ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Coal Auctions

The National Democratic Alliance government has often claimed revolutionary success in introducing the auctioning of coal blocks. However, the auctions route accounts for less than one-sixth of the total coal reserves allocated by them. The rest has been allocated through the allotment route to government companies, which have gone on to sign mine developer-cum-operator contracts with private coal miners, opening up an opaque channel for back-door privatisation.

Statehood for Delhi

The Supreme Court’s interpretation of Article 239-AA of the Constitution in Government of NCT of Delhi v Union of India has reaffirmed the centrality of representative democracy and federalism to India’s constitutional government. However, it has only restored an unhappy status quo as far as Delhi is concerned. The fault lies in Article 239-AA itself, an incomplete and unworkable division of powers and responsibilities that gives Delhi a lot of government, but little governance.

Developmental Rhetoric, Uprooted Lives

Any developmental activity can be meaningful only when the dispossessed and displaced people are taken care of and adequately rehabilitated. Nevertheless, their basic rights to life and decent rehabilitation are often violated by governments and project authorities. Such violations are particularly evident in the Gundlakamma Reservoir Project in Andhra Pradesh.

Downgrading the Status of Chief Information Commissioner

The right to information, much like the right to vote, is rooted in the same fundamental right, with the offices of the chief information commissioner and the chief election commissioner, respectively, operating at the same level of autonomy, towards the enforcement of these rights. The proposed amendments to the Right to Information Act, which reportedly seek to downgrade the status of the chief information commissioner and information commissioners, reduce the autonomy of this constitutional institution and are, consequently, an assault on the right to information and democracy.

From Agenda of Alliance to Agenda of Split

The upping of the anti-militancy operations following the break-up of the Peoples Democratic Party–Bharatiya Janata Party alliance in Jammu and Kashmir is seen as being carried out with a view to win the general elections at the cost of Kashmiri lives and bodies scarred with pellets. Mudasir Amin...

The Next Stage of Planning in India

A close review of the Niti Aayog’s vision document vis-à-vis earlier plans and programme details offers valuable insights and suggestions on the real issues that India must face for inclusive growth.

Rising Caesarean Births

India’s rising rate of caesarean births is a cause for concern and signals the need for strategies to deal with it. Adverse outcomes of caesarean births include high risk of maternal and neonatal death, various maternal morbidities including infections, need for blood transfusion, neonatal morbidities related to iatrogenic prematurity, and potential complications in subsequent pregnancies.

Acquisition of Flipkart by Walmart

The recent acquisition of Flipkart by Walmart will accelerate the process of transforming the retail sector in two important ways. It will bring in the know-how and capital of a retail giant, and will give a boost to online retail. While this helps transform the retail sector in India with clear long-run benefits, definite job losses in informal retail and probable rises in food prices in rural markets due to sourcing by big retailers are the short-run problems. If the government ignores the short-run problems, the transformation may become politically infeasible.

Role of Government in Funded Health Insurance Schemes

State-funded health insurance schemes do not target the truly needy or completely miss them, while the government is unable to regulate the private sector. These aspects were not taken into account when the government announced the National Health Protection Scheme. The scheme will turn out to be just another means for the growth of the private sector in the secondary and tertiary care segments.

Gender and Indian Literary Awards

The distribution of Sahitya Akademi awards shows the fairly predictable pattern of gender gaps. Starting from 1955, and across two dozen languages, less than one-tenth of all awards have gone to women. However, since the 1990s, there has been an overall increase in the awards given to women writers.

Has the IAS Failed the Nation?

The decision to recruit experts from the open market in certain departments at the level of joint secretaries is not enough to radically professionalise the civil service. Internal specialisation must be promoted by insisting on stable tenure in the states so that there is incentive for the Indian Administrative Service officers to acquire expertise in their chosen sectors. Also, the IAS officers should take the entry of the outsiders as a challenge, because if they do not improve their performance, there could be repetition of such recruitment every year.

A House of Cards

The Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964, which apply to all public servants in the country, date from colonial times and are reflective of a colonial mindset. Civil servants no longer want to be treated as unruly kids ignorant of their roles and responsibilities. These dated rules must be consigned to the dustbin of history and replaced by a new code of ethics based on self-regulation, accountability, and transparency.

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