Nitin Gadkari’s highway jumla

Roads and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari likes to present himself as the singlehanded builder of Indian highways. He has repeatedly claimed -- most recently at the 2016 India Today Conclave -- that the pace of highway construction has increased by close to ten times under his watch: https://twitter.com/SandeepUnnithan/status/710360486462644224 This would be brag-worthy if it were true, …

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Modi’s autopilot achievements

In a 13 Feb 2016 speech at the recent Make in India jamboree in Mumbai, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took credit for many economic achievements. These included India's climb in various World Bank and UN indices, and all-time records in coal and vehicle production, software exports and cargo handling by ports. The claims were taken from the BJP's …

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Ab ki baar, cut-and-paste sarkar: the case of Make in India

In his 25 Sep 2014 speech at the launch of Make in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the initiative as a "lion’s step" towards promoting Indian manufacturing and generating millions of jobs. Amitabh Kant, who oversees the programme, stated in a subsequent interview that "Make in India is like a movement reflecting a new mindset of growth in …

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Still no sign of “Jungle Raj” in Bihar

The Feb 5 daytime killing by AK-47 wielding gunmen of Lok Janshakti Party leader Brijnath Singh, himself a murder accused, has revived allegations that Bihar is witnessing a return to "Jungle Raj", the period of lawlessness that occurred under former Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav in the 1990s and early 2000s. https://twitter.com/ndtv/status/696697748343488513 The Bharatiya Janata Party …

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H is for Hawk

In an Indian Express op-ed on 11 January, political scientist Paul Staniland argues that we shouldn’t lose too much sleep over Pathankot-style terror strikes because “despite understandable public outcry and past success, these spoiler attacks will be increasingly ineffective for the Pakistani military and its non-state allies”. One reason for this, he argues, is that …

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The futility of calls for covert action

Every time there is a terror attack in India, whether Mumbai (2008) or Pathankot (2016), some commentators demand “action”, usually a call for India to take the battle to the Pakistan Army and its insurgent proxies. This would presumably mean Indian agencies launching similar strikes at these groups and deterring future terror attacks. Defence Minister …

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BJP-ruled states still more communally violent

In an article posted on the website Newslaundry on 14 October, Rupa Subramanya argues that government statistics do not support the view that “there’s been some sort of upsurge in communal violence since the election of Narendra Modi”, contending that figures that show an increase of 25% in communal incidents in January-May 2015 vs. January-May …

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Does Bihar’s kidnapping industry embody “Jungle Raj”?

In a fiery election speech in Munger, Bihar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated that the coming state election was a choice between "Jungle Raj" and "Vikas Raj", with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led alliance representing the latter. https://twitter.com/TOIIndiaNews/status/652025659343024128 Modi cited widespread kidnappings in Bihar as an indicator of how lawless the state has been under Nitish …

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