10. Welcome clarity, at last
Ahead of the July 1 rollout of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), what was touted as the nation’s biggest tax reform, the GST Council released an exhaustive list of finalised tax rates for almost all services. The decision was announced in the May 20 Srinagar meet of the Council. The Hindu’s editorial published on the next day welcomed the government’s move of offering clarity ahead of the rollout and also cautioned against possible backdoor rigging of rates through additional levies. Full editorial
9. A road map for health
The Union cabinet approved the draft National Health Policy which proposes to provide “assured health services to all” in the country. While a health policy was a long overdue, affordable and quality health care for all requires more human resources, cost control and accountability from private health care providers, says this editorial. Full editorial
8. Capital crisis
India’s Capital often made it to the headlines more than once for deteriorating air quality. This went to an extent that schools were forced to declare holidays for almost a week as the polluted air was chocking Delhiites. The Hindu published three editorials on the issue this year, this one on how stubble burning in neighbouring States add up to Delhi’s woes was the most read among others. The editorial noted how pollution was not just confined to Delhi but was a problem for most of north India and highlighted the need for joint action with all States responsible. Full editorial
7. Midnight makeover
Another editorial on GST made it to the most-read editorial list. This one was written on the day of the rollout. “This is the first step in the evolution of the GST, and some initial hiccups are perhaps inevitable in a system founded on political consensus and federal adjustments,” the editorial reads. Full editorial
6. ISRO sets the bar high
On February 16, the Indian space agency ISRO created history by placing a record 104 spacecraft in their desired orbits. The feat was performed on the old reliable launch vehicle, the PSLV, numbered C-37. Lauding ISRO’s consistent performance, the editorial states this launch is particularly significant as India now cements its position as a key player in the lucrative commercial space launch market by providing a cheaper yet highly reliable alternative. Full editorial
5. A clear failure
The medical college admission in Tamil Nadu this year was a messy affair. While the entire medical admissions across the country was being conducted based on NEET score for the past two years, Tamil Nadu was exempted the previous year. This year too, the State took the ordinance route to extend the exemption. But it was struck down in the court. It came up with another controversial decision to block 85% of medical seats for State board students, which too was struck down. The Hindu wrote five editorials on the issue, three in the month of August alone.
This editorial categorically held the Tamil Nadu government responsible for mishandling the entire issue and failing to prepare students under its school education board for the demanding common entrance test. Full editorial
4. Step back
Sustained tension at the Bhutan tri-junction suits neither China nor India, declared this editorial dated July 3, 2017. Since June 16, troops of Indian Army and the People’s Liberation Army were in a stand-off after a Chinese group entered the Doklam area to construct a road. While the Bhutan Army patrol attempted to dissuade them, the Indian Army too joined.
While the editorial noted that issues should be addressed through sustained dialogue and both sides must withdraw their troops to maintain the sovereignty of Bhutan. Full editorial
3. Shifting goal posts
The RBI’s annual report released on August 30 said 98.96% of the demonetised currency had returned to the central bank as of June 30. It may be noted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while announcing the decision to scrap ₹500 and ₹1000 currency notes said it was aimed at breaking “the grip of corruption and black money”.
“It’s official. Demonetisation has totally failed to curb black money — its professed objective,” this editorial declared. Full editorial
2. Target Section 377
The nine-judge Constitution Bench declared that the right to privacy is a fundamental right. While the need for a trial was necessitated on the issue of UIDAI collected personal data for the issuance of Aadhaar, the judgment rekindled the debate of legalising same-sex relationships. Homosexuality continues to be a crime in India after the Supreme Court struck down a DelhiHigh Court verdict to decriminalise consensual gay sex.
This editorial points out that the right to privacy also means protection of rights based on sexual orientation, and that discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity must end. Full editorial
1. The new President
Ram Nath Kovind became the 14th President of India. While the post of President is mostly seen as a ceremonial one, this editorial emphasised its discretionary powers citing previous examples of how former Presidents R. Venkataraman, Shankar Dayal Sharma and K.R. Narayanan adopted different procedures to decide who would have the first shot at forming the government.
The editorial also noted that the winning margin of Mr. Kovind indicated that he received support from many non-NDA lawmakers too and that he will have to rise above political and social identities. Full editorial