the hindu
1.Two takes on democracy.

his week, a divided Supreme Court placed before us two visions of the public sphere, pitting the ideal of the universal citizen against citizen-electors situated within their social contexts

Do fair elections require that certain kinds of statements — such as appeals to religion, caste, and language — be taken off the campaigning table altogether?

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2.Secularising the election.

The Supreme Court has grappled with the question whether a provision in electoral law that makes it a corrupt practice to use religion, race, caste or language as a ground for canvassing votes in an election is a bar limited to the groups to which candidates or their rivals belong, or whether it is a general prohibition on sectarian appeals. Section 123(3) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, as amended in 1961, gave rise to this doubt. read more

3.A nudge to borrowers.

e State Bank of India’s decision to cut its marginal cost of funds based lending rate (MCLR) by 90 basis points is a timely nudge to borrowers, especially given the sharp slowdown in credit growth in the current fiscal year. The timing of the cut is not surprising, given that the country’s largest commercial lender is awash with funds held in current and savings account (CASA) deposits following the Centre’s decision to withdraw high-value read more

4.Thinking in stories.

The so-called post-truth society is not primarily the result of our inability to focus on facts; it is due to our failure to read stories deeply

Say the word ‘thinking’, and the image evoked is that of abstract ideas, facts, numbers and data. But what if I say that this is our first and most common error about the nature of thinking? As religions have always known, human thinking is conducted primarily in stories, not facts or numbers.

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1.Centre mulls bill to clean up poll funding

The Modi government is considering bringing forward legislation on poll reforms in the Budget session with the initiative seen as the next step after demonetisation to attack black money . PM Narendra Modi may broach the subject at the allparty meeting that is usually convened ahead of a Parliament session. This time the Budget session is commencing on January 31 with the Budget slated for February 1.   read more

2.Names of big corporate loan defaulters to be made public
SC Seeks Centre’s Open Affidavit On Defaults Of Over Rs 500 cr
A list of big corporate loan defaulters will soon be public as the Supreme Court directed the Centre on Tuesday to provide within four weeks a compendium of corporate entities who owe over Rs 500 crore to banks.

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3.GST: States demand tax on high sea sales, higher compensation

In fresh roadblocks to GST rollout, states on Tuesday demanded taxation rights for sales in high seas and also increasing the number of items on which cess is to be levied to compen sate the states to deal with revenue loss estimated at Rs 90,000 crore post demonetisation.  read more

4.Judicial Overreach
Supreme Court’s ruling against identity politics is at odds with ground realities
The Supreme Court judgment widening the scope of Section 123 (3) of the Representation of the People Act which now prohibits the seeking of votes in the name of religion, caste, race, community or language by a candidate, his agent or anyone with his consent is well-intentioned. The order, which was passed by a seven judge Constitution bench through a four to three majority , also ruled that a candidate could be disqualified if an appeal was made by any religious leader to vote for the candidate with the latter’s consent. But the judgment fails to take into consideration the ground realities of identity politics. It will not achieve the intended impact on politics.

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1.India’s first river-linking project gets green nod.

NEW DELHI: The country’s first river-linking project, connecting Ken and Betwa rivers in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh,  has finally got clearance from the environment and tribal affairs ministries removing some hurdles for the project which was slated to commence in December 2015.    read more

2.Weaving a web for the future.

The internet in India has come of age. Chronologically that is. It’s been 21 years since 1995, when commercial internet services were introduced in India. It is only logical that it is now embracing adulthood by touching the lives of virtually every Indian, thanks to demonetisation and its consequent cash squeeze. Even the illiterate and semi-literate on the street—consumer or trader alike—has started learning the ropes to embrace the digital route for financial transactions. A bit of a compulsion perhaps! But India is now going through a paradigm shift in digital inclusion.  read more

3.Coastal trade stumps council.

he coastal states, irrespective of parties, insisted on rights to levy Goods and Services Tax on trade of goods within 12 nautical miles offshore, holding up finalising of the draft law for levy of IGST on inter-state trade
NEW DELHI: The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council faced a new roadblock with state Finance Ministers demanding taxation rights for GST levy on trade of goods within 12 nautical miles of the shore. Chairman of the GST Council and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley agreed to seek legal opinion on its Constitutional validity.

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