The Hindu, January 2, 2013
From bad times to worse – Editorial
The edit comments on the lack of surprise from anyone that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) refused to renew Kingfisher’s Air Operator Permit (AOP), which lapsed on December 31, 2012. Kingfisher’s paltry Rs 650 crore package to revive its operating licence and restart flights, its failure to furnish No Objection Certificates from service providers and the non-settlement of staff salaries has not impressed the DGCA.
“Where is Kingfisher going to find the funds to pay the salaries of employees, the dues of the service providers, the cost of repairing and overhauling its aircraft, and then generate working capital to operate its flights to a given, limited schedule?” The edit doubts that Kingfisher will be operating anytime soon.
Needed urgent electoral reforms – Main Article
Former chief election commissioner, Navin Chawla, writes a piece on electoral reforms in India. The article delves into the history, successes and the challenges faced by the Election Commission before getting to the EC’s attempts to curb criminalisation in politics.
“The ECI has time and again written to the Government of India of the day to debar through legislation those against whom charges stand framed for heinous offences. However, parliamentary committees hold that such a provision is liable to misuse by parties in power seeking vendetta.”
“Yet, many discerning parliamentarians privately accept that the “winnability” factor that induces a party to offer tickets to those against whom criminal cases are pending (albeit in appeal), also has the effect of increasingly alienating large sections of people from the political and ruling class itself.”
So what’s the solution? He’s hopeful, too, that the Law Minister will take forward the pending draft legislation on this subject which would be a vital step towards strengthening our democratic structure.
The Hindustan Times, January 2, 2013
No two ways about it – Editorial
The edit reveals some shocking results of a city-specific survey conducted by HT after the December rape case in Delhi. “According to the survey, an overwhelming 92% of men (18-25 years) say that some or all of their friends have sometime or the other made passes at women in public places, and over 78% women said that they have been sexually harassed in the past year. Here’s another bit of appalling statistics: 52% of the respondents say it’s okay to pass comments on women, as long as one doesn’t touch!”
Wait, there’s more. “Over half the men think that “harassment happens, now hold your breath, because of the way women dress and behave.” Clearly it’s not the laws or policing, but the mindset that has to change for women to be safe in this country.
These are not minor transgressions – Article
A very interesting and must-read piece by Sujata Anandan on a Maharashtra newspaper in the 80s which published a booklet called Balatkar Kasa Kartat (How to rape).
“The outrageous thing about the episode was that this was a paper that had been fiercely at the forefront of the freedom movement but now its managers were justifying the publication as ‘just a job work’ they undertook from private publishers from time to time.”
If a woman journalist hadn’t taken an advance copy to women’s groups no one would have known about it. Not that anything was done. And here comes the really shocking part. Anand writes, “A few years later I was horrified to discover that he had ended up as a friend, philosopher and guide to the reigning president of the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) – he was an elderly, even fatherly, man and a former freedom fighter, and requests for interviews by journalists were run past this potential rapist.”
It is obvious she writes, that women in India are under threat by not just ordinary men who might be potential rapists…but also by those who should be their protectors.
Running out of ideas – Main Article
Modi makes it to the edit page again. Delhi-based journalist Ajay Ashraf quotes Martin Luther King to make his point in the article. “The ultimate tragedy of mankind is not the brutality of the bad but the silence of the good.” For those of us who believe “Narendra Modi’s hat-trick victory presages a decisive threat to the very idea of India, King’s statement is what we should remember.”
The Congress he writes, has failed on that account and “did not debate secularism nor even did it articulate the idea of eclectic, compassionate, tolerant Hinduism, palpably apprehensive of Modi projecting the party as anti-Hindu”.
This is a logical culmination he writes – of political indolence, shrinking imagination and cynical electoral calculation. All this while Modi went ahead and embarked on Sadbhavana Yatras.
He ends with a question for the Congress: “can we now only be a Hindutva votary or live in abject helplessness, dependent on the mercy of those who threaten India’s very being?”
The Indian Express, January 2, 2013
Missing the deadline – Editorial
This edit on Pakistan’s delay in granting Most Favoured Nation status to India states that procedural delays are common in functioning of the sub-continent. However, the edit adds, that there are enough conservative powers in Pakistan to derail such a decision and India “cannot ignore the mounting political mobilisation of the conservative forces in Pakistan against normal trade ties with India.”
Here a cliff – Editorial
In light of the set of agreements agreed to in the US to confront the country’s fiscal cliff the edit states that it “gives emerging market economies the hope of more investments from abroad”. It adds that it is time India realised that the global economy is very tight-knit and confronts its tax policies.
“How India resolves its fiscal cliff will also be studied intently. This means it will be necessary to set a clear time-table. It will help if the Centre can, for instance, spell out for how many years it plans to postpone the rollout of GAAR, instead of making the markets wait for the news till the next budget.”
Full article: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/here-a-cliff/1052982/
This new politics – Main Article
Yogendra Yadav, senior executive of CSDS and now national executive of the Aam Aadmi Party, comments on the anti-gang rape protests in Delhi. He says that this kind of movement without a clear political vision isn’t something to write off just because of its narrow social profile, which he adds doesn’t necessarily have a “narrow social vision”.
“As of now, this new, as yet inchoate, and partially visible politics is playing the role of a much-needed corrective in the system. It has already begun to disturb settled and cosy equations of power and create moments of accountability, though not structures of responsiveness.”
The Times of India, January 2, 2013
Bus to safety – Editorial
The edit comments on the grossly inadequate, unreliable and unsafe public transport in our cities. “Mobility is a basic right and public transport, including reliable night services, is an important way of empowering citizens. It ensures safe travel, connects workers to jobs, brings consumers to business and delivers substantial economic benefits.”
Studies in the US have shown that an efficient transport system can also provide a boost to the economy.
“Unfortunately, almost all political parties, given their fetishised focus on the rural voter, have made only half-hearted attempts to build urban public transport systems. And suggestions to improve women’s safety have centred on curbing nightlife rather than enhancing it.”
Shakti Shrugged – Editorial
Jug Suraiya writes that “if women were to stop work for one day, it would have a huge impact on the economy”. He notes with sadness that what happened to the proposed December 26 ‘Aurat Bandh’ went unreported. Given women’s contribution to the economy and household, even a one-day strike like that would be revolutionary.