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The Week That Was:

From: Vartaa Editorial Team on Nov 29, 2015

Winter Session of Parliament

The winter session of Parliament commenced earlier today with both the Houses meeting to commemorate Constitution Day and pay homage to the founders of the document. PM Modi, speaking in light of a vocal public debate over the issue of 'intolerance' stated that 'India first' was the only religion to be followed. The battle turned political though in the Rajya Sabha where FM Arun Jaitley compared the 1975 emergency imposed by the Congress to what Hitler did in Germany while Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad responded by alleging the ruling party of stoking fears and rewriting history.

The GST Bill

A major focus on this session of Parliament is the GST (Goods and Services Tax) Bill which the government is trying hard to get through. Chastened by the Bihar defeat, PM Modi tried to reach out to the opposition this week to build consensus. Rahul Gandhi too met with Congress leaders and showed signs that the opposition was willing to co-operate. In case you are still figuring out how the bill is vital for India's economy, read a detailed summary here that outlines its salient features.

HSBC and Xander

After the announcement of troubles in Standard Chartered's India operations last week, another foreign bank, HSBC announced this week that it would close its private banking operations in India. The bank cited intense competition as one of the reasons behind this move. Not all news was bleak though. Real estate-focused PE firm Xander announced a fresh note of commitment towards more investments in India in the coming years. Despite a slowdown in the market, Xander remains bullish on residential and commercial real estate in India, a market where it already has a $10bn portfolio.

India beat South Africa

In Nagpur, India trounced South Africa by 124 runs to end the visitors' enviable record of no losses in an away test series for 9 years. Ravi Ashwin was the start for India and on a 'helpful track' took 12 wickets in the game to spin out the Proteas. There was much debate around the pitch though with some criticizing it roundly while captain Virat Kohli claiming that winning games was the top priority.

Opinions you must read:

  • As the Aamir Khan debate raged on TVs and social media this week, Pratap Bhanu Mehta made an attempt to inject some gravitas into the discourse and raise the question of who exactly is a true patriot while Javed Akhtar makes an impassioned plea to Indians to preserve the great tradition of tolerance
  • The Indian Express analyzed why there seems to be such a disconnect between PM Modi's energy and achievements on foreign trips and the reaction to them at home.
  • Shakti Swaminathan in the Hindu looks back at one of the iconic comic strips of out time, Calvin and Hobbes, turning 30 this week.