Public Policy

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 […..]

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE GINI STUPID

The Supreme Court’s direction to the CBI to treat the big fish among the corporate beneficiaries of the telecom scandal exactly the same as the nameless middle-level pawns has hit the nail upon the heart of the matter. At one level, this is about following the simple logic of the law. At a deeper level […..]

NEEDED: A RAKHI SAWANT LAW

Manmohan Singh is too occupied with the telecom scandal at the moment to worry about the shenanigans of Rakhi Sawant and company but perhaps he should, once the current logjam over the telecom licenses is resolved. It sounds flippant perhaps but bear with me a moment The Rakhi Sawant show on Imagine is now officially […..]

GAMES OVER, LET THE PROBE BEGIN

The Games are over, they have been declared a success, our athletes have done us proud and all is well. If you were only reading the Indian press this week then you could be pardoned for thinking that India has just delivered the greatest event in the world. The despair and hand-wringing that we saw […..]

MANMOHAN’S ‘DISMAL SCIENCE’

Responding to Malthusian theories about population growth, the Victorian writer Thomas Carlyle coined the term ‘the dismal science’ to denote the newly emerging discipline of economists. It’s a different matter, of course, that Carlyle himself thought that slavery was morally superior to the laws of demand and supply. The term has long since gained currency […..]