We saw this coming

Post-demonetisation, the government was clueless. When the economy started tanking, the government had no response. On the other hand, every electoral setback was met with incessant efforts at destabilising opponents and grabbing power. What made anyone think that when a public health crisis rolled along, that this government's response would be any better, any more …

Understanding different aspects of ‘governance’

I have always struggled with definitions. Back in school, we had to learn them by-rote. That was easy. Later in life, it obviously became more important to actually understand concepts, and 'definitions' became very difficult. This was primarily because I could not believe in a single interpretation being the only valid one, and crowding a …

Regulators need to act quickly to curb predatory loan apps

NYT has a story on new-generation loan apps: "The authorities in India...believe a new breed of lender, its technique sharpened in China, has been preying on working-class and rural people who have been devastated by the impact of the coronavirus on the Indian economy. These lenders don’t require credit scores or visits to a bank. But they charge high costs …

What did the Union Budget 2021 have in store for the social sector?

The Union Budget for the fiscal year 2021-’22 was supposed to be 'historic'. The Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman had said this Budget would be 'unprecedented', and while we know that such grandiose labels are used every year, the circumstances this year are different. Given the unprecedented global pandemic that has shot the wheels off the Indian economy, …

Narendra Modi has decided to bury India’s federalism

The ongoing farmers’ movement in and around the National Capital Region (NCR) has been the latest flashpoint involving a central government that is increasingly at odds with citizens of this country. This is yet another instance where the Centre has impinged on the constitutional rights of state governments. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s protestations that his …

India’s fight against corruption – making up for the lost decade

A slightly different version of this article first appeared here: https://www.deccanherald.com/opinion/panorama/nda-government-s-anti-graft-agenda-disappears-from-public-domain-871550.html The last time India saw people filling the streets demanding action against corruption was during the Jan Lokpal protests of 2011-12. Nearly a decade has passed since. A two-term Prime Minister was voted out of power in 2014, his government was disgraced, and the …

Looking back at early COVID-19 responses; reflections on the way ahead

First published on the IDS Alumni blog on 28th May 2020 *** As the world battles the Corona virus, it was clear what governments around the world needed to do to pause the global pandemic: Testing, Testing, Testing; and Lockdowns. The costs of testing were always known. Costs of lockdowns have become apparent in the …

Four key policy imperatives in Kenya’s fight against COVID-19

First published on the IDS Alumni blog on 17 April 2020 *** The rapid spread of COVID-19 has paralysed societies worldwide. With281 confirmed cases, densely populated informal settlements in urban centres such as Nairobi and Mombasa, combined with a public healthcare system that is already under pressure, Kenya might be staring at a looming disaster. There are …