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

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Corruption in Indian Medicine

Corruption in Indian medicine is back on the front pages. One would think that there has been an abrupt spurt in corrupt practices or a major scandal. Nothing of that sort has happened. However, there have been some interesting developments for the focus to shift back to what is really a very old affliction. This is an update on recent happenings as the entrepreneurial spirit of the new India plays out in healthcare.

Understanding Government Failure in Public Health Services

High absenteeism, low quality in clinical care, low satisfaction levels with care and rampant corruption plague public health services in India. This has led to mistrust of the system and the rapid growth of private services. This paper develops an analytical framework to understand the status of healthcare in India. Drawing on a model of public sector accountability, it argues that a weak voice and low accountability is the key binding constraint to effective delivery.

New Social Elites and the Early Colonial State

When the Europeans began to trade in India, their commerce was completely dependent on the services of the Indian mercantile class who served as the conduits to the primary producers and local markets. This relationship did not change materially after the European enclaves of Madras and Pondicherry were established. It was, however, redefined, since the indigenous merchants in these early colonial port cities were, at least formally, subservient to the authority of the Europeans. At the same time, the growing importance of the local merchants in these commercial centres created an opening and a space for them in indigenous society through which they could create a new identity for themselves as the new social elite and patrons of local institutions, arts and culture.

Maharashtra: Quiet Burial of Right to Information

The right to information has been legitimised in Maharashtra for over three years but suffers from numerous exemptions and exceptions. There appears to be an attempt to privatise the concerned departments to put them out of reach of the information law in order to protect widespread corruption.

Corruption under the Scanner

Global Corruption Report 2001 edited by Robin Hodess et al; Transparency International, Berlin, 2001; pp 314, price not stated.

Calcutta Diary

The two amendments proposed to the Representation of the Peoples Act requiring open voting by members of state assemblies while electing members of the Rajya Sabha and dispensing with the residential provision for election to the Rajya Sabha are an invocation of, and tribute to, national corruption.

Calcutta Diary

Events are unfolding at an extremely fast pace. It is at this moment difficult to guess how India's ruling superstructure is going to crumble, or whether it is going to crumble at all. For there is hardly any scope for illusion. Irrespective of the particular corner of the political spectrum you decide to depend upon, the story is the same. Do we then wait for the Waiting-For-Godot principle? Rather, should not the wait be for a milieu where Godotdisbelievers have come to the fore?

Corruption as Spectator Sport

While exposing individual acts of corruption is to be lauded, and the guilty deserve to be punished, we need to recognise that this is but a small part of the actions necessary for controlling corruption. We as citizens are ambivalent about corruption and, more than anyone else, politicians have sensed the mixed signals given by the people on corruption. Is it any wonder that they loudly demand the scalp of the corrupt while quietly ignoring the systemic reforms essential for controlling corruption?

India's Hope against Hope

Those who puzzle why reasoned policy prescriptions, clearly comprehensible and undoubtedly apprehended by decision-makers, do not lead to change are absolutely correct to attribute the failure to bottomless venality and insane corruption. Yet there is a churning, as the borders of the predatory state recede in the face of an expanding civil society.

Cancer It Is

I n his address to the nation on Friday on the situation arising out of the Tehelka disclosures, the prime minister spoke in two voices. In the earlier part of the address he came close to echoing the position taken by numerous other spokespersons on behalf of the government and the ruling NDA, casting doubt on the motivations of those responsible for giving currency to the allegations against the government and emphasising the alleged threat to the country’s security and economic stability as a result. “Many a country has been destabilised by such gales”, as he put it. Towards the end of his speech, however, the prime minister struck a more reflective, non-partisan note. He said: “In an important sense, what has come into view goes beyond security; the ease with which persons posing as arms merchants gained access to our defence personnel and politicians shows how far the cancer has spread”.

A Montage of Skulduggery

A quick look at media reports in the first weeks of the new year reveals the horrifying diversity of daily conflicts among the varieties of intra-religious, ethinic, political, linguistic, political and pseudo-political groups and parties that are tearing society apart.

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