Columns

A place of local democracy in pandemic governance: The case of Mumbai

Democracy in India is now taken for a fact, with an unstated assumption that all our institutions are democratic and hence often our successes and more often failures are attributed to ‘democracy’. However, a key frontier where democracy remains a challenge is that of local governments and that too in cities. In times of pandemic, the skin-deep veneer of democracy is also given up i

How India is quietly resetting its economic engagement with China

For all intents and purposes, India is going to reset its relations with China and a subtle hint to this regard has been given by the Narendra Modi government after the deadly June 15/16 night face-off between the Indian army and PLA troops in the Galwan Valley in which 20 Indian soldiers lost their lives.   From political to economic to strategic, at every level India has s

Sino-Indian stand-off: An opportunity in reimaging India

After the Galwan Valley incident of June 15, in which our brave army fought valiantly and thwarted Chinese incursion, recent reports as appearing in various publications suggest Chinese troops have come back in larger numbers to the area near the Line of Actual Control (LAC). In other words, de-escalation efforts are getting negated, and we have to prepare for the worst, while hoping for the be

When the computer screen doubles as a blackboard

How does video-conferencing affect us mentally, behaviourally and physically? Is it counter-productive? Do we have the technological infrastructure to facilitate this transition from the physical to the online world? Sadly, the answers to these questions are not promising. Students all over the world are sitting in a corner and staring at miniature screens, seeing their pixelated

Corona warrior to PM: Curb media’s negativity

 Respected Narendra Modi ji,   Let me take this opportunity to compliment the Government of India for managing the Covid crisis diligently. Being a novel virus with unknown behaviour and treatments, it is not an easy task. At the same time, the exemplary patience and perseverance of the citizens of India must be acknowledged, who continue to brave this epidemic d

What will Covid-19 promote on world stage: collaboration or competition?

 Coronavirus is the proverbial last nail in the coffin of globalization. Following this pandemic, we shall be constrained to live in a changed world. The claims of global solidarity and international cooperation have been decimated amidst this pandemic. This can be seen in the recent heightening of US-China tensions – a natural corollary of the Chinese origin of the virus and the Ame

How Covid-19 can be a boon to slash tobacco disease burden

 The two-month Covid-19 lockdown has been both a bane and a boon for India’s 27 crore tobacco users. With tobacco not included in the list of essential goods and many states explicitly banning chewing tobacco over concerns of spitting, the sharp drop in availability has forced them to undergo withdrawals, but for many it has lit a desire to quit altogether. This presents a rare oppor

Harnessing the demographic capital: how effective are skilling programmes?

Probing data concerning increased job creation and the decline in unemployment has been holding the attention of economists and been subject of discussions in several think tanks in the preceding months. The NITI Aayog reports that 3.53 million new jobs were created between September 2017 and February 2018 and 7 million people could have been added to the payroll in fiscal 2018. These numbers a

China is practicing attack as the best form of defence

For the rest of the world, it is not easy to understand China when it comes to politics or economics. Under pressure from the international community, it has accepted to open the country for a “comprehensive” probe into the origin of the deadly coronavirus. But it is not clear whether the Asian giant will work well up to the satisfaction of the probe team when it comes to investigat

Covid-19: What needs to be done

There are two sides to the coin of the Covid-19 disaster. The heads is the heads; i.e., lives of the people. The tail side is the economic damage sustained by almost every sector. In other words, the effective response to this problem has to take into consideration not only the direct and plainly visible impact of the crisis, that is, the threat to lives of particularly older persons with under

Coronavirus is a test of India’s cooperative federalism

In the current times, every country across the globe is engaged in a battle against Covid-19. The architecture of a country`s constitution influences it’s response to this pandemic – authoritarian countries` response is quite different from that of democratic countries. The Constitution of India provides for a federal system of government, wherein the purview/demarca

The problematic march of the Great Indian Bureaucracy toward reopening of economy

Fear is the Indian bureaucrat’s best friend. As the fear of Covid-19 grips people, an opportunity has arisen—for the regulatory inspectors to make the country dance to their tunes. Taking advantage of the doctrine of ‘necessity’, and under the garb of self-defined ‘emergency’ powers, central and state governments have issued a bunch of guidelines, which seek

What treating TB has taught me about treating Covid-19

In slums like Govandi in Mumbai people live in tin and tarpaulin structures of 5x5 feet or a maximum 8x10 ft. These duplex homes with open toilets have no windows, kitchens and bathrooms. Even bringing in a dead body is difficult because there is no space for passage in narrow alleys. These people are hard-working migrants. In Dharavi where population is about 10 lakhs (officially), in normal c

Fiscal responsibility laws in the time of Covid-19

At a time when countries around the globe are trying to save human lives from the Novel Coronavirus outbreak, addressing other issues, for example, containing the economic distress caused by it, is also a major challenge before them. As an easy way, most of them have responded with an infusion of relief packages into the economy. No doubt, this step is rightly aimed at reviving the economy in t

E-Gram Swaraj portal: the revolutionary first step

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the unified e-Gram Swaraj portal and mobile app on the National Panchayati Raj Diwas. The eGram Swaraj portal/app will provide panchayats a single interface to prepare and implement their gram panchayat development plan (GPDP). The PM said, “Now, broadband has reached more than 1.25 lakh panchayats. Not only that, the number of common service centres

China will face new diplomatic challenges in post-Covid world

In his interaction with Indian overseas students from the UK, Canada, Singapore, Europe and Australia through video-conferencing on April 26, union minister of road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari made a very weighty statement marked with geopolitical connotations. He said India needs to meet not only local demand but also “cater to global market as many companies and countries are l

How Covid-19 may impact India’s solar sector

This analysis originally appeared on the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) website.  The COVID19 pandemic is spreading and affecting countries across the globe and bringing economies to a halt. The solar industry at large and also in India is not in

India wins world’s heart with hydroxychloroquine

Whatever may be the reason behind US president Donald Trump’s irksome statement against India and then within 24 hours correcting it by making placatory remarks for prime minister Narendra Modi, India has suddenly gained prominence across the world as the key manufacturer of hydroxychloroquine which is believed to be the miracle drug in the fight against the deadly coronavirus. Besides th

Jallianwala Bagh: 101 years of injury

Also read previous columns on similar themes: Let us recall the makers of a nation       

Let’s get frontline health workers ready for fight against coronavirus in rural India

COVID-19, the virus that began its world tour from a city in central China, has spread around the planet. As of April 11, this pandemic has caused over 1.6 million cases and the death toll as crossed the 1,00,000 mark. In the absence of any vaccine, the health systems around the world are struggling to contain this pandemic. While the efforts to develop a vaccine for this virus are on, the expe



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