The India BlogThe India Blog is about the socio-political-economic landscape of the country, its cultural moorings and the challenges it faces – whatever affects the lives and future of the people living within its boundaries and beyond.
Lok Sabha has unanimously passed a Bill to amend the Motor Vehicles Act to facilitate operation of e-rickshaws on Delhi roads. The bill also seeks to facilitate e-carts. These e-rickshaws and e-carts are battery operated and supposedly eco-friendly. The government has been concerned about the livelihood of 1 lakh e-rickshaw drivers who started operating on Delhi roads without any regulatory mechanism.
In November, 2014, Delhi government sought the Supreme Courts permission to add 2 lakh more auto rickshaws to the existing fleet of 1 lakh three-wheelers to provide cheap mode of public transport to the residents of the capital. Of all the metros barring Chennai, Delhi has the lowest population of three-wheelers ratio with just 1 lakh three-wheelers for 1.6 crore population whereas Mumbai has 2.5 lakh auto rickshaws for its 1.8 crore population and the Computer Capital of the country, Bengluru boasts of 1.5 lakh...Read more...
The attempt by the Prime Minister to do a valiant fire fighting to douse the inflammatory flames lit by Union Minister Niranjan Jyoti appears to have little impact, at least on the opposition. To be fair to the Prime Minister, his strong admonishment of his Minister's statement was done soon after it started making the rounds. There are two important issues to be considered. One, the conduct of a Minister (not Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti) and the context of the Prime Minister's appeal to let the issue rest.
First, the Minister's conduct. While it is a fact that the Minister issued an immediate regret for the patently condemnable outburst, there are deeper issues. The Prime Minister when assuming office, asserted that his government (and ministers) would demonstrate a code of conduct that would be exemplary. The Prime Minister rightly referred to...Read more...
In India there is a new game that is vying to become our national sport. Shooting has fetched us a number of medals in various tournaments but this new shoot and scoot game re-invented by Arvind Kejriwal of the Aam Admi Party (AAP) and perfected by the BJP, when in opposition,has unfortunately taken the discourse in our country to new lows. While it is expected that political parties or personalities target each other, this dangerous fixture targets the lives of private citizens just because they happen to be related to political personalities or run successful enterprises or simply because they are "famous" and "popular".
The case of Robert Vadra is a text book example of this. But one can also think of many such instances which could have formed part of our case-study. Robert Vadra's "land deal" cases were raised by...Read more...
"We are not given a short life but we make it short wasteful... Life is long if you know how to use it".
Seneca, Roman Philosopher,
c BC 4 65 AD
Nearing sixty, I am trying to make the most of Seneca's words, in my own inimitable way. To make the most of silence, to charge it with creativity, reflection and innovation. But then there is just too much noise all around!
New Delhi has changed in the past five years. In the shaded by-lanes of the bureaucratic roads fanning the heart of India Gate, there are unfamiliar sounds, even at six in the morning. On one such lane, I can hear sounds from the domestic quarters across the lane, songs at full blast on a radio or the television. Moments later,...Read more...
Prime Minister of India has give clarion call to all citizens, policy makers and corporate houses to contribute to the realization of the dream of Mahatama Gandhi of a swachch or clean Bharat.
Responding to the call of the CEO of the country, the corporate world has committed large sums for creation of toilets for girls in schools and women in rural India where such facilities are unheard of and this fifty percent of our population, in the words of NaMo "waits for the dark to answer the call of nature". Only one third households have toilets in India. Urban areas may have more toilets but sanitation and waste disposal still continue to be challenges. Water borne diseases in rural areas due to open defecation and contamination of water sources are other resultant menaces of lack of hygienic private and public toilets.
Love Jihad and conversions have seen an open public debate in all kinds of media in recent weeks. Re-conversion of Hindus, particularly, Dalits from Islam or back to Hinduism called 'ghar wapsi' has increasingly been reported in media and points to the malaise that afflicts our socio-religious fabric. The recent re-conversion of some dalits in Shivpuri in M.P. and slitting of wrists of a dalit lad for wearing a watch scream in one's face and point to a grave issue that has not been addressed so far.
The four converts of a Jatav family claimed that they had converted to Islam to escape discrimination by upper castes. Forceful or voluntary conversions and re-conversions may take place but the unresolved issue is of discrimination based on the varna system of Hinduism.
Hinduism was regarded as one of the most...Read more...
Fed on our masala hindi films and spicy gossip in Page 3 column of the print media, the Indian palate seeks a lot of masala in real life. Everybody in public life is known to court controversies but we have mastered the art of creating a controversy around anything or utterance or event of whatever importance. The whole world can learn the art of making a hill out of a mole from the Indian thought process.
We have been celebrating Teachers' Day since long. In fact, Teachers' Day on 5th of September every year marks the birthday of our 2nd President Late Dr. S. Radhakrishnan who was a great man of letters and philosopher. Celebrating the contribution of teachers or 'gurus', as they were known in the past, is not new to modern India. Guru-purnima on the...Read more...
An interesting phenomenon happened in social media over the last few weeks: the news feed flooded with images of people dumping ice-cold water on their heads. At first look it seemed to be a plea to the weather gods to cut short this brutal summer; but turns out people were doing it to raise awareness and funding for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis; a rare disease that is universally fatal.
The videos started snowballing and then came the critiques: what will happen to the money that has been collected??? Photographs of impoverished children without water started trending and the Facebook debates have begun. In between all the noise it is important to highlight an important aspect of the campaign: the increasing importance of private funding in scientific research. Government funding for medical research is stagnant in the US; whereas in India it has been...Read more...
August 18 marks a significant marker to 500 days left to meet Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) targets. Today, the world is on the brink of a major breakthrough to ensure mothers, newborns and children everywhere survive. If there's one place to trace the seeds of this brewing revolution, it's India.
MDGs: the world's "to do list" to improve lives agreed upon in the year 2000 by representatives from 189 countries including India to framework that would steer development agenda for the next 15 years.
Celebrating success, building momentum
Today, the world is on the brink of a major breakthrough to ensure mothers, newborns and children everywhere survive. If there's one place to trace the seeds of this brewing revolution, it's India. It is heartening to note that India is on track to meet...Read more...
Several college students have been injured when Sikkim police lathicharged them while they were protesting against the recent hike in college fees in capital Gangtok. Agitated students were demanding a roll back in the four fold increase in semester fees of state run colleges in the state.
Students had blocked National Highway 10 for over two hours after their meeting with state HRD officials over the fees hike failed. Sikkim Police arrived at the spot and resorted to lathicharge to disperse hundreds of college students.
Policemen led by East District Police superintendent Manoj Tiwari were seen indiscriminately lathi charging both boy and girl students at the Sikkim Government college at Gangtok on Monday evening.
Thousands of students from various government...Read more...
In India there is a new game that is vying to become our national sport. Shooting has fetched us
An interesting phenomenon happened in social media over the last few weeks: the news feed flooded with images of
August 18 marks a significant marker to 500 days left to meet Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) targets. Today, the
Several college students have been injured when Sikkim police lathicharged them while they were protesting against the recent hike