Columns

Ten mistakes NAC made on food bill

Jean Dreze, development economist and a member of the National Advisory Council (NAC) which finalized its recommendations on the proposed food security law, has aptly summed up the final outcome in his dissent note: “An opportunity has been missed to initiate a radical departure in this field. The NAC proposals are a great victory for the government – they allow it to appear to be d

From entitlement to enlightenment

Robert Vadra, son-in-law of Congress Party president Sonia Gandhi, has claimed in a newspaper interview that he can win from anywhere if and when he chooses to contest an election. The businessman from Moradabad known for supplying the marital surname to Priyanka Gandhi did not rule out the prospect of joining politics at a later date but added that he would do so only when he felt he could mak

The Commonwealth Blames

Now that the proverbial dust has settled on the execution of the fault-ridden games, it is time for another execution – guillotine, if you please, that would finally settle the real scores. To that extent the declarations of intent by the Government of India are laudatory but, as always, discreetly deceptive. The clamour for a Comptroller Auditor General’s [CAG] enquiry into the gam

Such a sorry journey

An acclaimed novel, taught at a university for several years, can be removed from the syllabus overnight because somebody’s son wants to make his political debut hitting the right note. The party in power, which claims to be somewhat more tolerant and inclusive than the opposition party of this father-son duo, rushes to justify this ban. Enthused by the camaraderie cutting across party li

CWG inquiry report 2010 - in 2010!

Rather than hang about 27 years till the CWG 2010 Inquiry Committee presents its interim report on all the mudslinging that will start post the closing ceremony I thought, what the heck, let me make my own Commission and indict folks already. After deep thought and reflection these are my observations and recommendations. At the outset find the person who paid the drummers Rs 1,000

RTI meets Swiss banking

The Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to disclose to the RTI applicant, V R Chandran, an estimate of black money deposited by Indians in Swiss banks. Also see: Swiss banks don`t want to hide, so we don`t wa

Poor governance preceded partisan governor

In Bangalore’s Vidhana Soudha, history is repeating itself as farce. Even as governor HR Bhardwaj has set October 14 as the fresh deadline for the Yedyurappa government to prove its majority on the floor of the house, the course of events from here on seems quite predictable. Having lost the majority, the BJP will use every trick of the trade to avoid the floor test. The BJP h

The resort as the first politics of the scoundrel

Scoundrels, politics and resorts have an enduring relationship. As the elected leaders in Karnataka have shown, not for the first time, the resort is the first politics of the scoundrel. When in doubt, turn dissident, and lap up the goodies on offer; such goodies as an all-expenses-paid holiday to a popular resort where your silence is golden, although sometimes its opposite can be platinu

Faith as fact of life

The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court has paradoxically perturbed an entire generation for the same reason as it has relieved the others. It seems to have placed faith over fact, mythological epic over documentary evidence, legend over law, unsettling those brought up on the denial of religion. It has embarrassed the young urban middle-class Hindus who had built up an entire mental edif

Age of suicide as politics by other means

The gallows in my garden, people say, Is new and neat and adequately tall; I tie the noose on in a knowing way As one that knots his necktie for a ball; But just as all the neighbours - on the wall - /Are drawing a long breath to shout “Hurray!” The

Whose mess is it anyway?

Don’t mess with us. Don’t dare call the mess at Commonwealth Games village mess. Don’t forget your diplomatic manners as guests even if we do not begin to understand ours as the host. Don’t forget we are among the largest markets in the world. India is repeatedly sending out such not-so-covert messages to the foreign contingents that have started arriving for the

Khare does a Govindacharya

K N Govindacharya, a nearly-forgotten ideologue of Hindutva, can justifiably claim credit for having introduced some new words in the Indian political lexicon. He had used the expression “chehra (face), chaal (conduct) and chartitra (character)” to emphasise that the BJP was a status-quoist political party not interested in social transformation. Ironically, Prime Minister Manmohan

How Maoists got it wrong in Lakhisarai

Whenever the CPI (Maoist) engages the paramilitary and police forces resulting in some killings the media, particularly the electronic media, goes gaga about it for two or three days. TV channels conduct high-pitched debates scorning Indian Maoists as terrorists to be bumped off using even the army and air force. But when the operating security forces kill adivasis and Maoists among them, the n

New CEC, New Dawn?

My wager: The unthinkable may happen. That too in Bihar. Without much noise, new chief election commissioner (CEC) S Y Quraishi has armed himself with tools that give him a fighting chance against illicit polling expenses, arguably the core malaise afflicting our elections. It is common knowledge that the prescribed limit of Rs 10 lakh per assembly candidate is flouted openly.

A rudderless ship called BJP

The BJP’s state of affairs is akin to a rudderless ship drifting aimlessly in a turbulent sea. While party stalwart L K Advani advises caution on the prospective Ayodhya verdict by the Allahabad high court, a section of the BJP leaders backed by the RSS-VHP has been aggressively strident. Similarly, if a section of the moderate BJP leaders seems keen to keep the BJP-JD(U) a

Juvenile justice: a cause without rebel?

Indian Constitution is all-encompassing, it has provisions for all. In fact the Indian Constitution is said to be one of the most sought after, when it comes to enactments, provisions and mandates. India ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in 1992; it is under this that the provisions for entitlement of child rights and their enactment started coming into pictu

Networking nettles the government

e-Governance applications in the  recent past have demonstrated the important role that information and communication technologies (ICT) play in the realm of development. ICT is being increasingly used by the government to deliver services of central agencies (like district administration, cooperative unions, and state and central government departments) to the citizens at their doorstep.

How to handle a hostage crisis

If firmness is shorn of political posturing and bravado, it is taken rather seriously. Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar successfully proved in the hostage crisis that a mature, sagacious political conduct, not irrational flamboyance, is a rewarding recourse in statecraft. There is no doubt that as the hostage crisis unfolded the Nitish Kumar government was walking on a razor edge. But, de

No bang for that extra buck, MPs?

Do our members of parliament deserve the kind of pay hike they gave themselves recently? What about their performance? The questions beg some straightforward answers if we look at Parliamentary performance. The primary role of the Parliament is to legislate and it is precisely in the legislative activity that Parliament has devoted least amount of time. Between 2001- 2008 Parliament has devoted

SpotGate

Sport was delivered a knockout blow in the UK after the cricket scandal moved to a new high, now to be known as SpotGate. The allegations were not allegations waiting for proof. Moveover, folks, this was a bunch of cricketers caught bowled and run out at the same time. Stumped is another word that leaps to the mind. The evidence is so overwhelming you need no inquiry. Throw the book at them. Th

Visionary Talk: Amitabh Gupta, Pune Police Commissioner with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now


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