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The News

Working up engine for economic revival

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By Sidharth Mishra

The Railway Minister in Narendra Modi government has a tough assignment at hand. While he has his task cut-out to make his mammoth department work as the nation’s growth engine, he is not allowed the luxury of withdrawing subsidies on passenger fares and increase freight charges. 
No wonder the Railway Budget for the year 2016-17 presented by Suresh Prabhu on Thursday, which on the one side energized the social segments, on the other it failed to cheer stock markets. Economic slowdown bogging the nation must have weighed heavily on the Railway Minister’s mind while drafting the financial statement for the gargantuan department. 
But the financial statement in the end succeeded in working up a feel good factor among passengers, which in itself is a large body and their satisfaction goes a long way in deciding political fortunes of governments.
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Last Updated on Sunday, 28 February 2016 03:31

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Reporters as ‘tamasha’ performers

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By Sidharth Mishra

Your reporter is a conservative journalist, a breed I would not say is fast getting extinct. Now, what’s a journalist in conservative form? Well, there are several parameters that describe it. First and foremost, a newsperson should never become news, s/he should report the news. I believe a reporter tries to cover the failure to get a meaty copy of the incident by making a story around himself. Those who worked with me closely as part of several news teams that I led for more than a decade would vouch that I never allowed a self-approbation copy.
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Last Updated on Saturday, 27 February 2016 14:14

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Target secession, not campus

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By Sidharth Mishra

There is this Member of Parliament from East Delhi (Mahesh Giri) who on the advice of some soothsayer has rechristened himself as Maheish Girri, probably to better his fortune. Said to be from Sri Sri Ravishankar’s Art of Living stable, Girri first emerged in the national Capital in 2011 on Anna Hazare’s India Against Corruption forum and quit it soon after he fell on the wrong side of Arvind Kejriwal. Thereafter he joined the BJP.

His rise within the BJP has been meteoric. Union Minister Harshvardhan had to shift base to Chandni Chowk to accommodate Girri as party’s candidate from East Delhi during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. After he entered the Parliament, he was soon accommodated as a party secretary in BJP president Amit Shah’s team. That he is a powerful man is evident from the alacrity with which the government acts on his letters and complaints.
I can recall at least two incidents when he managed to move the government within no time. The first was when he wrote to the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), after former President APJ Abdul Kalam’s death, to rename Aurangzeb Road as APJ Abdul Kalam Road, which was immediately done. Next he filed a complaint on the pro-Afzal Guru rally on the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus; again the police took unprecedented steps including the arrest of JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar.
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Last Updated on Sunday, 28 February 2016 04:40

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Uttar Pradesh: Poll time, party time

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By Sidharth Mishra

Poll times are party times. If the polls happen to be in the nation’s politically most significant state – Uttar Pradesh, parties would be in plenty. No wonder the master of mergers and defections, Chowdhary Ajit Singh has once again got going. As someone who has allied with almost all the political players who matter in Uttar Pradesh, Ajit Singh is now toying with the idea of a Grand Alliance in the company of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. He is even ready to merge his Rashtriya Lok Dal with Janata Dal (United).
This is not the first time Ajit Singh, who inherited his father and former Prime Minister Chowdhary Charan Singh’s massive political legacy, has sought to merge his party with another national party. He did it first in 1988-89 when the Janata Dal was formed under the leadership of Vishwanath Pratap Singh. The Janata Dal soon split into fragments. A few years later he merged his party with the PV Narasimha Rao-led Congress and also managed to win a ministerial berth.
Thereafter, he successfully bargained for some years with Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party getting 
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Last Updated on Wednesday, 10 February 2016 11:35

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High ratings for govt misleading

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By Sidharth Mishra
Your reporter isn’t very literate when it comes to the subject of economics. At least, I do not understand the kind of economics that ferrets out various types of rates and concludes, “All is well”. For me, wellness means a reasonable monthly bill at the Kendriya Bhandar, a manageable account of my household expenses, which my better half so meticulously maintains and an acquiescent management of the publishing houses which clear my bills without much pleading.
If these parameters were to be applied to the current socio-economic situation in the country, the mood of the nation is anything but bright. However, I was surprised at the recent results of a survey by a leading news channel, which is not known to be very amenable to Narendra Modi government. The survey concluded that although Prime Minister Narendra Modi may have been coming under opposition fire more often than before, he still retains the support of the majority.
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Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 February 2016 03:29

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