The suggestion to shift the capital because to pollution is absurd (“Does India need to shift its capital from smog-choked Delhi?”). What happens when the next capital gets polluted too? And the one after that? The optics of shifting the capital will be terrible. What about the millions of citizens that are left behind? And our politicians, already immune to the average citizen’s problems, will become sheltered from the dirty air too, at present the only equaliser, if the capital is shifted. This problem has been created by the indifference and incompetence of our politicians, policy makers and those in charge of implementing them. If the Centre insists on rabid squabbles for political gains, let them do so while breathing the same noxious fumes that we breathe. – Chaitanya Vig
This is a shocking suggestion but a brilliant article. Very well researched and reported. As always, it was a pleasure to read a story by Shoaib Daniyal. – Vibhuti Patel
The national capital should be moved to somewhere in central India. It is the need of the hour to do so. Selecting a geographically apt location in Central India will be in the country’s interests. Constructing a capital will be more economical than renovating an existing city. – Peesapaty VS Prakash
BR Ambedkar had suggested that India have a second capital, in Hyderabad, more than 50 years ago. Now the reasons to think of a new capital are even stronger. We should look at more sustainable cities like Bhopal, Indore, Nagpur or Hyderabad. – T Prashanth
How does anyone expect the Delhi government to take the lead on curbing pollution when it has no jurisdiction over other states from where much of the pollutants are coming (“Centre has the powers to tackle Delhi’s pollution crisis, but it is passing the buck”). Moreover, the authorities, including the Supreme Court, should have implemented the firecracker ban last year itself. It is shocking that the pollution situation has not been taken up on a war footing! Even odd-even did not come through this time. We need drastic measures. Schools and colleges need to be shut and offices must allow employees to work from home. We are a bunch of spoilt, stubborn, disobedient, disrespectful and selfish people. But we can no longer continue this way, the time for change has come. – Krishna Rao
Costa Rica is a beautiful and happy country and when someone from a place with far cleaner air lands in Delhi, it is like entering a gas chamber (“Delhi’s ‘unbreathable’ air sends Costa Rican envoy to Bengaluru”). It is impossible for the person to escape suffocation, lung problems and secondary ailments. – Pammy Kohli
On the sidelines
Thank you for highlighting this issue (“Why haven’t Gujarat’s Muslims produced young leaders like Hardik Patel and Jignesh Mevani?”). It is inter-linked with patterns of identity politics, first initiated by the Congress and subsequently engineeered, mileaged and encashed by the right wing BJP to create space through polarisation. Unfortunately, the spirit and ideals of the Constitution of India are missing from both the largest national parties. We hope a party emerges one day that would think of all marginalised communities. – Jabir Ahmedabad
It is foolish for two sister states to fight over this (“‘Sweet news for us all’: West Bengal gets Geographical Indication status for rosogulla”). Whether or not the sweet was first created in West Bengal, the present rosogolla I eat will be unchanged in every respect. It matters little to me. – Amar Sanyal
The article does not mention Padmavati by Syed Alaol, a 17th century court poet in Arakan (“What history tells us: Rani Padmini travelled far and wide, from Rajasthan to Bollywood via Bengal”). His long poem blends folklore and history. It narrates how Raja Ratnasen of Chitor marries Padmavati, a Sri Lankan princess, who is also coveted by Alauddin Khilji, Sultan of Delhi, who leads a futile military invasion to win her. The original Hindi poem has a touch of mysticism and sufism, but the Bangla version is a poem of secular human love. – Rohan Islam
Fact or fiction
What is the point of remembering the earlier Khiji now (“Meet the Alauddin Khilji who asked, ‘I have 1,600 wives. Why Padmavati?’”)? This was Shyam Benegal’s perspective on the sultan and the focus of the episodes was the Delhi Sultanate. In that context, Khilji’s statesmanship was more important. Perhaps Benegal’s Khilji was grey and Bhansali’s Khilji is black because Padmavati focuses Rani Padmini and her sacrifice. The movie is already facing a lot of controversy and you should not aggravate the issue. – Likhith Shetty
Bringing history back
This is a very good initiative for youngsters (“A new Tamil comic book series set in the Chola period brings a literary classic to life”). There’s not enough literature to inspire them to read. It should also be translated in other Indian languages are welcome. Our treasures must spread across the country and the world. Congratulations and best wishes. – Shobana Ramkumar
People may not remember that Fàrooq Abdullah’s father was taken into custody in August 1953 and a case of treason was invoked against him (“Bihar court orders treason case against Farooq Abdullah for his remarks on Pakistan-occupied Kashmir”). He was confined at the government of India’s expense. Indira Gandhi had him released later and formed a government.with him. Not a single treason hearing was held. Will another drama play out now? – Rajinder Malhotra
The coverage of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s statements on the LGBTQ community is shoddy (“‘Don’t think something is wrong with you’: Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to man who faced abuse for being gay”). He did say those words but they have been taken out of context, thereby tarnishing the man and his organisation. – Shreyas Korad
Price of healthcare
The issue of the doctor’s strike has been politicised by a failing government in an attempt to win a few votes before elections (“Karnataka private hospitals call off strike, reopen outpatient departments after High Court appeal”). The government has failed to provide proper healthcare. The government has no right to tell a private establishment how much money to charge. Healthcare for all is essential but the responsibility lies on society at last and not just healthcare providers.
Healthcare in India is among the most affordable in the world. If the government wants healthcare for all, it should provide insurance. But how many people in this country would agree to donate even a day’s salary every month to fund this? How would the people react if the government enforced this?
The same treatments with the same quality of care cost much more in other countries, so why will any investor put money in a hospital in India? This is the reason why we are falling behind in medical research; there aren’t enough funds.
Healthcare should be accessible to all but the price of it should also be borne by everybody. – Shubham Katti
I support the bill and am critical of doctors’ response. Doctors are looting the poor and such a bill is necessary. But the opposition should also be a warning for the government that they need to ramp up services in government hospitals facility government hospitals before trying to control private ones. – Maheshwari
The author doesn’t seem to understand that if no other professions have a price cap for the private sector, why should medical practitioners (“What Karnataka’s pitched battle between private doctors and public health activists is all about”)? All patients are given an estimate of the probable cost before admission or surgery, so if they find that too high, they are free to go elsewhere, like a government or charitable hospital. Instead of regulating the private sector, shouldn’t the government try to improve public health services?
Doctors in India face enough abuse from the public. Do they really need to operate under more fear? Painting all doctors black will lead to the collapse of the health care sector since a majority of it is supported by private establishments. – Aparna Rao
I previously worked for the Knights Inn hotel brand and knew Akash Talati (“US: Indian-origin man shot dead at club, Sushma Swaraj assures family of help”). He was warm and personable, well liked by all. The light of his life was his young son. He was always willing and eager to help anyone he could. I will miss my friend. – Grace Stefanelli
I admire Scroll.in but I was disappointed by this article on Parvathy Menon because it described her as a southern star (“‘I don’t put myself out there enough’: What Parvathy learnt from ‘Qarib Qarib Singlle’”). The question on the difference between the South Indian film industries and Bollywood was juvenile. You should not label anyone from who’s not from Bollywood by their regional labels. – Anand Ramaswamy Vijayasankaran
As youngsters, we used to listen to BBC radio station broadcasts back in 1965 (“On this day: The BBC broadcast its first radio programme in 1922, and news changed forever”). My son used to watch their science television programmes and is today a scientist and has done his post doctorate from Max Planck Institute. I am very thankful BBC for their radio and television broadcasts. Congratulations to them for the wonderful service over nearly a century, from their humble beginnings in 1922. – Baloo Punnoose
The idea of linking everything to Aadhaar was foolish and now exclusion because of failure of biometric verfication is even more foolish (“Now, even the fingerprints of urban Indians are failing during Aadhaar authentication”). The fingerprints of daily labourers and the elderly will often not match. Does that mean they shall not be recognised as citizens in the future? In which direction are we headed? – Sasikumar Chirala
I am 69 and because of age, my finger prints have faded, so biometric authentication is not possible. Because of age-related ailments, it is also hard for me to keep visiting centres for verification. The government should exempt senior citizens from this laborious process. – CV Subbarao
On receiving repeated phone calls and texts from the network provider, I went to the telecom operator’s store. When I tried to give my finger print, I was informed it is mismatched. Now they say I have to update my Aadhaar details. I don’t know why the common man has to face so much of stress. The common man has to face all the difficulties but gets nothing in return. – Raja Shakhar Pemmaraju
I too faced such problems when I tried to link my Aadhar with my mobile number in my home town. It is frustrating to deal with something like at this age of 70. I hope the government comes up with alternatives. – Subramanian M
I am fed up of the frequent messages from banks and telecom operators about Aadhaar verification. I got my SIM and my bank account based on my Aadhaar, so why do I need to link it again? What will happen if I don’t?
We had a lot of hope from Narendra Modi but even the slightest ray of it has vanished now. – Vivek Kumar Singh
Aadhaar biometric verification failures have become a recurring pain. The UIDAI card shows my card is valid, but biometric verification fails each time. I have updated my data twice but in vain. Now I cannot link my present number or get a new one. I feel helpless. – Devendra Butala
I’m from Kota and I have also faced similar problems while trying to link my bank account, PAN card and mobile number to Aadhaar. My fingerprints failed and the device showed a message that my Aadhaar has been cancelled. When I went to the enrolment centre to update my details, there was a technical problem there too. The fingerprint verification system is not working properly. The government should look into this. – Vaishali Mulay
This has become a common occurrence for senior citizens. My mothers fingerprints could not be verified when she was getting a bank account opened. The same problem happened while applying for a SIM too. Such systems may become another reason for exclusion, leading to unintended corruption. Kindly start a movement to bring this issue to the forefront. – Vivek Kumar
I am 66 years old and after my fingerprints failed while I was trying to link my Aadhaar card with my phone number, I went to get my biometric details updated. It took four visits to do that. Despite this, my fingerprints failed again at the telecom operator;s store. this is a waste of time and money. – Rajinder Singh Dhanjal
Citizens are ready to get various facilities linked with Aadhaar but does the government have the necessary infrastructure? I have also faced authentication problems and in Belgaum, where there are few Aadhaar centres, I have had to queue up at 7 in the morning to get my details updated. – Sheetal Devaki
Physicality has been a part of football since time immemorial (“Fifa U-17 WC: Brazil’s ugly tactics take centre stage in quarter-final win over Germany”). The Germans were actually outdone by bringing on Weverson as a substitute. This choked Yeaboah, the right hand man for Germany, who had a great first half and the only route through which the Germans attacked. That was the tactical change. And you talk about Brazil’s flair, but flair alone has never won tournaments. I have never heard of a European team complaining about physicality. – Anirban Saha
Thank you so much for this article. I am related, distantly, to the Sassons but never knew about their ties to India (“The 2,200-year history of India’s Bene Israel Jews began with seven ship-wrecked couples”). My great-uncle from that side of the family, Shimon Hurwitz, was tasked with searching out the lost tribes and made it to India, wrote about it, and later founded a yeshiva for cabalists in Jerusalem by the name of Shaar Hashamayim. – Laurel Bellon
As a Hindu girl in love with a Muslim man, I have always been warned about so-called love jihad (“Our marriage proves that the idea of love jihad is fake, says Kerala Hindu woman who wed Muslim man”). Every time somebody new comes to know about our relationship, they warn me that I may have to convert. They believe I will not have a choice in the matter. They do not seem to know that the Special Marriage Act exists. A lot of supposedly concerned friends and acquaintances have cautioned me about love jihaad. I am glad that this woman and this man have set an example of inter-faith marriages. In the coming years, we need more inter-caste and inter-faith marriages so that the prejudice about them is diluted. Hats off to this couple. – Arpita
Ailing public health
Though I agree with most of what the author says, it is important to take a holistic view of the public healthcare system that these workers support (“India takes its anganwadi, frontline women health workers for granted – at great cost to itself”). I have worked in this field as a data analyst for more than two years and I believe that these workers should move away from manual work like cooking and focus more on being care givers. For this, the government needs to train them continually. Several technological tools can help in this process. For instance in five Districts in Uttar Pradesh, ASHA workers use their smart phones to upload data on Mother and Child Services. The same mobile app also has features to download self-paced audi-visual material in Hindi, for educating the workers. I totally agree with the conclusion that the workers are not being paid the same by different states and those states that don’t pay well have the worst indicators in the country (infant mortality, pregnancy related deaths). On the other hand, those states that have long invested in these workers, like Kerala and Tamil Nadu, have seen the best indicators in health. The front line health workers in public health can be assets to improve the overall health of our country and attain the Sustainable Development Goals. It will be nice to see more articles on this topic from people who have got their hands dirty in the system. – Ganesh Margabandhu
Banks in debt
With demonetisation, banks got a surplus liquidity to the tune of Rs 4 trillion which was largely responsible for call rates becoming tepid (“Forget lessons from the past, Arun Jaitley’s bank recapitalisation even buried a July audit report”). However, there was no commensurate demand for credit as most corporates with a good credit rating managed to raise funds in the bond market at much lower yields. The result was that banks ended up investing most of this liquidity in government securities resulting in the Statutory Liquidity Ratio bond holdings of banks exceeding the minimum requirement by up to 700 basis points. This combination of a surfeit of liquidity and weak credit demand can be used to design a recapitalisation bond to address the capital problem. Since the banks are anyways sitting on surplus liquidity and investing in G-Secs, recapitalisation bonds can be used to convert the bank liquidity to actually recapitalise the banks.
Firstly, the government of India, through the RBI, will issue recapitalisation bonds. Banks, who are sitting on surplus liquidity, will use their resources to invest in these bonds. With these funds, the government will infuse capital into the stressed banks. This way, the surplus liquidity of the banks will be used more effectively and in the process, banks will also be better capitalised and therefore capable of expanding their asset books as well as negotiating with stressed clients for haircuts.
Recapitalisation bonds are nothing new and have been used by the RBI in the past. As far as the NPAs are concerned, these were lying dormant and thanks to RBI’s Asset Quality Review, these would not even have surfaced left to banks’. So, RBI’s intervention was a must to recognise NPAs. The real problem with recap bonds lie in the fact that the earlier such exercise in the ’90s has still resulted in bonds maturing and unless, these bonds are made tradeable these would be confined to further immaturities. – Himanshu Damle
Old is gold
There are no more Raj Khoslas, Dev Anands, Suchitra Sens, SD Burmans or Majrooh Sultanpuris (“Picture the song: ‘Chal Ri Sajni’ from ‘Bombai Ka Babu’ is about a love that cannot speak its name”)! These are the hallmarks of a bygone era that shall forever retain its magical charm. Thank you for bringing such gems back to our notice. The author’s commentary complements the song so well. – Dinesh Singh