June 5, 2016

Across the Aisle: Then and now – The model is flawed

‘Swachh Bharat’ or ‘Clean India’ cannot be a slogan or an event. It has to become a habit, nay, a passion. It involves many factors including: *Behaviour *Social structure *Technology *Money *Execution *Administration Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan, with the objective of eliminating open defecation by 2017, was apparently designed after taking into account these and other factors. In the early months […]
May 29, 2016

I wish the Prime Minister had said

My fellow citizens, brothers and sisters, I greet you on this day, May 26, 2016, when my government completes two years in office. The usual practice is to make a self-congratulatory speech and repeat old promises or make new promises. I have decided to break from this tradition and present an honest and objective assessment of the state of the […]
May 22, 2016

Across the aisle: It is not yet the turning point

Sometimes, the expected masquerades as the unexpected. Sober reflection had told us many months ago that the governments in Assam and Kerala would be voted out and new governments voted in. That a change would also happen in Puducherry. That in West Bengal, the TMC would be returned to power overcoming the unusual (but understandable) tactical alliance between the Congress […]
May 15, 2016

Across the aisle: Misadventures of the Modi government

Back in the summer of 2014, almost anything was possible for the BJP government. The once-in-a-generation mandate had endowed the government with enormous political capital that could be used to implement any reform, including some long-pending and difficult reforms. Alas, two years after May 2014, the government has become a punchline for jokes. Its hardcore supporters are scrambling desperately to […]
May 8, 2016

Wanted: A Bharatanatyam dancer, please

In a caustic comment on an economist, Dr Jagdish Bhagwati once said, “if he is an economist, I’m a Bharatanatyam dancer!”. Dr Arvind Panagariya is an honourable man. He has a job to do, but has a useless tool — the NITI Aayog — in his hands. The NITI Aayog is neither an all-powerful arbiter of policy differences and fund […]
May 1, 2016

Government should back CJI on idea of a Court of Appeal

The CJI proposed the idea of a Court of Appeal which would be a beginning of the end of an over-burdened and choked Supreme Court and the restoration of a true Constitutional Court. The subject cannot be dealt with in a single column, nevertheless I think I should make a beginning. The break down of the justice-delivery system is happening […]
April 24, 2016

Across the aisle: Let’s admit we are challenged in one eye

This government is a bundle of nerves. It sees ghosts where none exists. It sees enemies even among friendly and neutral commentators. And it has men and women who are ready to shoot to kill even without orders (under a political version of AFSPA — Angry Friends Special Powers Act). What did Dr Raghuram Rajan, Governor, Reserve Bank of India, […]
April 17, 2016

Across the aisle: Embracing Kashmir, alienating Kashmiris

‘Who am I?’ is a question that no one has been able to answer satisfactorily. Just as an individual seeks answers to the question of his or her identity, a people sharing many characteristics — land, language, religion, culture, history, suffering — also seek an answer to the questions who are they and where do they belong. Many people find […]