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The most important freedom we cherish

It is our 74th Independence Day. What is the uppermost thought on this day? It is of freedom. What kind of freedom? It is freedom to speak, to think, to express an opinion, to assemble as a group (without arms), to roam the country, to earn a living. After we...

Building temples of modern India

The Bhakra Dam in Himachal Pradesh, on the River Sutlej, is one of the largest gravity dams in the world. The reservoir it creates, spread over 168 square kilometres, is the third largest in India. The waters of Bhakra provide irrigation for 10 million acres of agricultural land across Punjab,...

That magic potion called education

Take one swig of this magic potion called education, and you will become invincible, like the Gauls of the Asterix comics. It is the secret to a better quality of life for yourself and family. It is also the foundation for sustained growth of the economy. Future growth will depend...

The environment and economy can be friends

Are economic development and environment preservation antithetical to one another? The clear answer is no. It is possible to have clean air and water, less pollution and still be a prosperous country. Indeed the evidence is compellingly on the other side. The hallmark of a developed country is when you...

India’s struggle to impose a ‘Google Tax’

India introduced a tax on e-commerce companies in the February Union Budget. What’s unusual about it? Don’t all companies have to pay a tax on their profits? Yes, but this is about e-commerce companies, which do not have a permanent establishment in India. For tax purposes, they are non-residents and...

The final-year exam fiasco

The University Grants Commission is the top boss governing policies of all universities in India. It oversees about 800 universities encompassing about 40,000 colleges. Of these, 49 are central universities, i.e. run by funds from the central government, 367 are state universities run by state government funding and 123 are...

The California caste atrocity

The constitution of the United States does not recognise discrimination based on caste. It bars discrimination based on race, religion, gender, ethnic or national origin and even sexual orientation, but not on the basis of caste. Why so? Because caste as a category was unknown to the founders of the...

The unbearable burden of oil tax

On April 20 there was an historic drop in oil prices in Texas. The price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude dropped all the way, not just to zero, but $37 below zero. That means the seller was giving money to the buyer to buy oil. Unthinkable and unprecedented. Since...

Separating economic and border issues

As we exit the lockdown and resume economic activity, we will have to observe certain protocols. Like social distancing. Or using hand sanitisers in office, public places or even at home. These sanitisers are alcohol-based, and usually come in dispenser pumps. The pump minimises human contact, unlike a tube or...

Let us not dilute law on cheque bouncing

The Indian court system is notoriously clogged. There are more than three crore cases pending at various levels and stages. Justice delayed is justice denied. What do we do? Experts and bodies such as law commissions and industry chambers have recommended several judicial reforms. A big part of the solution...
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