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India Today February 25, 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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52 Issues


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Presenting the interim budget earlier this month, finance minister Piyush Goyal referred to women five times, including two mentions of ‘sisters and mothers’. Finance minister Arun Jaitley referred to women-specific schemes eight times when he presented this government’s last full budget in 2018. The prime minister, in his inimitable style, has said, “A daughter is equivalent to 10 sons. The punya you earn through 10 sons is equalled by one daughter. This underscores the importance given to women in our society. That is why, in our society, women have the status of Shakti.” No wonder Nari Shakti or woman power is the new political mantra. Women voters are clearly in every politician’s thoughts for one very important reason—more women are turning out to vote. There has been a dramatic narrowing of…

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modi’s northeast gamble

On February 9, addressing a gathering of nearly 200,000 people in Changsari near Guwahati, Prime Minister Narendra Modi lamented the fact that iconic singer and musician Bhupen Hazarika, who in January had been awarded the Bharat Ratna posthumously by the Union government, had not received the honour in his lifetime. He blamed this “neglect” on the Congress government, before pivoting to a justification of his government’s commitment to passing the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016. The bill has caused widespread fury in all the seven states of the Northeast, including Assam, with people spilling onto the street to protest the peril they believe the bill poses to their culture and language. Two days after Modi’s speech, Hazarika’s son Tez, who lives in the United States, described the award as a “display of…

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decoding das capital

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), under its new governor Shaktikanta Das, seems to be heading for a ‘course correction’ after the acrimonious war of words with the government just a couple of months ago, when Urjit Patel was at the helm. With general elections round the corner, the central bank’s monetary policy committee, on February 7, decided to ease interest rates by 25 basis points, in the hope of driving growth, even as inflation fell on the back of low food prices. This was a significant departure from the RBI under Patel, which took a conservative line to keep inflation at the targeted 4 per cent. Das, a career diplomat, was the face of the government during demonetisation in his capacity as then economic affairs secretary, and was widely…

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the fear of dissent

A clip of the veteran actor and director Amol Palekar being sharply interrupted as he drifted into criticism of the government—during a talk on the painter Prabhakar Barwe at the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) in Mumbai—became the catalyst for a free speech controversy last week. Palekar was told to stick to the subject, albeit as defined not by the invited speaker but by those who had invited him to speak. And then, after his talk petered out, the director of the NGMA strode up to the microphone and reminded him that he was speaking at “a government gallery”, as if this inoculated the institution from Palekar airing his misgivings. The curator of the retrospective, Jesal Thacker, who is not formally affiliated to the NGMA, insisted that Palekar’s speech was…

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“my fear for the country is not personal...the threat is real”

Q What most dismays you about PM Modi’s first term in office? A. That he wasted a godsent opportunity of heading a government with an absolute majority in the Lok Sabha. With that kind of majority, the government could have implemented major structural and institutional reforms, but they blew it. Q. What will persuade BJP supporters that Undaunted is not just party politics? A. BJP supporters will resent the book because it holds a mirror to their faces. My fear for the country is not personal. My fear reflects the fear of the poor, the Dalits, the Muslims, the tribals, women, university students, scholars, NGOs, journalists and, you will be surprised, even businessmen. Is India not being compared to Turkey, Egypt, Russia and other countries where loss of freedom and fear have grown…

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the great indian (s)election

HOW TO WIN AN INDIAN ELECTION What Political Parties Don’t Want You to Know byShivam Shankar Singh Penguin Random House ₹299; 240 pages HOW TO RIG AN ELECTION Tricks Despots Play by Nic Cheeseman and Brian Klaas HarperCollins ₹599; 320 pages The greater reliance on data and new forms of communication in India’s electoral campaigns has created a cottage industry of political consultants and data experts who lend their services to political parties and candidates, mapping constituencies and helping them target voters through these new tools. Shivam Shankar Singh, a data analyst and former BJP campaign analyst, provides an insider’s account of digital campaigning in India. In seven chapters, Singh chronicles his journey serving various parties, detailing the part of political consultants, the role of technology and data in micro-targeting voters, and the attempts parties make…