Interview

We will withdraw idle coal blocks

As an expanding economy looks for fuel for further growth, India needs to raise its coal production. But Sriprakash Jaiswal, minister of state (independent charge) for coal, faces challenges from the Maoists as well as from environmental lobbies. In an interview with Sweta Ranjan, Jaiswal discusses his plans to meet these challenges and also the future

Accountability will help us develop faster

Prajapati Trivedi, secretary, performance management department of the cabinet secretariat, is a man on a mission to improve the performance of government departments and ensure their accountability. Though one of the few non-IAS secretaries, he is not new to government – he was economic advisor when Manmohan Singh was finance minister. Trivedi, an alumnus of St. Stephen&

Gurgaon will be a world city soon

Bhupinder Singh Hooda is one of those leaders who have a 360-degree understanding of politics and governance. He was a member of the Lok Sabha for four terms, leader of opposition in the Haryana assembly for one term, and now he is in his second term as chief minister. In this interview with Sweta Ranjan, Hooda discusses his plans for industry as well

More shareholder democracy in new Companies Bill

As minister of state, Salman Khurshid holds independent charge of the ministries of corporate affairs and of minority affairs. Educated at the St. Stephen’s and Oxford, the 57-year-old advocate is a busy man as he has set out to overhaul the regulation framework for the corporate sector with the new Companies Bill. His views on corporate social responsibility have also le

IOC entered exploration and production late

Brij Mohan Bansal, chairman and director (planning & business development) of Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, helms India’s largest commercial enterprise (turnover: about $57 billion for 2009-10). How does he manage a public sector unit that is also the only Indian firm to rank in the prestigious Fortune ‘Global 500’ list? What is his larger vision for this fi

Maoists realise they can`t win this war

Raman Singh has an unenviable job as chief minister of Chhattisgarh, the state worst hit by Maoist violence – he is in fact in his second term. But the 57-year-old ayurvedic doctor has a clear diagnosis of the disease and treatment in mind. In an exclusive interview with Sweta Ranjan, he discussed his approach to find a permanent solution to the

"Plan com needs refurbishing to offer change"

The Planning Commission is in the process of reinventing itself. More than making five-year plans and allocating resources, it seeks to transform itself into what is being described as the Systems Reforms Commission—a strategic thinking group that will look ahead and think ahead, sense the emerging challenges and the opportunities and accordingly, devise appropriate responses for the gove

"Level playing field needed in access to mines"

At a time when illegal mining and export of iron ore has become a political hot potato, union steel minister Virbhadra Singh has put his weight behind those favouring a ban on such exports. Singh also has a role to play in dealing with the vexed question of balancing the interests of the mining and steel industry with the constitutionally guaranteed rights of the communities th

Kamal Nath on building roads

If infrastructure is the edifice on which India`s dream double-digit GDP growth rests, roads are its backbone. Surface transport and highways minister Kamal Nath is leading the mammoth exercise of strengthening that backbone with his own dream within a dream: to build 20 km of roads every day. In this exclusive interview with Sweta Ranjan, the no-nonsense minister takes on questions about his p

“Our motto is corporate growth with enlightened regulations”

R Bandyopadhyay, secretary, Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), is focused on bringing in contemporary management practices into Indian industry. The 1974 IAS officer of West Bengal cadre served as secretary of the department of public enterprises, where the number of navratna companies grew from 12 to 18 during his tenure. At MCA, ever since he took over last September, Bandyo

"Chinese IT, pharma contracts for India"

Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma attended 42nd India-ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) Economic Ministers Meet at the beach resort city of Da Nang in Vietnam. The minister discussed the progress made in implementing the trade in goods agreement and proposed trade pact in services and investments. While talking to PTI, he also mentioned about his unscheduled meeting

‘We will add more works to expand NREGA`s scope’

CP Joshi, minister for rural development and panchayati raj, oversees the implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA), the scheme that some consider partly responsible for giving UPA a second term. In this exclusive interview with Brajesh Kumar at his official residence in New Delhi, Joshi says he will be able to plug loopholes in the implementa

"Bihari sub-nationalism has toned down caste divide to a certain extent."

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has the image of a quiet and contented politician. Unlike several of his peers, he shuns rhetoric and yet makes his point cogently to his audience in Bihar. Having launched his campaign seeking to renew the mandate in the next assembly elections, Kumar has been harping on development and Bihari pride, themes that are alien to the state’s

"Government is itself a hurdle for tackling Naxalism"

Ram Dayal Munda, a member of the National Advisory Council (NAC), which was reconstituted recently, is acknowledged as the most prominent tribal academician and intellectual in his state. Born in 1939 at Diuri village in Ranchi district of Jharkhand, Munda has been a musician, anthropologist, linguist, development activist and, of late, politician as well. He obtained a Master&

‘SHG-bank linkage is the best model for microfinance’

Even though the government has tried unsuccessfully to pass a Microfinance Bill to provide a regulatory framework for the sector, so far no national policy on financial inclusion has been formulated like the UK government has. Don`t you think in the present times, when financial markets can so deeply affect the economy and the workers, financial inclusion should be a matter of public po

"Neither losing nor winning the war against Naxals"

Intensifying Naxal violence has Gopal Krishna Pillai, the top-most bureaucrat in charge of law and order, on the hot seat. Every other major cause of unrest in the country – and there have been many – adds to his onerous job. In this interview with Sweta Ranjan, Pillai, the home secretary, talks about the centre’s strategy aga

"The idea is also an improvement in the ways cities are governed."

It’s been five years since the centre launched the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) and sought to change the way India developed and governed its cities. Some cities have availed of funds under this mission. But, as a recent nationwide survey of sanitation facilities across urban centres revealed, India is yet to have even a single clean, green city. In an intervie

“Resources are always a constraint”

Pawan Kumar Bansal, minister for water resources as well as for parliamentary affairs, is a seasoned parliamentarian. He was a member of the Rajya Sabha during 1984-90, he was elected to the Lok Sabha and now he is in his fourth term in the lower house. In an interview with Sweta Ranjan, he spoke candidly about issues relating to both the ministries he handles.

We need more courts: Deepak Parekh

Financial sector stalwart and HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh speaks on bureaucracy, judiciary, lobbying and other issues. Excerpts from an interview: What makes Deepak Parekh the man at whom the government look up to in the time of crisis? There are many points of views always and there are differences of opinion. Ultimately decisions have to be taken in life

Don’t make a Quixotic rush to cash transfer: Dreze

Jean Drèze is one of those development economists who have gone way beyond classrooms and seminars and helped shape policies. He has worked with Amartya Sen as well as served as a member of the previous National Advisory Council. Drèze shared his views on food security with Prasanna Mohanty. Are you in favour of direct cas

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