Edits In Short: December 28

Didn’t get time to read the edit pages in today’s papers? Don’t worry. We’ve read them for you!

WrittenBy:NL Team
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The Hindu, December 28, 2012


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Gaming the system – Editorial

The edit takes exception to the relief granted to the Sahara Group by the Supreme Court on December 5, 2012. The Group has to pay back Rs 24,000 crore which it allegedly mobilised from lakhs of investors through the unauthorised issue of optionally fully-convertible debentures (OFCD). SEBI had ordered them to return the amount 14 months back, an order that the Supreme Court had initially upheld.

“This apparent softening of stance at the highest levels of judiciary is just one of those inexplicable happenings that has given Sahara an air of invincibility in relation to financial sector regulators and allowed it to retain its opaque ways.”

The edit ends by recommending that loopholes that allow a group like Sahara to shop around for favourable regulators should be plugged, and the RBI and SEBI need to exchange information with one another.

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Modi and friends – Editorial

According to this edit, Narendra Modi may have failed to get Nitish Kumar to attend his swearing-in ceremony, but getting Jayalalitha there more than made up for it. The piece goes on to speculate whether Modi’s and Jayalalitha’s friendship will help Modi and the BJP in 2014, considering that a lot of other BJP allies are “uncomfortable” with the Modi brand of Hindutva. Jayalalitha may keep her cards close to her chest for tactical reasons, and keep her options open for post-poll bargaining.

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No Santas at this police station – Op-Ed

Shambhavi Saxena, a 19-year old student at Lady Shri Ram College, New Delhi, writes a “personal account of how 16 women, who went to protest the Delhi gang rape on December 25 ended up being arrested”. She writes on what happened when she and several friends went to a police station to find out about some women who had been detained by the police.

They were asked to leave and when they didn’t, “our resistance was met with brute force when some women constables were called and Dinesh Kumar (SHO) ordered them to forcefully detain us. We were pushed, pulled and dragged. One female constable began to pull the hair of a woman and I ran to her aid. The constable then turned her blows on me, pulling my hair. From behind, Dinesh Kumar slammed my head into the wall.”

What followed she writes, were threats asking them to admit to having done something wrong, reveal their personal details and promise they won’t speak to the media. There was also a late night call to her mom from the Parliament Street Police Station asking her to come and apologise. Despite everything, Shambhavi ends bravely – “I will continue fighting for the safety of women, for justice, for all rape victims and all victims of sexual harassment.”

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The Hindustan Times, December 28, 2012

New guard takes over – Editorial

The edit compliments and bids adieu to Ratan Tata who “leaves behind a business empire almost 50 times bigger than what he inherited”, and wonders if his successor Cyrus Mistry can live up to Tata’s success.

Mistry “will need to connect the dots between the Nano and the Jaguar in the quest for new markets”. By all accounts, the edit comments, Mr Mistry’s credentials of running his own business are impressive and hugely appreciated in Bombay House. But cautions that there is no experience that prepares anyone to run a group as diverse as the Tata group.

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Communication error – Main Article

Rajdeep Sardesai, editor-in-chief, IBN 18 network, writes in his piece what most people are thinking – that instead of remaining closeted in their Lutyen’s bungalows, senior members of the government should have gone to India Gate to meet the protestors at the very outset. Gone are the times when the public bought into the promises of committees appointed to look into their grievances.

“Like all else in society, governments, too, have to adjust to new-age protests with an immediacy that perhaps was not required even a decade ago.”

Castigating Mr Shinde’s remarks on being expected to go and meet anyone, even armed Maoists, he writes, “The truth is, Mr. Minister, governments must go to the people, be it Gadchiroli or India gate. The idea of a home minister stepping out to meet students is not a ‘dangerous’ one, but an idea whose time has come.”

Sardesai also expresses surprise that the Congress “youth icon” – Rahul Gandhi – didn’t take this opportunity for “a much-needed emotional connect with a new India”, and ends by informing the PM that “when it comes to reaching out to the aad aadmi, ‘sab theek nahi hai.’”

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The Indian Express, December 28, 2012

Bimaru lessons – Editorial

Citing the “brisk” growth rates in the Bimaru states, the edit backs Manmohan Singh’s words at the National Development Council yesterday. The PM had said that for the sake of economic growth, some tough decisions will have to be taken, such as raising fuel prices. It suggests that with general elections coming up, the “time available for major corrections and initiatives is short” but that is also a reason to push for them quicker.

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Get over yourselves – Editorial

Commenting on the tug of war between Delhi CM and the city’s police over law and order, the edit chastises both of them. What is especially shocking is that this is being played out over an issue as sensitive as the horrific gang rape and the protests that followed. It ends by stating that this tussle is proof of “UPA’s persistent inability to keep it together in a moment of crisis” especially as it is in power in both the Centre and the state.

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Tripped up – Editorial

In light of the recent leak of a private photo of Mark Zuckerberg’s sister, the edit points out that even the Zuckerbergs seem to have become victims of Facebook’s privacy policies. It describes the privacy controls as “byzantine” and “oft-changing”, and hopes that now that it’s “the Zuckerbergs who’ve been stung, things will change”.

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A year of lassitude – Main Article

Reminding the readers of Vajpayee’s foreign policy initiatives, Express’ contributing editor, C Raja Mohan writes that this being UPA’s last full year in power, Manmohan Singh should “devote substantive energies to advance India’s three most important bilateral relationships – with Pakistan, China and America.” He adds that while Vajpayee did so much in “re-imagining” India’s foreign policy, Manmohan wouldn’t want to go down as “the one who lost his nerve when so much was in the realm of the possible for India’s foreign policy.”

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The Times of India, December 28, 2012

Big Brother Watches – Editorial

The edit questions the decision of the Mumbai police to film year-end private parties at bars and nightclubs. According to legal experts, our existing laws do not permit such filming and the edit feels that the police are focusing on using their resources for another kind of VIP – violating individual privacy.

However, in the absence of a suitable and relevant law, the Mumbai Police now feels free to videograph such parties which has reduced the police force available for patrolling the streets of India’s commercial capital. It will cost a lot, not to mention the fear that the videos could be used to harass people and commit worse crimes.

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Leading Questions – Editorial

Today the TOI has some advice for the BJP and states that the BJP needs to check internal disarray – and fast. Modi’s political ascendancy seems to be more a dilemma than a reason to rejoice for the RSS-led Sangh Parivar. “…he’s paradoxically – and aggressively – been his own man in politics despite belonging to the sangh parivar, whose sectarian ideology is a waning influence in new, aspirational India.”

It’s time for BJP, the edit feels, to go for a democratic process in a modern way – where party chiefs and PM nominees are chosen via in-house elections. This, it says, will “buttress its oft-made claim to be guided by democratic processes unlike the dynasty-driven Congress”.

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The Denial Of Justice – Main Article

Abhishek Singhvi, MP and former Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Law and Justice, comments on India’s criminal justice system and offers some quick solutions on how to improve it.

Since Independence, “a minimum of 25% – often 33% – of the country’s aggregated judicial strength at high court level has been vacant!” Where will judicial additions such as special or fast track courts come from?

He gives some simple solutions to improve the system, which require no high-powered committees or seminars: Prioritisation of 10-15 things which the system can implement without mid-course correction or interruption; official notification of a successor’s name at least 30 days before the retirement date of the incumbent; a similar protocol for appointments to the lower judiciary; and a leap in planned expenditure for the judiciary as well as an increase in the current judge per million ratio. Political interest and dynamism permitting of course.

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