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Lokpal can be set up without LoP, yes, but who’s in hurry?

If it was needed at all, the supreme court has cleared the air. The Lokpal Act, it has ruled, is perfectly implementable even without the pending amendments. The interpretation from the apex court is welcome, but the government does not seem to be in any hurry to appoint the ombudsman in the first place. A bench of justices Ranjan Gogoi and Navin Sinha on Thursday

Why India needs a bullion bank

India’s affinity for gold is a well-known fact, so is its dependence on gold imports to meet the domestic demand. More than 98 percent of the gold consumed in the country is met through import, while the rest is met through recycled domestic gold. In 2015-16, India imported 926 tonnes of gold.  Ironically, despite this huge appetite for gold and such massive imports,

“The focus area is to minimise pendency, do more quality work”

The functioning of a national commission, be it NHRC, NCSC or NCST, depends on its head. Being the chief information commissioner (CIC), what is your vision for CIC?  And what has been your experience so far? The chief information commissioner and ten information commissioners (ICs) are creation of the Act. What the Act defines is general superint

Freedom of speech is an index of maturity of a society: Author Githa Hariharan

How do you view the state of contemporary Indian literature? Our cultural spaces are in a bad state – and this affects the writing, publishing and reading of literature. Over the last few years, we have seen far too many cases of the self-appointed thought police intimidating writers. From the Tamil writer Perumal Murugan to the young Kannada poet Huchangi

Civil services day: Administrating administration

Civil services day observed on April 21 every year is according to the government “an occasion for the civil servants to rededicate themselves to the cause of citizens and renew their commitment to public service and excellence in work”. On this particular day in 1947, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, expressing his thoughts to the first batch of civil servants, pressed on

For healthy and mature future leaders

In a bid to educate the adolescent population of India – the largest in the world, the health ministry, in partnership with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), rolled out a nationwide programme in February, under which around 1.6 lakh boys and girls will work as peer educators in the country. The programme called Sathiya – a part of the centre’s Rashtriya Kisho

Changing with climate change

In 2050 the USA and China would each have contributed around 16 percent of global cumulative emissions, while India’s share will be a mere eight percent even though it would be the second largest economy. This would require the country to become rule-makers and not just rule-takers to ensure that major emitters do not shift the problem to others. At India’s insistenc

“Right to health should have been part of the Health Policy”

  To evaluate the new health policy, we turned to a leading expert in this area, Dr K Srinath Reddy, president of the Public Health Foundation of India. The former head of the department of cardiology at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, a Padma Bhushan awardee and advisor to the Odisha government, Reddy talks to Archana Mishra about the importance

For a cycle of change

Mansukh Mandviya is in his mid-40s and also looks young for a central minister, but he is not a novice in politics. When he first became MLA in Gujarat, in 2002, he was barely 30. An ABVP product, Mandviya is a Rajya Sabha member. As a minister of state, he looks after two ministries which take care of five sectors crucial to the economy. In a freewheeling chat with Pankaj Kumar

Why a hero gets a zero

Remember Sanjiv Chaturvedi? The one who won the 2015 Ramon Magsaysay for his crusade against corruption. The whistle-blower officer has been facing difficulties from various regimes, and the latest is the BJP.  The 2002-batch IFS officer received his appraisal for 2015-16 in January. And the health ministry gave him a zero grading.    Iro

Kashmir’s second stone age

Kanni jang’, or the fighting with stones, is an expression in Kashmiri language for a street clash between two rival camps. These fights would see a lot of bile flowing around and stones being hurled by members of rival groups at each other. For the onlookers – who would gather in no time – it was somewhat innocuous game and entertainment as everyone knew the stones ar

Yet another RTI activist is killed. And govt rules propose to drop his queries

 "Another one bites the dust, another one bites the dust uh.. and another one, and another one". Apro dikro (our lad) Freddie Mercury`s hit song from the 1980s is in real danger of becoming the RTI anthem for India. With the murder of RTI activist Suhas Haldankar in Pimpri-Chinchwad area of Pune district in Maharashtra last Sunday, Maharashtra accounts for 16 instances

REIL’s growth potion: Hop, skip and jump

Rajasthan Electronics and Instruments Limited (REIL), is one of the few profit-making mini ratna central public sector companies. REIL will now become an independent central public sector enterprise as the government has decided to hive it off from its parent company, Instrumentation Ltd. REIL managing director AK Jain talks to Pragya Gupta about the c

Champaran Satyagraha and a long lost diary

 To tell exactly when the Champaran Satyagraha actually started would be little difficult. However, it was April 10 when Gandhi set out for his journey in Bihar and this month marked the hundredth year of Gandhi’s remarkable experiment of Satyagraha in indigo producing villages. Before Gandhi reached Champaran, a villager who spoke Bhojpuri and Hindi ran from pillar to post t

Gandhi gave a master class in political action 100 years ago

The Champaran movement, now a century old, was the country’s “first direct object-lesson in Civil Disobedience”, says Gandhi in the autobiography. [The term used in the Gujarati original, ‘Satyagraha’, is not used even once in the English translation, preferring the term coined by HD Thoreau.]   As Gandhian satyagrahas go, Cha

Proposed RTI rules: Point and counter-point

The Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions has published a `factual position` about the content of the Draft Right to Information Rules, 2017 that seek to replace the existing RTI Rules notified in 2012. The text of this clarification is copied below. Our preliminary comments on the `factual position` are given after the text of the same: Press Information Bureau 

Is runaway taxation stifling the Indian economy?

An archetypal Indian, let us call him Ram Lal, pays water tax, municipal tax, road tax, house tax, sales tax, central sales tax, professional tax, value added tax, octroi,  service tax, excise duty, customs duty and myriad other taxes. Then, on whatever money is left with him, Ram Lal has to pay income tax. Ram Lal has also to pay a number of cesses and duties – education ces

The secret of Modi’s success

Here is a proposition: Narendra Modi is the top  thinker, the top intellectual of our times. Is that an exaggerated claim? Not altogether. Here’s why. After Brexit and after Trump, intellectuals, especially in the west, are busy guessing what exactly is going on in the world, what the masses are thinking. A sampling of their titles will give an idea: Age of Anger,

Road accidents claim 1.5 lakh lives a year

Road accidents are possibly the biggest invisible killers, claiming more lives than terrorism, cancer or any other factor. In 2015, there were about five lakh road accidents in India, which killed about 1.5 lakh people and injured about five lakh people, writes Prachee Mishra in a note published by PRS Legislative Research. India, as a signatory to the Brasilia declaration, aims

“Criticism of demonetisation was not properly articulated. This made the other message dominant.”

Demonetisation was purportedly ordered to fight black money, render counterfeit currency unusable, and choke terror-funding. How much of that did demonetisation really accomplish, while causing so much pain to so many? That is the question C Rammanohar Reddy, an economist who edited the sober, solid and influential Economic and Political Weekly (EPW) for over a decade, tries to answ



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