AAP Governance:The dangerous and regressive fight over Electricity pricing

1 Introduction The Aam Aadmi Party led Delhi Government has (link) slashed power tariffs in Delhi, and is in the midst of an ongoing tussle (link) with Reliance owned discom BSES over the supply of electricity in certain parts of Delhi. The AAP, even before taking the reins of the Delhi Government had long accused the Delhi discoms of overchargingContinue reading “AAP Governance:The dangerous and regressive fight over Electricity pricing”

Interesting reads: Media, merit vs. communism, and elections 2013

Some good stuff to read this week: Vinod K. Jose in Caravan on the lack of a larger philosophical framework for the Indian media to operate within: “Habits of Mind” Nobel Laureate physicist Walter Kohn remembers one-time partner, Indian physicist Chanchal Kumar Majumdar in “A master and his protege“. Pratap Bhanu Mehta’s engaging piece onContinue reading “Interesting reads: Media, merit vs. communism, and elections 2013”

Bangalore ATM Attack and police abdication

A woman bank manager was brutally attacked yesterday while inside an ATM in Bangalore yesterday. Apart from the gruesome attack on the lady, what has been bizarrely shocking has been the response of the police to the same. Facts: On Nov. 20, a woman, who is also a bank manager (not clear if she wasContinue reading “Bangalore ATM Attack and police abdication”

Introducing the Indian Public Administration Lexicon or “iPal”*

iPal is an attempt to make comprehensible certain words that sound familiar, but mean something entirely different when used in Indian governance and politics. 1. Aam Aadmi: Rich people who dress badly. 2. Public interest: a) Interest of Aam aadmi. b) source of power to override law, constitution, logic, reason, everything. 3. Subsidy: Screw youContinue reading “Introducing the Indian Public Administration Lexicon or “iPal”*”

What entities are public authorities under the RTI Act?

The text below is from my brief titled “Who is a Public Authority under the Right to Information Act, 2005?” as published on the website of Accountability Initiative, published in September 2013. The brief can be accessed here.   The definition of ‘public authorities’ under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (“RTI Act”) has been anContinue reading “What entities are public authorities under the RTI Act?”

Can the state handle it?

This post was first published on http://logos.nationalinterest.in on September 15, 2013, and can be accessed here.    A minimalist theory of state functions explains the main functions of the state as being (a) the function of collecting revenue, (b) the maintenance of law and order, and (c) the protection of a nation’s boundaries. State capacity isContinue reading “Can the state handle it?”

Fatal attraction: The State’s “public purpose” in Land Acquisition

This post was first published in The Broad Mind, on September 12, 2013.    Both houses of Parliament recently passed The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (“2013 Act”), repealing the century-old Land Acquisition Act, 1894. For years, the new law was touted as the panacea to theContinue reading “Fatal attraction: The State’s “public purpose” in Land Acquisition”

The Indian Olympic Committee follows the “law of the land”

According to recent news reports the Indian Olympic Commission will continue to be disbarred from the International Olympic Association, due to its refusal to accept a “contentious” clause that prevents “charge-sheeted officials from taking part in administration or contesting elections.” (read here, and here) The reason is not difficult to fathom: “Its secretary-general Lalit Bhanot facesContinue reading “The Indian Olympic Committee follows the “law of the land””

RTI Amendment: Legislative supremacy and judicial intervention

Bhargavi wrote a great piece yesterday on the tendency of legislatures to nullify judicial pronouncements by passing laws which overturn judgements/orders. She rightly pointed out this practice as a major issue which needs greater deliberation. There is however, one other issue which needs to be considered while thinking of possible solutions. This is the issueContinue reading “RTI Amendment: Legislative supremacy and judicial intervention”

The narrative of independent regulators

This post first appeared as an article on Bar and Bench on July 31, 2013. The original can be accessed here.   Those following important policy developments recently will notice numerous announcements proposing new “independent” regulators. Beginning with SEBI in the early 1990s, and TRAI in the late 90s, a number of independent regulators haveContinue reading “The narrative of independent regulators”

State Building in India II: Indian Constitution and new states

I had written this post in 2009 when Telengana first became a major political issue. I am re-posting it since major decisions about the creation of Telengana are underway. Minor edits and updates have been made and are provided in italics.  In my earlier post on the issue of Telengana’s statehood, I tried to provideContinue reading “State Building in India II: Indian Constitution and new states”

Ordinance Route

This article first appeared in Frontline on July 24, 2013, and can be accessed here.    In my article, I examine the true intent behind giving the executive the power to promulgate ordinances, and how the use of this power has been at complete variance from such original intent. The misuse of this power overContinue reading “Ordinance Route”

Transparency and Political Parties – Finding the Right Instrument

In a recent post, I had written on why I think bringing political parties under the Right to Information Act is a bad idea. Economic and Political Weekly recently published my article on the same topic, where I critique the judgement of the Central Information Commission in detail, and argue that transparency in incomes andContinue reading “Transparency and Political Parties – Finding the Right Instrument”

Dams and disasters in the Himalayas

This post was first published as an op-ed by Mint on July 9, 2013. The original article can be accessed here.    Relief operations in disaster-ravaged Uttarakhand have ended and the time seems ripe to take account of the institutional frailties that have contributed to the ongoing human disaster in the state. Chief minister VijayContinue reading “Dams and disasters in the Himalayas”

The narrative of judicial appointments

This post first appeared as an article on Bar and Bench on July 2, 2013, and can be accessed at their website here.  News reports have indicated the government’s plan to establish a judicial appointments commission (“JAC”) for the appointment of Supreme Court and High Court judges. If established, the body would not only mark a sharp changeContinue reading “The narrative of judicial appointments”

Proposed CBI Reforms: Will the Central Bureau of Investigation remain a “caged parrot”?

The Central government recently set up a Group of Ministers to propose reforms and ensure the functional independence of the CBI. This came in the wake of the Supreme Court criticizing the government for its interference in the Coal blocks allocation scam. The Court had asked the government to “come out with a law toContinue reading “Proposed CBI Reforms: Will the Central Bureau of Investigation remain a “caged parrot”?”

Death at Kedarnath: Mule owners and their right to strike

Little noticed news reports in a couple of papers (here and here) indicate that the death of many pilgrims in Kedarnath may have been exacerbated by the actions of local mule owners and contractors for car parking lots in the days leading up to the heavy rains and clash floods. The local mule owners andContinue reading “Death at Kedarnath: Mule owners and their right to strike”

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”

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