Columns

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,

Yogi Adityanath is the right choice. Here’s why

Did the choice of Yogi Adityanath as Uttar Pradesh chief minister surprise you? He faces numerous criminal cases for his alleged role in communal violence, but he says these are political cases, and that he is not a professional criminal. He is known for communal speeches, but he claims he speaks out only against anti-nationals and not the Muslim community. Yet, platitudes apart, neithe

Making Aadhaar mandatory for filing IT returns violation of constitution

The media reported very disturbing news on Tuesday. The government is seeking to amend the Income Tax Act, 1961 and to make it compulsory for taxpayers to have an Aadhaar card for filing income tax (IT) returns. If the Aadhaar number or the Aadhaar enrolment number is not provided by a taxpayer at the time of filing IT returns, after July 1, 2017, the permanent account number (PAN) will be tr

From the Poet PM

Like Atal Behari Vajpayee before him, prime minister Narendra Modi is a poet. He has written quite a few poems in Gujarati. On the occasion of World Poetry Day (March 21), Governance Now presents two short poems by the prime minister that reveal another side of his personality. They are excerpted from `A Journey: Poems by Narendra Modi`, translated from Gujarati by Ravi Mantha, and pub

J&K RTI Act: Poor state of affairs even after eight years

The J&K Right to Information Act (J&K RTI Act) enters its ninth year of implementation. A study of the official websites of 230 public authorities under the J&K government conducted by J&K RTI Movement and CHRI reveals that compl

Sustainable health care model possible in India

Book: Health Care Reforms in India: Making up for lost decades Author: Rajendra Pratap Gupta Publisher: Reed Elsevier India Pvt. Ltd. Pages: 456 Price: Rs 995 Year: 2016

The battle to access affordable medicines heats up

Tobeka Daki, a single South African mother and health activist from the eastern Cape, died fighting breast cancer in November last year. Her oncologist had told Tobeka that she needed trastuzumab – a life-saving WHO essential medicine for the treatment of HER2+ breast cancer – in addition to undergoing chemotherapy. However, three years after her diagnosis, Tobeka died becau

Budget & Tourism

It’s a well-known fact that Indian citizens are a well-travelled lot. Our citizens contribute significantly to the tourism spends in countries such as Switzerland, UAE and Singapore. On the other hand, the attractiveness of India as a tourist destination has improved only marginally over the years, and much remains to be done in this regard.  The Tourism Att

On the edge: Not city, not village

Indian cities have been growing exponentially. As modern urban citizens, we give little thought to the dynamics of this expansion. Mainstream thinking focuses on the imperatives of creating cosmopolitan cities. In the post-liberalisation era, governments have given a boost to urban expansion by creating incentives for special economic zones and urban corridors. The growth of outsourcing

Designing a new defence economic strategy

Over the past three years, there has been a marked focus on implementing defence procurement reforms. Many are of the opinion that India’s focus on defence procurement reforms is unique. However, this is not true. India’s focus on defence procurement reforms reflect a worldwide trend. The US, UK, Australia and China are pursuing and implementing procurement reforms. India ha

Why Delhi – or for that matter any Indian city – can’t become London

A stretch of road running about a couple of kilometres in east Delhi is very much the core of deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia’s constituency. In recent months, the civic authorities (which do not come under Sisodia’s command) forcibly removed from the footpaths people why used to run their small-time business from there: tea vendors, washer men and the like. That

Towards a republic of bits, bytes, blazing bps

  The lumbering waddle of the Indian internet has been a rich fount of humorous tropes. It fuels a sub-culture that shines an unflattering spotlight on a truth that’s comic and tragic in equal measure. Sample this: slow internet is more painful than breaking up with your girlfriend. Funny. But a trope is a rhetorical device, an easy to grasp intellectual essence that of

WTO in the age of protectionism

The major upsetting of political apple carts globally in the past year has serious ramifications for multilateral establishments. With increasing clamour against immigrants and “unfair” trade practices, and the imperative to provide jobs to an estimated 201 million unemployed people in the world, protectionist rhetoric has found resonance in wide swathes of the world’s populat

The unbearable weight of scorched earth

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in independent analyses, have declared 2016 the hottest year since 1880. Scientists have said that the planet witnessed three consecutive years of record heat.  The rise in global temperature in these years has been mostly due to human influence. Accordin

The power of a meal

In 2000, we set out on an uncharted journey. Neither did we have any strategy nor any idea about how far we could go. I still remember the day when we took the first meal to a government school. The children loved it. I did not believe that we would go with food the next day as well, but we did, and now we have been doing this for seventeen years. The Akshaya Patra Foundation was

Cash Donations: More opacity – with legal backing too

While presenting the budget, the finance minister made an announcement about making donations to political parties more transparent. If the proposals to amend the relevant laws are approved by parliament, from April 2017 donations to political parties can be made in cash only up to Rs 2,000; payments of higher value will be only through cheques or digital mode and donors will be able to buy &ls

When doctors rock the cradle

Sex selection for some feminists is ‘sexist’ and sex selective abortion considered a form of ‘femicide’, regardless of the preferred sex orientation, the location of the practice, or the birth order of the child. India’s child sex ratio (CSR), the primary indicator of missing girls in India, is the lowest since independence at 918 girls per 1,000 bo

Hungama over hamam humour

Prime minister Narendra Modi’s comment on his predecessor Manmohan Singh’s alleged practice of using a raincoat in the bathroom has been met with hostile reactions. It’s difficult to figure out why there’s so much fuss about the simple statement. Yes, the bathroom is usually not far from the toilet or the bedroom, and the remarks launch a new category of

When Delhi patiently waited for Sasikala to implode

 A supreme court verdict on Tuesday put paid to Sasikala Natarajan’s dream of becoming the chief minister of Tamil Nadu, and practically cleared the way for caretaker chief minister O Panneerselvam to continue to govern the state. The apex court found Sasikala, an aide of late chief minister J Jayalalithaa, guilty in a two-decade-old corruption case. She will have to spend

Everyone’s public policy

Democracy today is changing. It is not a passive exercise anymore where the only participation from citizens was electing governments periodically. Rather, it is proactive today – citizens know more and demand more. In the process, policy formulation is evolving as well. Rece

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