Govern India

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Moving to a new location...

Dear Reader,

Starting May 1st, 2010, Google is withdrawing support for FTP-based blog publishing on their Blogger service. Since, until now, our blog has been published using the Blogger+FTP combination, we are being forced to set things up a little differently going forward. We are planning to migrate to a new better-looking interface at a new address (we will retain all our previous posts at this same address so that we don't end up breaking any of your bookmarks, etc). Watch for the new blog at http://www.governindia.org/updates. We will try to set things up as quickly as possible.


GovernIndia Team

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visits Saudi Arabia to talk about militancy. This is the first Indian State visit to Saudi Arabia in the last 28 years.

A short video report from stratfor.com.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Proceedings of the Constituent Assembly

This 61st Republic Day, we have dug out the proceedings of the Constituent Assembly of India, the august body that gave shape to our Constitution that was adopted this very day in the year 1950. May we remind our readers that 26th January was also the date on which the pledge of "Purna Swaraj" or complete self-rule was adopted by the Indian National Congress, in the year 1930.

The Constituent Assembly met for the first time on December 9, 1946 under the temporary chairmanship of Dr. Sachchidananda Sinha. Thus began the process of developing, from scratch, the principles on which the Constitution of India would be built and later the actual framing of the Constitution. These proceedings document the debates, the arguments and counter-arguments, the rationale for each Article of the Constitution. From these records we may determine what our national leaders intended to make of the Constitution and understand clearly what the intention behind each Article is.

The proceedings are available for everyone to read on the website of the Parliament of India. They may be accessed at the following address: http://parliamentofindia.nic.in/ls/debates/debates.htm


Happy Republic Day!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Maharashtra Government's Move on Taxi Licenses

The Congress is back in the news for its brand of subtle divisive politics. This party doesn't do it as explicitly as the 'in your face' MNS or the Shiv Sena or for that matter the much demonized 'anti-secular' BJP, but, does it nonetheless. If the Congress can feel the need to appease the majority despite its already comfortable vote margins, we can only hope to understand the desperation of the others.

MNS was criticized by Congress for trying to incite divisive sentiments among the people of Mumbai. Despite this criticism, the Congress Government chose to sit on the sidelines when North Indian taxi drivers were attacked in the city. This silence on the part of the Government made it complicit in the act.

I remember taking home a taxi on the morning of 30th April, 2009, the day of Lok Sabha polling in Mumbai. Out of curiosity, I asked the taxi driver who he was planning to vote. I was actually shocked when he replied, "MNS". This is what he had to say "Sir Congress ko vote dekar bhi kya fayada? Koi bhi kabhi bhi maar kar chala jaata hai, gaadi todh deta hai. Kam se kam jab MNS ke haath mein gaddi hogi to woh maregi to nahin."

Well, either due to these factors or through Marathi loyalty, MNS has gained significant ground. Congress, seeing its base erode, has now jumped onto the 'Marathi' bandwagon.

The proposed rule says, "New taxi licenses to only those who are well versed in Marathi and have resided in the state for at least 15 years"
http://news.rediff.com/report/2010/jan/20/dont-know-marathi-no-taxi-permit-for-you-in-maharashtra.htm

I wonder if this is constitutionally valid. Fundamental rights, Art.19(1)(e), 19(1)(g) and 16(2) taken together imply that any person in India can reside and work in any part of the country. Work is subject to reasonable restrictions in the interest of general public and the requirements of professional or technical qualifications. In addition, no person can be discriminated, in respect of any office under the State, on the basis of residence.

16. (1) There shall be equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State.    
     (2) No citizen shall, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, descent, place of birth, residence or any of them, be ineligible for, or discriminated against in respect of, any employment or office under the State.


19(1) All citizens shall have the right—
(a) to freedom of speech and expression;
(b) to assemble peaceably and without arms;
(c) to form associations or unions;
(d) to move freely throughout the territory of India;
(e) to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India;
(g) to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business."

Thus, in light of the above, the need for Marathi can probably still be justified, but how can the Government justify the 15 year domicile requirement? Granting a license, though not technically equivalent to admitting a person to an office under the State, is still a power exercised by the State.

Congress, in all probability, knows this. My guess - It just wants to use the opportunity to say, "We tried"!

- Rohit Kumar


The author is an alumnus of IIT Bombay and an active part of Governance initiatives in India. He can be reached at rohit02 [at] gmail.com. The opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author and are not necessarily subscribed to by GovernIndia or its members.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Bills Passed in Parliament on December 18th 2009

The Lok Sabha, on the 18th of December 2009 passed the following 5 bills in a matter of 8 minutes (started at 12:13 PM and ending at 12:21 PM):

The Commercial Division of High Courts Bill, 2009 (Time Taken: 1 minute)
The Civil Defence (Amendment) Bill, 2009 (Time Taken: 2 minutes)
The Salaries and Allowances of Ministers (Amendment) Bill, 2009 (Time Taken: 1 minute)
The Legal Metrology Bill, 2009 (Time Taken: 2 minutes)
The Trade Marks (Amendment) Bill, 2009 (Time Taken: 2 minutes)

The (very short) details of the proceedings can be found in Bulletin I issued by the Lok Sabha for the day.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Understanding the Fiscal Deficit

In the Union Budget presented in Parliament on 6th July this year, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee announced that "..the fiscal deficit as a percentage of GDP is projected at 6.8% compared to 2.5% in BE 2008-09 and 6.2% as per provisional accounts 2008-09. This level of deficit is a matter of concern and Government will address this issue in right earnest."

We've all heard about it and we've all read articles that worry about a large fiscal deficit, whether in India or in the United States. But the question is, what is the problem with a big fiscal deficit? Indeed, what is it to begin with?

GovernIndia is happy to present the first in a series of articles talking about the basics of economic concepts and policy in India. What is a Fiscal Deficit - and why you should care about it discusses the meaning of a fiscal deficit and explains why a large and persistent fiscal deficit could point to deeper problems in national policy.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

India to get imported Swine flu vaccine by January end

At least 20 lakh healthcare and emergency personnel will be vaccinated against Swine flu by the end of January 2010. The Health Ministry has allocated Rs. 100 Crores to buy vaccines from one of the international manufacturers that are presently conducting human trials.

Click here to know more.

Pakistan building up its India-specific nuclear arsenal

Pakistan is rapidly building up its nuclear arsenal with increasingly sophisticated bomb designs and smart delivery systems. According to reports from a U.S think tank, the ramping of its nuclear weapons is aimed at India.

Click here to read more.