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Tracking locomotives in real time

If you have ever used Indian Railways’ National Train Enquiry System (NTES) web portal or mobile app to check your train’s location, then chances are that you might have received inaccurate information. The absence of location tracking

Immunisation programme needs a shot in the arm

Health of a nation doesn’t only mean economic health; it also means physical and mental health of its people, especially the children who are the future citizens. Immunisation may well be the answer to economic well-being as it stems disab

Why not limit the big, fat Indian wedding?

It’s easier said than done, as the Indian weddings are just getting bigger and fatter by the day. And mind you the brash celebration is not just restricted to the business honchos who invite international pop stars to perform at their weddin

Why not legalise gambling?

Life is a gamble everywhere. But in India, different states have different laws on gambling, lotteries, casinos. And betting on games, perfectly legal in many countries, is not allowed anywhere in India. That a betting network flourishes undergrou

Why not nationalise cricket administration

Other than climate and of course politics, cricket is the most popular topic of conversation among strangers. Bollywood too does not cover as much geography as the game inherited from the colonial masters does. Like Bollywood, cricket has an ugly

Why not let AI manage traffic?

In a J.G. Ballard short story called *The Subliminal Man*, the expressways have rubber studs, spaced progressively apart in the lanes for 40, 50, 60, and 70 miles per hour. The tyre treads and the studs intermesh to produce a smooth hum only if th

Why not offer basic income to all?

Universal basic income (UBI) has been the buzz in policy circles since global downturn. Arvind Subramanian, former chief economic adviser to the finance ministry, championed the idea and devoted a full chapter to it in the Economic Survey of 2016-

Why not have time zones in India?

It`s an idea rejected by the central government many times over - the latest in December 2018. India must remain united by a single time, the government reasoned, because coordination between zones for transport, railways, bank work, security agen

A maker and marker of development

The fifth edition of the Global Nutrition Report was released in Bangkok, Thailand, on November 29, 2018 during the event titled ‘Accelerating the end of hunger and malnutrition’, which saw participation from key decision-makers, resea

Why not have nationwide prohibition?

 What would be the one thing you would do if you are prime minister for the time it takes to throw a lemon up in the air and catch it? Mahatma Gandhi’s answer, the anecdote goes, was that he’d ban alcohol. The notion of the whole

Why not allow people to propose laws?

Democracy is people’s own rule, but the billion-plus people of India cannot gather in one place to frame laws. So we elect representatives who, theoretically speaking, draft laws on our behalf. In practice, much can get lost in translation.

Why not have only public healthcare, education?

It happens in the US, UK and many other developed countries, then why not in India? The word ‘sarkari’ is scary enough for the Indian middle class, leave alone the elite. Even as the admission season approaches there are kilometre-long

Why not have regional benches of SC?

It will kill two birds with one stone. Or rather three. It will not only reduce the number of pending cases with the apex court, which is 57,987 as of June 2018, but will also provide litigants from the southern, eastern and western parts of the c

Why not make rich farmers pay tax?

Before Narendra Modi replied with the now-famous greeting of “Puducherry ko Vanakkam”, a BJP worker was telling him in a party-organised video conference that the government was “only busy collecting tax in all manner and in all

The why not game

A few years ago, we could have suggested, why not do away with `1,000 notes. We could have also suggested that the planning commission is anyway founded on an executive fiat and can be done away with another since it does not serve any logical pur

Indian Railways 2018: Major achievements and challenges

 At a time when Indian Railways claims that it has achieved many milestones in 2018, there are numerous areas where the national transporter needs to turn its focus and improve its services. The railways say that it not only unveile

On the edge of the sickle

Farmers have at last forced the nation to sit up and take notice of what they are enduring. They marched to Delhi to protest. Then the assembly elections happened, and the defeat of the ruling BJP in three of its bastions – Rajasthan, Madh

Quit, or patch up!

Should  e-cigarettes, nicotine patches, other nicotine-replacement therapies, and heat-not-burn (HNB) tobacco products be encouraged? Are they less harmful than smoking and traditional ways of taking tobacco? The current tobacco debate, as

Governance of the self

The Razor’s Edge, a 1944 novel by Somerset Maugham, explores the dichotomy between materialism and spirituality. The title is derived from a line of Katha Upanishad: “The sharp edge of a razor is difficult to pass over; thus the wise s

A Harish Chandra parable gone wrong

The recent conviction of former coal secretary Harish Chandra Gupta and other officers by a CBI court in a case relation to allocation of a coal block in West Bengal has raised many questions relating to governance. The case arose from a CBI inves

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