April 16, 2017

Across the aisle: Kashmir is sliding into disaster

I have written many times on the situation in Jammu & Kashmir with particular reference to the situation in the Kashmir Valley. There were six columns on this page between April and September 2016. The thrust of my argument was, thanks to the policies adopted by the PDP-BJP government in J&K and the Central government, we were losing Kashmir. Few, […]
April 2, 2017

Across the Aisle: The intoxication of absolute power

The Finance Bill is, usually, the most important Bill on the annual legislative agenda of the finance minister. Policy decisions are first taken by the Department of Revenue with the approval of the finance minister and these decisions are conveyed to the draftsmen. Dozens of officers, including officers of the Ministry of Law, spend more than a hundred hours to […]
March 26, 2017

Across the aisle: Celebrating gods, neglecting children

Our idea of human resource development is minus child development, minus child health and minus child nutrition. In fact, ‘human resource development’ is the new name for ‘education’. Rajiv Gandhi’s pathbreaking and far-sighted idea of an all-embracing Ministry of Human Resource Development was abandoned soon after his death and what we have today is a euphemism for the old Ministry […]
March 19, 2017

Win some, steal some

The five state elections (Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur) had a common feature: it was a vote against the incumbent government. The BJP lost Punjab but won UP and Uttarakhand convincingly. The Congress lost Uttarakhand but won Punjab convincingly. The Samajwadi Party lost Uttar Pradesh. Goa and Manipur delivered indecisive verdicts. The winners formed the government in the […]
March 12, 2017

Across the aisle: The people have voted; now, we hope

I was permitted by the editors to hold back this column for a day to take into account the results of the five state elections. That was necessary. It was also a wise decision. There is no doubt whatsoever that the victories in Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Uttarakhand have re-confirmed that Mr Narendra Modi is the most dominant political leader […]
March 9, 2017

Across the aisle: Have we got our priorities right ?

Governments will come and governments will go. The people are concerned not so much with governments as they are with governance. The hallmark of a government is its priorities. The Central government will complete three years in May 2017. A few weeks ago, a new government assumed office in India’s largest state, Uttar Pradesh, that is home to one out […]
March 5, 2017

Statistics is growth: let’s eat statistics

The Central Statistics Organisation (CSO) is an honourable institution. Dr Pronab Sen, the former chief statistician, and Dr T C A Anant, the current chief statistician, are honourable men. Ordinarily, one should have faith in them. I do. However, what should one do when they appear to contradict each other? Dr Anant, after releasing the data for the third quarter […]
February 27, 2017

Across the aisle: From university to mediocrity

There is an unwritten law that one space on this earth must be inviolate. That is the space occupied by a university. A university is not a mere collection of buildings. It is also not a collection of colleges or centres of research. It is not constituted solely for the purpose of conferring degrees upon the young men and women […]
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March 26, 2017

Across the aisle: Celebrating gods, neglecting children

Our idea of human resource development is minus child development, minus child health and minus child nutrition. In fact, ‘human resource development’ is the new name for ‘education’. Rajiv Gandhi’s pathbreaking and far-sighted idea of an all-embracing Ministry of Human Resource Development was abandoned soon after his death and what we have today is a euphemism for the old Ministry […]
March 19, 2017

Win some, steal some

The five state elections (Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur) had a common feature: it was a vote against the incumbent government. The BJP lost Punjab but won UP and Uttarakhand convincingly. The Congress lost Uttarakhand but won Punjab convincingly. The Samajwadi Party lost Uttar Pradesh. Goa and Manipur delivered indecisive verdicts. The winners formed the government in the […]
March 12, 2017

Across the aisle: The people have voted; now, we hope

I was permitted by the editors to hold back this column for a day to take into account the results of the five state elections. That was necessary. It was also a wise decision. There is no doubt whatsoever that the victories in Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Uttarakhand have re-confirmed that Mr Narendra Modi is the most dominant political leader […]
March 9, 2017

Across the aisle: Have we got our priorities right ?

Governments will come and governments will go. The people are concerned not so much with governments as they are with governance. The hallmark of a government is its priorities. The Central government will complete three years in May 2017. A few weeks ago, a new government assumed office in India’s largest state, Uttar Pradesh, that is home to one out […]
March 5, 2017

Statistics is growth: let’s eat statistics

The Central Statistics Organisation (CSO) is an honourable institution. Dr Pronab Sen, the former chief statistician, and Dr T C A Anant, the current chief statistician, are honourable men. Ordinarily, one should have faith in them. I do. However, what should one do when they appear to contradict each other? Dr Anant, after releasing the data for the third quarter […]
February 27, 2017

Across the aisle: From university to mediocrity

There is an unwritten law that one space on this earth must be inviolate. That is the space occupied by a university. A university is not a mere collection of buildings. It is also not a collection of colleges or centres of research. It is not constituted solely for the purpose of conferring degrees upon the young men and women […]
February 19, 2017

Across the aisle: The rise and fall of the AIADMK

De mortuis nil nisi bonum. (Of the dead say nothing but the good). The best I can do is to say nothing uncharitable about Jayalalithaa the person, but simply recount the events of the last 25 years. M G Ramachandran (MGR) broke with his party (DMK) in 1972 and founded the All India Anna DMK (AIADMK). He was elected as […]
February 12, 2017

Across the aisle: Wanted expansion, got contraction

A budget is contextual.  When the new year dawned, some things were abundantly clear. Firstly, the external environment was no longer benign (rising oil prices and rising protectionism). Secondly, the growth rate of the Indian economy was slowing down (as in many countries of the world). Thirdly, while the Indian economy was growing, few jobs were being created. Fourthly, there […]
February 10, 2017

Across the aisle: Muddling through another budget, another year

Budget day has come and gone. Millions of words have been spoken and written since Wednesday. Not many will remember the numbers or the artful phrases (there was none in this edition) or the flashes of poetry (who were the poets?). What will remain is the question, did this Budget leave the average citizen with the belief that the fundamental […]
January 29, 2017

Across the aisle: Navigating through the do’s and don’ts

Every budget is determined by the context and the context is determined by the circumstances — economic, political and the year in the term of the government. Budget 2017-18 will be the fourth budget of the NDA government (one more remains) and it will be presented when, according to the RBI and the CSO, the economy is slowing down. The […]