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India

As another year comes to an end, it is perhaps worth reminding ourselves that political leaders and controversies come and go, but ideas, concepts, and terminology often have a longer shelf life. What were the big ideas of 2017?

 

In my memory, the Pakistan Foreign Office in Islamabad has a bright foyer lit with a grand chandelier, and tea and biscuits were always laid out outside the weekly briefing room.

 

The opposition’s continued disruption of Parliament must stop. By paralysing the functioning of the legislative arm of Indian democracy, opposition parties are doing a great disservice to representative democracy and the people of this country. Instead, members must ensure that Parliament functions smoothly, their own grouses against the government are aired and legislative business gets done.

 

When India voted on a UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution last week on the status of Jerusalem, going against the wishes of the U.S. and Israel, many observers of its foreign policy were surprised.

 

India’s emergence as a great regional and global power is predicated on how effectively it manages its own periphery.

 

Among the critical features of 2017 has been the rapid commercial diffusion of advanced technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and the fear that these technologies might pose an unprecedented threat to the future of humanity as a species. Scientists and entrepreneurs such as Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk, have demanded that the United Nations ban killer robots.

 

The US suffered a telling if symbolic defeat in the United Nations General Assembly which voted 128-9 with 35 abstensions on a resolution that denounces the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

 

How to bring down healthcare costs and end price-gouging by private hospitals? This question has two assumptions that are unsound. One, the private healthcare providers’ mission is to make healthcare accessible and affordable by all—it must be recognised that a private hospital provides quality care at full cost plus a premium that reflects the hospital’s profits, and that it is the job of the government to make affordable care ubiquitous.

 

In what may be the Centre’s first strike in response to the rural distress read into the Gujarat Assembly poll outcomes, a 30% customs duty has been slapped on the import of chana dal and masoor dal.

 

The Cambridge economist, Joan Robinson, is supposed to have said “Whatever you can rightly say of India, the opposite is also true”. While we may see in it a recognition of our diversity or skills of argumentation, the paradox of two realities has an inimical side to it.

 


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