Edit & Opinion

In India’s Opinion | The Dispatch on 8 June, 2020

Every Monday to Saturday, The Dispatch brings to you a selection of Editorials from leading newspapers across the country.

Undoing the damage

“Military talks between India and China are a good beginning. Delhi must push the process forward, carefully,” reads The Editorial of Indian Express. It futher reads, ” In its typically laconic statement on Saturday’s talks between senior Indian and Chinese generals, the ministry of external affairs sounded surprisingly positive about the nature of the conversation and said there will be more military and diplomatic engagement to resolve the current crisis in Ladakh region. Saturday’s military talks followed inconclusive local-level engagement between the two armed forces in the last few weeks. On the eve of Saturday’s talks, there was intensive diplomatic consultation between the two sides that reaffirmed the mutual political interest in a peaceful resolution of the issues at hand. That the talks between senior generals were held in a “cordial atmosphere” is a relief. Delhi’s affirmation that the two sides agreed to resolve the situation in accordance with the bilateral confidence-building measures instituted over the last three decades is welcome. It is reasonable to conclude that the talks mark a good beginning in the effort to resolve yet another military crisis on the China frontier,” read the full Editorial here.


Lessons from Delhi’s failed corona cess on liquor

“Lessons from Delhi’s failed corona cess on liquor,” suggests the Editorial of The Times of India. “It further reads,” With sales plummeting, Delhi government has revoked the 70% corona cess it had imposed on liquor. Instead it has opted for a moderate 5% increase in VAT. The imperative of quickly raising revenues during the lockdown had impelled Delhi to take this path but within a few days of lifting curbs on liquor purchases, sales also crashed.According to the Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies, sales in Delhi had dropped by 58% in May compared with the same period last year while neighbouring Haryana and UP seemed to be bouncing back due to lower additional taxes of 10-15%. In other words, Delhi’s loss was its neighbours’ gain as tipplers crossed borders and black marketeers also got into the act. There would also be a significant section turned off by the inordinately high prices,” read the full editorial here.


Bihar gets into poll mode

“Despite a weak record, the ruling alliance has an advantage,” reads the editorial of The Hindustan Times. It further reads, “The campaign for the Bihar election, scheduled for the end of the year, has begun. In a display of what campaigning may look like in the coronavirus disease (Covid-19)-hit era, Union home minister and top Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Amit Shah addressed workers in a digital rally. His message was simple: The BJP-Janata Dal (United) alliance had delivered on governance; it will win a two-thirds majority under chief minister Nitish Kumar; and the Centre and the state government have worked to address the distress of the poor, particularly migrant workers. Mr Shah’s claims are questionable. There is a sense in Bihar that in his third term, Mr Kumar’s record in office has been patchy, especially when compared to his own previous track record where he improved Bihar’s infrastructure and law and order. The last five years have been marked by political instability. He won the election in alliance with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), but changed partners mid-way. The next generation of reforms, needed to bring in investment to industrialise the state, has not happened. But most critically, Mr Kumar’s record in dealing with the health and the economic crisis in the last two months has had several gaps. Bihar’s testing was low in the initial period; it was not proactive in bringing back migrant workers — who are central to the remittance economy of the state; when migrants returned, there has been a surge in cases beyond the anticipation of the state government; and it has been unable to rigorously follow health protocols and come up with an adequate economic response,” read the full editorial here.


Dealing with national crisis

“SC takes up plight of migrant workers,” reads the editorial of The Tribune. It further reads, “The self-assuredness in the Centre’s tone that not a single migrant worker died on Shramik trains due to lack of food, water or medication is irksome. Particularly so, as a senior advocate pointed out to the Supreme Court Bench, when no official number has been released till date and the figure of 80 individuals having lost their lives while travelling is based on news reports. There is nothing unusual about governments strategising to escape blame or denying negligence, but a national crisis — which the plight of migrant workers certainly qualifies as — could have done with a more nuanced response. And an acknowledgement that something has gone terribly wrong, and the problem is far from fixed,” read the full editorial here.


Port side: Renaming of public spaces

“Why has the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh allowed its icon’s name to be attached to a port in rather a sad condition? Is it because it is in West Bengal?,” reads the editorial of The Telegraph. It further reads, “Detractors say that Indians have no sense of history. But they are wrong. Indians are over-conscious of history; it is remade each time a particular party comes to power. One sign of this is the renaming of public spaces so that the memory of past icons is over-written by names of figures that suit a particular party’s vision and ideology. That the continuity of collective memory of spaces is an important factor in the sense of belonging to a region or a land seems unimportant. The Congress, for example, is regularly accused of having named every edifice after one or the other member of one family. So it can come as no surprise that the Bharatiya Janata Party should decide to name the port in Calcutta in its 150th year after Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, the Jana Sangh leader, who, said the prime minister, was the father of industrialization and made many sacrifices for one nation and one Constitution. West Bengal, ironically, cannot object as the Opposition in Karnataka has done to the renaming of a flyover in Bangalore after V.D. Savarkar. The port in Calcutta, with 12 other major ports in the country, falls under the jurisdiction of the Centre, unlike smaller, intermediate ports administered by the respective states. Besides, Mookerjee comes from Bengal; the ostensible objection of the Opposition in Karnataka to renaming the flyover after Savarkar is that the name of an iconic figure from Karnataka should be used,” read the full editorial here.


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