Edits In Short: December 12, 2012
The Hindu, December 12, 2012
Depoliticising the Cauvery – Editorial
A thumbs-up from The Hindu on the Union government’s decision to notify the final award of the Cauvery Water Dispute Terminal, saying it’s the first step in the permanent solution to the water-sharing conflict. It “…may help take the issue away from politics, and place it in the hands of a technical expert”.
It also says that even though it was Tamil Nadu who wanted the award notified, it shouldn’t be taken as a sign of the government siding with one party. “The Cauvery Monitoring Committee…has opted for a pragmatic solution under which both States will be in deficit of approximately 47 tmcft.”
Let’s hope that inconveniences both sides equally!
Long march to democracy – Editorial
The edit discusses the Kuwaiti public’s demands for “genuine representative democracy” following the December 1 parliamentary elections, which the opposition boycotted to protest an October 19 change in electoral law. Thousands have participated in peaceful protests in the country whose campaign for democracy predates the Arab Spring by about five years.
In June 2012, the constitutional court had annulled February elections in which Islamist opposition candidates had won up to 34 seats. They also arrested opposition leader Mussallam al-Barak. Protests against the ruling al-Sabah family have gained momentum, and the edit thinks that “…a constitutional monarchy would be a pioneering and constructive creation” in the country.
T-20 politics has run its course – Main Article
Senior journalist and public commentator, Harish Khare trashes the T-20 orientation of politics in India. Comparing the recent debate in Parliament to T20 cricket which is “neither played nor watched with decorum”, he is aghast at the normally sober Leader of Opposition, Sushma Swaraj’s conduct.
To Swaraj’s suggestion that the UP-based parties were helping the government only to avoid a CBI investigation he writes, “it was not the presumed merits of deficiencies in the government’s initiative; rather it was a simple matter of ‘FDI vs. CBI’ – a classic T20 formulation”.
The media is equally complicit and plays out its version of T-20 every night. “The shouting and bad manners that passes for ‘discussion’ and ‘debate’ on television has bred a culture of low tolerance and baser prejudices”. Ouch!
He ended by saying that politicians’ T-20 orientation doesn’t equip them for the time-consuming, painstaking, unglamorous chores of governance.
The Hindustan Times, December 12, 2012
From opaque to transparent – Editorial
Nothing wrong with lobbying says this edit, as long as there are clear laws defining the boundaries within which lobbyists can lobby.
In India, there is no law which bars lobbying. Which is why clearly laying down the rules for mandatory disclosure of earnings, conflict of interest and compulsory registration of such companies on the lines of the US Lobbying Disclosure Act is the right step to take.
And it isn’t as if India doesn’t lobby abroad. “According to a disclosure report filed with the Senate and the House of Representatives a few years ago, a large Indian conglomerate had engaged a high-profile and influential lobbyist group that has many Fortune 500 firms and foreign governments as its clients, for providing ‘strategic counsel on issues related to trade’.”
Stand up and be counted – Editorial
This edit’s scathing review of India’s performance at the recent International Telecommunications Union (ITU) conference will leave you cringing. Apparently India, which doesn’t support the inclusion of the running of the internet in global telecommunications regulations, remained silent at the meet. The edit says “that India preferred to free ride on the tailcoats of the West…a further sign of India’s regression in the international sphere”.
Thankfully, Western democracies stoutly resisted any efforts for the internet to be governed by a United Nations body, though no thanks to India. The edit states that if countries like Russia or Saudi Arabia are unhappy with India speaking up, they should be politely told off. “Being quiet on such a domestically non-controversial area is not a diplomatic virtue.”
Riders on the storm – Main Article
Sagarika Ghose, Deputy Editor, CNN-IBN, writes on how Muslims in Gujarat “want the narrative of eternal suffering, victimhood and persecution to change”. This, she says, is an example of how good results from the terrible, referring to how the 2002 riots have affected Muslims. She says “a robust sense of self-reliance has been born.”
She quotes a CNN-IBN CSDS pre-poll survey of Gujarat’s voters, 65% Muslim, who “said that they want to forget the riots of 2002. Many are calling 2012 Modi’s most ‘normal’ election, an election without a communal issue to polarize voters”. Sounds like a severely backhanded compliment for Modi.
She ends by saying that Muslims who spoke to her recognise “that they may be second-class citizens in Gujarat, but still do not fear to assert their identity in public”.
The Indian Express, December 12, 2012
A smarter way to tax – Editorial
The gross tax revenue rose by just over 7% this November, and as the edit states, this is not a good sign. The overall tax revenues are bleak and we need to overhaul the tax system to a more efficient one that caters to the needs of our economy.
“… tax officials chase the here and now, with scant specialisation or time to develop an understanding of new technology and the requirements of a modern, non-invasive but efficient tax system.”
Timely question – Editorial
The edit comments on Hamid Ansari’s extreme step in asking for Question Hour in the Rajya Sabha to be called off in the wake of demands that it be abandoned to discuss Walmart’s lobbying bill in Washington DC.
“Ansari’s expression of exasperation this week… must force legislators to look amidst their own and appraise the assault on Parliament’s prestige from within.”
However, on the issue of lobbying the edit also carries this interesting statement – “The irony of upsetting their legislative schedule based on information that’s in the public domain because of legislative procedures in another land clearly escaped the agitated MPs.”
The Times Of India, December 12, 2012
An unjustified hike – Editorial
The edit points out various reasons why the recent intimation of a hike in provident funds is not acceptable. This will lead to deductions and reduce the take-home salary when the salaried classes are already being badly hit.
It states that the PF has neither given any promising returns to the employees, nor has the PF organisation paid the appropriate interest in comparison to the pension fund. It adds that even the gains from pension funds scheme are negligible.
Ends with a suggestion to allow a free market for better choices for salaried employees.
Full Article: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/opinion/edit-page/An-unjustified-hike-It-makes-no-sense-to-allow-provident-fund-to-appropriate-a-quarter-of-total-salaries/articleshow/17575942.cms
A bellicose defiance – Editorial
This edit comments on the inaction of the Maharashtra Government in removing the makeshift structure at Shivaji Park built for Bal Thackeray’s funeral. This has emboldened the Shiv Sena, which is thumbing its nose at the law and paying no heed to the Brihan-Mumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) warning that the structure should be brought down. The BMC in trying to keep the peace has left the matter to the state government.
The edit ends by suggesting that the state should compel Sena Chief, Uddhav Thackeray to resolve the issue.
Have party, don’t pay – Editorial
Jug Suraiya’s edit mocks political parties who do not have to pay any taxes. “A query raised by an activist under the RTI has revealed that a total of Rs 2,490 crore by way of tax exemption was given to 13 political parties in the five years between 2007 and 2012.” However, the “Aam Aadmi” who pays as much as 30% tax does not receive even the basic amenities.
Cynically suggests that all those who are sick and tired of politicians should form a political party themselves to save tax.
A litmus test for Narendra Modi – Main Edit
Minhaz Merchant, author and chairman of a media group, analyses what the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and voter break-ups mean for Modi’s march to the national stage. He says that the elections will be a landmark because no party has won three consecutive polls since Nehru’s time, and the new 110 million young voters born after July 1991 are going to be very crucial.
Modi has caught the nerve of this new young demographic slice (for whom 2002 and Babri Masjid are simply important historical events) by using the social media to build a brand. The BJP’s central leadership Merchant writes, “has little option now but to fall in line behind Modi”. Election 2014 will be further impacted if Muslims move away from the Congress, the Aam Aadmi party eats up everyone’s votes, and if Rahul’s prime ministerial candidature backfires.