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from India Insight:

Who wants to be India’s next president?

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It's probably easier for actor Amitabh Bachchan to become India's president than your average politician.

The ruling Congress party coalition looks like it will at best limp its way to general elections in 2014, stung by a rash of corruption scandals that have tarnished Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s second term in office and led to a dismal performance in state assembly elections earlier this year.

Now the political establishment is abuzz about who will be the next president, a largely ceremonial post that comes open in July.

The incumbent by all accounts bears the hallmarks of the government she represents -- ineffectual and damaged by accusations of corruption. Pratibha Devisingh Patil, whose tenure ends in July, was controversially allotted defence land to build a cosy retirement nest. With 12 trips overseas since taking over, she’s also racked up foreign travel bills that cost India more than 2 billion rupees ($39 million), the most by any Indian head of state.

from India Insight:

Forget journalistic ethics. The Radia tapes have wider implications

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British press magnate Lord Northcliffe once stated: "News is something someone wants suppressed. Everything else is just advertising".
Ratan Tata, Chairman of the Tata Group, attends the annual general meeting of Tata Consultancy Services in Mumbai July 2, 2010 REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/Files
It's interesting, then, that in a season of multi-billion dollar scandals that has seen India’s 24/7 news machine at its probing, questioning, investigative best, one -- perhaps bigger and more serious than all the rest -- has failed to make the hourly bulletins.

Taped conversations involving corporate lobbyist Niira Radia, anonymously leaked from a reported set of around 5,000 recordings made by India’s Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax authorities, appear to reveal the unholy nexus between India’s business leaders and the political policymaking machine.

from India Insight:

Forbes ‘most powerful’ list and the Indian connection

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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is among four Indians who share space with U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao on the Forbes 2009 list of the World’s Most Powerful People.

Those who dominate the list were chosen based on the number of people they influence, their ability to project power beyond their immediate sphere of influence and their control of financial resources.

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