State failure is all-pervasive – Reading ‘Despite the State’ (2021) by M. Rajshekhar

It was only this week that I got down to reading this 2021 book. The balcony of a house on the Kenyan coast in Watamu provided the perfect setting.   the only bright picture you will see here ‘Despite the State’ was not an easy read. None of the six Indian states Rajshekhar travelled to …

The latest IPCC report reiterates that climate action is not just a matter of technical fixes

The two Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment reports (AR6) released this year are on expected lines. The status quo isn’t great. Mitigation actions have lagged far behind the curve. While on average, annual emissions were at their highest during 2010-2019, the decadal rate of growth was lower than the previous decade (2000-09). The …

What problem will the Central Universities Common Entrance Test (CUET) solve exactly?

Last month, the University Grants Commission (UGC) announced that a new Central Universities Common Entrance Test (CUET) will be rolled out from this year for admissions to undergraduate degree programmes in central universities across the country. Central universities are much sought after because they are affordable and are supposed to offer high quality education. CUET …

Towards a ‘Civil Society-mukt Bharat’?

In 2020, the Government of India made it harder for civil society to raise funds by introducing a raft of restrictive regulations for receiving funding from foreign sources. This was brought about through amendments to the Foreign Contributions (Regulation) Act. For one, it prohibited the transfer (sub-granting) of FCRA funds by recipients to other persons …

Is the Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA) too idealistic, too naive, and too rigid for the real world?

From Quora, and first written in 2010. Not at all. Here is why... While IRMA was established in 1979 to supply trained managers to rural cooperatives and (later) NGOs in India in the 1980s, its graduates now work for a diverse universe of organisations. When I joined IRMA, it was only with the expectation that …

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 …