Edits In Short: February 6

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

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The Hindu, February 6, 2013

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Still waiting to take off – Editorial

The edit comments on the two spanking new airport terminals which have recently been inaugurated at Chennai and Kolkata. Of course, as is commonplace in India, the inauguration doesn’t mean that the terminals are operational. Both cities will have to wait for at least a month before passengers can use the new terminals. The edit rightly questions this delay, since both projects were started five years back and are being built at a cost of Rs 2,400 crore each.

“The other issue relates to the ambience, the facilities, and the maintenance services. Will AAI maintain and operate these airports or privatise basic services? How will they compare with the fully privatised greenfield airports at Hyderabad and Bangalore, for instance?”

As the edit rightly states, “Given the fact that it takes five to six years to commission a new airport, and the current 10 per cent annual growth in traffic, an early decision on this becomes imperative”.

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Don’t put politics in command – Editorial

This edit comments on the Supreme Court pulling up the Union government for “abdicating its responsibility” to follow an earlier order to notify the final decision of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal. The edit states quite unequivocally that the government is guilty of delaying the notification – and this delay simply highlights the Centre’s lack of political will and resolve. The court on January 4, 2013 has stated that only political motivations are causing this delay. After all, “the Assembly election in Karnataka is a few months away, and the Congress has high stakes in its outcome”. While both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have reservations about the “quantum of water identified as their respective share”, that is still not reason enough to delay implementing the notification. The edit advises that both states should keep in mind that the Cauvery water dispute has been carrying on for way too long, and needs to be resolved soon.

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Why the intellectual is on the run – Main Article

Former media adviser to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Harish Khare’s lead article comments on “manufactured debates on TV” which seem to blur the lines between irony and nuance and charlatans and academicians. Hinged on the Supreme Court verdict on the Ashis Nandy controversy, Khare says we need to ask ourselves what “illiberal impulses are curdling up the intellectual’s space”.  He also states that Nandy himself has “unwittingly countenanced these illebral manners”.

He goes on to write that “descent into unreasonableness” plays out every day on our TV debates where sentences are taken out of context and discussed as part of our “right to debate”. And intellectuals and academicians like Nandy provide a legitimacy to these debates when they agree to take part in them.

He also cites many examples of controversies such as Advani and his Jinnah speech and how it was blown out of proportion, as well as Narendra Modi banning Jaswant Singh’s book on Jinnah even before it was published. Seemingly in search of Utopia, Khare concludes by saying that “unless we set out to reclaim the idea of civilised dialogue, the intellectuals will continue to find themselves on the run”.  Best that Khare doesn’t hold his breath waiting for that to happen.

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The Hindustan  Times, February 6, 2013

Moving in the right direction – Editorial

Rating agencies have thawed in their assessment of India. According to this edit, Fitch and S&P “find progress on reforms encouraging enough to push the possibility of a downgrade further away, but India is by no means out of the woods yet”. It adds though, that Moody’s has still retained a more stable outlook for the country.

For now, investors will have to be satisfied with phased fiscal and current account corrections, opines the edit. The upcoming budget and the growth-inflation dynamic will be watched closely by credit-rating agencies if they decide to de-rate India.

So far the government has managed to push that eventuality beyond March 2013… If Mr Chidambaram can prevail on the UPA to stay on the reforms course till May 2014, his achievement will be singular.

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No hand of god here – Editorial

Kashmir’s Grand Mufti recently asked the Valley’s all-girl band to give up their “un-Islamic” singing. He said that if anything untoward happened it will be the girls’ fault because they were “inviting men” and “it’s not the opposite gender’s fault”. Of course, that must be it.

In Delhi, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad’s women’s-wing protested against an art show featuring nudes saying that it was “uncalled for”, especially in light of the December 16 gang-rape.

The edit states that such attitudes propagate the misogyny that led to the said gang-rape. It ends with the stricture that if we continue in this vein, the day won’t be far when we start resembling Saudi Arabia where a cleric has said that five-year olds should wear burqas.

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For aam aadmi’s sake – Main Article

This coming Budget, where the GDP growth rate for the fiscal year will be estimated, is coming in the backdrop of one of the worst years of economic growth of our country. Large-scale slowing down of the economy, greater unemployment, FDI in retail, lower levels of incomes and increasing prices have put India in a situation where the purchasing power of the common Indian is declining. These factors will only increase the profits of those who are already rich and impose greater economic burdens on the masses. For the sake of the aam aadmi the government must reverse the current policy trajectory of providing greater tax concessions to the rich and use this revenue to increase the levels of public investment, which will in turn lead to higher levels of domestic demand and hence, a sustainable path to development.

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The Indian Express, February 6, 2013

Looking through UP – Editorial

Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav recently asked his party to be ready for general elections in September itself. Commenting on his prime ministerial ambitions, the edit states that “the overwhelming imperative” of getting him to Delhi’s seat of power has made SP neglect Uttar Pradesh, where it is in power.

The party is going back to its old ways, according to Express. Party workers are interfering in police and administration while the state doles out freebies, thus putting its fiscal situation in danger. Across the state, important positions have been kept empty out of fear of displeasing anyone. Without commenting on the prime ministerial ambitions anymore, the edit ends by stating that these should be “burning priorities for the UP government and the Samajwadi party”. Strangely, the edit leaves it to the readers to come up with a comment on how this will affect Netaji’s PM dreams.

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The FIFA broom – Editorial

The recent revelations of a match-fixing syndicate in football were due to the efforts of a crack team assembled by FIFA itself in 2010. These findings were the results of a clean-up project helmed by Australian “supercop” Chris Eaton, but backed throughout by FIFA after it heard whispers of match-fixing.

Comparing the situation with match-fixing in cricket, the edit states that the ICC has had a less than proactive approach in matters of corruption. Fixing revelations in cricket have almost always been made by the media and the ICC has only reacted to them. An active policing campaign is missing from this cricketing governance body.

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The Times Of India, February 6, 2013

Road Not Taken – Editorial

The edit is a comment on Dalits who get elected on the back of Dalit votes and were, therefore, in the eye of the storm that Ashis Nandy’s remarks stirred at the Jaipur Literature Festival. These politicians could instead focus attention on fulfilling promises of employment and education made by them at the time of elections. Further, old school strategies such as reservations are less effective than policies on inclusive economic growth. Thus, opening up markets coupled with universal education is the best way to combat caste inequality.

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The Ugly Game – Editorial

Global football faces a crisis of credibility in the wake of match-fixing charges. According to the edit, European investigators have revealed that an international syndicate is behind this widespread match-fixing which includes qualifying games to marquee tournaments such as the World Cup, European championship and the Champion’s League. Around 425 players, officials and referees across 15 countries are suspected of rigging games. The solution proposed is the formation of stricter surveillance of all domestic and international games.

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Golden ghoos – Editorial

Jug Suraiya comes out in support of Nandy and attempts to explain what Nandy’s comments actually meant. He further states that even those who backed the social commentator have missed the “real point”. According to Suraiya, what Nandy seemed to be saying was that corruption is in-built into Indian society as much as the caste-system is and when the upper castes used their privileged status to gain social, economic and political advantage over the lower caste they were in fact practising a form of institutionalised corruption. Furthermore, the reason why corruption seems more conspicuous among the lower castes is because it is a recent phenomenon. The social and economic churning that has taken place post-Mandal and-liberalisation has given the lower castes a leg-up on the socio-economic ladder. This has enabled them to indulge in corruption.  Got it?

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