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Seldom has India witnessed a boardroom drama from such close quarters. A couple of days after he was removed from the position of Chairman by the board of Tata Sons, Cyrus Mistry sent out a bombshell letter to the directors of the company. He accused Ratan Tata, who had earlier handed over the mantle of the company to him, of turning him into a "lame-duck chairman" with no decision-making powers. Even in his sacking, Mistry said, he wasn't given a chance to defend himself. Unsurprisingly, Tata Sons retaliated at these allegations by calling them "unwarranted", "unfortunate" and "unforgivable".
The Ease of Doing Business report 2016 placed India only a notch higher than last year's 131st position, in spite of the government's big noise about transforming the economic landscape of the country. The result has understandably upset Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who asked bureaucrats and ministers to analyse the causes of this dismal performance. G. Pramod Kumar tells you in this article what's wrong with India's business scene — why is it so difficult to set up a new venture in this country and why the situation is not likely to improve anytime soon. What's more, he gives you an insight into The Rule of Law report, which was also published recently and places India at 66 in world rankings. There, too, the piece argues, not much is going to change for the better in a hurry.
If you've been spending sleepless nights since the recent frauds in the banking sector and may have resolved never to use an ATM again, here's what you must absolutely read to understand how these machines work. Our tech editor breaks down the complex dynamics of these money-churning miracles, complete with diagrams, data and safety tips.
Shocking details are emerging since the arrest of several Indian 'spies' yesterday. Reports said the three men — Mahmood Akhtar (35), Ramzan Khan (50) and Subhash Jangir (35) — had been nabbed after a six-month hunt by the intelligence agencies and are being currently interrogated. They would be paid modest sums, ranging between Rs 30,000 and Rs 50,000, for disclosing information to their Pakistani handlers. But not every document they ferried over to their employers proved useful. Some had forged identity papers but all of them were chosen from economically backward communities and lured with the promise of money.
Flipkart's co-founder and executive chairman Sachin Bansal is looking to set up a lobby group for Indian start-ups by roping in Ola's Bhavish Aggarwal, Snapdeal's Kunal Bahl, Paytm's Vijay Shekhar Sharma and IAMAI (Internet and Mobile Association of India) chairman Kunal Shah, Mint reports. If this comes through, it will be a major step forward for India's e-commerce scene, where competition and feuding between the entrepreneurs have prevented Indian Internet companies from forming a trade association.
Apple fans have another reason to rejoice after the iPhone 7 launch, but just as much to worry about their bank balance. The company has unveiled the next generation of MacBooks, along with a new TV app for iPhone, Apple TV and iPad along with a new version of the Final Cut Pro on the 25th anniversary of Apple notebooks. While you drool over these beauties and dream of their newly enhanced capabilities, do keep in mind the price tag attached to them: the 13-inch MacBook Pro will now cost Rs 1,29,900 and go up to Rs 1,55,900, depending on specifications.
Off The Front Page
If you've been struck by the American presidential candidate Donald Trump's love for "Hindu" (as he has famously said), there's more to it. Shortly after his daughter-in-law went to a Hindu temple to celebrate Diwali — she too professed a love for "Hindu culture" — Trump released a campaign advertisement for his Hindu supporters with the punchline, wait for it, "Ab ki baar, Trump sarkar." We can almost visualise a certain someone's legendary 56-inch chest swelling even bigger.
Higher education in India is headed for a revamp, from all indications. Days after the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) demanded degrees to be awarded to people who have never been to university, reports say the University Grants Commission (UGC) has asked its member institutions to award PhD degrees in Ayush disciplines. Clinical and basic research will be encouraged in Ayurvedic Sciences, Homoeopathy, Yoga and Naturopathy, among other traditional medicinal practices, under the new rules.
With no trace of Najeeb Ahmed, the missing graduate student of biotechnology at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), for over ten days, his mother broke down at a press conference in Delhi yesterday. Ahmed, who was allegedly assaulted by members of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), on the night of 14-15 October has been untraced since 16 October. In a recent "summary and update" report, the university authorities noted that Ahmed had "slapped" one of the ABVP supporters but failed to add he has been missing for days now. The police, too, have not charged anyone for assaulting Ahmed.
In The Indian Express, Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes about the crisis at Tata Sons, following the sacking of Chairman Cyrus Mistry. According to him, the fallout of this incident is not merely going to affect the future of one company but is "depressing moment in Indian capitalism's struggle for social legitimacy". The boardroom battle has given ammunition to the cynics who have questioned the Tata's credibility since the exposures by the Radia tapes and it is a damage that will take time, and concerted efforts, to be undone.
Samar Halarnkar writes in Mint about the epidemic of lifestyle diseases affecting India's middle-class. "Between 2005 and 2015, for instance, the incidence of diabetes rose 50% in India, moving five ranks up to No.7 as a cause of death, according to the latest 'Global Burden Of Disease' report," he points out. It may be easy to blame our genes for making us pre-disposed to such illnesses, but remedies are not far from sight. Regular exercise and a regime that keeps the body active can be long-term solutions to these maladies.
In the Hindustan Times, Rajdeep Sardesai writes about the troubles afflicting the Samajwadi Party at the moment. Drawing on his experience of covering elections in Uttar Pradesh, he says the battle among the Yadavs is not just a family matter but has long-term repercussions on the fate of Indian politics.
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