Towards the end of 2015, reflecting on what determines the size of the state, I came up with these three broad categories. At the end of 2016, with a hindsight view of ‘demonetisation gone wrong’, I revisit that concept. These three categories describe the nature of engagement the state seeks with particular areas of policy. … Continue reading In 2016, Narendra Modi expanded the remit of the coercive state
On 24th July 2016, Judith Tendler, former Professor at the Department of Urban studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Boston, passed away. She was 77. A Ph.D from Columbia University, Judith Tendler spent several years at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), before a long career as a Professor … Continue reading Judith Tendler, and learning from ‘good government’
Sue Unsworth's work provides us a wealth of knowledge on governance and institutional change, stemming largely from her 'upside down' view of the conventional reality of the aid world. Here is a quick peek into some of her work - particularly, insights into how donor-approaches should evolve to engage successfully with politics. Sue's work with … Continue reading Sue Unsworth’s ‘upside down’ view
The implementation of PESA and FRA have been fraught with challenges--many of them genuine and yet many others a consequence of bureaucratic and political inertia, incompetence and malice
This is my latest livemint column *** I want to clarify right at the beginning that I am not making the value judgement that this question might imply to some readers. I do not think small is beautiful, and certainly not so in the context of a state. There are circumstances in which the state … Continue reading What determines the size of the Indian state?
In the context of the subsidies regime in India, there is an ongoing debate on the suitability of cash transfers. With the much talked about JAM trinity – the Jan Dhan zero-balance bank accounts, Aadhar and mobile phones, it certainly appears that the state-sponsored welfare system is set to see a significant shift. While this … Continue reading Cash as a response to humanitarian distress
(di·chot·o·my noun: a difference between two opposite things : a division into two opposite groups) ** A good way of blocking progress in an argument is to present two aspects of a whole as a dichotomy. The sanitation debate, in recent years, has suffered from a seemingly irreconcilable dichotomy when it comes to identifying the … Continue reading The false dichotomy amongst ‘sanitation for all’ advocates