India’s demographic time bomb


A strong warning.

For his part, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made no secret of his desire to drive a manufacturing sector. Under the “Make In India” banner, this has been a flagship policy of his first term in government, with hopes that India could eventually rival China as a mass manufacturer. While Make In India is regularly decried as a failure in newspaper headlines, it is still relatively early days, and the government has been working to remove some of the bureaucratic obstacles, such as approving changes to rules around wages.

At the same time, the government is in defence mode, working to hose down concerns about the growing unemployment problem. Earlier this month, Modi told a magazine that the issue was not about a lack of jobs, but rather a lack of relevant data.

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Aarti Betigeri — The Interpreter

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Pakistan: The combustible democracy


It is pertinent to mention here that the army has dominated Pakistan’s 70 years existence and every coup has been sanctioned by judiciary. Nawaz Sharif’s premature dismissal could be due to increasing tensions between the civil and military leadership. The ousted leader’s ‘softer’ approach towards arch rival India has raised those tensions. In October last year The Dawn newspaper published a report on a National Security Committee meeting in which the government allegedly accused the army of helping some terror outfits. The inquiry report into what came to be known as the Dawn Leaks was at first rejected by the military but later accepted. The Prime Minister’s special assistant Tariq Fatmi was held responsible for the leak and supposedly sacked. Later, however, it came to light that he had continued to work for the PM. This led to further distrust between the military and the government. That trust deficit may increase.

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Emanuel Sarfraz — The Interpreter

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Asia’s educational arms race

Students attend a lecture for the entrance exam for postgraduate studies at a hall in Jinan

A better arms race to have. Being an Indian, I myself have appeared for a number of highly competitive tests. I have also been witness to the pride parents take in the scores and ranks of their children.

But to say these countries are living in ‘edutopia’ is to miss the point. While the rankings are commendable, critics often point out the weaknesses of the standardised testing on which TIMSS and PISA scoring is based; according to this line of argument, the tests measure students’ aptitude to take tests, rather than academic aptitude. To some, Singapore and its peers are mere beacons of rote learning. Additionally, the results may reflect a country’s superficial desire to perform well in the rankings, rather than a commitment to improving national standards of education.

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Bonnie Bley — The Interpreter

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