A messy democracy does not need an emperor

As has been pointed out over and over again following the Karnataka elections results, there is now solid evidence that the best counter to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the ideology it represents, is to mount a direct face-off in every state. Triangular or four-cornered contests are almost surely doomed, because of the vote-bank …

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Why has decentralisation (temporarily) gone out of fashion?

Last week was the twenty-fifth anniversary of the landmark constitutional amendments that laid out the roadmap for democratic decentralisation in India. The 73rd and 74th amendments were passed with much fanfare in 1993, and while there are large variations in the level of progress states have achieved, the Government of India’s official line has been …

Bring budgets center-stage to achieve green growth in Bangladesh

Bangladesh has sustained a GDP growth rate of over 6 percent for more than decade. The impending graduation out of the Least Developed Countries category is a remarkable achievement for the country of 160 million people, only in its fifth decade as an independent nation. This growth trajectory has brought in its wake several key …

Democratic decentralisation depends on a vibrant ‘gram sabha’

Decentralisation is a strategy to empower citizens to control their own destinies. At its core, decentralisation signals that citizen collectives can come together to make decisions of allocation and expenditure of public resources. ‘Democratic decentralisation’ as practised in India is where this power is devolved to elected local governments – this was the spirit of …