Independence day 2022: Looking Ahead

The annual address from the ramparts of the Red Fort is Prime Minister Modi’s prime vehicle for mass outreach, other than via his Twitter handle. His style—discursive, evocative, and expansive—suits the occasion where substance must needs take a back seat to rhetoric. All these are good reasons for not looking too deeply into the substance […]

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Tamil Nadu needs an economic reboot

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, […]

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Feeding the beast- civil service training

Mission “Karamyogi”, the Modi governments first stab at public sector capacity development, was unveiled during the pandemic in September last year—a reminder that whilst the rest of us worked languidly from home, bureaucratic wheels continued to churn albeit with reduced physical presence. The name of the Mission derives from the Bhagawad Gita—a lively, ancient, masterclass on […]

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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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