Fake Operations (Column: Spy's Eye)(13:58) By D.C. Pathak A national Intelligence organisation -- like that of India -- earns the respect of the countrymen because it helps the State in discharging its sovereign function of safeguarding national security, stays completely non-partisan and establishes a method of working that is secretive but never crooked. Since security, by definition, is protection against a scheming adversary resorting to a 'covert' attack, the counter-intelligence effort relies on tradecraft techniques perfected with professional training - like surveillance, infiltration into the enemy's camp, communication monitoring, raising human sources and carrying out an interview under 'cover'. The adversarial entity has to be identified and then targeted keeping in view the aim that security by definition is preventive - if there is therefore the danger of an enemy infiltrating its vanguard into the country clandestinely, these ideally have to be picked up right at the point of entry.
Filmmaking: Braving All Transitions (Column: B-Town)(12:22) By Vinod Mirani The film industry during the 70s and 80s consisted mostly of prospect hunters. There were established production houses but more coming every day to give a shot to filmmaking. The Hindi film industry moved from Lahore to Kolkata and thence to Mumbai where it prospered, throbbed and still delivers anything between 150 to 200 films every year.
How art is reforming prisoners, giving them second chance at life (IANS Special Series)(10:08) By Siddhi Jain New Delhi, Feb 17 (IANS) One often thinks of Indian prisons as dingy, cramped cells with their mean and often dehumanised inmates waiting for redemption. So it comes as a surprise when a group of prisoners takes to stage and gets applauded for performing a play written by Rabindranath Tagore or when paintings made by inmates are appreciated by art connoisseurs and get sold at art exhibitions for thousands of rupees.
Housing finance: An opportunity in a storm (Column: Behind Infra Lines)(14:36) By Taponeel Mukherjee The recent NBFC (Non-Banking Financial Company) crisis in India has brought to the fore the funding and low equity capitalisation issues, especially of the housing finance company (HFC) sector. The problems are serious, and therefore the regulators and NBFCs have rightly themselves sprung into action to alleviate the situation.
What's the hitch in Congress leading post-poll coalition opposite BJP? (Comment)(13:36) By Saeed Naqvi The ghastly news from Kashmir did cast a shadow, otherwise Lucknow has had a festive February. The first week was filled with the five-day annual Sanatkada jamboree with fabled Baradari as the festooned focal point. While the mood still lingered, the city found itself riveted on Priyanka Gandhi's roadshow with her brother and Congress President Rahul Gandhi in tow.
Towards creating a healthier and more productive India (Column: Active Voice)(11:10) By Amit Kapoor The last four years of the Narendra Modi government have seen trajectory-altering policies and programmes covering a broad spectrum of areas, from Sagarmala targeting the waterways and coastline for enhancing port development and pushing the growth of coastal areas; to Digital India enabling online infrastructure and internet connectivity.
TV-time in class? Textbooks come alive in Gujarat's schools (Educational Feature)(12:34) By Azera Parveen Rahman Bhuj (Gujarat), Feb 15 (IANS) In a small school near Bhuj in Gujarat, a group of class five students sit attentively in class, their eyes glued to an LCD screen. The opened science books on their laps have come alive on the screen before them, as an animated character explains the nuances of the chapter in their native language, Gujarati. Efficient learning, experts say, happens when students enjoy the experience, and in hundreds of schools across Gujarat, digitised school textbooks are opening up children's minds like never before.
Kolkata takes on Jaipur in literary face-off(11:38) By Saket Suman New Delhi, Feb 13 (IANS) For five days every January the Pink City of Jaipur becomes the centre of attraction as literary stalwarts from India and abroad assemble in huge numbers -- spanning languages, genres and themes -- to participate in the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF). This has been happening for over a decade.
One hour a day can change your life: Robin Sharma (IANS Interview)(11:26) By Saket Suman New Delhi, Feb 12 (IANS) Private lessons that leadership and elite performance expert Robin Sharma has been imparting to billionaires and celebrities have now found their way into his new book "The 5 AM Club", which the globally renowned author of "The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari", says can change the life of its readers.
US, Russia and Blackwater mercenaries plot different futures for Afghanistan (Comment)(11:56) By Saeed Naqvi Two parallel peace processes on Afghanistan are underway. In Doha, Zalmay Khalilzad, US Special Representative for Afghanistan, has held extensive round of talks with Taliban leaders, spread over several days last month. The authorship of this process is, quite jealously, America's. But on February 5 and 6, Taliban and other Afghan political groups also met in Moscow. A roadmap for the future, titled the Moscow Declaration, was announced. Among its nine points is one which also suggests coordination with the Doha process - there is no jealous guarding of ownership of the peace process here. Anyone interested in peace is the joint author. The Declaration was immediately rubbished by the Presidential Palace in Kabul. "Moscow declaration will not have impact on the peace process in Afghanistan," said palace spokesman Haroon Chakhansuri.
Ganga synonymous with threshold of afterlife, says new book(12:16) By Saket Suman New Delhi, Feb 10 (IANS) As millions of devotees continue to gather in the Kumbh nagri to take a holy dip at the confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati rivers, a timely book throws light on the "divine purity" of the Ganga, with its findings suggesting that the pious river has been synonymous with the "threshold of the afterlife" since time immemorial.
Lead in spices, herbal remedies, ceremonial powders is highly injurious, particularly for children (Health Notes)(16:32) By Dr. K.S. Parthasarathy The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention has found that in North Carolina, 61 children of Asian descent (specifically, Indians, Pakistanis and Afghans) have elevated blood lead levels (BLLs). They used non-edible (kumkum, sindoor, surma) and edible(saffron, turmeric) items that had high lead levels. Some children ate Balgutti Kessaria (an Ayurvedic medicine) which contained very high lead levels. The CDC is diligently following up these cases.
Sample West Coast cuisine in heart of Delhi (Foodie Trail-Delhi)(14:50) By Vishnu Makhijani New Delhi, Feb 8 (IANS) Be it Nandu Puttu (crab), Attirachi Kurumelagu (lamb pepper masala) or Pomfret Kalwan (Goan pomfret curry), there is much that eateries along NH-66, the 1,622 km long national highway that connects Kanyakumari to Panvel in Maharashtra, have to tickle your taste buds. All this and more is on offer at the Best of West Coast food festival underway at the Shangri-La Eros hotel in the heart of the national capital.
India should start a Well-Being Index (Comment)(14:28) By Frank F. Islam 2018 was not a bad year in general for India. GDP growth has been relatively good, the Modi administration has launched several new initiatives, and Indias status and world image has strengthened. The problem is that these are all top-line measures and do not get down to how the Indian people are feeling.
You snooze you lose (Column: Close-in)(13:28) By Yajurvindra Singh The Indian cricket team having convincingly won the first three ODI matches of the 5 match series against New Zealand seemed to be a side, as Virat Kohli beautifully summed up, prior to his departure, "as a team on autopilot". With a successful tour in Australia and a scintillating initial performance in New Zealand, the Indian team looked like a well-oiled machine and the only thing missing was for them to learn the "Haka".
Should India be worried about Brexit?(Comment)(10:30) By Naresh Kaushik The clock is ticking. Britain is set to leave the European Union on March 29, less than two months from now. Itll crash out without a deal if the two sides fail to reach a fresh agreement following a new vote in the British parliament earlier this week. A no deal Brexit, which is now more likely than ever, will have catastrophic consequences for the British economy as many business leaders have warned. It will also hurt the European Union particularly its largest economy, Germany, which has a significant market for its products in Britain.
A budget that is good politics and economics rolled into one (Column: Active Voice)(11:32) By Amit Kapoor As was expected, the interim Budget presented by Piyush Goyal was not a traditional vote-on-account by any means. Contrary to the election-year convention, a full Budget was introduced by the government to pacify the voters. And it was undoubtedly a successful effort. Howsoever, the scales stood between the BJP and the opposition before Piyush Goyal began his Budget speech, they were tilted in favour of the former by the time he ended. The Budget has managed to appease a majority of the country through its populist leanings.