Raise the benchmark, PM

Those who run out of arguments to prove that staccato of supposedly game changing schemes fired by the Modi government with much fanfare have been a resounding success take a recourse in prime minister’s unblemished integrity and his righteous intention of making a new India.

Having heart in the place of logic is similar to the mind of a teacher who is tempted to give marks purely on beautiful hand- writing of the student who has   answered all the questions wrong.

Singing the tune of oppression

Pakistani theatre actress and dancer Shamim was shot dead on Monday by unidentified gunmen in Shah town of Multan in Punjab province. The 29-year-old artist was killed early in the morning outside her house. Her brother, Saifur Rehman said she had been receiving threats for performing in theatres. Shamim's family also suspects that her estranged husband might be involved in the murder. Last year, another theatre actress Kismat Baig was killed by her estranged lover in Lahore. She was shot 11 times in her legs, stomach and hands.

A Drive too ambitious

Indians, by temperament and virtue, believe that everyone else should follow rules but feel exempted from doing the same. At any given point in time, one would be able to see at least a dozen cases of pedestrians jaywalking, riding without helmets, speeding in cars without seat belts, dangerous lane cutting and driving insanely. Road rage is common. Rash driving, it seems, gives a sense of power to people. So much so, that any sane driver has to be careful to safeguard oneself from the instances of any violations by others.

Establishing The new normal

Any debate on real issues of economy is always welcome, instead of manufactured and imaginary issues like intolerance. In this light, we welcome Yashwant Sinha’s concerns on the state of economy, though his deliberations seems to be motivated and with many technical flaws. We should bear in our minds that there are no free lunches in economics. There is always a trade off in resource allocation and the government has to ensure that they are allocated in the most efficient manner.

DISEQUILIBRIUM: Reforms aren’t a switch

Like a television loop, which runs with monotonous and unerring synchronicity, the last four years has seen many reruns, but in the absence of any killer application which provides a breakthrough benefit, there is only more of the same. Deep administrative reform has without a doubt been a huge success, but beyond that the reticence and hesitance to undertake anything material or transformative despite a humongous mandate remains most galling.

When passion becomes profession

What began as passion for travel soon became a profession for Ritu Goyal Harish. She formally set up Ease India Travel, a bootstrapped start-up based in Pune in January. It specialises in curated holidays to Bhutan, paragliding trips in Himachal Pradesh’s Kangra Valley, birding and hiking trips in Coorg, Karnataka, and temple tours across nine famous religious landmarks in Kerala and beyond.

The bone of contention called China

Barely a month has passed since India and China agreed to pull out troops from the disputed Doklam Plateau area of Bhutan near Sikkim, the focus is back on the region amidst report that People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has strengthened its build up in the area.

The presence of Chinese troops in Chumbi valley overlooking the Doklam Pleateau was confirmed by Indian Air Force chief Birender Singh Dhanoa on Thursday signalling that another round of diplomatic effort would be required to diffuse the situation before it reaches the escalation point.

An exemplary life

Swapna James is an award winning farmer from a village 20 km from Palakkad town. The bus to Cherpaullasherry from Olavakode junction, goes near her village, Kulakattikurusi, an interior village, near  Kadampazhi-puram Hospital Junction. Journalists and government officials know her well, and her name goes out to the committees which look to honouring farmers for the work they do.  She has received the  Karshakatilakam award for best woman farmer, Akshayashree award,  and Desabhimani Award for organic farming.

The repo rate debate

Policy action: The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) monetary policy committee (MPC) voted 5-1 in favour of leaving the policy repo rate unchanged at 6 per cent, in line with consensus and our expectations. The one dissenting member, Ravindra Dholakia, voted for a 25bp cut. The RBI also lowered the statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) by 50bp from 20 per cent to 19.5 per cent, effective from October 14.

When iPhone dangles the dongle

Ever since the release of Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus last year, the tech enthusiasts have been divided into two sects. One that welcomes the omission of the 3.5mm headphone jack and other that advocates the ease of the 3.5mm headphone jack. But Apple has put a nail in the coffin with the absence of the 3.5mm headphone jack in their next line of products. The Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus and the much awaited iPhone X are spectacular devices which still do not have the 3.5mm headphone jack and most likely the jack is gone for good.