India among the worst places for a mother

The Indian economy is growing at eight-plus percent but all is not well for most people making up the economy. In this country, 1.83 million children die every year before reaching the age of five and close to 70,000 women lose their lives due to pregnancy or childbirth complications. These are the findings of the State of the World’s Mothers report prepared by the childrights organisatio

Why Husain is in search of controversy

I have not been able to figure out why an artist’s personal choice, as a citizen or as an artist, should cause a deep political divide. If M F Husain decided to barter his nationality for whatever reasons – lofty existentialist or base commercial – it should have been  ideally treated as his own business; especially when the artist himself, while taking the decision, did

More access to cellphones than toilets in India: report

More people in India have access to a cell phone than to a toilet and improved sanitation, according to a United Nations University study. “366 million people (31 percent of the population) in India had access to improved sanitation in 2008 while 545 million people have working cell phones thanks to its booming emerging economy,” points out the study. “The numbe

Child labour: Look beyond raid & rescue

Much has been made over the last few months regarding the passage and launch of the Right to Education Act and what it holds for the future of children’s education—access, quality, inclusion—in India.  Although there are many critics and indifferent pundits—and the fact that the RTE may fall short of directly addressing working children and children living and worki

Manmohan`s ad spiel: Sarkar bachti hai toh daag achche hain!

Even if you are just an occasional TV-watcher, you wouldn`t have missed the series of Surf Excel ads with the catchline: Agar daag se kuch achcha hota hai, toh daag achche hain (which roughly translates to "if you stain your clothes trying to help somebody, then you better stain your clothes"). If you have not seen it yet, click on the video above. Now, you mig

“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

Let Maya be placated, government be saved, governance be damned

In Mario Puzo`s ‘Godfather’, the Sicilian mafia thrives on the culture of Omerta, or the code of silence. The consequence of violating this code is invariably a swift and ruthless execution of the non-conformist. The Indian political class appears to have devised a new model of political Omerta, which not only ensures silence but also gives protection to rivals for a bargain.

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 roared, g

Doctor disgrace and my crying shame!

In the cacophony of the IPL saga, a more serious scam has just surfaced. More serious because it involves health and lives of more than 1.3 billion Indians. In terms of money it does not match up to the IPL rip off, but its effects, fallout and ramifications are much wider and more somber. The Medical Council of India (MCI) chief and two of his cohorts were arrested today by CBI on charges of c

‘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

Child wedlock rampant in India

Even as India makes significant progress in many areas, child marriages continue to be rampant in some states. At least 50 percent women in the country get married before attaining the age of 18 years, says a study done by the Population Council of India. Bihar figures worst in the report as 77 percent of the girls were married even before they were 15, it says. T

That’s the way, Maruti-way!

Maruti has rolled out its millionth vehicle manufactured within fiscal 2009-10. Any global car giant would love to hold a 50 percent share of the Indian passenger car market that Maruti does. There is a lesson here on how a company can prosper even if it has the president of India as a shareholder. In fact,  Maruti is a template on just how our  much maligned politicians and bureaucra

Huge potential for agri-tourism: Assocham

With the travel and tourism industry in India expected to grow at 8.2 percent between 2010 and 2019, it`s time the government paid attention to agri-tourism, says a report released by Assocham and Yes bank.  “With India predominantly an agrarian society and rural India struggling to keep pace with the breakneck development, agri-based tourism is an opportunity that can facili

Indian economy to grow at 8.8 percent in 2010: IMF

Indian economy is projected to grow at 8.8 percent, says the International Monetary Fund in its latest report. It further adds that the Indian growth story will be supported by resurgence in demand from the working class on the back of resilient business confidence that will result in more investments. The IMF also appreciated India’s efforts to tighten its monetary policy.

You want to take out Lalit Modi, you sweat it out

You have to give it to the Congress. This party knows how to turn personal vendetta into a pious national mission.  Look at Mission Modi, for example. The whole party, many ministers and almost all the government`s scary alphabets -- IT, ED, DRI, IB, CLB, RAW -- are out to get him, and the way things are going, get him they will. I have no equity in IPL, neither do I know a

Arundhati Roy, the propagandist with a fat dictionary

People of Beit Jala, a Palestinian village, have probably not read Arundhati Roy`s 32-pager call to arms. She, on her part, probably does not know what they are up to. The Beit Jala people, according to a BBC report, have been attempting a kind of satyagraha before armed Israeli soldiers. Organisers are training people

Government slow on climate change expenditure: CBGA

“The Union Government’s expenditure on adaptation to climate change shows a paltry increase from 1.7 percent of GDP in 2006-07 to 2.7 percent of GDP in 2009-10,” says a report prepared by the Centre for Budget and Government Accountability (CBGA) and Oxfam India. The study points out that the policy framework on adaptation put forth in the National Action Plan on Clima

Modi the magician or just an idea-thief?

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

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

Visionary Talk: Amitabh Gupta, Pune Police Commissioner with Kailashnath Adhikari, MD, Governance Now


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