So hotly are the elections being contested that it is easy to forget the real life challenges awaiting the new government. Challenges come in three buckets — institutional; policy design and uncertainties from external and domestic shocks. Poor policy choices are easily reversed, institutional change happens slowly while shocks can neither be forecast nor fully […]Read More Bitter morning-after pill awaiting new government
A core staff of just around 400 persons borrowed from the Union government, leveraged temporarily with an additional five million staff from the Centre and state governments to manage polling for 900 million electors — more than 66 per cent of whom are expected to cast their vote this year — would be a recipe […]Read More Weak institutions undermine India’s Election Commission
A duality of capacity and intent casts a patina over elections in India. At one end, battery-powered, surround-sound “hologram discs” worn around a party worker’s neck shock and awe while belting out the BJP’s message in remote Himachal Pradesh. At the other end, the less well-endowed Aam Aadmi Party in metropolitan Delhi is falling back […]Read More Elections highlight the duality of Indian politics
BJP president Amit Shah is technically correct to say that Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, one of the accused in the September 2008 Malegaon (Maharashtra) bomb blast case, who is on bail, has a right, under our liberal electoral laws, to contest the elections. It hardly matters that she voluntarily claimed being part of the Hindutava forces […]Read More The Sadhvi as a symbol of New India
One wo(man) one vote” is the nominal cornerstone of our democracy. But in practice the elective power of a vote varies significantly across states. On the surface, we are very democratic — elections are held regularly and voter enthusiasm has not waned unlike elsewhere. Participative Indians Voter turnout — the proportion of those on the […]Read More How much is your vote worth?
Manifestos don’t count for much if elections are won on the popularity of a single leader — Narendra Modi. Oddly, the Congress chose to follow a similar strategy last week, with Rahul Gandhi as its key protagonist, presenting a David versus Goliath choice. We are far from junking top down, paternalistic, big man rule. Regional […]Read More BJP’s Sankalp Patra – spans realism and fantasy
The recent statistical dogfight around job creation, using data as ammunition was between NITI Aayog, intent on proving that there is no slow-down in job creation or more accurately productive work and the CMIE convinced that there has been a net job loss during the Modi years, with no give on either side. Empowered elites […]Read More The common sense on jobs
Most of the major political parties in India, other than the Communist parties, do not align their electoral rhetoric within a broad, directional, policy agenda. Why should they when the outcomes from ideological monogamy have been so very poor? The demise of ideology During the 2014 general election, the share of valid votes of both […]Read More Voters dilemma – should the heart rule or the head?
This book will jolt you awake, quicken your heartbeat and embed niggling worms of anxiety in even the most sanguine of persons. The author is a gifted, American, climate journalist. He grabs your attention in the very first paragraph and keeps it for the next 231 pages of text followed by 66 pages of notes, […]Read More Lest we err and waste our planet
Rahul Gandhi’s electoral silver bullet to numb the BJP into relative disarray is a mega welfare scheme to transfer Rs 72,000 to each of the 50 million or 20 per cent of the poorest households. It costs Rs 3.6 trillion or 1.8 per cent of GDP. Mine versus yours The motivation is political – to […]Read More Nyay (Justice) yes! But at what cost?