The empty canopy at India gate

Just east of India Gate –where, under the arch, an everlasting flame flickers in remembrance of martyrs – is an empty canopy built along with the rest of colonial New Delhi in the 1930s. This once housed a statue of George V – King of England when the shifting of the capital from Calcutta to […]

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Das – the new Raja of Mint Street

Babus are hugely upset, understandably so, at the less than laudatory media coverage of Shaktikanta Das, an IAS officer of the Tamil Nadu cadre who had retired as secretary, economic affairs, in the finance ministry and was appointed the 25th governor of the Reserve Bank of India last week. The first two governors of the […]

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Are elite civil service cadres becoming training schools for politicians?

It is a fashion of the times that officers of the elite Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service and Indian Foreign Service join political parties and get elected to public office. The civil service conduct rules, which require an officer to be apolitical, no longer apply once (s)he leaves government service. This approach is congruent […]

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Ajit Doval’s plain speak

Ajit Doval, India’s National Security Czar is unafraid of plain speak. But he may have overstated his case by opining yesterday that a uniform pan-India governance architecture would be best for the nation. Diversity drives political contestation and change This is not quite the way the Constitution envisages India being governed. India is undoubtedly a […]

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Babus as default tycoons

Our style of governance remains “provincial”. Of course nothing wrong in that. The French, despite being the last word in art, films, fashion and style – and now fighter planes – exult in the provincial core of their culture. The dapper President Sarkozy first became a mayor of a charming French commune – through the […]

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#Gender & #sexuality norms #India 2018

In Britain, “buggery” between consenting adults became legal in 1967. Let me hasten to assure that I use the crude term “buggery” not to mock the LGBT community. This is the physical act, defined by its antiseptic moniker “voluntary carnal intercourse against the order of nature”, which was excised from Section 377 of the Indian […]

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Unbundling State effectiveness – current perspectives

Context is everything. No one model exists of an effective State. Hugely diverse countries like India can benefit from a modular approach enabling sub-national jurisdictions to shape their State architecture taking into account their context, the available resources and their dreams. The last is important. “Dreams” -as opposed to short-term ambition- are a mix of […]

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