Photo Credit: PIB
1. After Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s surprise visit to Lahore on Christmas, there are actuallymany more opportunities for him to meet Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif before a South Asian summit in September.
2. The prime minister is set to announce a new initiative to promote entrepreneurship, called Start-up India Stand up India, on January 16.
3. Pakistan’s Army chief met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Sunday as the countries prepare the ground for fresh talks with the Taliban.
The Big Story: Clean Chit Bureau Chief
The Bharatiya Janata Party on Sunday demanded a “public apology” from Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for levelling allegations against Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over his involvement in alleged irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association. Kejriwal had claimed that a Central Bureau of Investigation raid on the Delhi secretariat had been aimed at grabbing a the DDCA file because of Jaitley’s alleged involvement. It now turns out that that file, a report from a three-member panel looking into the irregularities, does not name Jaitley.
The BJP’s stand is, at best, opportunistic. The narrative immediately being sold is that without his name featuring in the report, it serves as the infamous “clean chit” of Indian politics. However, the report itself is not aimed at pin-pointing responsibility of individuals. Instead, it notes and investigates the irregularities in the functioning of the DDCA over the last few years, something that is bound to include the acts of omission or commission from Jaitley who was after all the president of the association for more than a decade.
Moreover, Jaitley’s name does figure in the report, albeit in the annexures, suggesting that the DDCA did not cooperate with the investigation into its functioning. In fact, such a report might form the basis of a further probe into the individuals who were responsible for the DDCA irregularities, which is when Jaitley’s name would inevitably come up. While Kejriwal naturally milked the drama of the CBI raid for maximum publicity, it would be dishonest to say that the absence of Jaitley’s name is equivalent to a clean chit.
The Big Scroll
Here’s why Arvind Kejriwal tearing into Arun Jaitley. “The corruption in DDCA was because of Jaitley’s connivance,” alleges Bishan Singh Bedi. And this is why Najeeb Jung is wrong about Delhi government’s right to order an enquiry into DDCA.
Politicking & Policying
1. The Bharatiya Janata Party has tried to play down its General Secretary Ram Madhav’s comment on an interview show saying that he still expects an Akhand Bharat with India, Pakistan and Bangladesh coming together.
2. The Communist Party of India (Marxist)’s first plenum in 37 years saw the party prepare a two-pronged offensive against the BJP and the Trinamool Congress.
3. Uttar Pradesh Chief MInister Akhilesh Yadav, reportedly unhappy at the expulsion of three of his associates from the Samajwadi Party, skipped the Saifai Mahotsav, a festival established by his father in their hometown.
4. The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has delivered a verdict saying Article 370, which enshrines the state’s special status, cannot be abrogated, repealed or even amended.
5. Union Minister Giriraj Singh has called for a re-examination of the idea of minority status for “certain communities” (i.e. Muslims), to check their growth.
1. Ramachandra Guha in the Indian Express makes the comparison that some BJP members are bound to find themselves nodding in agreement to: Arun Jaitley is the Manmohan Singh of the BJP.
2. Faced with a sustained economic downturn, Ajay Shah in the Business Standard says the first priority should be improving productivity and preventing “zombie firms.”
3. When Indian analysts make stock predictions in 2016, don’t bank on their accuracy, writes Shefali Anand in the Wall Street Journal.
Virgina Gerwin tells you what it’s like living with a disease that has its victims “tired but wired”.
Indeed, for decades the medical community had largely agreed it was a psychosomatic disorder. A 1970 review of 15 historical outbreaks of “benign myalgic encephalomyelitis” dismissed most of them as mass hysteria. Today physicians aren’t sure what to call the illness, let alone what to do about it. One of the few treatments to appear effective in clinical trials is rejected by many patients. Because it focuses on exercise and cognitive therapy, they say it presumes a psychological origin for their illness, which they consider as harmful as it is insulting. This has helped create one of the most disenfranchised, frustrated, fractious patient groups in history