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India Today February 18, 2019

India Today is the leading news magazine and most widely read publication in India. The magazine’s leadership is unquestioned, so much so that India Today is what Indian journalism is judged by, for its integrity and ability to bring unbiased and incisive perspective to arguably the most dynamic, yet perplexing, region in the world. Breaking news and shaping opinion, it is now a household name and the flagship brand of India’s leading multidimensional media group. Additionally, the weekly brings with it a range supplements like Women, Home, Aspire, Spice and Simply which focus on style, health, education, fashion, etc. and Indian cities.

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from the editor-in-chief

Ten weeks from now, the greatest democratic spectacle on Earth, the Indian general election, will kick off. Manifestos will be laid out, promises will be made and politicians will go hoarse echoing them or reminding the electorate of how they have benefitted. More importantly, the first government with a majority in three decades will be returning to the people to seek a fresh mandate. The NDA, of course, knows the odds it is up against—in 35 years, only one government has ever been returned to office, that of the United Progressive Alliance led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2009. One of the factors that contributed to a second consecutive term was schemes such as the MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act), which assured employment and kicked in…

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fixing the blame

The crash of a newly upgraded Mirage-2000 trainer aircraft, which killed two test pilots of the Indian Air Force, is the newest pain point between the air force and public sector undertaking Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). The twin-seat Mirage-2000 that took off from the HAL airport on February 1 was being piloted by two officers from the IAF’s Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE) as part of acceptance sorties to evaluate the aircraft’s ability to be inducted into service. One version of what happened next was that the aircraft nose-dived onto the runway even before its undercarriage could be retracted. The jet slid along on its twin drop tanks, each holding 1,700 litres of fuel, tearing through arrester barriers meant to restrain aircraft and an inner boundary wall. Both Squadron Leader Samir…

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buying spree

US President Donald Trump might have ranted about India’s high tariffs on Harley Davidson motorcyles and US-made whisky, but here’s something he can cheer about. India’s defence ministry recently approved the purchase of 72,000 battle rifles for the Indian Army made by SIG Sauer, a New Hampshire US-based small arms maker. SIG’s bid emerged as the lowest among six global firms who had responded to the army’s fast-track procurement tender last year. MoD sources say the deal, worth an estimated Rs 700 crore, is likely to be signed within a week. All rifles are to be manufactured in the US and shipped to India by next year, ending the army’s decade-long quest for a modern rifle to equip its soldiers. The SIG 716 battle rifles worth roughly $100 million are India’s…

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“I WILL NEVER BECOME THE PRIME MINISTER. I ENTERED POLITICS TO WORK UNDER CHARISMATIC LEADERS... THE DAY ‘PRADHAN SEVAK’ NARENDRA MODI DECIDES TO HANG HIS BOOTS, I WILL ALSO LEAVE INDIAN POLITICS” Textiles minister SMRITI IRANI, speaking at a festival in Pune, answered a (surely sarcastic?) question from an audience member about her chances at the top job with a paean to the personal magnetism of Prime Minister Modi and his BJP predecessor Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Modi, according to some commentators, has been Irani’s mentor. Under his guidance, her ascent to ministerial positions has been meteoric even if her performances in those roles have been mixed. In 2004, Irani, then an acolyte of Vajpayee, had threatened to fast until Modi resigned as chief minister of Gujarat.…

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nailing us down for profit

The September 26, 2018, judgment of the Supreme Court was unequivocal: the Aadhaar Act, 2016, where it enabled companies (bodies corporate) and individuals to seek authentication from the Unique Identification Authority of India, or UIDAI, database was “unconstitutional”. Making “Aadhaar compulsory… in the name of checking money laundering or black money is grossly disproportionate” and “unconstitutional”. The linking of the UID number with mobile phones was “disproportionate and unreasonable state compulsion”; the circular that required the linking was “unconstitutional”. Yet, in just a few months, the government has introduced a bill in Parliament to amend the Aadhaar Act, 2016, to make all these uses ‘legal’ again. ‘Legal’, of course, cannot override unconstitutional, but clearly the government has no patience with such niceties. Why this urgency to give corporates access to the UID…

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team josh

Former cricketers, ex-army chiefs and actors, the BJP is roping in all to win Lok Sabha seats in Punjab, Haryana and New Delhi. The party has zeroed in on 75 probables. Frontrunners include General Dalbir Singh Suhag, the army chief during the surgical strikes in 2016 and, earlier, across the border in Myanmar; western army commander Lt General K.J. Singh; and former Haryana DGP B.S. Sandhu. Ex-cricketers Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir are being seen as hopefuls in Haryana. Akshaye Khanna, who starred in The Accidental Prime Minister, is a potential nominee for Punjab, while Bhojpuri film star Ravi Kishan is tipped to contest from East UP.…