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On the matter of the Uniform Civil Code (UCC), one of the knottiest challenges in the Indian polity, even staunch liberals tend to share some of the views among the conservatives. The imposition of the UCC has been on the hold since the Nehruvian years. When Rajiv Gandhi was the prime minister, he gave up a golden opportunity to push it through during the unfolding of the Shah Bano case. And now, all eyes are trained on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to see if he has the conviction to implement the UCC, which was part of the election manifesto of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). To get the full picture on the UCC, read our three-part series here, here and here.
After the sudden sacking of Cyrus Mistry from the position of chairman, Tata Sons appointed Jaguar Land Rover CEO Ralf Speth and the CEO and Managing Director of Tata Consultancy Services, N. Chandrasekaran, as additional directors to its board, taking the total number of members to 12. Ratan Tata, Interim Chairman of Tata Sons, said Speth and Chandrasekaran were brought in for their exemplary service to their respective companies. The board will have to appoint a new chairman in the coming four months.
After the family melodrama over the last few days, the Yadavs of Uttar Pradesh (UP) seem to be on the mend. Mulayam Singh Yadav, the supremo of the Samajwadi Party (SP), forced his son, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, and his brother Shivpal Yadav to hug each other, in an attempt at reconciliation after their bitter public feud. "Our family and our party are one," Mulayam said at a press conference in Lucknow yesterday, where his son was conspicuously absent. Such public displays of affection are, of course, no guarantee of long-term peace and stability within the party, but certainly adds to its lore.
The BJP has wasted not a moment to take advantage of the ongoing in-fighting within the Yadav family in UP. The Hindu reports that party president Amit Shah is going to hold a rally in Etawah tomorrow, in which the primary agenda would be to garner the public's support away from the ruling family. "Through a rally in [the SP's] bastion, we will tell people that while you (SP) are fighting to save your family, the BJP is fighting to develop UP," BJP state general secretary Vijay Bahadur admitted as much.
According to The Indian Express, former chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh, Kaliko Pul, who allegedly hanged himself on 9 August at his home in Itanagar, has left behind a 60-page-long "explosive" note. The contents of this document have not been revealed but, reportedly, have the potential to cause "tremors in Indian politics". Former Governor Jyoti Prasad Rajkhowa, who stepped down in September, made this revelation and also said the diary has been handed over to the police.
At least some people in Bihar will be legally able to consume alcohol, thanks to an exception made by the state government, which imposed prohibition earlier this year. Cantonment areas as well as military and air force stations in the state will be able to renew their liquor licences for their canteens for the financial year 2016-17 in "the interest of soldiers", The Telegraph reported. A copy of a letter issued by the excise commissioner on this matter is with the newspaper.
Off The Front Page
New Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has opened a special psychiatric OPD ward for people suffering from cyber addiction. Doctors say the move was precipitated by the increasing number of patients coming to them with severe dependence on social media, online gaming and to the Internet in general.
As if the persistence of tuberculosis in India is not shocking enough, a report has revealed that a million of the 2.8 million who suffer from the disease "go missing" or never show up in the Revised National TB control programme. While 28% of these people do not have access to any proper treatment, many also fail to continue with the medication once they have begun it.
The Man Booker Prize, one of the most prestigious awards for literature in the world, was given to Paul Beatty for his novel, The Sellout, yesterday. This is the first time an American has won it, since the prize was opened out to non-Commonwealth writers since 2013. The £52,000 prize was given to Beatty for his novel, which the jury described as a "shocking and unexpected" portrayal of his hometown, Los Angeles.
In The Indian Express, Gilles Verniers argues that the rift within the SP may be turned into an advantage for the party to redefine its image in the public eye. "The Samajwadi Party is a unique case in Indian regional politics, as a party that is heavily factionalised and in which the main faction leaders belong to the same family," Verniers writes, analysing the reasons why the party has managed to survive in spite of its internal turmoils and why it may not continue to exist unless it reforms itself by turning the prevailing crisis into an opportunity.
Bobby Ghosh urges India to send out a strong message to China on Arunachal Pradesh in the Hindustan Times. Recently, Richard Verma, the US ambassador to India, had visited the state, leading to murmurs of discontent in India's neighbour. Ghosh argues that India should not only not brook China's disapproval but that a visit by a foreign envoy to Arunachal represents "no material threat" for Indo-China relations.
In Mint, Arun Mohan Sukumar and Samir Saran write about regulation of cab aggregators like Ola and Uber in India. Without significantly investing in the market, these companies will not be able to resist regulations, the authors argue, before going on to propose baseline principles to measure the effect of regulation on ride-sharing models.
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