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After three weeks of havoc following the government's decision to demonetise high-value currency notes, the central bank governor, Urjit Patel, has finally spoken up about the crisis. His assurance to the common people suffering from the cash crunch was hardly a revelation though. Echoing the ruling establishment's views, he said all necessary steps are being taken to "ease the genuine pain of citizens" and justified the difference in size in the new notes, which have led to recalibration of ATMs across the country.
In a shocking incident of jailbreak in Punjab, five prisoners, along with Khalistan Liberation Force (KLF) chief and noted terrorist Harminder Singh Mintoo, escaped yesterday. Ten armed men reportedly broke into the Nabha jail and helped their release. Punjab Congress President Captain Amarinder Singh alleged such a daring act could not have been committed without the Parkash Badal government's connivance.
How did one of India's most pristine metropolises, Bangalore, turn into a concrete jungle and wasteland with lakes full of toxic foam? We meet TJS George, veteran journalist and long-time resident of the city who has written a short biography of Bangalore, to learn about the causes behind the city's change and its long-term fate.
In the face of a daylong call for bandh by the Opposition, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has remained steadfast about his decision to demonetise high-value currency notes -- which was done in the interest of the poor, he explained. "On the one hand, the government is taking steps to shut all doors for corruption. On the other, some people are talking about Bharat bandh," he thundered at a Parivartan rally in eastern Uttar Pradesh. "Should there be a Bharat bandh or should the doors of corruption be blocked?"
Demonetisation has not only affected the fortunes of the poor and the middle classes but corporate earning too has taken a hit. For instance, the earnings estimates for the current fiscal year for Sensex companies have fallen 2.9% since 8 November, Bloomberg data showed, and more such slippages may be on the way.
Drug regulators of 7 states have alleged 27 medicines, sold by 18 leading companies in India such as Abbott India, GSK India, Sun Pharma, Cipla and Glenmark Pharma, are of "substandard" quality. These allegations were based on their inspection of "false labelling, wrong quantity of ingredients, discolouration, moisture formation, failing dissolution test and failing disintegration test".
Off The Front Page
The Dholaguri tea garden in Assam's Golghat district will be the first of its kind to get an ATM installed there from today. The garden, which covers 538 hectares, has a total labour force of 1,372 people and produces nearly 8 lakh kg of tea on its own. The move to have the machine there has been prompted by the government's demonetisation of high-value currency notes.
For those awaiting proof of a surge in racism in the US following Donald Trump's election as the president, here's the latest. Three mosques in California received a letter calling Muslims "vile and filthy," praising Trump and saying he plans to "cleanse" America, an association of Muslim-Americans said Sunday. The same anti-Muslim letter -- addressed to "Children of Satan" -- was sent recently to mosques in San Jose in northern California and Long Beach and Claremont in the Los Angeles area.
There is a chance of a revival of Indo-Pak diplomacy, with the appointment of Pakistan's new military chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa. Sources say Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif pitched Bajwa for the role because he wanted him to balance his military expertise with preserving democracy in the Islamic nation. The regime change, India said, will not affect its attitude to Pakistan, and it will be ready to combat any offensive in the future.
While the composition of the Uttar Pradesh state assembly reflects a diversity of castes, writes Gilles Verniers in The Indian Express, the socio-economic profiles of the MLAs, that is to say their class, has remained more homogenous. "The success of regional parties in recent years has been based on their ability to attract candidates drawn from local elite groups," he explains, which "calls into question" the claim that "backward politics is emancipatory in nature" and "regional parties offer greater diversity and representativeness".
The government has decided to make injectable contraceptives available as a family planning method in medical colleges and district hospitals in a phased manner, an editorial in the Hindustan Times says. The move, which is practiced in many parts of the world, will have to be monitored carefully for side effects on women's health. Many women in India do not prefer such a drastic process as sterilisation, given the high incidence of child mortality in the country, fearing it would close their option for having children later in life. The simpler, though also unpopular, method for population control still is male sterilisation.
Mukul Kesavan goes ecstatic over the making of a new "immortal" in Indian cricket, and no, he's not talking about Virat Kohli. "If Ravichandran Ashwin was to retire tomorrow," he writes in The Telegraph, "he would, arguably, be the best all-rounder in India's Test history." He compares the young man with the greats of the game and finds him better than Vinoo Mankad and Kapil Dev.
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