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.

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.

Corruption and Economic Reform

The Prime Minister stated recently that corruption has declined on account of the economic reform process. Is it possible to substantiate this argument? Let us examine.

Empowered Local Governments

A large-sized district in India is larger than about eighty (80) nation-states in the world in terms of population. Most of our larger states would be among the large nations of the world. Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra and West Bengal - each would be the largest nation in Europe if independent. Even a truncated Uttar Pradesh would be the world's sixth largest nation! Given these mind-boggling demographic realities, coupled with unmatched diversity, our centralized, somewhat imperial style of governance is archaic and ineffective.

Political Rigidities and Promise of Change

dir="ltr">After days of agonizing suspense, high drama and emotions, a new Union Council of Ministers took office under Dr Manmohan Singh’s stewardship.  The sage decision of Mrs Sonia Gandhi to stand aside has enhanced her personal prestige, helped the Congress party claim the high moral ground and prevented potentially disastrous national strife and polarization.

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.

Good Value for our Money Spent

A budget is not merely about numbers, receipts and expenditure.  It is about what is to be done with our money, what policies and services are preferred, how resources are spent, and getting good value for our money.

AP  draft   budget for 2002-03  conceals  as  much   as   it   reveals.  An expenditure of Rs. 32,981 crores is proposed for the year.  Of this, wages and pensions of employees account for Rs. 11,090 crores, or 82.7% of the Rs 13,408 crores tax revenues!  This is quite alarming.

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