Retrograde avatar of repressive traditions

Political patronage and vote bank politics have revived khap panchayats, termed illegal and unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

A chance not to be squandered

As many as 19 impairments are sought to be accorded legal protection, as opposed to seven under the 1995 Persons with Disabilities Act.

Disquieting process

This is not the first time that Islamabad has tried to make peace with the militants. Every previous effort failed because the Taliban refused to submit to the state’s writ.

India’s missing women

Even though fair elections are held at regular intervals for State Assemblies and Parliament, they do not reflect the true consent of the people because a large number of women are missing from the electorate.

A traumatic past and a stifling present

The Tamils of Sri Lanka’s Northern Province do not have it easy even five years afterthe war ended. But the language of war crimes alone would not address their problems.

Road tolls and resentments

The Central government plans to build the bulk of the 10,000 km of national highways and 1,000 km of expressways in the next four years as toll roads, with private investment.

All guns blazing

The findings of the Shunglu Committee and the Comptroller and Auditor General had pointed to irregularities in the tendering and allocation of work for street lights.

Two agencies on a collision course

From the Intelligence Bureau’s point of view, the Ishrat Jahan investigation is definitely a blow to its morale. Its long-term impact is incalculable … No amount of incentives will restore the zest for counterintelligence work.

When roads take their toll on users

The alternative to high tolls over a long period is in ensuring that such projects are better monitored and contractors held accountable.

A lonely fighter lost among patriarchs

Rani Gaidinliu and many like her remain absent from our books, our memory,our politics, our public spaces and our discourses.

Health-care myths we live by

Take the average adult temperature. Everyone knows it’s 98.6º F. Except that when some enterprising researchers actually did the measurements — rather than rely on the original 19th-century German study — they found that it’s actually 98.2º F.

Divesting to bridge the deficit

The government holds through SUUTI 20.72 per cent of Axis Bank with a market value of over Rs.8,060 crore. It also owns 11.3 per cent of ITC (Rs.19,800 crore) and 8.2 percent of L&T (Rs.6,640 crore). A sale of these would fetch the government over Rs.34,500 crore at current prices.

Moment of truth for India

For the first time in the history of independent India, a high official of its intelligence services stands indicted for cold-blooded killing in the service of the Republic.

Paralysis in science policies

Neglect of research in higher education has led to very low research intensity. Ninety per cent of our universities end up as teaching institutes where research is given a low priority for lack of funds.

Culture vultures of Sindh

The brash and unthinking endangerment of antiquity on the altars of cultural resistance against the Taliban is a fine illustration of Pakistan’s conundrums.

Immunisation as a matter of justice

The critical issue in India, where the pentavalent vaccine is being rolled out, is raising the coverage levels of immunisation.

At 90, this doctor is still calling

Catherine Hamlin, an Australian gynaecologist who has spent most of her life in Ethiopia, is a 21st-century Mother Teresa. She has revolutionised care of a childbirth injury called obstetric fistula.

Dealing with a toxic legacy

President Barack Obama’s recent statement of his Afghanistan policy has again revealed the intractable situation the United States has faced since it led the invasion of that country in 2001.

The ways of tobacco companies

Despite a significant drop in smoking incidence — from 42 per cent in 1965 to 18 per cent in 2012 — in the U.S., the habit still kills about half a million people annually. In India, tobacco use causes a million deaths every year.

Interrogating the anti-graft platform

A pro-business anti-corruption programme can only have a short-run perspective. Over time, as it leads to inequity, slowdown in the economy, and social discontent, the rulers will have to turn authoritarian.