When is a bill only a “half bill”? The answer (borrowing from Chetan Bhagat’s bestseller Half Girlfriend) — when it just tables good intentions but defers real benefits till later- like the draft Digital Personal Data Protection Bill circulated recently for comment by the ministry of electronics and information technology. In these lean times, as […]Read More Personal Data only Half Protected by new Digital Data Bill
Elections are to democracy what financial markets are to the economy. Elections channel the flow of political power, from the people to the government via political parties, which act like asset management companies in financial markets, enhancing market contestability and assuring stability. The absence of an omnibus law to regulate elections and political parties in […]Read More Regulating Political Parties and Opaque Election Finance
Prime Minister Narendra Modi advocated India becoming a developed nation by 2047, as the new national aspiration, on Independence Day this year. This brings to the fore the chicken and egg question – is the relationship between development and becoming rich sequential, does one lead to the other, and if so, which one comes first? […]Read More Can India become developed before it becomes rich?
Summer used to be a languid period, of taking time off from the hectic activity of the fiscal year closing, schools shutting down for long vacations, job relocations and new beginnings. No longer. And it is not just because the BJP works all year around at remaining the number one political entity. Annual ministerial jaunts […]Read More Summer blues: Working Through the headwinds
The dominant view is dire on the impact of the proposed roll back of the three Farm Laws, enacted in haste in 2020, even as the pandemic raged. Opinion is divided whether it is proof of the government’s shallow commitment to deep reform or that it proclaims doom for agriculture, which has committed Hara-kiri by […]Read More The upside of farm laws repeal
The tremors from the fall of Kabul are likely to be felt far and wide – most keenly in nations transiting away from traditional identities to modern forms of nationalism. Dampening conflict through developmental assistance as a carrot for winning hearts and minds and measures to empower national governments, have been standard international tools for […]Read More Picking up the pieces in Kabul
Livability in a city, over the past 18 months is strongly influenced by the extent of the ravages unleashed by the COVID-19 virus. The Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) annual survey done in February 2021, “The Livability Index”, focuses on the pandemic’s impact on city rankings. It is a relief that no Indian city is in […]Read More Indian cities: Victims of outdated political-economy constructs
Tamil is an ancient language which jostles Sanskrit on antiquity but remains in vibrant, modern use. It is also a cultural identity. Post-Independence, in 1947, the erstwhile Madras Presidency became the Madras State within the Union of India. In 1956, its borders were redrawn to shed the non-Tamil speaking peripheral areas of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, […]Read More Tamil Nadu needs an economic reboot
The tragic snafu over making sufficient oxygen available to meet the spike in demand from COVID-related morbidity is a red flag for an underlying malaise—of overlapping mandates, state governments enfeebled by decades of Union government spoon feeding, and under capacitated local government. Sadly, state governments have voluntarily accepted this hollowing out of their core functions. […]Read More Repurposing governance- trim the fat in state governments
India spends around just under 2% of its GDP on managing external threats as a core sovereign function of the Union government. By all accounts, this arrangement works well. Two generations of Indians since 1965, have never known war personally, except those brave hearts, who chose to take upon themselves, the weighty task of protecting […]Read More Who’s in charge here?