Column: Prime ministers must establish authority without being authoritarian

This is still a period of settling down for Narendra Modi’s NDA govt, but certain trends, particularly relating to style of governance, are clearly visible. Narendra Modi ’s government marks 100 days in office on Tuesday. This is always a period of learning and of settling down. The Prime Minister has received a decisive mandate for around 1,825 days and, therefore, to judge him only after a little short of 6% of the time has elapsed may appear to be very premature. Such a short period does not lend itself to definitive conclusions. But certain trends…

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This column was first published on August 31, 2014 at:




Column: दाग मिटाने का सपना

लाल किले की प्राचीर से प्रधानमंत्री के स्वतंत्रता दिवस भाषण ने सबका ध्यान खींचा और इसकी बहुत तारीफ भी हुई। अपने खास तौर-तरीकों और भाषा शैली के माध्यम से उन्होंने कुछ ऐसे मुद्दों को उभारा जो आज भी हमारे माथे पर किसी कलंक की तरह हैं। हालांकि जिस एक बात की उन्होंने बड़ी सुविधा से उपेक्षा कर दी वह है उनके अपने गृह राज्य का रिकॉर्ड। गुजरात का उल्लेख तेज आर्थिक विकास वाले राच्य के रूप में किया जाता है, लेकिन सच्चाई यह है कि इन सामाजिक बुराइयों से निपटने के मामले में इस राच्य का रिकार्ड बहुत प्रभावशाली नहीं है।

प्रधानमंत्री की चिंता के संदर्भ में पहली बात यही है कि कन्या भ्रूणहत्या और कुपोषण आदि कारणों से शिशुओं की मृत्यु के…

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This column was first published on August 24, 2014 at:


Column: Requiem for MGNREGA?

The world’s largest social security net deserves better, especially given its potential to contribute to strengthening the foundations of an inclusive, green economy.

Nitin Gadkari is a man in a hurry to dismantle the edifice of rights-based legislation enacted by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. He has already set in motion steps to emasculate the historic land acquisition law passed by Parliament enthusiastically in…

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This column was first published on August 25, 2014 at:


My views at the TISS Panel in Climate Policy Post 2015

Panel on Climate Policy at the Conference on Climate Change and Sustainable Development, Equity and the post 2015 Challenge.

Discussion on ‘Clean Up India’ on IBNLive

Note: Discussion on Clean Up India starts at the 47 minutes mark.

Column: At least a Vajpayee, if not a Nehru

Transformational leaders will be judged not merely by the style of their speeches but more by the substance of their actions

The Prime Minister’s maiden Independence Day speech from the ramparts of Red Fort has drawn wide encomiums. While invoking our founding fathers, he was decidedly partisan in not mentioning Jawaharlal Nehru, a key architect of the modern Indian nation state with its…

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This column was first published on August 18, 2014 at:



Column: Opposing view | (Yet) another expenditure commission

The Bimal Jalan panel would do well to address FRBM Act-related issues as they are at the very heart of expenditure management.

Bimal Jalan, the former governor of the Reserve Bank of India and former Union finance secretary, has just been appointed as head of the three-member Expenditure Management Commission that was announced by finance minister Arun Jaitley in his maiden budget speech last month.

Read more:–Yet-another-expenditure-commission.html


This column was first published on August 18, 2014 at:


Panel Discussion: Clean Up India

It’s time for an open defecation free India

I welcome the Prime Minister’s emphasis on toilets in his I-day speech. I have been saying that making India open defecation free should be a national junoon, a national obsession. When I was Minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation, we had launched the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyaan and now Mr. Modi is taking that forward with his Swachh Bharat Mission.

It is indeed a formidable challenge to make India open defecation free ( ODF) by October 2nd, 2019, the 150 anniversary of the Mahatma’s birth. But as a nation we must accept it and work collectively towards achieving that noble objective. The security and dignity of women depends on it. The nutritional status of our children depends on it.

​I have spoken about this extensively and have also written about it recently in publications like India Today, Mint and Dainik Jagran. ​

I am now  mobilizing MPs to play their role. Twenty MPs cutting across political parties have agreed to come together and function as a group to be a public voice for an ODF India. I am confident that this group will soon become very active and make its contributions.


Column: निशाने पर मनरेगा

सितंबर 2013 में संसद के दोनों ही सदनों द्वारा उत्साहपूर्वक पारित किए गए ऐतिहासिक भूमि अधिग्रहण कानून में व्यापक बदलाव की जिद पर अड़ी नई सरकार के निशाने पर अब महात्मा गांधी राष्ट्रीय ग्रामीण रोजगार योजना है। केंद्रीय ग्रामीण विकास मंत्री नितिन गडकरी ने हाल ही में लोकसभा में दिए गए अपने एक विस्तृत बयान में इस योजना के प्रति अपने इरादों का खुलासा किया है। वह एक ऐसी…

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This column was first published on August 13, 2014 at:



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