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.

Governance in States – ‘Dangerously Stable Equilibrium’

We have witnessed momentous developments during this week. The heinous Mumbai blasts killing scores of people and injuring many more, the collapse of the BSP-BJP coalition in Uttar Pradesh, and the report of ASI on Ayodhya – all these are events which could have far-reaching impact on our polity and society for some time to come.

Social Entrepreneurship Local Successes and Mass Replication

Charity has been integral to our society and culture. But much of charity has traditionally been for pious causes - like temples and choultries, or to help indigent individuals. Most often there is a perceived link between charity in this world, and the rewards awaiting you in the othe rworld.

Poverty not cause of problems but result of misgovernance

EXCLUDING the local governments’ expenditure and inter-governmental adjustments, the combined total expenditure of the Union and state governments, according to the Budget estimates for 1999-2000, is a whopping Rs 524,000 crore.

The actual expenditure was in excess of Rs 550,000 crore. Judging by past experience, next year it could well be Rs 600,000 crore. This amounts to Rs 1,644 crore a day, or in terms of purchasing power it is equivalent to $2 billion a day!

All Play and No Work?


We just have too many holidays. Don’t get me wrong. I am not a workaholic reformer who shuns fun and frolic and wishes to scrap the few fun and festival holidays we enjoy. Its just that because of State government, Central Government, Bank, and other myriad holidays there is too much disruption in the work routine. Then if you throw in a Congress, BJP, or TDP Bandh, a VIP death, a bank strike, the result is chaos. Not to forget the Election holidays. I am not exaggerating. Take the last 10 days of March for instance. On Saturdays banks work only half days and cheques are not cleared.

Where is our Money Going


It is not uncommon to see a housewife bargaining with a vegetable vendor over the price of vegetables, or a passenger bargaining with an autorickshaw wallah, or an employer negotiating the salary of the prospective employee. Often a housewife goes back all the way to the vendor to show him the rotten baingan picked up at his vegetable stand! We are all very particular about getting the maximum value for our rupee. There is nothing wrong with that. It is hard earned money and we are not going to fritter it away. Neither are we going to keep quiet if somebody tries to cheat us.