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SAFE CITIES BEFORE SMART CITIES

NEW DELHI, Jan. 15 -- It doesn't sound quite so appealing but probably what we need first is safe cities before smart cities. Or better still safety, especially for women, should be top priority in smart cities. This should not be too tough given that technology is to be the bedrock of smart cities and it works well in promoting safety. But I am getting ahead of myself.

There is no Indian city which provides safe spaces for women in public place... Read More


RBI'S IDENTITY HAS BEEN COMPROMISED

NEW DELHI, Jan. 15 -- Yaga Venugopal Reddy is a man of few words, but his words carry a lot of weight - especially in the world of finance. Earlier this week, the soft-spoken former governor of Reserve Bank of India chose strong words to describe the state of play at the central bank. The "institutional identity of the RBI has been damaged" and it is facing "reputational risk", Reddy told a television news channel, referring to demonetisation - t... Read More


BLACK MONEY AND ITS SHADES OF GREY

NEW DELHI, Jan. 15 -- Two months into demonetisation is an opportune moment to assess what we've achieved. I plan to do so in terms of its main aim to eliminate black money which, undoubtedly, has attracted resounding support. The others simply do not justify extinguishing 86% of all currency. Actually, nor does an attack on black wealth held in cash but since the cause is so popular I propose to overlook the fact a virtual nuclear strike was dep... Read More


THIS IS WHERE INDIA MEETS THE WORLD

NEW DELHI, Jan. 15 -- Although married to a graphic designer whose mother was a painter, my knowledge of art is rudimentary. To be sure, I have visited museums while on the road, and retain vivid memories of works of art I have seen: a Goya painting of a nobleman in hunting dress at the Prado in Madrid, a magnificent Aztec sculpted head in the Xalapa Museum in Mexico, a chapel designed by Mark Rothko in Houston, a series of sketches in engine oil... Read More


Inner beauty is more important than outer beauty

NEW DELHI, Jan. 14 -- A young man was shouting at a crowd, "I have the most beautiful heart in the world." Many people looked at him, stunned to see such a beautiful heart. It had the perfect shape and there was not even a little flaw in its appearance.

Suddenly, an old man from the crowd challenged the young man, "Son, I have got the most beautiful heart in the world." To this, the young man asked him to show his heart. The old man showed him.... Read More


A silver linings playbook

NEW DELHI, Jan. 14 -- Heard about the former railway clerk from Nellore station who put the kids he found begging on the platform into school? Well,one of them ended up becoming a scientist and another is now a professor.

What about the vet in Kaziranga who rescues orphaned wild animals - including, once, a pair of baby clouded leopards - nurses them and then sets them free? The man who invented a bicycle that runs on water and land?The one who ... Read More


LOSING CURRENCY WITH THE VOTE BANK

NEW DELHI, Jan. 8 -- It is early morning and the Kachawa road vegetable mandi on the Varanasi-Allahabad road is crowded. Sacks of potatoes and peas are thrown into mini-trucks, as they speed away to sell the produce in towns and villages in the vicinity. To woo this market of truck drivers and farmers, Bijendra Nath and Ashish Kumar have set up roadside stalls to sell clothes. I ask them about the impact of demonetisation. (it was good)," says Ku... Read More


The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is the Great Game of this century

India, Dec. 30 -- If connectivity is becoming the basis of a new geopolitics, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) should be rated the year's most potent symbol of this 21st century version of the Great Game. A Great Game whose outwards manifestations are multi-lane highways, pipelines and container traffic. The $46 billion CPEC is the flagship project within the even more ambitious Belt-Road programme of Chinese leader Xi Jinping, a trans... Read More


GIFTS, GLUTTONY, AND THE QUEEN'S SPEECH

NEW DELHI, Dec. 25 -- The earliest Christmas I can remember was when I was three. I have a clear recollection of Mummy pointing at a beautifully wrapped Christmas gift that would be given to me the next day. So obviously this must have been Christmas Eve. However, I don't remember getting the gift or what it was. But the keen pleasure of anticipation has stayed with me ever since. I wonder if that was the first intimation of greed?

In my years ... Read More


The wrong job for Haley

NEW DELHI, Nov. 26 -- The choice of Nikki Haley as US' UN ambassador isn't par for Donald Trump's course, but he isn't predictable. However, Haley, often tipped as a potential presidential running mate and future candidate herself, will head to the UN headquarters in New York's Turtle Bay representing a regime that considers multilateralism a mess Just eight-and-a-half months ago, Donald Trump, then simply a contender for the Republican nominatio... Read More