Interview

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

Turning the PDS around

Dr Alok Shukla is among those civil servants who received awards for excellence in public administration from the prime minister on April 21. As secretary, food and civil supplies department, Chhattisgarh, he, along with two of his colleagues, has been credited with turning the much-maligned PDS into a success story. So much so that a sample survey of four districts by the Righ

India still trapped in subcontinental mindset

The new world is not structured around the United States; it is multipolar, heterogeneous, global, and has different centres of power, says Thierry de Montbrial, president of French Institute of International Relations, a leading French think-tank, in a conversation with Trithesh Nandan. About India, Montbrial feels that the country is growing economically, which is good, but lacks the aspirati

Bureaucratic reforms must for 10 pc growth: Basu

Academic-turned-bureaucrat Kaushik Basu, who termed Indian civil servants as "ace drivers caught in traffic jams", feels bureaucratic and farm reforms are must for the economy to grow at the 10 percent rate. However, the former Cornell University economics professor, who joined the government as cheif economic advisor last December, says India`s growth story is more sustainable than C

Governance key to combat Maoists: Montek

Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of the country’s official think tank - the Planning Commission, feels that more than special monetary incentives or packages, the governance change is required to ease the situation in Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected districts. Besides, Ahluwalia also strongly recommends linking fuel prices in the country with global prices as it is essent

“We are taking a snapshot of the population”

C Chandramouli, 49, the Tamil Nadu cadre IAS officer of 1985 batch, is overseeing the mammoth exercise of counting nearly 1.2 billion heads. He took time off his busy schedule to speak to Trithesh Nandan about Census 2011. Excerpts from the interview: A census is not just a simple head count. Tell us about the process and its implications. The census is

"Pressure of backlog has left judiciary with sensitivity of an SHO"

It was a bittersweet moment for the media recently when the Supreme Court upheld the Delhi High Court judgement and awarded life imprisonment to Manu Sharma in the Jessica Lal murder case. The case reached the Supreme Court and its logical conclusion only after the Delhi High Court fast-tracked it following uproar in the media. While pronouncing its verdict, though, the Supreme Court cautioned

“This govt is eradicating the poor, not poverty.”

Surendra Mohan is perhaps is the only surviving socialist who can claim to have closely worked with Ram Manohar Lohia, imbibed and understood his leader’s anti-Congressism credo and its context. In a free-wheeling interview with Ajay Singh at his east Delhi home on a Sunday evening, he talks about Sonia Gandhi and the UPA’s “socialist and egalitarian&rdquo

`We are setting up two funds to promote energy efficiency`

Ajay Mathur, the director general of Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), has been taking a number of initiatives to fulfill the mandate of his organisation. The bureau now plans to set up funds to help companies to get energy efficiency measures financed. Innovation centres are also being set up by the bureau to further the development of energy efficient products suited to

“Lack of transparency in governance exists in South Asia"

At a time when Indo-Pakistan relations are somewhat subdued, Pakistan`s former information and broadcasting minister Sherry Rehman feels that there is too much communication gap between the two neighbours and that does not bode well for good governance in South Asia. Talking exclusively to Governance Now, Rehman says positive investment investment is needed in this regard. She was in New De

‘Tap innovations, you won’t need NREGA in 5 years’

Anil K. Gupta, professor at the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), is better known for his work on nurturing and promoting innovation at the grassroots level. He is executive vice-chairperson of National Innovation Foundation (NIF). He also heads the Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions (SRISTI). It was at the historic Mughal Gard

I just want to be a change agent - Nilekani

On March 6, I made an e-mail request to Nandan Nilekani for an interview. Barely an hour later, came his reply suggesting that I should get in touch with his colleague Srikar and within no time the interview was scheduled for 11 am on April 8. On April 8, when we reached the office of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) in the heart of New Delhi, we did not have to

EVMs might be endangering democracy

As the debate over the susceptibility of electronic voting machines (EVMs) to electoral fraud heats up, India is looking at the experience of other countries. Till Jaeger, a German attorney, who visited India in February, believes that the use of EVMs is a violation of citizens’ fundamental right to information in a democracy. In an interview to Governance Now, Jaeger, who argued a landma

`Lack of training led to Dantewada slaughter`

How could the Maoists butcher 75 CRPF personnel in Dantewada so easily? "They had no training." That was the crisp response from Brigadier B K Ponwar. He should know. For several years, Ponwar has been training the police and paramilitary forces to take on the Maoists at the Counter Terrorism and Jungle Warfare College of Kanker in Chhattisgarh. "And

Agatha Sangma on development. And the northeast

The first thing you notice as you enter Minister of State for Rural Development Agatha Sangma’s office at Krishi Bhawan is that her petite frame does not match with her rather big chair. The next thing you notice is that her desk is free of the usual clutter— papers, briefs, files and the paraphernalia. The daughter of P.A. Sangma, veteran Nationalist Congre

Karnataka Lokayukta on combating corruption

For a self-declared toothless tiger, Justice N Santosh Hegde has acquired a remarkable reputation for bagging his prey with relentless regularity. The 70-year-old Karnataka Lokayukta, who heads the best-known anti-corruption force in the country, spoke about his work and his concerns in an exclusive conversation with Ashish Sharma. Edited excerpts: You are often described

We woke up late to the Games: Randhir Singh

The Organising Committee did wake up late in making preparations for the Commonwealth Games, admits OC vice chairman Randhir Singh, even as he promises the event will turn out to be “top class”. "We woke up late and faced the criticism," Singh told Governance Now. "But the Games will be top class and there is no doubt about that. There is no way that we

“Balance between government, civil society, businesses is vital”

Jeffrey D. Sachs, among the most influential voices on developmental matters, is the director of The Earth Institute, teaches sustainable development at Columbia University and is also special advisor to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. During 2002-06, he was director of the UN Millennium Project and special advisor to then UN secretary-general Kofi Annan on the Millennium Development Goals th

Thames restorer`s advice for cleaning the Yamuna

Robert Oates, director of Britain’s Thames River Restoration Trust (TRRT), a charity dedicated to improving the river and its tributaries, was in Delhi recently. Oates spoke to Governance Now on his experience of cleaning up the Thames and its relevance to the Yamuna. Edited excerpts: What is the role of the government in cleaning up a river? To mana

Mao...didn`t preach revolution through murder

In this country and beyond, Irfan Habib is widely recognised as one of the most influential historians in the modern era. His initial and substantive work pertains to what is called the medieval period of Indian history.  However, Habib is equally known for his incisive insights into earlier historical processes as well as key themes of recent and contemporary times.  Much of his acad

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