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Sunday View: The Best Weekend Opinion Reads, Curated Just for You

We sifted through the papers to find the best opinion reads, so you won't have to.

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Reservation When? After, After, After

Congress leader P Chidambaram, in his piece for The Indian Express, zeroes in on the Women's Reservation Bill passed in the Parliament this week and raises questions about the hurdles in implementing the reservation.

He writes,

"The Modi government cannot feign ignorance of the hurdles that it has placed, by design or ignorance, in the way of implementation of the reservation for women. These hurdles were not there in the Bills of 1996 and 2010. Women will be justified if they charge the government with placing these hurdles deliberately. The Hon’ble Prime Minister, in his remarks made on three occasions on September 19, 2023, did not spell out how his government proposed to overcome these hurdles. The silence of the government on the pre-conditions is, to put it mildly, ominous."
P Chidambaram, for The Indian Express
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Trudeau Exposes Canada’s Double Standards on Terror

In the midst of the diplomatic row going on between India and Canada after the latter alleged New Delhi's involvement in the killing of pro-Khalistan leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, Swapan Dasgupta writes for Times of India about the dispute.

He accuses Canada of giving immunity to those who use the country as a playground to wreak terror abroad. Dasgupta writes,

"It seems Canadian decision-makers acted on the belief that India’s response would be tepid and, more important, Canada would secure the backing of the Anglosphere. This proved wrong on both counts. New Delhi’s response to Trudeau’s insolence was characteristically Modi-esque, and the other Five Eye powers calculated that the killing of Nijjar didn’t warrant a 21st century replay of the Jenkins’ Ear War between Britain and Spain."
Swapan Dasgupta, for Times of India
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Don’t Allow Military Bases on Indian Soil in Any Form

In his column in The Asian Age, Lok Sabha MP Manish Tewari writes about why India must maintain its strategic autonomy and not allow any military bases to come up on Indian soil. In light of the master shipyard repair agreement signed between India and the US, Tewari writes,

"India has two options. It can either become a junior partner in the larger panoply of security groupings and networks in the Indo-Pacific that are undergirded by the United States for there never can be an equal partnership given the wide gap in the respective defence capacities of both the countries. The other option is to grow your economy, enhance your net national power and create your own network of bases in the Indo-Pacific, thereby safeguarding your strategic autonomy."
Manish Tewari, for The Asian Age
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Corridor Cost: IMEC Makes Great Political Sense but Is It Economically Viable?

On the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor announced during the G20 Summit in New Delhi, economist Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar writes that he has his fears.

In his piece for Times of India, he writes about how the IMEC will have to compete with the Suez Canal, how moving cargoes by sea makes more sense economically, and the many drawbacks of land transportation.

He says,

"Foreign affairs experts love international corridors, which conjure up geopolitical visions of grandeur. But in the real world, geopolitical projects are best abandoned unless they are proven to be economically viable."
Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar, for Times of India
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A Dictionary for Mr Bidhuri

After BJP MP Ramesh Bidhuri came under the radar for using communal slurs targeted towards BSP MP Danish Ali in the Lok Sabha, Upala Sen writes in The Telegraph,

"What differs from country to country, parliament to parliament, is the effort and manner of negotiating the “acceptable” and the “unacceptable” through decades and centuries. In its 89th volume published in 2021, the India list is only as long as Australia’s. Now with Mr Bidhuri’s contribution that list will be longer."
Upala Sen, for The Telegraph
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Post-Dated Cheque

In her piece for The Indian Express, Coomi Kapoor says that she is "slightly cynical" about many recent political happenings – be it how the women's reservation bill was "unnecessarily hastily passed," the way G20 delegations were not allowed to visit the Jama Masjid, the "segregation" of media and policymakers in the new Parliament, among others.

On the delimitation exercise that the government has mandated in order to implement the reservation bill, she writes:

"With delimitation, the proportion of parliament seats from south India would automatically fall even as the share of the BJP-ruled cow belt states would rise. The south has long protested that it cannot be penalised for its progressiveness in practicing family planning."
Coomi Kapoor, for The Indian Express
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Women Need Power, Not Numbers

Prabhu Chawla, in his piece in The New Indian Express, writes about how women have historically been "denied access to the rooms with power." The male versus female ratio in the Parliament, Cabinet, state Assemblies, central agencies has always been skewed in favour of the former, he says.

For women, "roaming up and down the corridors of power has been the only badge of honour," Chawla writes.

"Just raising the female numbers in legislatures isn’t going to empower India’s womenfolk. In political hierarchy they still yield to the male whip, not wield it. A numerically enhanced status could remain only symbolic if the spirit is not followed. The system needs a calculated institutional and structural transfer of power from men to women in policy making."
Prabhu Chawla, for The New Indian Express
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Asiad a Chance To Find Out Where We Stand

Ahead of the Asian Games in China and the Cricket World Cup in India, Tushar Bhaduri writes for The Indian Express about the joy and "non-stop sporting spectacle" that fans are awaiting.

"With the Games coinciding with the ICC men’s 50-over World Cup, the cream of the cricket crop would anyway be absent from Hangzhou, while the women’s game in the rest of the continent has only recently started making strides, implying that anything other than gold would be a major disappointment."
Tushar Bhaduri, for The Indian Express
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Hunt for Lithium Takes Us to Abandoned Oil Wells

For Deccan Herald, Sunit Roy zeroes in on why India should go big on lithium extraction which could be a Rs 20 lakh crore sector by 2030.

"All oil-producing countries have started funding more lithium production. India too must think big about lithium extraction and turn to its national oil companies. India has the resources and the wherewithal to be at the forefront of this energy race. It must be seen if it will take the plunge."
Sunit Roy, for Deccan Herald
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