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?
Terror, says our Supreme Court, is not just a heinous crime. It is crime with the intent of destabilising the Union of India and striking terror in the hearts and minds of Indians. We are not new to terror. But the digital age has made it easier for terrorists to instil fear and suspicion where […]Read More Is a 26/11 terror redux probable?
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 […]Read More #Gender & #sexuality norms #India 2018
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 […]Read More Unbundling State effectiveness – current perspectives
Economic reform has few friends. This truism is visible today as the 2003 de-licensing of power generation capacity is being unfairly fingered as the culprit for the Rs 1 trillion bank debt turning delinquent due to pending or actual bankruptcy of the power projects. De-licensing of power generation delivered what it was supposed to – […]Read More Grandfather stranded power assets equitably
Rahul Gandhi alleged, during last week’s doomed-from the-start no-confidence motion in Parliament, that corruption in the 2016 agreement signed by the Narendra Modi government to purchase 36 Rafale fighter jets from France had forced defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman to backtrack from her assurance to disclose details of the price of purchase. Parliamentary subterfuge – unnecessary, […]Read More Secrecy, privacy and property rights
This is not a glib account of mobilising the rural poor, penned by a peripatetic babu or a drive-in-fly-out development expert. It is, refreshingly, a record of activists, who elected to spend the better part of their working lives making a difference, bottom upwards, and three decades later remain rooted in their karmbhumi — village […]Read More Lives dedicated to change India
Unlike politicians, who can choose their targets, business leaders have to dance to the tune of shareholders, who buy or sell, based on the existing or the future bottom line. In politics. it is relatively easy to change the goal posts or indeed, shift the goal itself. Changing goals In India, the current metric for […]Read More India’s 50-50 reforms
Thus far, the BJP has played to a core script of development; a more effective State and muscular nationalism, fanned by Hindu revivalism and an assertive foreign policy stance. This has resulted in a “tick all the boxes” type strategy, with the central focus being on winning elections. This strategy has paid rich dividends politically. […]Read More BJP’s new script – defending the losers
The Aadhaar fever started in 2009, when the UPA government was in office. It encountered turbulent times in 2014 when the government changed. But Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a technology enthusiast, was persuaded to look beyond the past at the opportunity it gave to reduce official discretion and corruption, whilst targeting and delivering public services. […]Read More Aadhaar – catching crooks & criminals