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from THE HINDU group of publications

Wednesday, August 01, 2001

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Opinion

Editorial
Realigning duty rates
CORPORATE INDIA IS more accustomed to relying on backroom manoeuvres and lobbying for securing a favourable tax regime from the government. In the circumstances, it is quite extraordinary that Jindal Aluminium should have adopted an aggressive posture in coming out with a newspaper advertisement castigating the Government for not bringing down the import duty on raw aluminium.

Environment
Scanning the oceans from floats
`EL NINO' and its less well known cousin `La Nina', were two crucial phenomena that had a major impact on the variations in global climate and natural disasters during the last decade.

Information Technology
E-governance: For India or Bharat?
ON July 23, even casual Internet surfers were surprised to find some confidential and secret files of the External Affairs Ministry scattered all over cyberspace. Normally, it would require the wily tricks-in-trade of a James Bond to be able to catch eve n a glimpse of these `For your eyes only' documents. Why was the Ministry suddenly handing over its secrets even to those who were not interested? It came out to that it was not the bosses in the Ministry but a minuscule virus, nicknamed w32.sircom, that had got into the Government's computer system and was pilfering and scattering the state secrets.

Miscellaneous
Shooting galleries
ON July 28, a US court sentenced a 14-year old boy who shot his teacher dead for no apparent reason to 28 years in prison without parole or time off for good behaviour, followed by two years in house arrest and a further five years of probation. This is only the latest in a series of similar crimes in which students have been involved.

Politics
Don't make Phoolan an icon
PHOOLAN Devi led a most unusual life. At the risk of sounding cruel, one can only conclude about her gruesome death that those who live by the sword must also perish by it. Granted she was an oppressed woman. Married at the age of 11 to a much older man, she faced many a tribulation and was the victim of social injustice which forced her to resort to the gun. But one is a little puzzled at the attempt to transform her, in her death, into the heroine she certainly was not.

Democracy in Indonesia -- Dogged by rebellion
UNFASHIONABLE though it might be to say so, the contrast between Indonesia's turbulent change of guard and the orderliness with which power is transferred in India after elections highlights the difference between Dutch and British colonialism. It also d emonstrates that, contrary to what some Indians argue, a presidential system is not an automatic guarantee of stability.

Power
Automating power distribution
WITH the focus shifting to offshore software development, the demand-supply gap in power is expected to grow by at least twenty per cent this year. The trend is expected to continue in the near future, with no significant generating capacity coming up in the country, giving rise to a spectre akin to the California power crisis.


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