Technology as a tool for empowerment or centralization?

All of us, we are privileged to live in a day and age of technological innovation. Modern technology enabled us to do many things, which would have been considered impossible a century ago Modern health care in the form of vaccines, antibiotics and aseptic surgery went a long way in increasing the average life span. The communications revolution coupled with modern air transport made the term “globalization” a reality. Networking, wired world, connectivity and e-governance are the latest jargon freely used by the new age gurus.

Crisis in Urban Co-operative Banks

Series of scandals have engulfed the urban co-operative banks in the state. Thousands of small depositors, lured by the comparatively higher interest rates offered by some of these banks, lost their life savings and not know who to turn to.

Urban India – Crumbling Metropolises

Throughout history cities have been centers of civilization and have been engines of growth for commerce and industry. They were hubs of their respective regional economies. Cities also foster and nurture new ideas and serve as centers of excellence for the arts. Owing to their inherent economic strength, and opportunities for growth, they are also beacons of hope for many a budding entrepreneur. Mumbai and New York City continue to attract thousands of such hopefuls every year who contribute to the city through their labour, services and entrepreneurial abilities.

Making Cities Self-Reliant

Across the world there is an increasing trend towards urbanization accompanied by a shift in the nature of economy from agriculture and industry to services. Demographers project that bulk of population growth in developing countries will be in urban areas. In 2002 there were 17 mega cities with 10 million plus population in the world and this figure is expected to grow to 21 by 2015. What is remarkable is the fact that excepting for four of them, all the rest are in the developing world!

From BIMARU to Beti Maro

The recent release of data on religions by Registrar General & Census Commissioner of India has kicked off a debate on growth rates of religions in India. There are quite a large number of ‘experts’ who are indulging in hairsplitting analysis of behavioral/attitudinal differences towards birth control among the members practicing different religions in India.  However, most of us have failed to notice that there seems to be a common bond that unites people of India with reference to their attitude towards the girl child i.e., to kill them.

Urban Chaos and Cultivated Status quoism

The last ten months have witnessed unusually severe natural calamities affecting the sub-continent. The tsunami of December 2004, the Mumbai floods of July this year, and the recent Muzaffarabad earthquake have caused great devastation. But these disasters have a silver lining for India. Our administration did respond with some vigour and alacrity compared with the littoral states of the Indian ocean, US authorities in the wake of hurricane Katrina, and Pakistan officials now.

Migration and Squalor - Crisis in Mumbai

Mumbai, India’s premier city, and the nation’s financial and industrial capital is going through a crisis. The population of the city is growing at 4.5 percent per annum. Predictably, most growth is by migration from poor, rural areas. In 1960, squatters were estimated to be less than 4 lakhs in a population of 4.5 million. By 1980, their number rose to 4.5 million in a population of 9 million. Greater Mumbai is now the sixth largest mega city in the world, with 16.4 million population.

Sensible Land Policies and Economic Growth

The Cricket World Cup mania and Iraq war have completely dominated the news over the past six weeks, as economic issues receded into the background. The budget speech of the FM has been all but forgotten. But there is life beyond sports and foreign wars. We need to focus on sensible policies to promote prosperity and combat poverty, in order to enhance real national security.

Skewed Priorities in Infrastructure

The recent political controversy surrounding the bifurcation of Eastern Railway and the creation of East Central Railway with its headquarters at Hajipur once again raises two questions: the role of government in running enterprises, and the plight of infrastructure sector. It is by now well-recognized that public sector is often a euphenism for political patronage and private aggrandizement. Politicians in power or out of it, and career bureaucrats as a rule have no respect for economic logic or wealth creation.

Agricultural Power – Impossible Best Vs Possible Good

One sector, the management of which will make or mar India’s economic future is electricity. For over a decade we have been incessantly talking of power sector reform, and yet the results, so far at least, have been disheartening. We focused on the one area which has been our strong point – generation, and ignored distribution which is our weakest link. As a result, hardly any private investment – domestic or foreign – materialized. Only about 6700 MW private generation capacity came up – a third of the expected investment.

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