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Governance

Backgrounders

Governance : Background & Perspective

By Binu S Thomas

Governance is the new buzzword in development discourse. The World Bank and other international financial institutions identify public sector management, transparency, legal framework, accountability and information as the key components of governance. In a country like India, which has the largest number of poor people in the world and also ranks high on the list of most-corrupt nations, good governance involves fighting corruption, improving bureaucratic and political accountability and promoting people's participation and public-private partnerships

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Analysis

Why muddy the debate around AFSPA?

By Sumona DasGupta

debate around AFSPAA massive rally in Imphal on February 19 demanding the repeal of AFSPA has highlighted yet again the place of this special legislation in the world’s largest democracy and the blurring of the lines between policy, strategy and tactics, writes Sumona DasGupta

The principle of civilian supremacy in India has been well entrenched since independence in 1947.  Unlike some of its South Asian neighbours and several African and Latin American countries emerging out of the colonial experience in the 1950s and ’60s, India has never witnessed a coup d etat .
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Features

Urgent need for political party reforms

By Nripendra Misra and Tannu Singh

Non-compliance by political parties
An RTI application unearthed the fact that only 8% of 1,196 registered political parties have submitted annual reports regarding contributions above Rs 20,000 to the Election Commission. And only 15% have submitted their audited financial statements!

Political party reforms are critical in the context of electoral reforms and need to be addressed urgently.

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Books & Reports

Last man first

By Nandana Reddy

The late LC Jain’s new book titled ‘Civil Disobedience’ illustrates how corruption has become the norm and ‘India Shining’ the cover-up for all our ills. And how the battle for democratic decentralisation today has become one to save the state itself from a corporate takeover

We live in very troubled times and with his book Civil Disobedience, published in 2011 by The Book Review Literary Trust, the late Lakshmi Chand Jain has gifted us a talisman to guide us through them.

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MDG 2015

India's progress on MDGs found tardy

Despite some progress in primary education, assured rural employment and access to potable water, India continues to lag behind in realising the Millennium Development Goals set for 2015 by the United Nations, says a new report

With just five years to the 2015 deadline for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), India is not on track to meeting a majority of targets, including health, unless a concerted national effort is made by government and all sections of civil society, according to the third ‘Millennium Development Goals -– India Country Report 2009’, prepared by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. 

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Changemakers

'The loss of idealism is unacceptable': LC Jain

By Ashok Gopal

 LC Jain, noted economist and policymaker, died on November 14. In this interview with Infochange in 2007, he looked back at his work over half-a-century, tracing India's problems to an over-reliance on the bureaucracy to helm India's development, the erosion of idealism, and our failure to remember what Gandhi knew well -- nothing should and can be done without the involvement of the people

Closely associated with various development efforts in India for nearly 50 years, as a policymaker, analyst and later, teacher, observer and mentor, Lakshmi Chand (LC) Jain firmly believes the Gandhian way of thinking and doing things is as relevant today as it was in Gandhi’s time.

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Stories of change

'We are not neech, we are netas'

By Deepti Priya Mehrotra

From organising a two-day workshop on NREGS for the Noniya (dalit) community to meeting the chief minister to get a primary healthcare centre sanctioned and organising an all-castes community bhojan in a harijan basti, dalit women panchayat leaders are making a real difference in Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.

Bihar and Madhya Pradesh are among India’s so-called ‘Bimaru’ states: they are ‘ailing’ in that they lag behind with regard to most parameters of development. Yet, within these states, working class dalit women have not only won panchayat elections but have worked tirelessly to empower dalit communities in their villages. These are shining examples of grassroots action that can ultimately change the face of the country.

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News

NAC recommends government acquisition of 100% of land for public and private purposes

In a departure from earlier suggestions, the National Advisory Committee backs the idea that government can acquire 100% of land required for public and private purposes. And, that landowners be given six times the price of a plot in the area. It also said affected families must participate in and be consulted on the acquisition.

The powerful National Advisory Committee (NAC) has come out in support of the government acquiring 100% of land for public and private purposes “by offering very good compensation to landowners”. It said no private sector player could buy land for projects where more than 400 people are being displaced.

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Statistics

State wise social sector spending as percentage of total expenditure

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Conflict resolution & Governance

Maoist violence and the government's response

By K S Subramanian

The constitutional obligation to take special care of the protection and development of adivasis and dalits was diluted when the Union home ministry transferred this role to a new ministry of social justice, writes K S Subramanian, former director of the home ministry’s Research and Policy Division, which studied emerging Naxalite violence in the context of increasing atrocities against adivasis

In the late-1970s, EMS Namboodiripad had perceptively observed that India has “democracy at the top and bureaucracy at the bottom”.

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Worldview

Love thy neighbour: reminiscences of a trip to Pakistan

By John Samuel

We must learn how to differentiate between people and governments, writes John Samuel. Governments construct public perceptions via methods ranging from curriculum, to media, to academic discourse. Ordinary people, a vast majority of them, just want to live happy lives: they want jobs, they want peace, they want security. In this there is little difference between the people of Pakistan and the people of India

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Security for all

Security in a world of people on the move

By Swarna Rajagopalan

 
security consequences of this increased mobilityOpen societies, unfettered communication, easy travel, free interaction between people, ideas and goods are all desirable factors of an increasingly mobile world. But what are the security consequences of this increased mobility? How should one monitor or regulate the flow of people?

No one is an island; this cliché reflects the peripatetic nature of the human experience. In our own region, far from being isolated and unchanging, Indians have always been part of a world in motion, encountering traders, missionaries, scholars, explorers, monks, raiders, invaders and settlers as part of their everyday social reality, across the length and breadth of this subcontinent.

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Small World

How many women in 2019?

By Swarna Rajagopalan

women in politics

How many more women will enter the political sphere between 2014 and 2019 depends on how creative and focused civil society’s efforts are—to find the women, convince parties, support campaigns and build women’s confidence and capacity, writes Swarna Rajagopalan

As we count down to the deadline for meeting the Millennium Development Goals and Beijing+20, the goal of gender equality will have to get a middling score, especially on the question of political participation.

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Right to information

Shehla Masood: Fighter till the end

By Kamayani Bali-Mahabal

Shehla Masood, Slain RTI activist

Shehla Masood, RTI and wildlife conservation activist who was shot dead on August 19, was campaigning for a law to protect whistleblowers, investigating Madhya Pradesh’s record on conservation, and questioning the mining activities of diamond major Rio Tinto in MP.

It was Diwali 2010, and this was the festive message I received from Shehla Masood: “HAPPY DIWALI IN PENCH - Today nothing can be more exciting than the news of the Pench tigress giving birth to five cubs, and Saraswati elephant giving birth to a baby elephant calf. Both the mothers and their young ones are safe and healthy.”

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