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No Rahul at Kolkata rally is like "Hamlet" without the Prince of Denmark

Column: Political Circus)
By Amulya Ganguli IANS Photo Service
Mamata Banerjee's mega rally in Kolkata had one notable absentee. Although many in the Who's Who of opposition stalwarts graced the occasion, Rahul Gandhi was conspicuous by his absence.

Gangetic river dolphins in the Indian Sundarbans struggle with swelling salinity (11:12)
By Sahana Ghosh IANS Photo Service
Kolkata, Jan 18 (IANS/Mongabay) Indias national aquatic animal, the endangered Gangetic river dolphin (Platanista gangetica gangetica), is rarely visible in the waterways of the Indian Sundarbans. A study sheds light on the rise in salinity in the water and reduced freshwater flow for the mammals disappearing act in the iconic estuarine habitat.

National Clean Air Programme should set higher targets (Comment) (18:12)
By Rajendra Shende
There is a striking similarity between Paris Climate Agreement and Indias National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) launched recently. The Paris Agreement is an agreement by the countries to map a global action to keep global warming two degrees centigrade below pre-industrial level.

India rising: Investment opportunities with higher incomes (Column: Behind Infra Lines) (17:44)
By Taponeel Mukherjee
As per capita incomes in India move higher and as we converge towards $2,000 per capita, it would be interesting to look at the potential investment opportunities as the next phase of income growth begins.

Bio-adsorbents: Cost-effective option for ridding industrial wastewater of heavy metals (Comment) (12:54)
By Roshna N.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has reported that India is on the verge of becoming a highly water-stressed country. At this stage, reducing wastewater generation and water recycling should be given due importance. Reuse of industrial wastewater has been in practice for a long time in India, and this water is mainly used for agriculture purposes in nearby areas. However, this has led to high levels of heavy metal concentration in vegetables grown with industrial wastewater.

India's plan to breathe easy is out, but targets are not legally binding (13:22)
By Mayank Aggarwal IANS Photo Service
New Delhi, Jan 15 (IANS/Mongabay) The Indian government has unveiled its long-awaited National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) that aims at a 20-30 percent reduction of particulate matter (PM) concentration over the next five years, with an overall goal of mitigating air pollution and improving air quality in the country, which has some of the world's most polluted cities.

India needs to improve its educational outcomes to catch up with China (Column: Active Voice) (12:04)
By Amit Kapoor
Both China and India started building their national education systems under comparable conditions in the late 1940s. Different policies and historical circumstances have, however, led them to different educational outcomes, with China outperforming India not just in terms of its percentage of literate population and enrollment rates at all levels of education, but also in terms of number of world-class institutions in higher education, and greater research output.

Russian needle of suspicion extraordinary malignancy against Trump (Comment) (14:50)
By Mayank Chhaya IANS Photo Service
Even by the standards of the malignancies that surround US President Donald Trump personally, the one reported by The New York Times on January 11 was stunning in its implication.

New law on quotas: Is the BJP bidding goodbye to economic reforms? (Column: Political Circus) (12:14)
By Amulya Ganguli IANS Photo Service
Just as Narendra Modi mocked the Congress on the rural employment scheme by saying that it was a living example -- "jeeta jagta smarak" -- of the party's failures, the parliamentary approval of a 10 per cent quota for the economically weaker sections under the government's aegis underlined its inadequacies on the economic front.

Time-bound plan needed to address contaminated water (Feature) (11:30)
By Mayank Aggarwal IANS Photo Service
New Delhi, Jan 12 (IANS/Mongabay) Groundwater in over 25,000 habitations across India is contaminated with excess arsenic and fluoride levels. To address the issue, a parliamentary committee has now asked the Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS) to devise a time-bound plan to achieve the target of supplying clean drinking water to the contaminated areas.

Vaduvoor: A tiny village luring and feeding global birds (Feature) (11:32)
By Vasudevan Sridharan IANS Photo Service
Chennai, Jan 11 (IANS/Mongabay) "When some visitors ask, 'How do the birds know this lake is full?', I simply tell them that I telephone the migratory birds and inform them," said Ramesh mockingly as he sits at the tip of a lake in south India.

Children must be taught discipline of using communication technology (Comment) (11:36)
By Anil K. Rajvanshi
There is a general refrain from parents that their children are spending too much time with their smartphones -- chatting, SMSing or being on social media. Besides neglecting their studies, parents contend the children are being exposed to bad influences from webosphere. All of this has happened in the last 10-15 years and is being fuelled by the availability of communication technology like smartphones and the internet.

Renewable energy: 'Economic moats' to drive further growth (Column: Behind Infra Lines) (12:04)
By Taponeel Mukherjee
The renewable energy sector in India has been dynamic in the last two decades, and especially over the last few years, with ambitious targets. That said, recent bottlenecks the sector has faced suggest that businesses in the sector require to focus on creating "economic moats" to enable the next phase of growth.

Future prospects for the economy don't seem promising (Column: Active Voice) (14:54)
By Amit Kapoor
Even the most optimistic estimates cannot deny that in all likelihood, the world economy will grow at a slower pace in 2019 than it did in the previous year.

Investors bullish about Indian housing market (Realty Notes) (12:04)
By Ankit Kansal
India's housing sector has always been a favorite amongst domestic investors. As an asset, housing has enjoyed high capital growth backed by high demand in major Indian cities.

Kader Khan: From a Dickensian childhood to embodying essence of Hindi cinema (Tribute) (10:20)
By Mayank Chhaya IANS Photo Service
Kader Khan rose from the depths of a Dickensian childhood in the Bombay of the 1940s, surrounded by drug peddlers, prostitutes, pimps and assorted thugs to eventually embody the essence of Hindi cinema.

Remembering 40 years ago when Afghanistan, Pakistan, the region changed forever (Comment) (13:02)
By Saeed Naqvi
"Problems" like Afghanistan, even Iran, created in the thick of the Cold War, are now in the lap of a declining sole superpower in a withdrawal mode. Since I was witness to both, the Saur and Islamic revolutions, I thought the New Year might be a good occasion to ferret out material from my notebook focusing on the Genesis. To synchronise with the arrival of 2019, let us revert to New Year's Day, 40 years ago, 1978, when President Jimmy Carter accompanied by his National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski arrived in New Delhi. Morarji Desai was Prime Minister and Atal Bihari Vajpayee the Minister for External Affairs.

Seismic warning signals a common man can spot (Comment) (12:58)
By Arun Bapat
During the recent past, there have been a number of publications, discussions and meetings about the possibility of a large magnitude earthquake in the Himalayas that have left most people with a deep sense of apprehension.

What is Gadkari's game? (Column: Political Circus) (12:02)
By Amulya Ganguli IANS Photo Service
Unlike the Congress, the communists or the socialists, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has rarely seen major fissures.

Trump's betrayal delivers Kurds a brutal reality check (Comment) (12:04)
By Arnab Neil Sengupta IANS Photo Service
Events of the year that has just gone by have underscored once again the stark fact that independent and sovereign statehood is the ultimate currency of power. The patronage of distant powers, the generosity of international institutions and notions of religious solidarity have all proved to be poor substitutes for the exercise of state power.

Looking for a Job? Things your recruiter will look for during your interview (11:32)
By Arshan Vakil
What is it that you need to do to make sure you give of your best during an interview?

Economic Growth: One good policy, and a few more to go (Column: Behind Infra Lines) (12:26)
By Taponeel Mukherjee
Access to credit, data and transportation are among the most crucial drivers of economic well-being. To ensure better access to critical needs in India, Rod Tidwell's famous line from Jerry Maguire, "Show me the money", would hold in good stead. Access to the correct quality and quantity of financing at the right time is crucial to improving economic well-being.

India needs a competency-enhancing, job-creation master plan (Comment) (12:02)
By Frank F. Islam IANS Photo Service
When Narendra Modi was running for office, he promised to create 10 million jobs per year. The Modi administration has come nowhere near generating that number of jobs during his tenure in office, with the Indian economy expanding but the growth being essentially "jobless".

Why ethanol is not a suitable fuel for automobiles (Comment) (12:30)
By Anil K. Rajvanshi & Nandini Nimbkar
The Indian government is accelerating its programme of blending ethanol with petrol for two reasons: Our petroleum import bill is continuously increasing (we import more than 85 per cent of all our requirements) and two, we have surplus of sugar in India, which has no takers in the export market.

More private investment in education can improve its productivity (Column: Active Voice) (12:00)
By Amit Kapoor
Given the limited fiscal space to increase the expenditure on social services, such as education and health, it is essential for the governments of developing countries like India to enhance their public spending efficiency by generating the maximum potential benefit for its population within the given budgetary resources.

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