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The cost of Ease of Doing Business ranking

The ‘Ease of Doing Business’ report of the World Bank could not have come at a better time for the NDA government. The first anniversary of demonetisation, where everything from planning to execution went wrong, and whose impact had broken the back of the economy as never before, was only a week ahead when the report was released on October 31. It was just a week after announcing th

In Gujarat polls, forget conventional calculations, Modi will win hands down

Gujarat has always been a riddle for those who tend to apply conventional academic or intellectual tools to unravel the mystery. When confusion gets confounded, such analysts invent subterfuge to cover up their failures. Nothing illustrates this dilemma as starkly as the projection of the Gujarat assembly election as a Narendra Modi versus Rahul Gandhi battle. And ironically some

Rahul should stop flaunting lineage as asset

As terror mastermind Hafeez Saeed walked free in Pakistan, Rahul Gandhi tweeted to ridicule prime minister Narendra Modi’s diplomacy, and in response BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao called him a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) sympathiser. Suitably chagrined by the BJP’s counterattack, the Congress once again played the emotional card. Congress leader Anand Sharma recalled the contribution

The many legends of Padmavati

There is today a huge uproar about a film produced by Mumbai film-maker Sanjay Leela Bhansali that is rumored to contain scenes of a dream romance between Padmavati, the Rajput queen of Chittor, and the ferocious Muslim sultan Allauddin Khilji of Delhi. Paradoxically, there are a number of conflicting versions of the mythical story of Padmavati over the past 700 years. Now, an obscure Jaipur-ba

Is Beijing behind the fall of Mugabe government?

Is China behind the fall of Zimbabwe’s longest serving leader Robert Mugabe? The whole African region and the European continent are abuzz with speculation that toppling of the Mugabe government occurred at Beijing’s bidding. It took place soon after army commander Constantino Chiwenga`s return from China, which is not only a major arms supplier to the Southern Africa

The common man’s hopes and despair

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) celebrated its fifth anniversary on November 26. AAP has been a unique phenomenon in our politics: it’s the only startup of its kind, it’s the only party in recent decades to emerge out of a popular agitation, it’s the only party (outside Sikkim) to win nearly all seats going to the polls. Five years ago, AAP stood for all the hopes tha

Charity not necessarily begins at home

Policy planners may already be engaged in analysing why the country does not look cleaner than it was three years ago. The central government has launched several schemes from time to time – Total Sanitation Campaign (TSC, Vajpayee, 1999), Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (NBA, Singh, 2012), Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (SBA, Modi 2014) – for cleaning up the Augean stables, but they have not worked w

Right of mother, child to good health, well-being non-negotiable

 The United Nations General Assembly recognized November 20, 1954 as Universal Children’s Day to promote and celebrate the rights of children. On this day in 1959, the UN adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and in 1989, the Convention on the Rights of the Child. While the day is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm worldwide, let’s go beyond ceremonies today and t

Gujarat in the times of another Vikas

In October, during yet another of his visits to Gujarat, prime minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a curious range of projects in Vadodara: a transport hub and multi-level parking facility as well as a waste-to-energy plant of the municipal corporation. If there were no elections coming closer, it would have been the mayor who would’ve cut the ribbon. This, amid a rush of launching several

Finance beyond geography

Traditionally, finance has been ‘global’ in character. Over the centuries, frequent changes of regimes, combined with evolution of administrative systems, have restricted free movement of capital and discouraged free markets. With the passage of time, free trade almost became imaginary. Financial integration among industrialised nations was fast-tracked in the last t

Terrorising the terrorists

One year has passed since the Modi regime applied shock therapy to improve the functioning of the Indian economy through demonetisation on November 8, 2016. Thus, legal tender to rupee notes worth 1,000 and 500 denominations was withdrawn and 86 percent of the currency went out of circulation. It was claimed that the policy was designed to fight black money, counterfeit currency, corruption and

Rebooting employment exchanges

The Nobel Prize in economics of 2010 that went to Peter Diamond and colleagues. Their work on search costs in labour markets provided the theoretical justification for government-operated employment exchanges. The 2012 Nobel Prize that went to Alvin E Roth and Lloyd S Shapley took things even further: their work demonstrated that design is important, because equity markets provide clear analysi

To my commander

Back in the 1980s, television viewers were familiar with the multicolour, barcode-like strips that used to appear on our screens when transmission used to go off. That was probably the only colourful moment on TV at that time. At a time when Krishi Darshan and Chhayageet used to greet viewers through the sole terrestrial state-owned network Doordarshan, they did not have much of a choice. Or, r

Interlocutor’s talks with Kashmir groups break the ice – but that’s about it

After a series of consultations with various groups in Jammu and Kashmir during his visit of the state last week, the union government’s designated interlocutor and former intelligence bureau (IB) chief Dineshwar Sharma returned to Delhi and is briefing the union home ministry this week about the developments. And there are enough straws in the wind to suggest that Sharma&r

Pollution figures as an index of criminality

When prime minister Narendra Modi, accompanied by his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, was about to board his official plane to visit Varanasi about two years ago, he got a call from the then French president Francois Hollande. Hollande wanted to tell him about the progress in the ongoing Paris climate summit, known as COP 21. Modi said he would call him back after reaching Varanasi. Later, Mod

Health vs Education

Constitutionally, health and education are seen as rights resting on an equivalent platform: both are part of the fundamental right to life under Article 21, both are vested as a duty upon the state under the directive principles of state policy and basic access to both is intrinsically linked to every person’s right as a citizen of India. However, the implementation of both the rights ha

Rethinking shelter for people and communities

In the final analysis almost all of politics and most of economics are connected to three critical human needs: food, clothing and shelter. In India we know it quite intimately having seeped deep into our popular culture as roti, kapda and makaan. Of course, in India as in several other countries, the three human needs are also liberally interspersed with all sorts of cultural norms, religious

Modi meeting Karunanidhi was astute political move and an old-world courtesy

M Karunanidhi alias Kalaignar dons the hat of an outstanding scriptwriter of Tamil cinema besides being a formidable politician and Dravida Munnetra Kazhgam (DMK) chief. Yet he would have found it difficult to anticipate the turn of events that took place in Chennai recently. Prime minister Narendra Modi not only visited the ageing patriarch of Tamil politics and but also stumped

Democracy inside

When prime minister Narendra Modi laid emphasis on internal democracy within political parties during a Diwali Milan interaction with the media in Delhi, he was merely echoing the sentiments of Syama Prasad Mookherjee, the founder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS), the progenitor of the BJP. In 1950, two years before the formation of the BJS, Mookherjee wrote a “programme f

The financial “Catch-22” of Indian cities

 The United Nations General Assembly has designated October 31 as World Cities Day, which has the general theme - Better City, Better Life. It is a well known fact that by 2030 nearly 70 percent of the world’s population will be living in cities. In India where presently nearly 32 percent of the population is living in urban areas, over the next two decades nearly 300 milli



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