Nuclear Bill – deciphering the “and” gesture

A number of newspapers have carried stories on the presence of a mysterious "and" in one of the provisions in the Nuclear Liability Bill.  I have put up a post on my office blog - Parliament’s Recommendations on the Nuclear Liability Bill – Why the “and”? The blog discusses the implications of what the insertion … Continue reading Nuclear Bill – deciphering the “and” gesture

One-third of poor are not born poor

In recent years, a number of studies have been conducted on the number of poor in India.  Some have estimated that 77% of India is poor, others say 37% of India is below the poverty line.  The Wall Street Journal contains an article on a new poverty study which the reasons for why people are … Continue reading One-third of poor are not born poor

India’s intelligence Agencies – II

In yesterday's post, I had mentioned in passing the lack of any law, legal framework or accountability with regard to intelligence agencies being a major issue.  I elaborate on the subject here. “Parliamentary approval of the creation, mandate and powers of security agencies is a necessary but not sufficient condition for upholding the rule of … Continue reading India’s intelligence Agencies – II

Major Government schemes II: Mid-day meal

In an earlier blog post this month I had put up a summarised version of an evaluation study done by the Planning Commission of India.  The Planning Commission had evaluated the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.  In this blog post, I am summarising their evaluation of the Mid-day meal scheme. The Mid-day Meal Scheme was launched by … Continue reading Major Government schemes II: Mid-day meal

How much does a Bandh Cost

Noted economist Prof. Bibek Debroy has written on how to estimate how much Bandhs cost.  This seems to be in response to figures given by industry associations on the cost of the recent Bandh organised by the BJP and left-parties.  I am pasting the article below: Price of a bandh Bibek Debroy Posted online: Fri … Continue reading How much does a Bandh Cost

Who holds intelligence agencies accountable?

I have put up a blog post on my organisation's blog on the issue of Parliament's oversight of intelligence agencies such as RAW and IB.  In India, there is absolutely no scrutiny by our popularly elected Parliament of the intelligence agencies in the country.  The blog post "Parliamentary Oversight of Intelligence Agencies" cites examples from … Continue reading Who holds intelligence agencies accountable?

Bhopal Gas Paper Leaks: Minutes of GoM meeting leaked

The minutes of the meeting of the government GoM constituted to look into the Bhopal Gas Claims and the recent Court judgement were put up on the website of The Hindu.  I had saved a copy of the minutes: Full_Text__Minutes__133855a.  Though there is nothing very sensational in the minutes, what it does reveal is that the … Continue reading Bhopal Gas Paper Leaks: Minutes of GoM meeting leaked

Do strict laws really help when nobody enforces them?

In another move by the government to show its doing something about the pressing inequities in society, the Home Ministry has proposed framing stricter laws to rein in Khap Panchayats and their extra-constitutional activities.  The issue simply put, is: will stricter laws help in ensuring that the laws of the state are applicable to Khap … Continue reading Do strict laws really help when nobody enforces them?

Commonwealth Games II: Delhi’s War on Beggars

Various anecdotal evidences from peers and one's own experiences reinforce impressions of Delhi's transition to a "world-class" city without the transition to world-class systems.  One aspect of this is simply how extreme the difference between the purchasing power of those at the top and bottom of the economic pyramid is.  However, when one hears reports … Continue reading Commonwealth Games II: Delhi’s War on Beggars

Survey on SC/ST Atrocities: The Crimes we never talk about

Media coverage on crime is heavily skewed in favour of reporting urban crime as opposed to rural, or caste-based crime.  Though we occasionally hear reports of honour killings, or entire community households being burnt down, they are reported more as examples of a malaise afflicting society.  This malaise itself is not talked about.  This post … Continue reading Survey on SC/ST Atrocities: The Crimes we never talk about

India’s Constitution that Gandhi (never) wrote

India has developed a rich tradition of Parliamentary democracy over the past sixty years or so.  However, time and again we face major disruptions and challenges to the form of government that our founding fathers established.  It might therefore be worthwhile to examine whether there was any alternative form of democracy we could have adopted … Continue reading India’s Constitution that Gandhi (never) wrote

SLPs and Supreme Court: Honest activism causing delays in justice

The recent judgement of the Supreme Court in the case of Mathai @ Joby v. George and Anr. ( highlights how (probably) well-meaning activism can in the larger scheme of things, cause greater harm to the system if not backed by well thought out systemic changes. The judgement concerned the frivolous filing of Special Leave … Continue reading SLPs and Supreme Court: Honest activism causing delays in justice

Spectrum Scam: Confidential transcripts summarised

Some official and confidential documents relating to the 2G-Spectrum allocation scam were put up by the Hindu on its website for a while yesterday.  A read through the 2gspectrumscam document reveals a disturbing network of politicians, businessmen, PR firms and journalists.  What follows is a small summary. The CBI is investigating a criminal case under the Indian … Continue reading Spectrum Scam: Confidential transcripts summarised

Khap Panchayats: Krap or dangerously reasonable

Khap Panchayats have been in the news recently.  Following the conviction of some members for killing a couple who married against the wishes of the Panchayat, leaders of various Khap Panchayats have sounded a defiant note and want changes in marriage laws.  This post tries to look at the validity of their claim. First, a … Continue reading Khap Panchayats: Krap or dangerously reasonable

India No. 1on “The World’s Most Inappropriate Government Agencies”

A recent article in Foreign Policy Magazine titled 'The World's Most Inappropriate Government Agencies' lists the Backward Classes Bureau as one the world's most inappropriate government agencies.  The body is separate from the National Commission for Backward Classes, and implements schemes for Backward Classes. Other such bodies in other countries include: 1. The KGB in … Continue reading India No. 1on “The World’s Most Inappropriate Government Agencies”

Local Government IV: India’s municipal bodies

Municipal Corporations Municipal corporations are formed in large urban areas, and usually have one head appointed by the government who is the ‘Commissioner’.  The other head of the municipal corporation is the Mayor, who is elected either directly by the people, or indirectly from among the elected members of the municipal corporation.[i] Though the Mayor … Continue reading Local Government IV: India’s municipal bodies

BJP’s “Audacity of Hope”: Gadkari’s Maharashtra manifesto

An article in the April issue of Caravan Magazine drew my attention to the writings of Nitin Gadkari, the newly elected President of the BJP.  Caravan mentioned a short 90-page book titled "Politics for Development" which was written by Gadkari.   This post summarises my impressions of his book. One of the first things that … Continue reading BJP’s “Audacity of Hope”: Gadkari’s Maharashtra manifesto