Can We Improve Delivery?

India has a functioning democracy and several institutions and practices ensure checks and balances and a modicum of governance. And yet, every government feels handicapped in delivering on its promises.

WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT BIHAR?

One of the great challenges facing our republic is the increasing regional disparities. It is well recognized that the South and the West are the engines of growth, along with the region in and around Delhi. The North and the East, with the exception of West Bengal are in dire straits, though considerable potential exists in the fertile Gangetic plains.

Creative Tension vs Endless Conflict

By all accounts, Mr Chidambaram presented a credible and creditable budget. He had to achieve balance in a complex situation – between political compulsions and fiscal prudence, quest for economic growth and concern for equity, and infrastructure needs and populist impulses.

Our Parliamentary Democracy in Perspective

 

Impressive Record

 

Reforming Democracy Need for a Systemic Approach

Whenever people in general, and pundits in particular, talk about the state of democracy in our country their discussion is limited to talking about the ills plaguing our system. We all know that flawed electoral rolls, polling irregularities, vote buying, unaccountable use of money in elections, criminalisation of politics and the curse of defections are some of the topics which keep the people engaged. Indeed, these are serious abuses of power. However, instead of simply ranting about them, why not look at the solutions in a holistic way?

Perfidy of Politicians vs Tyranny of the Unelected

By the time this article appears in print, General Elections would have been completed and the new government would have taken the reins. Some of you have would be reflecting on the recently concluded elections and probably somewhere in the corner of your mind a question might have cropped up: “Is too much of democracy good for our country?” Well, you are not the only one thinking on those lines.

Freedom and Citizenship

Recently, Lok Satta released a list of 51 politicians with criminal antecedents, based on nine verifiable, rational and objective criteria, including those who were acquitted in cases pertaining to grave offences. Looking to the ground swell of public opinion in support of the list, the political parties had to at least temporarily defer nominating the politicians who figured in the list.

It is the States and Governance, Stupid!

dir="ltr">Harold McMillan famously said that one week was a long time in politics. NDA ignored that maxim in the exuberence which followed the victory of BJP in MP, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh in December. The stunning verdict in Lok Sabha polls brings us back to the realities of our politics.

Stakes in Growth for All Sections

dir="ltr">One of the most contentious issues in public discourse in India is the quota policy (reservations) in favour of Dalits and other disadvantaged sections. Almost all educated Indians are divided on this issue of reservations on caste lines. In any group, the opponents of reservation are most likely to be caste Hindus who fear loss of opportunities, and supporters tend to be disadvantaged sections seeking more opportunities for advancement. Our Constitution-makers took great pains to make special provisions in favour of disadvantaged sections.

Role of the State in Providing Public Services

For the first time in nearly five decades, political parties are fighting the general elections almost entirely on the basis of developmental and governance issues.   It is therefore not surprising that the role of politicians and the government in providing public services became the focus of electoral debate.  This is definitely a good development and indicates the maturing of Indian political process.  At the same time, we should also understand the relative roles of the citizens and the governmental service providers.