Public Policy

WHY WE NEED A LINDBERGH MOMENT

There is a poignant scene in Clint Eastwood’s ‘J Edgar’, where Leonardo di Caprio, playing the young FBI Director J Edgar Hoover, turns up at the aviator Charles Lindbergh’s house to investigate the kidnapping of his baby son, only to be told by a clearly inept but resentful sheriff that the local cops are more […..]

SEEDS OF DYSTOPIA

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It has not snowed like this in Davos for sixty years. As the world’s business and political royalty descended on the Swiss Alpine ski resort for their annual pilgrimage last week, they could have been forgiven for being lulled into a relaxing turpor by the pristine white blanket and the sheer natural beauty surrounding them. […..]

RIDGING THE KNOWLEDGE GAP

Manmohan Singh

As the political season in Delhi shifts focus from Anna Hazare to the assembly elections, the Prime Minister’s traditional speech at the Indian Science Congress last week was more revealing than most on the underlying reasons for the real disappointment with the Manmohan Singh-era. Lauding the best and brightest of Indian science, the Prime Minister […..]

OF ISLANDS AND POLICEMEN

In December 2009, soon after completing his first year as Home Minister, P Chidambaram gave an important speech to Intelligence Bureau officials where he proposed radical changes to India’s internal security structures and identified the key weaknesses as he saw them. As he put it, the first big problem was that “the police stations in […..]

ROBBER BARONS OF YAMUNA

When the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III died in 1250 without an agreed successor, his empire went into turmoil. Among the first administrative casualties of the flux were the toll collectors on the river Rhine, which for a thousand years had been the commercial heart of Europe and its principal economic highway. With the government […..]

IF GI JANE CAN, WHY NOT MAJOR SEEMA?

At a time when the Army is being accused of a gender bias in denying permanent commissions to women officers, two stories have symbolised the debate this week: Major Mitali Madhusmita becoming the first Indian woman soldier awarded a gallantry award (Sena Medal) for saving lives after the bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul […..]

OUR CELLPHONES AND US RAILROADS

What does our current telecom muddle have in common with the US railroad industry? Much like the Indian phone industry in the past two decades, American railroads expanded at an astonishing rate in the 19th century, especially after the Civil War. Like our current telecom barons, American railroad construction was also undertaken by private companies […..]