More announcements, evidence can wait?

This is my latest Livemint column Given Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s public utterances accepting mythology as evidence of ancient India’s scientific achievements, it should not be surprising that for the current government, evaluations and learning don’t seem to play an important role in policymaking. Recently, speaking at a public event, Reserve Bank of India governor…

Why Kanji bhai trumps PK

PK is a timely movie – a message on the folly of organised religion that needs to be spread far and wide. Box office wise, it has the commercial might of Chopra – Hirani – Aamir (more later on how that may be their undoing). PK entertains, but how compelling is it in terms of…

PM Modi’s Team India will fail

The proposal for Team India, the body to replace the Planning Commission is a sanitized technocratic proposal, perfectly suited for a game of development bingo – this is my latest livemint column *** Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his recent meeting with chief ministers, presented a proposal for revamping the Planning Commission. The least we…

Leveraging GPS technology to access the inaccessible

Last month, insurgents killed more than 60 people in north-east Kenya. This is only the latest in a wave of violent incidents heightening insecurity along the remote Somali-Kenyan border. The north-east is one of the poorest regions in Kenya. Weak infrastructure and limited public services are exacerbated by banditry and insurgency. The national primary school…

The futility of legalistic measures to foster accountability

Akshay Mangla has a great article on the Government of India’s biometric attendance tracking system: …One must ask whether attendance is a high enough bar, and whether the benefits of meeting that bar through instruments like surveillance outweigh the costs. The costs involve a downward dynamic in which institutionalized distrust induces further suspicion and fear…

Activists and their battle for legitimacy

This is my latest livemint column *** In what can only be described as quite a stinging attack, a recent Mint column took on the intelligence and the motivations of activists in India. Accusing the likes of Medha Patkar of misguided activism that has created a “mess (that) will take some time to be sorted…