So, the laddoos will remain to be savoured in the spanking new BJP headquarters. But formal celebrations are delayed. The results cannot be announced till 5 vote-verified-paper-audit-trail (VVPAT) per assembly segment are matched with the vote count of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVM)– a concession the Supreme Court gave to the wailing opposition parties who […]Read More Modi 2.0 Benign Ambition
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
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?
A single event gives rise to asymmetric consequences- intended or otherwise. If you fall down the stairs and hurt yourself – it’s an unintended disaster for you and your family. But to the doctor and her staff patching you up, it’s an entirely expected consequence. For a colleague, who steps in for you at work, […]Read More Elections and the law of consequences
We Indians are peculiar. At least 40 per cent of us have barely benefited from Independence. Another 40 per cent have benefited only somewhat. This skewed income profile pulls our per capita income down to $1,820 (current 2017), close to the bottom at number 173 out of 229 economies (World Bank 2017). The real beneficiaries […]Read More Why India’s 20% club loves the status quo
Agriculture’s contribution to economic value addition is shrinking worldwide. But that is cold comfort for the families of 118 million small and marginal farmers in India, comprising 85 per cent of the 139 million land holdings. Agriculture is privately owned and managed. We cannot blame our ersatz socialist past for its poor productivity —one-half in […]Read More Indian agriculture – nudged out by urban bias
Over 125 years ago, in May 1893, a diminutive, young lawyer boarded a first-class train compartment at Durban on his way to his new workplace in Pretoria, South Africa. At Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, in the middle of the chilly night, over 500 km short of his destination, he was evicted. He had a valid ticket. […]Read More Gandhism – ethics? or just good politics.
Today we found the grandfatherly chief minister of Haryana Mohan Lal Khattar smiling at us out of a half-page advertisement, paid for by taxpayers, announcing an “unprecedented decision” of his government. From October 1, 2018 onwards, electricity customers consuming less than 500 kilowatt hours per month would pay between 16 to 47 per cent less […]Read More Electric subsidy – Haryana’s burden of riches
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