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Why India needs a bullion bank

India’s affinity for gold is a well-known fact, so is its dependence on gold imports to meet the domestic demand. More than 98 percent of the gold consumed in the country is met through import, while the rest is met through recycled domestic gold. In 2015-16, India imported 926 tonnes of gold.  Ironically, despite this huge appetite for gold and such massive imports,

Civil services day: Administrating administration

Civil services day observed on April 21 every year is according to the government “an occasion for the civil servants to rededicate themselves to the cause of citizens and renew their commitment to public service and excellence in work”. On this particular day in 1947, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, expressing his thoughts to the first batch of civil servants, pressed on

Changing with climate change

In 2050 the USA and China would each have contributed around 16 percent of global cumulative emissions, while India’s share will be a mere eight percent even though it would be the second largest economy. This would require the country to become rule-makers and not just rule-takers to ensure that major emitters do not shift the problem to others. At India’s insistenc

Why a hero gets a zero

Remember Sanjiv Chaturvedi? The one who won the 2015 Ramon Magsaysay for his crusade against corruption. The whistle-blower officer has been facing difficulties from various regimes, and the latest is the BJP.  The 2002-batch IFS officer received his appraisal for 2015-16 in January. And the health ministry gave him a zero grading.    Iro

Kashmir’s second stone age

Kanni jang’, or the fighting with stones, is an expression in Kashmiri language for a street clash between two rival camps. These fights would see a lot of bile flowing around and stones being hurled by members of rival groups at each other. For the onlookers – who would gather in no time – it was somewhat innocuous game and entertainment as everyone knew the stones ar

Yet another RTI activist is killed. And govt rules propose to drop his queries

 "Another one bites the dust, another one bites the dust uh.. and another one, and another one". Apro dikro (our lad) Freddie Mercury`s hit song from the 1980s is in real danger of becoming the RTI anthem for India. With the murder of RTI activist Suhas Haldankar in Pimpri-Chinchwad area of Pune district in Maharashtra last Sunday, Maharashtra accounts for 16 instances

Champaran Satyagraha and a long lost diary

 To tell exactly when the Champaran Satyagraha actually started would be little difficult. However, it was April 10 when Gandhi set out for his journey in Bihar and this month marked the hundredth year of Gandhi’s remarkable experiment of Satyagraha in indigo producing villages. Before Gandhi reached Champaran, a villager who spoke Bhojpuri and Hindi ran from pillar to post t

Gandhi gave a master class in political action 100 years ago

The Champaran movement, now a century old, was the country’s “first direct object-lesson in Civil Disobedience”, says Gandhi in the autobiography. [The term used in the Gujarati original, ‘Satyagraha’, is not used even once in the English translation, preferring the term coined by HD Thoreau.]   As Gandhian satyagrahas go, Cha

Proposed RTI rules: Point and counter-point

The Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions has published a `factual position` about the content of the Draft Right to Information Rules, 2017 that seek to replace the existing RTI Rules notified in 2012. The text of this clarification is copied below. Our preliminary comments on the `factual position` are given after the text of the same: Press Information Bureau 

Is runaway taxation stifling the Indian economy?

An archetypal Indian, let us call him Ram Lal, pays water tax, municipal tax, road tax, house tax, sales tax, central sales tax, professional tax, value added tax, octroi,  service tax, excise duty, customs duty and myriad other taxes. Then, on whatever money is left with him, Ram Lal has to pay income tax. Ram Lal has also to pay a number of cesses and duties – education ces

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



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