Is hubris slowing down Modi?

So when does hubris — the corrosive comfort of undiluted power — overtake a government? Conventional wisdom points to three early red flags. First, when routine tasks are ignored for grand ambitions. Second, when party cadres act out of entitlement rather than commitment. Third, when rant replaces reason as public outreach. Has this already happened […]

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Template Rashtrapati

Presidential elections in India are a ho-hum event for the average citizen. At best, this is a moment when the government “signals” its political identity or its governance style. The BJP-led NDA government has succeeded in the former but not the latter. Shivshankar Menon, national security adviser in Dr Manmohan Singh’s government, uses the “minimum […]

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Mixed signals stifle innovation

Photo credit: everettlaw.com Weird as it may sound, despite the rhetoric around innovation and private entrepreneurship being key for growth, this is not the consistent message emanating from government policy and regulations. Here are three examples. Ideological neutrality versus enlarging access to the internet First, consider that TRAI caved-in, in February 2016 to the “shrill […]

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SmartCities: Making the rich smarter

The latest public “dog and pony show”, unveiled on Thursday in Delhi, is the selection of 20 cities across the richest 11 states of India for accessing the governments Smart Cities fund. Photo credit: smartcitiesindia.com The near-complete exclusion of the poor “cow belt” states, except Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, can be explained by the need […]

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President Hollande’s musings on India

You have to hand it to the French. They look effortlessly stylish- think Christine Lagarde, the French Managing Director of the IMF. Even when they wear plain work clothes they come encased in an inherited frisson of elegance- the 1789 French revolution, it seems,  diffused aristocratic elegance more evenly rather than destroying it all together, as […]

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Sarkari pay: Too much love

A picture is worth a thousand words. Even the Oxford dictionary has conceded as much by admitting the emoji “tears of joy” as the first ever “pic-ord” which sums up the prevailing worldwide emotion of relief at even small mercies. This emoji must have resonated with the 10 million employees and pensioners of the Union […]

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Afro-India: claiming the 21st century

Shared Dreams, Shared Destiny” screams the banner welcoming African delegates to the Third Indo-Africa Forum Summit. Forty heads of state are in attendance, along with dozens of ministers and 2,000 officials. Day one, Monday, got off to a shaky start. The press meet was termed a “damp squib” by one leading financial daily. Most delegations […]

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