A selection of the best news reports, analysis and opinions published by ThePrint this week.
Amrita Nayak Dutta scooped the story on the Modi government’s proposal to change how civil service entrants are allotted cadres and services, and it was widely followed up. The story, among our most read, says the PMO is considering allotting cadres and services such as IAS, IFS, IRS and IPS on the basis of the three-month foundation course, instead of ranks secured in UPSC exams that is currently followed. If implemented, it will greatly increase the role of the government in determining which new civil servant is sent where, and bureaucrats worry this may have potential for misuse. The government later clarified that this was still a proposal and no final decision had been taken.
Indian universities have paid little heed to the central government’s suggestions to institute chairs in the names of Indian titans from across the spectrum, preferring to set up chairs named after prominent politicians instead, Kritika Sharma reported in an exclusive story. The report, also published in Hindustan Times as part of our special arrangement, speaks to experts and underscores the flaws in the very concept of creating chairs and the manner in which UGC expects chairs to be set up. The larger story here, of course, is the little attention given to serious research at Indian universities.
In the midst of the controversy around Major Leetul Gogoi, who was at the centre of Kashmir’s human shield row last year, for meeting a local woman at a Srinagar hotel, ThePrint felt it was important to clear the air and explain if and whether his conduct violated army rules. Deeksha Bhardwaj’s explainer did precisely that, laying down the rules that govern the conduct of military officers and how they are prohibited from civilian areas in sensitive zones unless on duty. The report also points out the possible quantum of punishment for Gogoi, if found guilty.
At a time when everyone is talking about how a united opposition can be a big threat to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP juggernaut, Shivam Vij analyses how this may not be true and BJP might still have an edge over the opposition. Laying down seven reasons for his belief, Vij points out that the arithmetic of opposition unity may be one thing, but the chemistry of Narendra Modi is quite another.
After his recent visit to Malaysia, senior Congress leader and former diplomat Shashi Tharoor draws an interesting comparison between the transformed politics of the country after a motley opposition coalition emerged victorious, and the coalition that toppled the invincible Indira Gandhi-led Congress in 1977. The piece is a must-read given it draws parallels in the political situations in India and Malaysia — two countries that are similar in being multi-religious and plural with a working democratic system. Most significantly, Tharoor’s piece comes at a time when the opposition in India is attempting to put up a challenge to the formidable BJP.
Flying taxis are no longer what just fantasy movies show! Sandhya Ramesh reports that IIT-Kanpur has signed a Rs 15-crore deal to develop flying taxis in India and hopes to have a viable prototype in five years. This ambitious project is a giant leap in engineering, and a futuristic solution to ease traffic congestion in major cities. Most importantly, given their immense flexibility of being able to take off and land on any terrain, they could potentially solve not just several civilian but also military logistical problems of today.
As Indian and Pakistani media are abuzz over The Spy Chronicles, a book by the respective spy chiefs of the two sides, RAW chief A.S. Dulat and ISI boss Asad Durrani, who better than Shekhar Gupta to tell us about the lesser known stories of spymasters on both sides. In this week’s National Interest, he takes us through fascinating tales of how Indian and Pakistani spies have attempted to make peace on the sidelines of war, holding Track II meetings and initiating covert confidence-building measures.