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

Jailhouse Rock

He was neither a legislator nor a leader in any sense of the term. In the police records, he was an out and out gangster leading a band of criminals and responsible for murders in eastern Uttar Pradesh. Yet Mukhtar Ansari used to live like a king in Ghazipur district jail in 1995. On a summer day, a team of reporters from Lucknow found Ansari literally cooling his heels in the jail as a large c

Maoists top violators of human rights in India - report

Among all insurgent groups in India, the Maoists are the worst violators of human rights, says a study. “The Maoists have been responsible for brutal killing of their hostages after abduction,” the report says. The report was released last Tuesday by the Asian Centre for Human Rights, a New Delhi based human rights watchdog. It adds that killing and extortion by the Maoists

Modi the magician or a great thief of a good idea?

This open-mouthed admiration for Lalit Modi as the whiz who made a business out of cricket is getting to me. Of course, the IPL (Indian Premier League) is a money spinner and is giving the EPLs of the world a run for their money. But when we credit Lalit  Modi for this brilliant marriage of cricket, movie stars and the megabucks, we thrust greatness upon a man who is just a goo

No country for the common man

It’s official now. The aam admi is off the UPA’s radar. If more confirmation of that was needed, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee delivered it in parliament in his budget speech. Sure, the platitudes were still mouthed, but not a single budget proposal reflected the concern for the aam admi. In fact, there seemed to be an inverse relation between the time devoted to the aam admi in

PC in a pickle?

Is P Chidambaram getting too big for his boots? Or is it that the Congress wants to send a conflicting message to address to the concerns of various constituencies? Better still, is it a reflection of the perceived differences between the political boss, Sonia Gandhi and the executive boss, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh? Knowing the Congress, you never know. It can be any of these or al

Maternal death rates fall worldwide: Lancet

A new study calls for a word of praise for India`s healthcare, as it has helped to decrease maternal deaths. It says that there is a significant drop of women dying each year during pregnancy and childbirth worldwide and India has played an important role. The report published in the medical journal ‘The Lancet’ says that there were 408 to 1,080 maternal deaths per 100,000 l

Gujjars are back!

The Gujjars of Rajasthan are back in action. Their long march to lay a siege of Jaipur has begun. Another few days and the Rajasthan capital could well be cut off from all sides as the Gujjars are moving in from east, west and south in large numbers. This time, their demand is to “implement” what their earlier agitations had led to—5 percent reservation in educational institut

Terrorists eye N-bomb

A Harvard University study claims that terrorist groups like – Al-Qaida, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) pursuing nuclear weapons. The report further mentions that nuclear programme in not as safe as the government of Pakistan says. “The greatest risks are in Pakistan, whose small and heavily guarded stockpile confronts immense threats from both insiders theft and outsider attack,&rdq

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

Dumb charade

For the past one decade, the focus of India`s engagement with the United states has always been on de-hyphenation of Pakistan. If the complex diplomatic jargon is to be simplified, we are made to understand that the United States accord us greater status in the comity of nations. And there have been ample instances when Indian political leadership has shown its grit in standing up to pressures

FAO: Livestock sector needs investments

As the world faces multiple challenges, the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) report has said that urgent investments, agricultural research and robust governance are needed to overcome growing hunger threat. The report says that the livestock sector is one of the fastest growing parts of the agricultural economy. For many small-scale farmers, livestock also provides an important

Resigned to the resignation game

I  am so impressed with P Chidambaram. Not only has he trotted down to the site of the CRPF massacre but he even took the salute with his hand squashed across his forehead at the CRPF parade and stood near the bodies of the dead and cheered up the wounded and then showed the gravel in his gut by resigning because the buck stopped at his desk. The buck, he said, stops here. The buck, he roa

How to deal with the Maoists

Going by the surfeit of articles in the newspapers and magazines, debates in television studios or in various forums outside it seems the Maoist issue is far too complicated. Quite apparently, there is lack of clarity and consensus-- among politicians, governments, civil society groups and consequently, among ordinary people—over several fundamental aspects of the issue. Using this lack o

India`s cyber-security faces Chinese threats?

Chinese hackers have reportedly broken into websites hosting secret documents of India defence ministry and Indian embassies around the world, says a report by the Munk School of Global Affairs of the University of Toronto. The report titled ‘Shadows in the Cloud’ also says that among the systems leaked out could be ‘Shakti’, of the Indian Army and the country&rs

Rajya Sabha is now a crorepatis` club

The members of Upper House of the Parliament are growing richer. More than 50 percent of the Rajya Sabha members are crorepatis, says a report released on Tuesday by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR). “A total of 98 Rajya Sabha MPs out of analyzed 183 Rajya Sabha MPs, or 54 per cent, are crorepatis,” says the report. The report also found out that amongst

More than a simple mess

Not since they went looking for Private Ryan or, more somberly, the Rwanda massacres have so many armed and trained soldiers been ambushed and killed in one fell swoop as did happen in India on bloodsoaked Tuesday. The massacre of as many as 90 soldiers and counting not to even calculate the number of the wounded was a disaster of the most monumental proportions. When a trained force goes into

Naxals and terrorists - kindreds of discord?

When does a local insurgency acquire stripes of a full-blown revolution? When the arc of discontent widens itself and acquires more geography enveloping more people, all equally discontented, and thus turns itself into a circle of fire that is searing enough to burn the system down. That’s all? No. It certainly has to have a strong ideological fibre that would fuel the popular discontent

e-Waste mountains could crush India`s environment

India along with other developing countries will face the spectre of hazardous e-waste mountains with serious consequences for the environment and public health if recycling of e-waste is left to the vagaries of the informal sector, says a UN Environment Programme (UNEP) report. Some of the key findings of the report: * The report points out that by 2020 in India e-waste from ol

`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

Visionary Talk: Sanjay Pandey, Mumbai Police Commissioner with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now


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