Times of India

AI: Branding & billion dollars

Tatas will have to infuse substantial equity and run two brands to optimise the Air India acquisition

No nation became prosperous without trust between government and business.

In the past few weeks, a series of disquieting events have raised the question of trust between government and business. It brought back unhappy memories of the License Raj. Some think that getting government and business to trust each other is hopeless, like getting a pig to sing. ‘It wastes your time and annoys the pig,’ said Mark Twain. Others are wary of crony capitalism, a too cosy relationship between the two. The prosperity of Germany, United States, and Japan has been attributed to high levels of trust between business and the state.

Covid and the bureaucracy: India needs modern institutions that are autonomous, accountable and creditworthy

The events of the past month have been so tragic, so unspeakably ugly that the only rational response was to pretend it wasn’t happening. The raging second wave of the virus revealed not only the governmental ineptitude but also exposed India’s soft underbelly – our heavy bureaucratic system, which wasn’t nimble enough to cope with the crisis.

Can Covid shift our politics? It’s a national emergency now. Let it bring to an end our Age of Hatred

The dreaded second wave of the coronavirus has created a national emergency. You’d think it would have united our republic, but India remains hopelessly divided. A straightforward problem of vaccinating our people becomes the subject of political football. While aam admi scrambles helplessly from hospital to hospital in search of oxygen, a bed, a ventilator, our political parties behave like prehistoric tribes, fighting elections as though they are battles for extinction. They don’t even share a common vocabulary to empathise in this Age of Hatred.

A tale of two heroes: An Ashoka University donor on the challenges of doing good in today’s world

Pratap Bhanu Mehta, professor of political science and a passionate critic of the government, resigned from Ashoka University last week because he felt he’d become a ‘political liability’. The media has portrayed it as a morality tale of good versus evil but, in fact, it’s a tragedy.

Let’s change V-Day to Kama Day to remind us that desire isn’t alien to our culture

Happy Valentine’s Day! If I had my way, I’d be wishing you ‘Happy Kama Deva Divas!’ today — an impish suggestion by the irrepressible Shashi Tharoor. Since no one is quite sure about the origins of Valentine’s Day, countries around the world celebrate this festival of love in their own way. The Chinese call it Qixi, remembering a 2,000-year-old story of star-crossed lovers from the Han Dynasty. They look to the heavens at night to watch the stars, as Vega and Altair come close, symbolising the lovers’ annual reunion.

US, India: Stop the uncivil wars: When a nation forgets it’s one people and institutions weaken, we’re at the abyss

Indians didn’t know what to think. They woke up last Thursday in disbelief to shocking scenes of President Donald Trump’s supporters overrunning the US Capitol. The deliberate assault on democracy by a sitting president, attempting to overturn a fair election, was an ominous moment in American history.

Don’t kill 2nd green revolution: Rolling back farm reforms would privilege a small but vociferous group over the silent majority

The current protests by Punjab’s farmers hold many lessons. One of them is that politics is a short game, a T20 cricket match, while economics is a long term, five-day Test match. Punjab’s farmers are playing the former while the government is playing the latter, which makes it frustrating for the two sides and for spectators in the stands.

Doing good in India gets harder: Philanthropy should be regulated by an independent regulator, not by the home ministry

Indira Gandhi’s Emergency was a tragedy in modern India’s history. A second tragedy was not to have undone the terrible laws enacted during the Emergency. One of these is the Foreign Contributions (Regulations) Act or FCRA, which was amended last month and has become more draconian.

India’s language conundrum: The National Education Policy has skirted elegantly a political minefield. But the obstacle is the teacher

In 1947, a weary Britain packed up and left India, leaving behind absent-mindedly the English language and a headache for Indians. Ever since, we’ve been quarrelling over the place of English in our lives, particularly in what language to teach our children. The latest to join the debate is the National Education Policy (NEP), which to its credit, has skirted elegantly a political minefield, coming up with an answer that has satisfied almost everyone, offending only those who insisted on being offended. But the obstacle is the teacher.