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Too Little Too Late, Yet Better Late Than Never

The Supreme Court judgement on electoral bonds on Thursday is reminiscent of two apparently contradictory cliches. First, it is too little too late. Secondly, it is also better late than never. When the then finance minister, the late Arun Jaitely introduced the proposal to have electoral bonds in his budget speech, it took the government 11 months before it was formally fleshed out. Even then, the law that was struck down by the apex court had to be introduced as a money bill, which does not...

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Interim Budget 2024: Confidence Or Bravado?

If there were some who were expecting big-ticket announcements to be made by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman while presenting the Interim Budget for 2024-25, the last “budget” before the general elections, they were disappointed. An interim budget is a vote-on-account to provide a grant to the Union government to meet its expenditures for four months. However, since the Narendra Modi government has broken many a convention after he became Prime Minister in May 2014, expectations of populist...

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BLS International: From Diplomatic Storms in Canada to E-Residency Scams in Estonia

In the wake of recent diplomatic tensions between India and Canada, New Delhi-based BLS International, a company providing outsourcing services to India’s diplomatic missions under the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), including the issuance of visas electronically, encountered operational disruptions in Canada. Then came accusations that the private firm had botched up the implementation of an e-residency programme in Estonia, a country in northern Europe. The company claims the problems...

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On polling matters

Book: India's Experiment with Democracy : The Life of a Nation Through Its Elections Author: S.Y. Quraishi Published by: HarperCollins Price: Rs 699 Conscious that his personal life coincides with that of politically-independent India, the former chief election commissioner, guitar player, the first Muslim officer of the Indian Administrative Service from “old Delhi” after 1947, born into a family of Islamic scholars and the son of a man who insisted that his children be benefitted by “modern...

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The 3rd of October 2023: the day that changed the lives of more than 80 citizens of India, including mine

‘Geo… Jeeoh.’ The constable from the Special Cell of the Delhi Police who was interrogating me that afternoon was finding it difficult to pronounce his proper name. I gently butted in. ‘It’s spelt Geoff but pronounced Jeff.’ ‘You have been speaking to this person in Australia?’ he asked. ‘Yes. Of course, I have,’ I explained. ‘He runs a website called AdaniWatch and I am a contributor to the website.’ The constable had earlier asked me two questions: ‘Do you use Signal?’ I promptly replied ‘yes’...

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‘They’ve picked the wrong person to bully!’

A feisty opposition woman member of India’s Parliament has vowed to continue her scrutiny of the links between PM Narendra Modi and the Adani Group, despite attacks on her by a government member. Mahua Moitra has been dragged before the parliamentary Ethics Committee for alleged misdemeanours. She has responded defiantly, saying the BJP has picked the ‘wrong person’ to bully. Many of her questions in parliament pertain to Adani’s business operations. A hearing of the Committee on 2 November...

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The Most Dangerous Software Known to Humankind

Palestine and Israel continue to dominate the news cycle. Then one learns that several Members of Parliament and leaders belonging to political parties opposed to the ruling regime in this country, those working in the office of Rahul Gandhi, a few individuals apparently on the other side of the divide, not to mention a few journalists, including Siddharth Varadarajan, one of the founding editors of The Wire, Anand Mangnale and Ravi Nair of the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project...

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Minority Shareholders Accuse Baidyanath Group of Embezzlement, Company Denies

Which Indian hasn’t heard of Chyawanprash? Who hasn’t tasted Churan before or after a meal? The first is an ancient dietary supplement that is a mixture of sugar, honey, ghee, amla, sesame oil, and various berries, herbs, and spices. Churan is a sweet and tangy blend of natural ingredients that helps digestion. The pioneer in making and selling these two products is Shree Baidyanath Ayurved Bhawan Private Limited, the flagship company of the Baidyanath Group. Baidyanath is the oldest name in the...

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Adani Power: Will They Cease Violating the Power Purchase Agreement with Haryana Discoms?

Over the past few years, Adani Power Mundra Limited (APML) and the state government of Haryana have been embroiled in a dispute over a power purchase agreement. After the dispute reached the courts, it seemed that it would be resolved. However, that has not happened. During the scorching heatwave that gripped Haryana in the summer of 2022, a power company of the Adani Group was accused of deviating from its contractual obligations by delivering a lower quantity of electricity to the state’s...

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Are law-enforcement agencies assisting Adani Group takeovers?

In April 2023, discussions took place for India’s third-largest cement producer, Shree Cements, to acquire a smaller cement firm, Sanghi Industries. On 21 June, the Income Tax Department in the Ministry of Finance conducted search-and-seizure raids at five locations in the country where Shree Cements had offices and manufacturing plants. On 19 July, Shree Cements abruptly withdrew from the race to acquire Sanghi Industries. On August 3, the Adani company Ambuja Cements succeeded in a bid to take...

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