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  Most Popular  
The mid-air scare
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Economy through the month
KP is no more
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…and of a popular trade leader
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Leaky old lorries, mini cabs for techies...
If you happen to be a morning walker in Bengaluru, two things are un-missable this summer. One, leaky old water lorries rattling their way along the dusty, garbage-strewn lanes. Two, mini-cabs and maxi-vans waiting at designated spots, under street lights in the semi-darkness to pick up and rush young information technology employees to their offices. These sights may become rare next summer if things move in the current direction. The desperate need for the water lorries may end if the predicted near-normal monsoon arrives. And, if the crisis that has hit the IT industry plays out as feared, many of the young professionals from other parts of India may have to return home. There is little that the administration can do about these two issues. The next few weeks will decide if Karnataka’s man-made woes will be compounded again by nature. We can call this a summer of strife – with unprecedented drought across the state, unusually hot temperatures in the plains and the mountains and shortage of water even in the Coorg region marked by a drying Cauvery bed. Dry river beds greet travellers across the state and reservoirs are at their lowest reserve. The website of the state government’s water resources department fully reflects the grim situation; the statistics on the water levels tell the reality in cold numbers. Statistics clearly show that after a fairly good 2015 monsoon the state has had a serious deficit in rainfall in the next two years. Thus, the behaviour of monsoon this year is critical for the state. The Met department has begun to whisper of a near-normal monsoon. According to experts, there is every reason to hope that last year’s disaster will not be repeated. For a rainbow among dark clouds... It is not only the farmers looking up at the skies, the political community isn’t lagging behind, looking for a rainbow among the clouds. The ruling Congress, received a needed boost to its morale in recent by-elections in Mysuru. Its main opponent, the BJP, is impatient to return to power amidst the warring factions within. The leadership of both parties at the Central level appear helpless to curb dissidence as different factions jockey for positions. The Congress, under a newly-appointed Pradesh Congress committee chief, seems a more cohesive unit though it lacks a charismatic national leader to campaign for it, in contrast to the BJP with Modi’s leadership as a major crowd puller. Small wonder that Chief Minister Siddharamiah made the bizarre claim that his government had given four years of scam-free governance. If this is true, it will be quite an achievement in Karnataka. Techie - town hit hard by US visa policy To add to the state of uncertainty and suspension of governance, the turmoil in the information technology sector has come as a shattering blow, despite the fact that the disaster had been in the making for nearly a year. US President Donald Trump gave visible hints when he launched his campaign slogan, “American jobs for Americans.” The catch was that no sane observer ever believed at that time that Trump had a chance to win the elections last November. The new regime’s visa policy has hit the Global Techies Town hard where it hurts most. All the biggies have been impacted and layoffs have already begun and are expected to continue. With Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and UK joining the US to tighten work permit regulations, companies such as Infosys and Tech Mahindra have come up against protectionist walls in their areas of overseas operation. The US visa restrictions infact undermine the very basis on which Infosys launched the outsourcing revolution. That foundation on which others also built up has been shaken and shattered. IT needs a new model, one that is resilient and capable of quick adaptation to keep pace with the mind blogging changes taking place in the field of automation and cloud technology. n

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