The war on the war on higher education

Which government is worse for higher education in India? That has become an interesting point of debate on the Indian Express in the last few days.

The extinction of the Telegram

Firstpost reports that the Telegraph service in India will be discontinued from July 15, 2013, 160 years after the service was started in India. While telegrams have really become a relic, a service that people hardly use anymore, the growth and advent of telegraphs in India parallels the growth and spread of the British empireContinue reading “The extinction of the Telegram”

Should political parties be subject to the Right to Information Act?

The Central Information Commission (CIC), on June 3, 2013, stated that political parties are “public authorities” under the Right to Information Act, 2005 (RTI Act). Public authorities under the RTI Act are required to make pro active disclosures regarding their organization and its functioning. In addition, they have to appoint Public Information Officers (PIOs). MembersContinue reading “Should political parties be subject to the Right to Information Act?”

Defamation: who should you fear more- Big Govt. or Big Corporate

Unlike many other countries, India has both civil defamation (if you defame someone, you have to pay compensation), and criminal defamation (you defame someone, you go to jail). Most other countries have removed criminal defamation as a crime from their law books. The result is that in India, not only does a publisher face theContinue reading “Defamation: who should you fear more- Big Govt. or Big Corporate”

Tumblr for our blog

Dear all, please note we have also created a tumblr page for our blog, and will be sharing posts there simultaneously as well. The tumblr page can be accessed at: polityinindia.tumblr.com.  W.e.f this week, this blog has become a collaborative effort between 8-9 young professionals working broadly in the law and public policy sector. TheContinue reading “Tumblr for our blog”

Why have pre-legislative scrutiny for Acts of Parliament?

This post is part-comment, part-response to Nick Robinson’s post on the Law and Other Things Blog (please do check the blog out!) regarding the NAC’s proposal for having pre-legislative scrutiny of Bills to be passed by Parliament. The National Advisory Council came out with “Draft Recommendations on Pre Legislative Process” for both draft rules, and draftContinue reading “Why have pre-legislative scrutiny for Acts of Parliament?”

New uses of UID/Aadhaar operationalised

According to a NY Times blog post today, 3 different uses of UID numbers, or Aadhaar were operationalised recently: “Those in the Aadhaar system will now be able to identify themselves by using an eye scanner, which checks the unique patterns in their irises, and providing their ID number. Those with mobile phones can alsoContinue reading “New uses of UID/Aadhaar operationalised”

Back to blog!

Dear All! Welcome back. I have been away from the blog for a while, but have decided to renew blogging actively again. I hope to give you interesting stuff to read once or twice every week, and engage you in some sort of debate on the stuff I write. So please let me know ifContinue reading “Back to blog!”

My article in Seminar Magazine on Parliamentary obstruction

Following is the article I wrote for Seminar Magazine (May 2013 issue) as a response to a piece on obstructions in Parliament:  Communication   AN article in the February 2013 issue of Seminar titled ‘The Real Price of Parliamentary Obstruction’ by Tarunabh Khaitan highlights the issue of recent obstructionism in Parliament and elaborates on its attendant consequences.Continue reading “My article in Seminar Magazine on Parliamentary obstruction”

“Civil society” biases: Regionalism

India’s civil society has by now patted itself on the back for the umpteenth time having shown the political classes its raw, real-grassroot-democratic power by having its version of the Lokpal Bill passed. Let it now look inward to examine its own internal corruption. News reports and trending blogs indicate how wide, and how deepContinue reading ““Civil society” biases: Regionalism”

Consumer protection or curb on right to speech and expression?

-writing from Harvard Law School   There have been recent news reports (though surprisingly few – here and here) on new government regulations that ostensibly seek to protect cell phone users from unwanted marketing calls, but may actually amount to restrictions on individual rights to free speech and expression. The telecom regulator TRAI introduced regulationsContinue reading “Consumer protection or curb on right to speech and expression?”

India’s Foodgrain policy

I am putting up an article by Prof. Kaushik Basu (working with the Finance Ministry, and authored the Economic Survey of 2009-10) on India’s foodgrain problem in Economic and Political Weekly.  He summarises the point of the article as: The simultaneous occurrence of high food inflation and large foodgrain stocks in our granaries has beenContinue reading “India’s Foodgrain policy”

How lack of transparency kills the credibility of the government

Lack of routine information available in the public domain plays a huge role in reducing the credibility of the state, and making citizens more suspicious of it than we need to.   A prime example of this would be related to the appointment of Mr. Thomas as CVC chief, and the apparent changing of rulesContinue reading “How lack of transparency kills the credibility of the government”

My article in Financial Express

I co-wrote an article for Financial Express along-with my colleague Mr. Madhukar.  The following in the text: The recent order of the ministry of environment and forests (MoE&F) rejecting the application for grant of forest clearance to the Orissa Mining Company (the Vedanta project) has raised a number of important questions. The order cited theContinue reading “My article in Financial Express”

Who files the most court cases in India?

One of the major concerns for those seeking to improve our democracy is improving “access to justice”.  Simply put, “access to justice” implies a number of things such as getting larger people to resolve disputes through courts, disposing of cases speedily, ensuring judges give quality time to every dispute, etc.  One of the problems inContinue reading “Who files the most court cases in India?”

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 insertionContinue 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 areContinue 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 ofContinue reading “India’s intelligence Agencies – II”

India’s intelligence agencies

India has a variety of intelligence agencies.  Though not in the same league as the USA which has hundreds of agencies, there were many I had never heard of until I made a concerted effort to check for them.  What is more disturbing is that none of these have been set up by any law.Continue reading “India’s intelligence agencies”

Kashmir II: The last Month

In my last blog post, I had summarised the main events in Jammu and Kashmir’s past history to try and give a context to the post I am writing today.  I encapsulate the main events which have taken place within Jammu and Kashmir within the last month or so.  In doing this, I have alsoContinue reading “Kashmir II: The last Month”

Kashmir as it stands today – I

The recent violence in Kashmir has dealt a great deal of damage to the gains made there in recent years.  In this and the next blog post (will be up soon), I encapsulate a summary of the main events concerning Kashmir, and also an attempt at making a timeline of recent events there. Main eventsContinue reading “Kashmir as it stands today – I”

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 byContinue 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: FriContinue 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 fromContinue reading “Who holds intelligence agencies accountable?”

How well are major government schemes working?

The background to this post comes in the realisation that though the government has launched big ticket “social-welfare” schemes in the last decade or so, the government should not merely be throwing money at problems existing in our society.  Social welfare schemes should have well-designed, well-formulated structures which can maximise benefits to the poor orContinue reading “How well are major government schemes working?”

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 theContinue 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 KhapContinue 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 reportsContinue 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 postContinue 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 adoptedContinue reading “India’s Constitution that Gandhi (never) wrote”

How expensive is corruption? Public Administration I

Every instance where corruption is a topic of discussion revolves around one central question (apart from the obvious immorality of it):  How much does corruption cost society as a whole?  I recently picked up a book in an order to understand the process of public administration better.  Its preface gave at least one, objective estimateContinue reading “How expensive is corruption? Public Administration I”

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 LeaveContinue reading “SLPs and Supreme Court: Honest activism causing delays in justice”

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, aContinue 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 inContinue 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 MayorContinue 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 thatContinue reading “BJP’s “Audacity of Hope”: Gadkari’s Maharashtra manifesto”

Local Government III: States – Culprits or bystanders?

The Constitution gives the state governments the power to make laws on all matters relating to the local government, the composition and powers of municipal bodies, and other local bodies for the purpose of self-government.[i] All states therefore have legislations setting out in detail the powers and functions of municipal bodies, and other local bodies.Continue reading “Local Government III: States – Culprits or bystanders?”

Local Government II: Central government and local bodies

The central government does not have a direct role to play in the functioning of municipal bodies.  It however releases funds to state governments annually for urban development.  These funds are released based on the recommendations of the Central Finance Commission’s report. The central government also has a role in municipal administration by promoting urbanContinue reading “Local Government II: Central government and local bodies”

How bodies such as the MCD, BMC, KMC function

India likes to tout the fact that its experiments with local self-government and decentralisation have worked wonders over the years.  Starting today, I will be putting out a series of posts on how precisely these Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) function. Part I: Background Since independence, the urban population of India has grown nearly five times. Continue reading “How bodies such as the MCD, BMC, KMC function”

Bar and Bench

Anirudh Burman's Page

Firstpost

Anirudh Burman's Page

Mainstream

Anirudh Burman's Page

Scholars without Borders

Anirudh Burman's Page

Legal Blog

Anirudh Burman's Page

LAW RESOURCE INDIA

LEGAL RESOURCE CENTRE / COURT JUDGMENTS / LEGAL ARCHIVES

India Together

Anirudh Burman's Page

Concurring Opinions

Anirudh Burman's Page

Bar & Bench

Anirudh Burman's Page

Law and Other Things

Anirudh Burman's Page

IJR

indian journalism review