Interview

“In future, education will be either blended or fully online”

What restricts MOOCs’ acceptance despite having credits? It is just a matter of time. India has been used to the traditional way of education. However, the fact that India is the second biggest learner base for edX, after the United States, speaks volumes about the kind of recognition MOOCs are receiving in India. Employers are now giving importa

Parliament can’t be run on 19th century rules: Jay Panda

Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda feels that coffee would go well with the conversation we are about to have in the elegant, wood-panelled study of his Delhi house. “Do people drink coffee in Odisha?” I ask him to break the ice. “Once upon a time, coffee was not available there. Nowadays, I am amazed to see cafes selling coffee even in remote villages,” says Panda, who r

“The idea of having a department of happiness is completely bogus”

Peter Ronald deSouza is a professor at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Delhi, and held the Dr S Radhakrishnan Chair of Rajya Sabha till April 2017. He works on issues of democratic politics and comparative politics of South Asia. A former director of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS), Shimla, where he served two terms from 2007 till 2013, he was

“Govts can provide proper conditions that facilitate individual well-being”

Matthieu Ricard, 71, was dubbed the world’s happiest man after scientists carried out intensive research on him as he meditated. He is an author and holds a PhD in molecular genetics. Yet he gave up a promising career and became a Buddhist monk. An associate of the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, Ricard now lives in a monastery in Nepal. In an email interview, the man with a

Writing novels is more satisfying: Chetan Bhagat

Chetan Bhagat started as an investment banker, before turning to writing. His first novel, Five-Point Someone, sold briskly, and one bestseller followed another. Finally, The New York Times called him ‘the biggest selling English language novelist in India’s history’.His books have inspired movies like 3 idiots, Hello and the upcoming movie Half Girlfriend. Bhagat has also

“A mentally ill patient has the same right of freedom as any Indian”

In March, parliament passed the Mental Health Care Bill, which among other things decriminalises suicide and bans the use of electric shocks for children. To understand the new law, Archana Mishra turned to psychiatrist Vikram Patel, former chairman and co-founder of the Centre for Global Mental Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Patel, named among the Time magazi

Niti Aayog vice chairman Arvind Panagariya on India’s growth prospects

Arvind Panagariya’s is one of the most elegantly done up offices in Lutyens’ Delhi. Its modern furniture is arranged to create multiple work areas, and the spacious office is enlivened by the Madhubani paintings on the walls and miniature potted plants placed in nooks and corners of the room. The get-

"Most important players were the peasants and their voice should be heard"

Tell us about the documentation work of indigo farmers’ testimonies. The testimonies of indigo farmers of Champaran were placed before the agrarian commission in 1917 but afterwards there was no study. These testimonies are housed with the National Archives of India. The National Archives and the Sabarmati Ashram have entered into a kind of partnership by w

A small beginning apparently, but a crucial one: Irfan Habib on Champaran Satyagraha

Champaran was Gandhi’s first political campaign in India, and he chose to work in rural areas and for farmers. Can you tell us more about this context – how unusual was this for the mainstream political leadership back then? Gandhi had already travelled through the rural side of India and he never took up politics. It’s wrong to say it was a politica

“The focus area is to minimise pendency, do more quality work”

The functioning of a national commission, be it NHRC, NCSC or NCST, depends on its head. Being the chief information commissioner (CIC), what is your vision for CIC?  And what has been your experience so far? The chief information commissioner and ten information commissioners (ICs) are creation of the Act. What the Act defines is general superint

Freedom of speech is an index of maturity of a society: Author Githa Hariharan

How do you view the state of contemporary Indian literature? Our cultural spaces are in a bad state – and this affects the writing, publishing and reading of literature. Over the last few years, we have seen far too many cases of the self-appointed thought police intimidating writers. From the Tamil writer Perumal Murugan to the young Kannada poet Huchangi

For healthy and mature future leaders

In a bid to educate the adolescent population of India – the largest in the world, the health ministry, in partnership with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), rolled out a nationwide programme in February, under which around 1.6 lakh boys and girls will work as peer educators in the country. The programme called Sathiya – a part of the centre’s Rashtriya Kisho

“Right to health should have been part of the Health Policy”

  To evaluate the new health policy, we turned to a leading expert in this area, Dr K Srinath Reddy, president of the Public Health Foundation of India. The former head of the department of cardiology at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, a Padma Bhushan awardee and advisor to the Odisha government, Reddy talks to Archana Mishra about the importance

For a cycle of change

Mansukh Mandviya is in his mid-40s and also looks young for a central minister, but he is not a novice in politics. When he first became MLA in Gujarat, in 2002, he was barely 30. An ABVP product, Mandviya is a Rajya Sabha member. As a minister of state, he looks after two ministries which take care of five sectors crucial to the economy. In a freewheeling chat with Pankaj Kumar

REIL’s growth potion: Hop, skip and jump

Rajasthan Electronics and Instruments Limited (REIL), is one of the few profit-making mini ratna central public sector companies. REIL will now become an independent central public sector enterprise as the government has decided to hive it off from its parent company, Instrumentation Ltd. REIL managing director AK Jain talks to Pragya Gupta about the c

“Criticism of demonetisation was not properly articulated. This made the other message dominant.”

Demonetisation was purportedly ordered to fight black money, render counterfeit currency unusable, and choke terror-funding. How much of that did demonetisation really accomplish, while causing so much pain to so many? That is the question C Rammanohar Reddy, an economist who edited the sober, solid and influential Economic and Political Weekly (EPW) for over a decade, tries to answ

“Privacy is the foundation of what makes life worth living”

Joseph A Cannataci is the UN’s first and current special rapporteur for the right to privacy appointed by the Human Rights Council (HRC) in July 2015. His appointment came with growing global concerns about threats to privacy in the digital age where governments and big corporations collect mass data, with increasing threats of cyber warfare and with the majority of countries lo

“Return land to tribals after mining is over”

Seasoned BJP parliamentarian Nand Kumar Sai, who took charge as the chairperson of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) on February 28, has his work cut out for him. Archana Mishra caught up with Sai, 71, on his first day in office where he spoke at length on a host of issues being faced by tribals. Sai, who was th

“Don’t think you are safe from the IS in India”

It seems a narrative straight out of a thriller. Only it isn’t. The puckered skin, the stillness of the left eye, the wrinkled cheek do not, will not, allow you to forget that this was a lived experience of blood and tears for 18-year-old Lamia Haji Bashar. In Delhi to attend the 19th Asian Security Conference hosted by the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, she is a living t

Getting ready for Industrialisation 4.0

Eastman Kodak was the first company to introduce the digital camera in 1975. Yet, it continued to prioritise photographic films, only to be wiped out from the market. Nokia once held a dominant market position in cell phones. So did BlackBerry in smartphones. Now, the market share of these companies has shrunk drastically. These are a few examples of the impact of changes in techn



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