Secularism and political opportunism

Pratap Bhanu Mehta has another thought-provoking piece in the Indian Express, on the idea of secularism. Important points made - of how secularism for the state cannot merely be argued on the basis of personal virtues. As Mehta concludes - the fight over secularism, fought between Rahul, Modi and Nitish are nothing much to write … Continue reading Secularism and political opportunism

Local governance under attack

My latest livemint article is up - on how local governments are under attack - day in and day out from an entrenched bureaucracy -Recently a small news item mentioned a ruling by the Additional Collector, Yavatmal district, sacking 664 Gram Panchayat members from various Panchayats for failing to construct a toilet in their homes. … Continue reading Local governance under attack

The politics of globally published data: looking at World Bank data on China

Useful reading for anyone using data put out by international agenciesStatistics prepared by international agencies are valued because they are considered accurate and reliable. But are they? Two stories about World Bank statistics tell us how the data it compiles are vulnerable to manipulation by interested parties. National and international statistical offices always operate in the tension between professional standards of objectivity and political insistence on certain results. … Continue reading The politics of globally published data: looking at World Bank data on China

Why legislation is not enough…

Lant Pritchett on the importance of implementationRights do not eliminate the need for administrative reform. Even if the government had funds for universal pensions, the mechanisms for pro-poor implementation would still be missing. Implementing a universal right requires changes in how the poor prove citizenship, access courts and apply for schemes; and in how bureaucracies … Continue reading Why legislation is not enough…