Views

“Parents need to be taught that each child is special”

It has been a year since you took charge of the new ministry. What is your biggest worry as in charge of education in India? My first priority – and that reflects my worry as well – is to improve the quality of government schools. It’s a tough job. Unfortunately, government schools which were much better earlier have deteriorated in two decades. That h

Doklam stand-off won’t lead to “full-blown war”

India and China are not prepared for a war over Doklam plateau in Bhutan, assessed JNU professor Srikanth Kondapalli, a well-known China expert who is back  from Beijing and Shanghai after spending two months there. In a telephonic interview with Shankar Kumar, Kondapalli said both countries will not opt for war as it will be catastrophic and millions would die. &nb

Governance in India: 70 years and counting

India began her tryst with destiny almost seventy years ago, in the midnight intervening 14th and 15th August 1947. The country the British left behind was but a collection of over 600 native states and principalities, driven by internal differences, caste prejudices and severe social infirmities. The idea of India was yet to emerge. The literacy rate was 18% and the average life expectancy was

Quantum urbanism, step two, let it roll counterintuitively

Only that exceptional logician and philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein could have brought forth the limitations of human intellect in such a pithy and matter of fact manner: the limits of my language are the limits of my world. ‘What is quantum urbanism?’ is a question that has the same quality as Wittgenstein’s deep reading of the human condition. In exploring that question, we w

The wolf and the lamb

At no other moment in the history of Indian national life after Independence the dalits are as oppressed as this moment: dalits are set ablaze, slaughtered like animals on the slaughtering bench of history, and humiliated like slaves in the marketplace in full daylight. When the social hierarchy is interiorised and reduplicated within the institutionalised life of higher education like the univ

“The reforms process has been very slow”

Last year the nation marked the 25th anniversary of the launch of economic liberalisation. Back in those tumultuous days, Yashwant Sinha was an important part of the dramatis personae involved in the reforms process. As finance minister in the short-lived Chandra Shekhar government, he steered the economy during a critical phase, and later, as finance minister in the NDA government, he gave

Deadly smoke signals

There are a zillion secret reasons why people start on the one habit that has not even a single benefit, worsens their health from the very first day, uglifies their teeth and makes them smell unbearably foul, and what’s worse, is a major cause of cancer. We are speaking, of course, of smoking or otherwise ingesting tobacco. (Even alcohol in strict moderation is supposed to be good for th

Quantum urbanism: Step one, dismantle systems thinking once and for all

Feel your favourite city. The words that typically come to your mind are liberally fused with adjectives in a valiant effort to give shape to our deeply felt emotions. It is quite common to find descriptions that are a chaotic and joyful mix of traits and idiosyncrasies that one can mistake for a good friend rather than a city. Now, think your favourite city. The words that spring up are analyt

Timely delivery

Government projects typically suffer from time overrun and cost overrun. There appears to be no project management discipline, and extension of time and escalation of cost rarely attract the kind of serious attention they should. There is no system of fixation of accountability for these substantial deviations which, as a result, become the norm rather than an exception. Apart from being a refl

What India needs to do to finally become a superpower

For the past 25 years, India has been rising in stature. It is continually called an upcoming superpower but has been unable to reach the promised status. India’s importance in the world is more due to its immense population and potential as a market than any objective assessment of development. India is classified by the World Bank as a lower-middle income country below the likes of Nami

To understand Modi saga, look at the Vaghela story

Back in the early 1990s, Shankarsinh Vaghela was (or at least perceived to be) more popular of the two people running the BJP show in Gujarat. Today, the other man is the prime minister, and Vaghela is reduced to a footnote – albeit an important one – in the Narendra Modi saga.   On Friday, at a grand meeting in Gandhinagar to celebrate his birthday, V

‘Not just Muslims, everyone is in fear and awe of Yogi Adityanath’

At 70, Dr Aziz Ahmad, a well-known homeopath and politician now with Congress, still has a busy practice in Abu Bazaar, in old Gorakhpur. During working hours, the lane in which he has a clinic becomes jam-packed with patients and their vehicles. People speak of naming the lane after him. Dr Ahmad takes a dim view of Yogi Adityanath. His wife Talat Aziz was allegedly shot

“Young dalit leaders have age, situation on their side”

How do you see the rise of the Bhim Army in Uttar Pradesh?   During the last assembly elections in UP, it was a common consensus among many [dalit leaders] that we’d give one more chance to Mayawati. If she comes back, well and good. If she doesn’t, let’s give somebody else a chance. As it turned out, she could not make a comeback. P

Making words count

In 2016, 38 bills were enacted in parliament. During that year, on average, the time spent on legislative debate (without interruptions) was 23 percent in the Lok Sabha and 16 percent in the Rajya Sabha (calculated from the PRS Legislative Research data).  Time is, however, just one measure of the quality of legislative debate. Analysing the content of the debates would provide a

‘What does a saint have to do with politics?’

Vinay Shankar Tiwari, one among handful of Brahmin MLAs from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the only non-BJP MLA in the nine constituencies of Gorakhpur, shared with Governance Now his idea of an ideal city and also spoke on the Yogi Adityanath government completing 100 days. What do you have to say about &lsquo

How to put the Maharaja out of his misery

The imminent sell-off of Air India (AI) has evoked a wave of nostalgia, particularly in people of the older generation. There was a time in the 1950s and 1960s when Air India and its country cousin, Indian Airlines, were the pride of the nation; AI was our own airline which was giving tough competition to first-world airlines. Though few Indians could afford to fly then, all Indians took immens

What Kovind’s rise tells us about Modi’s leadership

Ram Nath Kovind is widely tipped to get elected as the 14th president of India. His elevation will not be without surprise. Prior to his nomination as the NDA’s candidate, few in the political circles had any idea that he would emerge as the final choice for the office of the president. The entire process leading the election of the president brings out the manner in which Narendra Modi

‘In 100 days we achieved what Akhileshji did not in five years’

Deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya speaks to Governance now on how the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh has fared so far:   You have come up with a report card of your 100 days in office after a humungous victory in  Uttar Pradesh. Please share with us some of your experiences and achievement.   I can

‘Profiteering from patients is not justified’

What is the biggest crisis India’s health care sector is going through?  It is a loaded question. As you have seen in my book [‘Do We Care: India’s Health System’ Oxford University Press, 2017], whichever party that has been in power at the federal or at the states level has not given due attention to health. The doable thing within the cons

The missing links

At its most basic level the union budget is a laundry list of the government’s projected receipts and expenditure – just like a typical household budget. But it is a document which all Indians eagerly wait for because everyone expects a discount, an exemption or a freebie. If you are slightly more curious and want to know the rationale behind the budget you would refer to the econom



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Modi govt. imposes 1.7k penalty on RIL

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