Repurposing governance- trim the fat in state governments

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. […]

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Who’s in charge here?

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 […]

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Is Delhi democratically enfeebled?

A bill approved by both houses of Parliament last week March  2021, will sharply reduce the Delhi’s Government’s ability to act independently of the Lieutenant Governor (LG), an appointee of the President of India (ergo the Union government). Every executive decision has now to be referred to the LG. Similarly, whilst the Delhi Assembly can legislate, […]

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Decentralize to empower the bottom of the income pyramid

Over the last three decades, it has become customary to disregard the fears of the “little woman” at the bottom of the income pyramid, as mere misinformed or worse—unenlightened, unreasonable insecurity. Unrequited love for markets After all, markets, if regulated appropriately, have delivered wonderfully and poorer economies have benefited more than developed ones. South Asian […]

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India till 2030- Testing the marginal utility of political stability

A decadal “look ahead,” even as geopolitical, technological and environmental disruptions push uncertainty to worrying levels, closely resembles a fool’s wager. The upside, however, is an even chance of getting it right, just like everyone else. DOMESTIC POLITICS — The silence of stability Our biggest challenges will emerge from domestic politics. The political threats are […]

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Marching alone

One of the realizations, home-spun by Covid in India, is that there is value to “atmanirbharta” (ANB) or self-reliance – the capacity to march alone, if necessary. An admirable attribute except that “aloneness” creeps up silently on you like a habit, difficult to shake off. Looked at more cheerily, it is not so different from […]

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Post Diwali sentiment boosters

The win in Bihar for the BJP- JD(U) combine, presages continue strength to the NDA at the center and a potential spread across more states. This is a source of anxiety for those who miss the more lassiez faire approach of previous governments, where the “dharma of coalitions” restricted strong-arm action on any front. BJP […]

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