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Opposition is less than the sum of its parts

Narendra Modi has finally emerged as the architect of unity – of opposition unity, that is. Though it took the Congress and other non-NDA parties four years to learn this lesson, it has come just in time for the grand elections scheduled next year. So, one theory states: As the troubles on the economic and other fronts are piling up and the government is apparently losing its rapport with

The man in the muddle: NN Vohra

Amid a welter of images of blood and war, it is easy to lose sight of how deeply people crave for good governance. The good news from Kashmir last fortnight was that people by and large welcomed governor’s rule. “People are very happy about governor’s rule, especially with this governor,” youth activist Touseef Raina observed a couple of days after the BJP withdrew sup

The Galahads of Indian bureaucracy

 In 1988, at the peak of the Rajiv Gandhi-VP Singh face-off fuelled by media exposes, the most respected editor of those times, Girilal Jain, wrote a comment in The Times of India with the headline, “A Galahad of the Press”. It was a rare front-page editorial, and it continued over into an inside page. It clearly targeted Indian Express editor Arun Shourie for pursuing more act

“Blockchain allows individuals to monitor use of personal data”

Can you explain the concept of blockchain? How does it function? What kind of IT infrastructure is required for deploying it?  Blockchain is a system for maintaining distributed ledgers [‘distributed ledger technology’ or DLT] in a way that allows organisations which might not fully trust each other to agree on ledger updates. Instead of using a central

“Key milestones achieved in Assam”

In an interview with Governance Now, Anil Kumar Jha, special DGP, CID, Assam, who is also nodal officer for the CCTNS project, speaks of what the system in its present form has helped his state achieve. What is the current status of CCTNS in Assam and its outcome? In Assam, the CCTNS has achieved all key milestones in terms of project impl

The neighbour and the valley

The declaration communicated through the director general of military operations (DGMO) of Pakistan and India on May 29, 2018, to implement the ceasefire agreement of 2003 between the two countries in “letter and  spirit” has opened up an opportunity to restore peace in the disturbed Kashmir valley. Indeed, the positive atmosphere generated by the 2003 agreement had not merely

“This initiative is for future generations”

Speaking to Governance Now, Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani elaborates on the Sujalam Sufalam scheme to rejuvenate talavdis and desilt reservoirs and lakes. He also speaks on water, politics, and conservation. What makes the Sujalam Sufalam initiative unique?

The steel frame in peril

As a nervous, young IAS aspirant in 1977, I remember being thrilled to see my name in the newspapers when the list of successful candidates was published. Indeed, I was hoping to be allotted my home state, Kerala, but knew that my rank in the exams did not make that possible. Yet, I cannot deny being a little shell-shocked, when, towards the end of our first phase of training, instead of God&rs

Pranab Mukherjee wasted opportunity to take RSS to task

“The politician performs upon the stage: the historian looks behind the scenery.” This distinction, made by British historian AJP Taylor, was expected to come true when former president Pranab Mukherjee took to stage at the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) headquarters at Nagpur on Thursday. That was not to be. Mukherjee, a schoolteacher in his formative years, could

Actor Juhi Chawla talks about her ‘no plastic’ policy

Very few know that leading Bollywood actress Juhi Chawla is an activist of sorts when it comes to environment. She is an organic farmer as well and does her bit in spreading awareness about sustainable development. A former Miss India (1984), Juhi has banned the use of plastic in her home and office. For the IPL matches of her team, Kolkata Knight Riders, co-owned with Shah Rukh Khan, she c

How to spend for universal healthcare

India remains among the countries with the lowest public health budgets in the world. Its health budget stands at around 1 percent of the GDP.  This historical lack of emphasis on the health system is most pertinently captured in former health secretary K Sujatha Rao’s 2017 book, ‘Do We Care? India’s Health System’. The manifestations of the lack of financial and te

“If Mumbai does not fix housing problem soon, it will lose out to other cities”

A 1977 batch IAS officer, Jha has written a book, ‘Urban Essays’, and co-authored ‘Towards People Friendly Cities’ published by the UNICEF. He was the editor of the ‘City Development Strategy for Hyderabad’ published by the UN-HABITAT. The urban development expert talked to Governance Now about ways to make Mumbai a sustainable city.

“Only a sense of ownership will bring sustainability”

A practising orthopaedic surgeon, Dr Patil is a minister of state for home, urban development, law & judiciary, parliamentary affairs and skill development for the Maharashtra government. In an interview with Governance Now, he talks about sustainable development of the state. Mumbai has the most expensive real estate. The city is also very dense and congest

Keeping them safe

What do Johanna Spyri’s Heidi, RK Narayan’s Swamy and His Friends and Charles Perrault and Disney’s Cinderella have in common?  They were happy children who lived in a world free of unwarranted fear and risks. Heidi ran up the Swiss Alps without fear, Swamy and his friends played on the streets of Malgudi without having to watch their back and Cinderella had no qualms ret

Coming full circle: The ‘strong leader’ vs the gang-up

When numbers forced prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to demit office on the thirteenth day, he delivered a memorable speech in the Lok Sabha, ending on a trademark wave of his hand and saying that they were going to the president to submit their resignation. It was an extraordinary day in the history of the Lok Sabha, marked by impassioned debate, but the most impressive intervention came fr

Look who’s talking ethics in Karnataka?

 Just after the UP assembly election in 1996, I was among the scores of reporters waiting at Kalyan Singh’s residence, waiting to get the first inkling of the future course of the BJP. The party had secured the maximum seats – 174 out of 425 seats – but was short of the majority mark. Since TV cameras had still not taken over the public space for news coverage, the crowd

Why hasty ordinance on rape of minors needs gender balance

Of all offences, it’s the crime of rape that fires public sentiment the most, eliciting an outrage that exceeds the seemingly worst felony of all – murder too. It has probably more to do with the offence and associated gory details staying, even being replayed ruthlessly, in memory with continual mention and recall that compound its severity. It’s this outrage that offsets any

“No city habitable unless it attracts investment and creates jobs”

Most of our big cities were built during the British era. They were meant to accommodate a certain size of population and last for a certain period. However, due to rapid urbanisation, these cities have become overcrowded with an unbearable pressure on civic amenities including water and sanitation. In an interaction with Governance Now, Misra talks about urban planning challenges while working

Poetry and diplomacy combine ambiguity and brevity: Diplomat Abhay Kumar

Abhay Kumar is a poet and a diplomat, a 2003 batch officer of the Indian Foreign Service, now serving as India’s deputy chief of mission in Brazil. He edited 100 Great Indian Poems, an anthology that was published in February and is being translated into Portuguese. He is also known for the Earth Anthem, which he penned in 2008. It was set to music in 2013 and recorded in eight langua

Some Sholay dialogues can help make sense of Karnataka polls

While driving down from Bengaluru to Mysuru, you come across a patch of hillocks near Ram Nagar, a place that provided the backdrop for the all-time hit Bollywood movie, Sholay. This was where villain Gabbar Singh, played by inimitable Amjad Khan, delivered that immortal dialogue, “Kitne aadmi the? (How many people were they?)” The dialogue is better remembered for its style of deli

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