Opinion

Pihani, Uttar Pradesh: For 16 years, Kailash Rai (not his real name), 49, has been commuting six hours every working day between his home in the state capital Lucknow and the government degree college where he teaches in Pihani, 135 km to the northwest.

A recent report published by The Hindu newspaper said that II pre-university students writing their finals from March 9 will not be allowed to give exams in their own colleges, but allotted centres in other colleges, as a preventive measure to stop malpractice and cheating. The move reportedly is being implemented only in cities and not in rural areas. 

In a land-locked city like Pune, water is precious. Factors such as climactic changes happening at an alarming rate at both national and global level are causing water levels to fall. Besides, overpoplation too has impacted adversely. Deforestation has further compounded the deficiency of water. With several areas critically affected by water crisis in a city like Pune can well be measured to understand the problems elsewhere. More and more of the rural population is migrating to urban areas putting pressure on the towns to meet their requirements, especially of water.

Poor, populous Uttar Pradesh was the first state to have a female Chief Minister -- Sucheta Kriplani from 1963 to 1967 -- but this pioneering effort has not improved prospects for women in elections. As voter turnout has risen, more competitors have stood against women candidates, fewer women have won and a growing number have lost their deposits, according to an IndiaSpend and Swaniti Initiative analysis of electoral data of the three state elections since 2002.

Almost a third of voters polled said power cuts were the biggest problem in Uttar Pradesh, according to a new survey conducted by by FourthLion Technologies, a data analytics and public opinion polling firm, for IndiaSpend. Elections in Uttar Pradesh, with 138 million voters, greater than the population of Mexico, start February 11.

Konkani is the predominant language of the west coast of India, known as Dakshina Kannada or the Canara coast, which stretches from Ratnagiri hills in Maharastra to Cochin in Kerala, enroute Goa and Karnataka coast, also known as the Konkan land. Konkanis are also dominant in certain areas of Gujarat. Konkani or Konkanas is the synonym used to describe the Konkani speaking people.

Kuch na honda Punjab da, zameen banjar, aulad kanjar. (Nothing can come of Punjab -- lands barren, children jobless.) That extreme assessment of India's 11th richest state was made by a drug kingpin in the dark film "Udta Punjab" (Flying Punjab). The statistical reality is that Punjab, home of the green revolution, has failed to grow its economy or prepare its young for the future. Employment and economic growth lag the national average.

New Delhi: With Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi leading from the front in the ongoing campaign for assembly polls in the five states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand, the conspicuous absence of his mother and party president Sonia Gandhi from action has kept everyone guessing whether the former is all set to take over the baton of the grand old party. The move is seen as more than just coincidental and appears to be a calculative step aimed at ensuring that Rahul grabs all eyeballs and emerges as the face of the Congress.

The Union Budget for 2017-18 was easily the most anticipated one in recent times. The public was seeking the government's policy stance after its bold attack on black money with demonetisation. On a related note, the market was also looking forward to the government's response to the demonetisation-induced slowdown. The Economic Survey had also raised expectations of a radical move like Universal Basic Income (UBI). With a wide range of expectations tied to the Budget on a year when growth expectations were low, it was bound to have a few hits and misses.

Lucknow: BSP chief Mayawati has never been known in Uttar Pradesh for political niceties. Yet she caught many by surprise when she ushered into the party known crime don-turned-politician Mukhtaar Ansaari. For the 61-year-old four-time Chief Minister of India's most populous state, admitting the Ansari brothers into her Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) was her way of "course correction for people gone astray". She argued there were "bigger goons" in other parties.

The talks held on January 23-24, in Kazakhstan's capital Astana, should be seen against the grim toll of the turmoil in Syria that began in February/March of 2011: More than half-a- million Syrians dead, half the 22.5 million population displaced -- with over five million outside the country -- and unfortunately no end in sight for the inexorably unfolding tragedy.

New Delhi: Should we remember Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose as the first Prime Minister of India, who wanted to use violent means and consequent social upheaval for freeing India from the tight clutches of British imperialism? The answer to the question is sought to be provided by U. V. Singh the author of the book "Subhash Bose-India's First Prime Minister".

Chandigarh: From cricketer-turned-politician-turned-TV host to BJP MP-turned-Congress legislator aspirant, Navjot Singh Sidhu has covered some distance and worn different hats in the last few years. But his latest move to the Congress just days ahead of Punjab's crucial assembly elections is being questioned for a variety of reasons. "Funny-man" Sidhu may soon realise that he is not sitting as a judge on a comedy show where he has the last word.

New Delhi: In February 2013, opposition parties, notably the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), took to the streets in protest as the price of petrol in the national capital spiralled to Rs 69.06. "This is a betrayal (of) the people of the country. The BJP will not take this lying down," the then party spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy had fulminated. Cut to today. 

Any satisfaction which the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) felt over the internal strife in the Samajwadi Party (SP) must have been diluted to a considerable extent by the truce, albeit an uneasy one, among the family members of its main political rival in UP. Moreover, the emergence of a 'mini-gathbandhan' or an alliance between the SP and the Congress will be a reminder of the combine which squashed the BJP's hopes in the Bihar assembly elections last year.

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