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November 2010

From 2nd-Gen Spectrum To The Fourth Estate: Deep rot in the system

As the 2G scam reverberates, shocking revelations have emerged of another, related, scandal involving collusion between big corporate houses, political parties and the media in influencing key policy decisions and ministerial appointments. Outlook and Open magazines have reproduced partial transcripts of telephone conversations between Ms Niira Radia, a corporate lobbyist for the Tata and Mukesh Ambani groups, and several top journalists, industrialists and politicians, which show journalists playing political roles well beyond the legitimate bounds of their profession.

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Little to build on

fter Ashok Chavan's role in the Adarsh Society scam was exposed, his continuation as Maharashtra's chief minister became simply untenable. His replacement by Prithviraj Chavan is premised on the hope that a person known for integrity and probity, and what some call a "process-driven management style", would help clean up the horrible mess that is Maharashtra politics. The new Berkeley-educated CM indeed has a reputation of a sober politician and administrator. Moreover, he enjoys the confidence of the Congress president and the prime minister — an advantage few Maharashtra CMs have had in decades. But whether he can clean the state's Augean stables is an open question that can't be answered by managerial styles. On it depend the fate of India's most industrialised state and, not least, the credibility of the Congress's apex leadership.

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The Posco question

The government must stop dilly-dallying over the project and apply the law regardless of the fact that it is India's single largest foreign investment proposal.

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Attacking Writers, Banning Books : Growing fascist intolerance

The attack by Bharatiya Janata Party Mahila Morcha activists on the residence of writer Arundhati Roy in Delhi, accompanied by abusive slogans and breaking of flower-pots, marks a new low in the destructive activities of the forces of bigotry and intolerance in India. It is a hair-raising reminder of the great distance this society has travelled from the concept of a liberal democracy which genuinely respects the freedom of expression and the right to dissent—a concept that’s at the heart of the Constitution.

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US has an intrusive long-term economic agenda

President Barack Obama comes to India without a big “deliverable” even remotely comparable to the US-India nuclear deal which dazzled our elite largely because of the symbolic but unique exception it made for India in the global nuclear order. But that does not mean that Washington does not have a broad-based economic agenda to transform the India-US relationship to its own advantage. It does, and it is related to the global economic conjuncture.

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The “123” nuclear deal saga: What has India gained, and what has it lost?

Ever since the United States offered India the nuclear cooperation deal in July 2005, and India lapped it up, it has been clear that Washington would have to resort to subterfuge, stealth and arm-twisting in pushing through this unique arrangement for India within the global nuclear order. This order prohibits civilian nuclear commerce with a country which has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty but has exploded atomic bombs.

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