Columns

Are states doing as much as the centre does?

The centre and states usually have a very stormy relationship. I would want to draw attention of the readers of Governance Now to the different aspects of this relationship. We live in a federal structure of government with three levels; centre, state and the panchayati raj institutions. There are a number of legislative subjects that either belong exclusively to the centre or to the states, or

Have mercy, leave communal politics out of Afzal hanging

The more procedures, the less justice. Paraphrasing Cicero only states the fact, though, and does not even begin to unravel the sinister politics at the heart of the matter. The curious case of Mohammad Afzal, or Afzal Guru, is merely cloaked in procedures devised by ingenious governments in India to legitimise their designs to delay, thwart or subvert justice whenever they so choose. So Afzal

On Afzal Guru, Dikshit doesn’t really matter

To be fair to Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit, who handles the home portfolio, a decision on the mercy petition of Afzal Guru was destined from the start and has been nothing but a political question requiring the attention of her ‘elders’. She doesn’t have any significant role to play here except to do her elders’ bidding. So her reported ignorance of the um

Nohria euphoria

A few hours after Indian newspapers (and the rare television channel which isn’t obsessed with TRPs!) got excited over the new, incredibly gifted, IIT-trained dean of Harvard Business School, the Financial  Times posted a sobering thought. “Amidst the euphoria, Indians generally celebrate the success of their overseas compatriots on the global stage, often equating the

Welcome to coalition club

Nickeee Cleggg, Nickeee Cleggg, what a wonderful, wonderful name (sung to the tune of Nicky Arnstein from My Fair Lady). Forever written into in history for having changed it so dramatically and finally drawn the curtain on democracy’s mother parliament and her affection for bi-partisan sitting arrangements. They say it is rather like the first kiss, the first olive in the jar or k

In defence of dissent

“The one who loves my Gujarat is my soul. The one who loves my India is my God.” With these lines from his poem Narendra Modi signed off his blog of March 28, a day after he faced a 10-hour interrogation from the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT). It was a characteristic Modi intervention. He ably deflected the attention to Amitabh Bachchan an

DU lecturers must get out of comfort zone

I had hardly got admitted to the Master’s degree programme in English, when the campus got abuzz with the news of the semester system being introduced in Jammu University. There were many apprehensions in the minds of students, particularly the student leaders. And these often took the form of agitations and dharnas, disrupting the even tenor of the academic activities on the campus. Fina

What if it were Connaught Place, not Times Square?

Hillary Rodham Clinton could not contain her apparent anger when she spoke out against Pakistan in a lexicon only the secretary of state of the world’s lone super power could dare to use to chilling effect. In an interview to a news channel Clinton threatened Pakistan of dire consequences had the Times Square bomb scare been more than just that. "We`ve made it very clear that if, hea

Deciphering Sonia

A friend of mine once tried to work out the differences between the prime minister, Manmohan Singh, and the Congress party president, Sonia Gandhi. He said that it was more than a question of persona. A persona stands between mask and face, individual and role. Sonia Gandhi, he claimed, was an ecology. She was also a translator. If Singh represented government and economics, Sonia stood for gov

Why should RTI commissioners’ society get public funds?

On May 4th, 2010, Andhra Pradesh government sanctioned Rs 6 lakh to the state information commission as membership fee for the latter to join National Federation of Information Commissions in India (NFICI). Registered as a society over a year ago and headquartered in Hyderabad, NFICI is an association of information commissions (not commissioners) which is meant to be “a permanent

M S Jayalakshmi: Rebel with a cause

The setting swiftly transports you to the screen classic Sholay. In this landscape dotted with evocative rocky outcrop, you can hear the hair-raising thud of heavy boots punctuated by razor-sharp dialogue, all played out on a stereophonic soundtrack within the recesses of your mind. You shudder at the prospect of a close encounter with a Gabbar Singh, with a Sambha somewhere up there and an arr

Make the biggest contribution to Indian sport, Mr Kalmadi. Just go!

 On his website Suresh Kalmadi informs us modestly that “As President of the Indian Olympic Association, (he) got the country the first-ever gold medal in individual event (sic) at the Beijing Olympic (sic) 2008.” Perhaps it is the same modesty that prevents him from mentioning that he has also overseen the decline and fall of Indian hockey, made a mockery of the government&rsq

Will RTI changes be Manmohan`s historic betrayal?

By continuing with his plan to amend the RTI Act, 2005, riding roughshod over public sentiment, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is not only seeking to emasculate India’s most pro-people legislation ever enacted, but is also shamelessly going back on his word. “Any amendments to the RTI Act would be considered only after completing consultation with all the stakeholders and wit

No time for legislation

Scan the news channels or the newspapers for update on the current parliament session and you will come across these headlines screaming  at you: “Lok Sabha adjourned over Mumbai railway strike”, “Parliament adjourns twice after uproar over 2G spectrum issue”, “Parliament adjourned over phone-tapping issue” and so on.  The list is endless. The previ

Why Husain is in search of controversy

I have not been able to figure out why an artist’s personal choice, as a citizen or as an artist, should cause a deep political divide. If M F Husain decided to barter his nationality for whatever reasons – lofty existentialist or base commercial – it should have been  ideally treated as his own business; especially when the artist himself, while taking the decision, did

Child labour: Look beyond raid & rescue

Much has been made over the last few months regarding the passage and launch of the Right to Education Act and what it holds for the future of children’s education—access, quality, inclusion—in India.  Although there are many critics and indifferent pundits—and the fact that the RTE may fall short of directly addressing working children and children living and worki

Manmohan`s ad spiel: Sarkar bachti hai toh daag achche hain!

Even if you are just an occasional TV-watcher, you wouldn`t have missed the series of Surf Excel ads with the catchline: Agar daag se kuch achcha hota hai, toh daag achche hain (which roughly translates to "if you stain your clothes trying to help somebody, then you better stain your clothes"). If you have not seen it yet, click on the video above. Now, you mig

Let Maya be placated, government be saved, governance be damned

In Mario Puzo`s ‘Godfather’, the Sicilian mafia thrives on the culture of Omerta, or the code of silence. The consequence of violating this code is invariably a swift and ruthless execution of the non-conformist. The Indian political class appears to have devised a new model of political Omerta, which not only ensures silence but also gives protection to rivals for a bargain.

Doctor disgrace and my crying shame!

In the cacophony of the IPL saga, a more serious scam has just surfaced. More serious because it involves health and lives of more than 1.3 billion Indians. In terms of money it does not match up to the IPL rip off, but its effects, fallout and ramifications are much wider and more somber. The Medical Council of India (MCI) chief and two of his cohorts were arrested today by CBI on charges of c

That’s the way, Maruti-way!

Maruti has rolled out its millionth vehicle manufactured within fiscal 2009-10. Any global car giant would love to hold a 50 percent share of the Indian passenger car market that Maruti does. There is a lesson here on how a company can prosper even if it has the president of India as a shareholder. In fact,  Maruti is a template on just how our  much maligned politicians and bureaucra



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