Distancing People from Politics

The government and political parties have acted with uncharacteristic speed and dynamism to thwart the disclosure provisions ordered by the Election Commission (EC). The chain of events starting with the Supreme Court judgment on May 2, and culminating with a draft bill circulated by government on July 15 is revealing. Suddenly, the political consensus, which eludes the nation even in testing times, resurfaced! All parties seem to be more or less unanimous that candidates for elective office must not be forced to disclose their criminal record and financial details.

Cooperatives Clean up the mess first; help later

The call of the prime minister to depoliticise, debureaucratise, democratise and professionalise the cooperatives has come not a day too soon. From Gorwale committee (1950’s) to Khusro committee (80’s) and now the Task Force on cooperatives led by Jagdish Capoor, there is no dearth of expert bodies and reports on the role and health of cooperatives. As usual, what is lacking is resolute action. The state of cooperatives is a classic illustration of bad governance affecting economic institutions.

Plundering the Poor and Protecting the Rich

Exactly a decade ago the Narasimharao-Manmohan Singh duo initiated the economic reform process under severe fiscal compulsions. The process has been incomplete and there have been many problems. But even the worst critics of economic liberalization would admit that there are many successes. Moderately high growth rates have been sustained for a decade. Inflation has been under control. Consumers have far greater choice now, with quality of goods improving, and prices declining.

Democracy and Media

The events of the past fortnight have once again demonstrated the fragility that characterizes the fundamental rights in this country. The Tamilnadu Legislative Assembly found five senior journalists guilty of violating the legislative privileges and sought to imprison them. This episode brings into relief many questions. First, can Article 194, pertaining to legislative privileges, override freedom of expression enshrined in Article 19? Can judiciary adjudicate on the question of legislative privileges?

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