Performance of Telecommunications Ministry written about

This ministry is not in service Anandita Singh Mankotia Posted online: Friday , Feb 12, 2010 at 0128 hrs From the outside it might look like the country’s telecom sector is bustling with activity. Seven to eight big operators, 17-19 million net subscribers added each month, the sector’s resilience to the financial meltdown last yearContinue reading “Performance of Telecommunications Ministry written about”

Bt Brinjal: Consultative process and democratic governance

Yesterday, the Minister for Environment and Forests decided against letting Bt Brinjal be commercially produced in India.  The Ministry also put out a detailed explanation of the reasons for the same.  I attempt to summarise it, state the facts, and then point out the sheer frenzy generated by activists.  The point here is to noteContinue reading “Bt Brinjal: Consultative process and democratic governance”

Commonwealth games: Child Labour galore

An article in Foreign policy highlights how contractors behind schedule are taking advantage of lax labor laws and coercing their employees to bring their children to work alongside them, promising payments of bread and milk. The article makes the following points: 1. India has very weak enforcement of child labour laws.  In fact, it is preferableContinue reading “Commonwealth games: Child Labour galore”

Lobbyists BT-ing the new Brinjal

The recent controversy over the introduction of BT-Brinjal is a fantastic example of how much sustained lobbying can prevail over well documented facts.  The BT-Brinjal has been demonized over and over in print as well as on television.  Some have even called it “Zehrila Baingan” (poisonous brinjals), so they don’t have to bother explaining whatContinue reading “Lobbyists BT-ing the new Brinjal”

Should MPs have the job of developing their local area?

Since 1993, Members of Parliament have been given a certain amount of money they can use to recommend works of a developmental nature in their constituency.  The scheme is known as the MP Local Area Development Scheme, or MPLADS. This scheme has become the subject matter of a crucial debate recently. Initially, all MPs wereContinue reading “Should MPs have the job of developing their local area?”

How much does a Supreme Court judgement cost?

“What kind of impact do some judgements have on the finances of the government?”  In this post, I propose to look at this question using a judgement delivered in April 2009.  In the course of this post, I also argue that judges should refrain from delivering judgements which have huge financial and policy implications, asContinue reading “How much does a Supreme Court judgement cost?”

Govt. Preparing to influence media perception??

While doing some work-related research, I found an interesting sub-heading under the Ministry of Home Affairs’ Action Plan document for October, 09 – March, 10.  Page 44 of this document (Under the sub-heading Naxal Management Division) mentions a heading called the “Media / Perception Management Plan“.  The activities planned under it pertain mainly to inaneContinue reading “Govt. Preparing to influence media perception??”

Indian Supreme Court: When Distance affects Visibility

Taking a break from my posts on China, I am summarising a fantastic article by Mr. Nick Robinson (Yale Law School South Asia Teaching and Research Fellow and a visiting fellow at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi) which appeared recently in Frontline magazine.  The article argues that the Supreme Court is not as populistContinue reading “Indian Supreme Court: When Distance affects Visibility”

Unsung Heroes: Servicing our teachers

The Wall Street Journal’s India section has some remarkable anecdotes on how teachers in rural India are, out of their own initiative, providing examples to the government as to how to cope with meagre resources and yet transform education in rural India.  The first part of this post summarizes the article, and later, I mentionContinue reading “Unsung Heroes: Servicing our teachers”

Judging our judges

Today’s post is an article appearing in the Indian Express, concerning the condition of judges in our country: In defence of their lordships (Indian Express) GOPAL SANKARANARAYANAN Posted online: Wednesday, Jan 20, 2010 at 0250 hrs On September 1 2009, Neeraj Kishan Kaul stepped down as a judge of the Delhi High Court — aContinue reading “Judging our judges”

Right to Information: What Information?

Since 2005, India has witnessed a gradual change in the operation of governmental structures due to the rapid and powerful use of the Right to Information Act.  Recently, the Delhi High Court ruled that even the office of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India comes within the purview of the RTI Act.Continue reading “Right to Information: What Information?”

Drugs Hurricane in one of the richest states in the Country

The cover-story of a recent issue of COVERT magazine provides an alarming picture of drug-abuse in Punjab (‘THE DRUGS HURRICANE OF PUNJAB‘).  To quote some statistics: 1. 16% of the population of Punjab is hooked to hard drugs. 2. As of 2000, 67% of rural households in Punjab had at least one drug addict inContinue reading “Drugs Hurricane in one of the richest states in the Country”

Amount of freedom in the world

This is from a link a colleague forwarded.  A group called Freedom House has just completed a ‘Freedom in the World 2010‘ survey.  Here are a couple of graphs from their work: The graphs show, (1) the number of democracies in the world today are the least since 1996, and (2) the percentage of electoralContinue reading “Amount of freedom in the world”

RTI: Knowledge, information…and violence

This post relates to a recent story titled: “CIC orders publication of PDS details” The Indian government runs one of the largest Public Distribution Systems (PDS) giving subsidised food and other essential commodities for the lower-income groups in the country.  Even if just those Below Poverty Line (BPL) are taken into account roughly 25 croreContinue reading “RTI: Knowledge, information…and violence”

THE DICTION & CONTRADICTION OF INDIA

Am posting a link to an essay titled THE DICTION & CONTRADICTION OF INDIA in Covert magazine.  It brings out, at a very simplistic level, observations we all make as laymen, though there is no substantive argument the author is making, and I do not agree with some of the stuff written,  I liked theContinue reading “THE DICTION & CONTRADICTION OF INDIA”

A Unique Identity

Today I had the opportunity of listening to Nandan Nilekani talk about the Unique Identification (UID) project.  He also referred us to the UIDAI website which has an approach paper to creating the UID database.  The points he mentioned are the same as those contained in the approach paper, and I am summarising them belowContinue reading “A Unique Identity”

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