‘Zero Hour’ to Empower the Power Sphere

Immediately after being sworn in, our new Chief Minister ordered the supply of tariff-free electricity to farmers along with the waiver of their outstanding, unpaid electricity dues.  This has remained a strongly debated and controversial subject.  But, what are the real issues behind this debate?

Agriculture Sector Needs Solutions, Not Sops

The electoral reverses suffered by ruling parties in most states forced governments to focus on agriculture.  It was untouched by economic reform and this neglect is aggravating the rural and agrarian crisis.  One tragic and dramatic manifestation of this crisis is the spate of suicides by farmers, particularly in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

State and Civil Society

What is and what should be the nature of relationship between the civil society and state? This gnawing question has been troubling the students of political science for quite some time. It is only in the last decade, after the liberalization process was initiated, that the debate on the relationship between the state and civil society has come to occupy considerable space in the public discourse.

Savings, for a Rainy Day

The past few days gave us good, strong showers of rain that were long overdue.  But heavy rains also brought with them longer power cuts to many homes.   But, to have power interruptions we do not need heavy rains - the current supply could be knocked out even by the weakest of winds and the lightest among drizzles.  While such power cuts certainly are an inconvenience and a nuisance to us consumers, they also reflect a far more serious problem.  They indicate inefficiencies in our electrical network that directly result in huge losses to the public money.

This Hide-and-seek is not a Game

Our print and electronic media regularly saturate us with news about a rather well-known fugitive and how he manages to keep himself outside the grasp of our police.  Everyone - including his family, his ‘fans’ and supporters and even friends from the media - seems to know where he is hiding.  Except, of course, the law enforcement agencies.  He is seen everywhere.  But then he is found nowhere.   He manages to meet people publicly, conduct business openly and even gets directly in touch with VIPs and VVIPs.

The Time for Cleaner Politics has Come

Last month, the Election Commission (EC) sent a ‘roadmap’ of proposals to the Prime Minister, aimed at cleaning up the stains of corruption and criminalization from the electoral process.  Apparently, the EC hopes to bring at least some proposals into practice, before the Maharashtra elections are held later this year.  These efforts could prove to be the first steps towards cleaner, better and more genuine politics.

Simple Steps to Save Our Sweet Little Ones

While the Kumbakonam tragedy is yet to fade away from our memory, the heartrending saga of kids with heart aliments has come to stalk our collective conscience. Hundreds of paediatric cardiac patients were paraded on the streets of Hyderabad seeking surgical treatment, and one of them died in front of television cameras. The well-meaning media and activists are focusing on the human drama and pathos and pressurizing the government to make allocations. Hospitals are hard-put to cope with the patient-load. In all this, the real issues are ignored to the detriment of the poor.

Keep Your Hands Off Cooperatives!

There is an old adage that “if some thing isn’t broke, it doesn’t need fixing”. But the AP government is exactly attempting to do the same through its proposal for amending the Mutually Aided Cooperative Societies (MACS) Act, 1995. For some of you who might not be familiar with what is happening in the field of cooperatives, a little backgrounder.

Property and Propriety; Policy and Prosperity

The issue of farmers’ suicides has remained in the headlines even after the April-May round of general elections. Our newly elected governments at both the centre and the state have promised to put land reforms on a fast track, in an attempt to provide relief to our distressed farmers. Moreover, in our state, the recent proposals made by the communist parties and the People’s War Group (PWG) have once again brought the issue of land distribution and reforms into the spotlight.

Reform Public Administration – A “Common Will”

The Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s suggestion to recruit the Civil Servants after 10+2 (Intermediate) has generated an interesting debate on the various possibilities of recruiting civil servants. The candidates selected after the usual entrance exams will be put in a national academy and after completing three years will get a graduate degree. The meritorious students among them will then go for a service-oriented course in the academy for two years. On successful completion of which, the candidate will get an MBA degree and would be inducted in the services.