The Hindu, February 15, 2013
Saving the Railways, for the aam aadmi – Main Article
K. Balakesari, former Member Staff of the Railway Board spells out a number of pragmatic steps for immediate improvement in the health of Indian Railways for the sake of aam aadmi. He writes that the Government should “Stop tinkering with the Railways in the name of ‘coalition dharma’; treat it on a par with Home, Finance, Defence and External Affairs.” There should be an outside push to help the Railways come out of the “ambit of sixth pay commission” which offsets the railway budget. Also suggests that Railways concentrate on getting basics like “safety, punctuality, cleanliness and courtesy” right than dreaming about super-fast and sleek trains and refrain from announcing newer trains when it doesn’t have the required infrastructure to support them. The editorial however, is silent on passenger’s safety and frequent rail accidents.
Facing the acid test – Editorial
The editorial comments that it is not enough to have stringent laws to deal with crimes of violent and sexual nature against women because when it comes to passion, the fear of punishment doesn’t act as a deterrent. Citing the tragic death of J. Vinodhini, a 23-year-old B. Tech graduate in Puducherry who was attacked with acid by a rejected suitor in November last year, the editorial draws attention to the fact that “primary effort to curb acid attacks must lie in reducing easy access to the means to commit the crime.” The editorial also feels that rather than portraying women like Vinodhini and the Delhi braveheart as symbols of victimhood, “their death and suffering should occasion a determined revisiting of our laws and practices, attitudes and prejudices”.
Wrestling with a shocker – Editorial
The editorial discusses the factors behind the decision of the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) recommendation to axe wrestling from the list of sports in 2020 Olympics. The piece says that IOC’s decision to retain the modern pentathlon, which has participants from only 26 countries, instead of wrestling which has winners from 29 nations including India, “is looking downright absurd if not biased.” The editorial argues that despite being a more “universal” sport, wrestling faced the axe because “The IOC Board does not have a member from any of the dominant ‘wrestling powers’ including the U.S. and Russia.” The edits advice for the Indian Government on lobbying for the retention wrestling and other sports – “subtle diplomacy, rather than strident criticism against the IOC.”
All the perfumes of Arabia – Op-ed
Former Judge of Supreme Court and the chairman of the Press Council of India Markandey Katju in his article raises grave questions on the credentials of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who is increasingly being seen as the Prime Ministerial candidate of BJP. Katju writes that the massacre of 2002 “can neither be forgotten nor forgiven” and compares the carnage to the Nazi persecution of the Jews in Germany. He also adds that the increasing perception about the Gujarat Chief Minister transforming India into the “land of milk and honey” is nothing but a result of nefarious “propaganda.” He says that the tenets of Modi’s development plank are questionable as “offering corporates cheap land and cheap electricity can hardly be called development if it does not raise the standard of living of the masses”. He cites statistics and UNDP report to show that the state has dismal records of malnutrition, child mortality rate and poverty among tribals and Scheduled Castes. He cautions the Indian electorate not to be taken in by Modi’s claims, and to apply their discretion in choosing a leader.
The Hindustan Times, February 15, 2013
Silence is not golden – Editorial
The editorial comments on the need to speak loud and clear about the various kinds of sexual abuse that women face in silence. It lauds singer and Grammy winner Anoushka Shankar’s courage to reveal that as a child she suffered sexual abuse at the hands of someone who her parents “trusted implicitly.” The editorial says that the culture of shame and fear on part of the victim can be done away with only if more people like Anoushka speak out. Having achieved a certain “momentum” on the fight against rape and sexual abuse in the wake of the nationwide protests over the Delhi Gangrape, “it will now be criminal to lose it”, and that “only sustained public pressure” will bring about the required change in laws and attitude in India.
Good to be an odd man out – Editorial
On Francois Hollande’s visit to India, the edit says that if France is looking to be a strategic partner to India it must shape up. For trading, it has to make its prices more competitive, especially in light of the kind of prices China offers.
“The opposite of the ‘China price’ is the ‘France price’. But this means Indian firms tend to see little point in seeking French partners or French technology. Who needs nuts and bolts that carry a champagne premium?”
It ends with saying that France, with its anti-market intellectual tradition needs to make itself leaner and meaner to be a good strategic partner to post-liberalisation India.
The Indian Express, February 15, 2013
The bargaining begins – Editorial
The Express continues its role as UPA’s financial advisor. In this edit it preaches that UPA must not rush in passing the Food Security Bill and cautions that the bill should not lead to “irresponsible spending”. Several states have objected to the bill. While some want the scope of coverage to be larger others are “bargaining for the Centre to take the bulk of the financial burden”. The Express wants the Centre to be strict and specify the extent to which it will share the financial burden with the states.
Rabha rewind – Editorial
The edit comments on the recent violence in lower Assam which left 19 people dead. It blames CM Tarun Gogoi’s half-hearted measures for allowing the problem to reach this point. There was long-standing resentment in the Rabha-Hasong Autonomous Council (RHAC) against the panchayat elections. The state government didn’t honour its agreement to keep RHAC out of purview of the Panchayati Raj Act as it overlapped with the proposed power of the council. The edit states that if the government wanted to hold the panchayati polls it should have explained its case to all the stakeholders. It ends by cautioning that by threatening a clampdown, Gogoi is addressing the symptoms not the cause.
Full Article: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/rabha-rewind/1074399/
The feminist network – Editorial
The One Billion Rising campaign to protest Violence Against Women took place all over the world yesterday. The edit comments on how the women’s movement has evolved to move away from the bra-burning stage to making use of social media to further its cause.
“OBR relies on crowdsourced action of the kind so easily facilitated by Facebook and Twitter. Much of the new vocabulary of gender awareness is being contributed to by internet and media savvy women, who are able to leverage the visibility that social media accords.”
Yes, that’s it. It has nothing more to say on violence against women.
The Times of India, February 15, 2013
It’s Raining Scams – Editorial
As allegations regarding kickbacks in the Rs. 3546 crore chopper deal continue to float around, the edit comments that the authorities have once again turned a deaf ear, citing lack of information as adequate reason to not probe further. Add to this the government’s failure to probe the Coalgate and 2G scams, and the edit feels that CBI’s autonomy is increasingly becoming an issue. “If anything is to change, the buck must stop at the top.”
Tripura Joust – Editorial
Tripura is the only state currently ruled by the Left Front in the country. Since the CPM lost in West Bengal and Kerela, the edit states that retaining power in Tripura is crucial for the party. For quite some time, the Congress has failed to project itself as an effective opposition. But Tripura’s 34-year old king, Pradyot Bikram Debarma’s alliance with the Indigenous National Party of Tripura might change things around. Tripura continues to suffer form unemployment and tardy industrialisation, but initiatives in infrastructure, employment and rehabilitation taken by the current chief minister, Manik Sarkar, could stand him in good stead at the polls.