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Showing posts from November 8, 2015

Pluralist vision triumphs in Bihar

The clear mandate for the Grand Alliance of the Janata Dal (United), the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Congress in Bihar is not only a vote for social welfare and economic development, but also a vote against all forms of divisive politics of communal hate and religious intolerance. Between the Lok Sabha election of 2014 and this year’s Assembly election, politics in Bihar saw unprecedented churning, bringing together parties of different ideologies and social bases in the face of a rising tide of aggressive majoritarianism stirred up by the Bharatiya Janata Party. Indeed, for the BJP, its very success in last year’s Lok Sabha election in Bihar proved to be its undoing. As fringe elements allied to the party and within the Sangh Parivar misinterpreted the 2014 verdict as public endorsement of their hidden agenda, opposition parties realised that they stood no chance if they did not jointly resist this common threat. As a matter of fact, the seeds of the BJP’s defeat in Bihar in 2015 w…

Enabling Transition of a Soldier to Second Career through Skilling

One Rank One Pension (OROP) has been the subject of debate over the last few months with accompanying media glare highlighting the struggle of veterans. OROP is symptomatic of perceived denial of justice after drop in pension percentages from 70 to 50 per cent for soldiers (term includes servicemen from all services), and a corresponding increase for civilian government employees from 30 to 50 per cent. The anomaly of ‘soldiers holding same rank not getting same pension, regardless of the last pay drawn, years of service and years served in a particular rank’, though unacceptable, has been a reality for the last 42 years. The inadequacy of the pension to meet the basic needs of soldiers and their family, as soldiers are denied the benefit of serving till 60 years of age, combined with lack of alternate career options after retirement, compounds the problem. Favourable OROP (whenever implemented) notwithstanding, transition to a suitable second career is soldiers’ primary concern, mer…