Chanakya (for Info only, not official)

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Chanakya

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    ...Don’t you think so?” I was not too eager to get into a debate on this — the fun part had just begun in St. Louis — but my accommodating soul fell into the trap. “Why do you think we need a structured US-style presidential debate?” I asked her. The friend, a urban voter, sprinted off the block: First, hearing candidates argue on specific issues gives a voter the chance to understand the candidate and his politics; second, with a population that is getting more networked, debates supplement the traditional rally and rent-a-crowd combination; third, politicians can get instant feedback via social media; and fourth, watching a candidate under pressure can give people a glimpse of his/her temperament. This is important, she concluded, because public events these days are stage-managed and orchestrated by PR agencies, negating any chance of getting to know if the person has genuine leadership qualities. ...

    hindustantimes on Oct. 15, 2016, 9:48 p.m.

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    ...Narendra Modi’s reputation as a strong leader has got reinforced. He is seen to have delivered on a key campaign promise by inflicting costs on Pakistan. The move has enthused the party base and ideological affiliates. And the fact that no opposition party has dared to ask questions is a sign of the power of the current narrative. Read: In Bundelkhand villages, politics of relief can’t wipe out distress But whether the BJP will succeed in capitalising on this national narrative, and brushing away local factors, in state elections is yet to be seen. This will be first put to the test in the heartland state of Uttar Pradesh. Here is what we know of the dynamics in UP so far. There is no wave for any party. ...

    hindustantimes on Oct. 1, 2016, 9:35 p.m.

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    ...I am sure you felt the same when you read the first line. I don’t blame you: Truth is always bitter, they say. Sometimes it could be boring too. The health sector’s pitiable state hit home hard recently when my woman-Friday fell sick. “I have typhoid,” she said weakly one morning and went home. I wasn’t expecting to see her for three weeks but she resurfaced after four days. Surprised, I sent her blood test report to a doctor friend. “There was no indication of typhoid; it was a bout of viral,” she wrote back. A local doctor asked her to do the blood test and also gave injections and the bill came to Rs 1,000. “The government hospital is forever crowded, so I went to the private clinic,” my house help explained when I told her about the wrong (deliberate?) diagnosis. I wondered, is there is a cosy nexus there between the doctor and the lab. Public health care in India is in a shambles. In the last one month, I have read at least four stories that show its skeletal existence. ...

    hindustantimes on Sept. 17, 2016, 6:57 p.m.

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    ...But the Kashmiris know it for what it is: Surface normalcy. So when the Valley slipped into a vortex of violence, in a fraction of a second, after the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani on July 8, New Delhi was left staring at cold statistics: 1.1 million tourists had visited Kashmir till the first week of July as against 550,000 the previous year. The governments in New Delhi and Srinagar were looking at the wrong set of statistics. They should have been focusing on the changing ground reality: The fact that local militants like Wani were outnumbering the foreign terrorists. They should have analysed the reasons for why militant funerals were drawing large crowds. In fact, they should have worried that women gathering to prevent security forces from launching operations in rural areas was a clear throwback to the early nineties, when the gun first surfaced in Kashmir. ...

    hindustantimes on Sept. 3, 2016, 9:48 p.m.

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    ...Sakshi said claiming the bronze tasted more like victory than the silver, as that would have come after losing in the final. In wrestling, all those who had lost to the eventual finalists are put in the mix again and fight till the bronze medalist is decided. It reminded me of the famous Iranian film Children of Heaven, directed by Majid Majidi and nominated for the best foreign language film at the 1998 Oscars. The film narrates a poignant story of a young boy’s affection for his sister. Feeling guilty after his sister loses her shoes while in his possession, he is desperate to come third in a road race because the prize is a pair of shoes. But somehow he finishes first and is unhappy though he gets hold of a much better prize. Often, in the nationwide clamour for a rare Olympic medal, we don’t realise what goes in the mind of a competitor, what makes him or her tick. ...

    hindustantimes on Aug. 21, 2016, 10:06 p.m.

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    ...In many ways these lines from The Beatles’ 1966 number, Taxman sums up India’s indirect tax structure: An untidy patchwork of central and provincial levies that cause red-tape, confusion and corruption. Sample this list of mumbo jumbo: Central excise duty, additional excise duty, duty levied under the Medicinal and Toiletries Preparation Act, service tax, countervailing duty, special additional duty of Customs, VAT, CST, entertainment tax, octroi, purchase tax, luxury tax, taxes on lottery, betting, gambling and cesses and surcharges. Phew! That’s one bundle of gobbledygook you would rather do without on a Sunday morning. But that’s how our taxes are structured, and you and I often do not realise it. The Goods and Services Tax (GST) seeks to precisely address this concern by offering a single shot solution. Once adopted, it will dramatically alter tax administration by consolidating this web of levies into a single tax. ...

    hindustantimes on Aug. 7, 2016, 1:02 a.m.

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    ...In 2011, it was ready to help Europe crawl out of a debt emergency as Greece stared at the prospect of a sovereign default. In 2016, it has become the world’s fastest-growing major economy. The symbolism is inescapable. Read: He did all the heavy lifting When, exactly 25 years ago, India unshackled its economy and freed the markets, it set the country on a promising path that hasn’t disappointed. Among its emerging-market peers, India stands out. China’s growth is slowing, letting India overtake it as the fast-growing country, tracking a 7.6% growth rate. Brazil is slipping further into recession. Energy-driven Russia’s economy looks rundown. Far from falling off the BRIC constellation, it’s India that’s sticking up. The country’s economic transformation, however, is vivid in people’s lives and experiences, not in these macroeconomic comparisons, but in people’s ability to earn and spend, enabling upward mobility for millions of Indians. ...

    hindustantimes on July 23, 2016, 11 p.m.

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    ...The outcome of the case could set a precedent for a similar legal battle in the Delhi High Court over the status for JMI, also a minority institution. Read: Centre withdraws UPA-era plea, AMU could lose minority tag The 103-page book argues that since the Constituent Assembly, Parliament and the judiciary had accepted that AMU is a central university, the institution should follow the reservation policy for SC/STs and OBCs as mandated by the law. Read: NDA says AMU not minority institution While this is the crux of the argument of the book, which has a photo of BR Ambedkar on the cover, the underlying tone in it is that AMU is bypassing the quota requirement by waving the ‘we are a minority institution’ flag. ...

    hindustantimes on July 9, 2016, 9:46 p.m.