight on them came only recently when farmers came out with details of their dismal survival conditions and together with that activists took to highlighting the ground realities. The most articulate of them all, is Swaraj India's Yogendra Yadav. He is, as always, armed with facts and figures; hitting out at the sarkar of the day - "It may seem that the budget aims to improve the conditions of the farmers, but it is all a hoax…The only solution to the grievances of the farmers is an increase in their income, which is directly related to the price." Yogendra Yadav focuses on some startling f...
Kashmir Times News Report
BJP nosedives
Agarwal's mediocre level
By Aditya Aamir
The most prominent feature on Naresh Chandra Agarwal's expansive face is his nose which has a broad sweep to it. On Monday, he dumped the Samajwadi Party and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party, a shift that will not be seen unless he gets another chance to take a shot at being Rajya Sabha MP. For a long, long time Agarwal has been a fixture at the centre in the Upper House seating arrangement. Very soon he will have no RS seat. And he is banking on the BJP to give him one so that he can move from the centre to the right seats, along with Jaitley & Co. But for now, Agarwal dismisses any such reason for joining the BJP after the SP gave him the cold shoulder and chose to field actor-turned-politician Jaya Bachchan for the Rajya Sabha instead of Agarwal. Which brings us to the most prominen...
Kashmir Times News Report
Eventually we are all dead
By Jawed Naqvi
THIS has been a week of mixed intellectual fortunes for me thanks to the range of dramatis personae that were on view. Professor Romila Thapar on TV gave a scholarly interview anchored on her new book Indian Cultures as Heritage: Contemporary Pasts. The book, although I've not yet read it, sounds promising as all Thapar books do. This one is apparently a fierce critique of right-wing shibboleths that promote a single monolithic culture as defining India's past and future. India, according to all learned accounts, is a salad bowl, or occasionally a melting pot, of different strands of a rich heritage. The new book looks primed to engage us in an urgent debate on history, culture and politics. In the course of the discussion, Prof Thapar digressed to describe Hindutva's quest for political...
Kashmir Times News Report
Of ennui, a servile fearfulness and Kashmir
By Ghulam Mohammad Khan
Being from Hajan and waking up to the azaan being played to a familiar beat of bullets, to a familiar anguish and desperation in the family, to the fear of a stray bullet smashing your window anytime and hitting you in the bed, to a strange discomfort to hear the gun shots off and join the unruly crowd hurtling to the encounter site to hear the gossip, to look for the devastation, blood marks and the frenzied spontaneous clamor hum kya chahte followed by an eerie calm until the next storm, does no more induce me with an urge to write about our wretchedness or discuss with my friends in hour-long street galimatias about Kashmir to look for intellectual avenues to see us out of this wretchedness, for we have already exhausted all the language to describe our pain and, unfortunately, we are...
Kashmir Times News Report
Modi's balancing act
Between globalization and protectionism
By Subrata Majumder
Controversy roared when Prime Minister Narendra Modi sneered at protectionism and sided with Chinese President Xi Jinping to advocate globalization in Davos. Nevertheless, China too towed protectionism in the early stage of development. Its strategy helped to push the country as the global hub for manufacturing behind the wall of protectionism and swamped the world with cheap goods. In contrast, Indian protectionism languished and manufacturing, despite giving protection to the domestic economy, accounts for merely 18 percent of GDP in India as against 40 per cent in China. Fundamentally, Chinese and Indian protectionism differ widely. Even though the aim of protectionism was common, that is, fostering the domestic industry behind the wall of high tariff, non-tariff barriers and hidden s...
Kashmir Times News Report
India's export woes continue unabated
Need to step up goods and services exports
By K R Sudhaman
Widening trade deficit to a 65-month high at $16.3 billion in January this year has raised eyebrows, that too at a time when India's exports have started looking up somewhat in recent quarters after a poor showing last couple of years. This is because of the surge in imports of crude oil and precious stones. Global oil prices have started increasing lately and it is not clear where it is going stabilise. The trade deficit might have expanded much faster this year than last year but the fact of the matter is that this is the right time for India to start big ticket exports reform so that the country ca play a significant role in world trade. India missed the bus in early 2000, when it had an opportunity to become a global hub for manufacturing as well as services. India's share in goods e...
Kashmir Times News Report
Electorally defeated Left needs image makeover
CPI-M must adapt its strategy to change
By Amulya Ganguli
Behind the defeat of the Left in Tripura lies the failure of the communists to realize that capitalism is no longer regarded by the ordinary people as an ogre as envisaged by Marx when he said that "capital comes into the world soiled with mire from top to toe and oozing blood from every pore". This gory perception may have prevailed in the time of the German philosopher, but as the recent business conclaves organized by various state governments show, such a view no longer exists. Instead, there is a race among the governments to persuade the industrialists to invest in the states. The objective obviously is the setting up of employment-generating units to alleviate the problem of joblessness. Perhaps the only communist to pursue this investor-friendly path was the former West Bengal c...
Kashmir Times News Report
Gaming banking system through process shortcomings
Need to nurture institutional integrity to restore trust
By G. Srinivasan
At a time when the country's ailing banking industry, particularly the proverbial public sector banks (PSBs) suffering from balance sheet woes, is being bandaged by the first tranche of a capital infusion of Rs 88.139 crore as part of a jumbo Rs 2.11 lakh crore rescue package, the murky affairs in the country's second biggest bank, the Punjab National Bank of India (PNB), has surfaced to the dismay of the authorities. The gargantuan chicanery involving an 11,500 crore rupees smartly but silently executed by a maverick diamond merchant Nirav (silent!) Modi is a bespoke paradigm in the post-reform shenanigans of the banking industry that has but few parallels to besmirch the image of public sector institutions. It is also the worst happening to haunt the industry to demonstrate as to what l...
Kashmir Times News Report
Govt stand on primary health care still unclear
Insurance route will only add to rural population's woes
By G. Srinivasan
After the Union Budget 2018-19 unveiled the twin initiatives on the country's proverbially rickety health segment-reinforcing the wobbly primary health center (PHC) edifice through a network of 1.5 lakh health and wellness centers and extending an annual hospitalisation cover of five lakh of rupees for 100 million poor families under the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS), there was an outrageous onslaught across the political and academic divides. The principal and incontrovertible facet of the volley of vituperative reactions revolved around the ubiquitous ground reality of the non-functioning of PHCs, particularly in rural areas, where their activities need to work in clockwork precision to provide primary care to those in dire need. Most of the political parties, when they wer...
Kashmir Times News Report
SP-BSP combination can create problems for BJP
By Yashwardhan Joshi
Politics, they say, makes strange bedfellows. The coming together of the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party for the two Lok Sabha byelections in Uttar Pradesh on March 11 is a rare case of two opposing forces shedding their differences to take on a common enemy-- the Bharatiya Janata Party. Look at it profoundly and it turns up as a case of political survival. Both Mayawati's and Akilesh Yadav's parties-- the BSP and the SP-- have not only seen an erosion of their electoral base after the 2014 Lok Sabha and 2017 UP Assembly elections, but are also staring at political oblivion. The 2014 Lok Sabha polls reduced the tally of the SP from 23 to 5 in the Lower House, while the BSP, which had 21 members in the outgoing House, was annihilated in the polls and couldn't open its accou...
Kashmir Times News Report
Nirav Modi Fraud: Tip of the Iceberg
By Arup Kumar Sen
The world of finance is a world of mystery. The common man is not in a position to understand its intricacies. In the age of domination of finance capital under neo-liberalism, financial scams constitute the new face of plunder. The latest addition to the list of financial scams in India is the one engineered by Nirav Modi. The main bank involved in the Nirav Modi fraud case, Punjab National Bank (PNB), reported a steady slide in its profitability over four of the last five years, and the government commensurately stepped up capital support to the state-owned lender by over ten times from Rs 500 crores in 2013-14 to Rs 5473 crores in the current financial year. The documents seized from the premises connected to the jewellery trader and fraud star, Nirav Modi, show that in addition to h...
Kashmir Times News Report
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