Columns

Cryptocurrency is legit: How banking, firms and individuals all stand to gain

Cryptocurrency is a digital currency that runs on blockchain technology. This essentially means that no person or entity can control it. Both nationals and internationals can transact with the currency. India is one of the largest growing economies in the world today. The recent developments, about the Supreme Court lifting the ban on use of cryptocurrency in the country, can have a tremendous

Control and execution of functions by city governments

Importance of strengthening city governance  Cities in India contribute to about 60% of the economic output of the country, acting as the engines of economic growth [World Bank. (2020). Urbanization in India. Online available at: https://www.worldbank.org/en/n

`Undeclared emergency`? Arun Jaitley`s answer recalls dark days

A New India: Selected Writings 2014-19 By Arun Jaitley, with a foreword by Prime Minister Narendra Modi Juggernaut Books, 384 pages, Rs 799 Arun Jaitley (28 December 1952 – 24 August 2019) was a senior advocate of the Supreme Court and one of the most important leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party. He was the union minister of finance from 2014

A history of identity: remembering forgotten heroes of 1857

The column may begin by recalling quotations from two illustrious sons of pre-Independence India who were under no obligation to make any ‘appeasing’ comment. Noted Urdu critic, Dr. Abdur Rahman Bijnauri, made the following opening remarks, exactly a hundred years ago in 1920, in his book on Ghalib’s poetry: “India has two revealed books – Ved Muqadd

How we won the right to fly the tricolour

Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi, as one of the top lawyers at the Supreme Court, has helped shape the contemporary trends. In his latest work, ‘From the Trenches’ (co-authored with Satyajit Sarna, published by Juggernaut), he revisits eight defining cases of our times, and presents a view, as it were, from the trenches. Here is an excerpt from the book relating to one of them, Naveen J

The role model for an IAS officer

Anil Swarup, an IAS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre who retired in 2018, is a model bureaucrat who retained his optimism right till the end of service and exemplified dedication and commitment. His excitement at the opportunities that a job in the IAS provided is evident on every page of his new book published this year.    Anil is not afraid to speak the truth an

The greatest challenge for any government

Shouting vengeance at all and sundry while wriggling out of holes of our own making seems to be our very special national characteristic. Some recent instances are illustrative of this attribute. A number of business tycoons with thousands of crores of unresolved debts have fled abroad with the government desperately trying to bring them back by expensive and protracted litigation in foreign co

Making sense of India’s elections

With highly appropriate lyrics at the start of every chapter, combined with deep insights from rigorous analysis of data – Citizen Raj is an absolute delight to read.    In Citizen Raj, Surjit Bhalla, well known economist and commentator, looks at Indian elections from 1952 till 2019 and he does what he mentions to be his hobby which also happens to be his

The state of the Left

As we come to the close of this election season, what cannot escape even the indiscriminate eye is the decline of the organized left parties in India. Between 2004, when the Left Front had 59 MPs in the Lok Sabha, to 2014, when it had 11 MPs, the decline has been rapid and palpable. Both its national space and regional presence are shrinking.   

The real winner will be the FPTP system

The ongoing parliamentary elections are in the concluding phase/ stage. Eventually, the results will be out on May 23. A huge number of candidates are, as usual, in the fray. There are claims and counter-claims, declarations and bolder declarations, promises and astronomical promises, narratives and counter-narratives galore. Some will win - to be specific 543 - and all others will lose. Conseq

Want to win elections?

In book publishing, one of the trends for the past couple of decades has been to pick out pearls of wisdom from well known sources – philosophers, sages, novelists, economists – and package them as easy reads. Thus, we have ‘How Proust Can Change Your Life’ as well as ‘How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life’. In a series called ‘Ancient Wisdom for Modern

Why supreme court should hold a fresh inquiry

Voices say now that three honourable judges have spoken against the charges levelled against the CJI; therefore, quietus be given to the whole affair and let the matter rest there. They say the report need not be disclosed to public in view of the judgement in the case of Indira Jaising vs Supreme Court of India & Anr. (2003), which said disclosure to public would do more harm than good to

The charge of the forward brigade

The family group on WhatsApp went into a buzzing frenzy. Thumbs-ups, happy emojis, congratulatory messages. All in response to a message that made it seem as if the BBC was reporting on a survey conducted by...hold your breath...the CIA and the ISI, predicting a victory for the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Only a few wondered why the spy agencies of the US and Pakistan would conduct a s

When will the sun set on these laws?

The nature and impact of legislations promulgated by the national government is an interesting topic for study as it is possible to evaluate the quality of governance and the care and concern of elected representative towards the people of India. In the 16th Lok Sabha (2014-19), 133 bills were passed, with a substantial number of them relating to the financial sector. They include the GST bill,

Getting detailed with river water

Long-time residents of Varanasi say that among their fondest memories is of sitting on the ghats and watching dolphins frolick in the Ganga. These days though, no one sees them. “Some 25-30 years ago, dolphins were a common sight here at Assi ghat,” says Ram Kishan Nishad, a boatman. “Now, they have moved towards Chunar (upstream from Varanasi).” And Kavita Sha

In pursuit of right to equality

What’s common between Shabnam Bano, Joyita Mandal, Prithika Yashini, Manabi Bandopadhyay, Jiya Das, Kalki Subramaniam, and Laxmi Narayan Tripathi? They all are women and all ‘firsts’ in their respective fields. All of them have battled several odds to make a foray into the mainstream. They are all transwomen! Shabnam mausi is India’s first transgender MLA; Mand

A coastal wind of change

It’s early summer still in Odisha, but the state is already in the grip of an intense heat wave. In the last few weeks, many places have been regularly recording temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius and above. That doesn’t seem to have dampened the spirits of the four crore people of this state, where elections to the assembly and the Lok Sabha are being held simultaneously. Polling w

The role celebrities play in politics

In a 1992 Lok Sabha by-poll, voters of New Delhi – the power hub of the capital – were faced with an enviable choice: Rajesh Khanna of the Congress versus rising-star Shatrughan Sinha of the BJP.  The voters preferred the superstar over the non-superstar. It is not clear how Rajesh Khanna discharged his duties as an MP and served the constituency. At any rate, the choice was fr

Driving change

“Kos kos par badle paani, chaar kos par vaani,” goes the old adage, encapsulating the diversity of languages, cultures and geographies in India. At every couple of kilometres, water tastes different, and the dialect itself changes at about eight kilometres, we are told. Now that adage itself should change, because India is changing. Ironically, the change is bringing more

A boost to those who need it most

What are 600 million people? Almost twice the population of the US. What are 500 million people? About three-fourth of the population of Europe. Why are we talking about these numbers? Well, because as per a study by Sandhya Krishnan and Neeraj Hatekar (‘Rise of New Middle Class in India and Its Changing Structure, Economic and Political Weekly, June 3, 2017), 600 million is what

India Police Virtual Summit and Awards 2020

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