Finally, the environment seems to be rearing its head in the run up to the elections. Unfortunately, its for all the wrong reasons. Both our leading parties seem eager to appease private interests and assure them that environmental clearances will be given faster. It is alleged that Jayanthi Natrajan was ushered out of the Ministry for delaying things. Are these allegations true? Has there been a dramatic, unwarranted drop in environmental clearances in the past couple of years?
For today’s post I looked at Environmental Clearances and TORs granted by the Ministry of Environment in the past 4 years. Read the rest of this entry »
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Prashant Bhushan, Kashmir and the Armed Forces Special Powers Act have been all over the news in the past couple of days. Prashant Bhushan’s suggestion that internal deployment of armed forces should require the consent of the people, led to a maelstrom. Bhushan was wildly misquoted, his own party distanced itself from his remarks and the AAP office was vandalized by right-wing elements seeking to defend the honour of this great nation.
I decided to see what the fuss was all about. Read the rest of this entry »
There’s been a lot of talk of political change and political empowerment in the state elections of the past few months. While some have claimed that this is the anti-incumbency wave, others have claimed it as a sign of success of the Indian democratic experiment. But what are we really voting for? State assemblies in India are amongst the least effective institutions with precious little, apart from political grandstanding, taking place within its hallowed halls. In today’s post, I look at number of working days for various state assemblies to argue that legislatures contribute little to the project of good governance. This points to decreasing legislative quality and increasing executive power.
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Political actors throughout the nation should be paying keen attention to the Delhi state elections for two main reasons. Firstly, these elections will determine the electoral power of the urban middle-class. In the past, this section of Indian society has been an electoral lightweight. Increased political engagement from the middle class and the changing demographic of the Indian Union have challenged this idea. As the epicentre of the recent urban protests against corruption and female insecurity, Delhi’s elections will foreshadow the electoral power of these issues in the general elections. Secondly, the party that controls Delhi will control the power of protest. The increasing importance of urban protests is being acknowledged globally. For various historical and political reasons, Delhi has become the centre of urban protests in the country. The relationship between the centre and Delhi state government will have a huge bearing on the nature of protests in urban India.
I analyze the data from the opinion poll conducted by the Aam Aadmi Party and Cicero Associates to gauge the political mood of the city-state. The poll was conducted in August 2013.
Chattisgarh’s Assembly Elections are around the corner and all parties have been calling upon their star ralliers to rustle up the votes. Personally, I think the Chattisgarh elections are particularly important. Not because of what it means for the general elections, but because of what it means for the Indian Union itself. Chattisgarh has been the site of one of India’s most contentious and violent internal conflicts. While the government has fumbled through its response (including the truly appalling arming of the Salwa Judum), we are at a critical juncture and policies in the next few years will have far reaching impacts for this conflict and separatist tendencies elsewhere in the nation too. There are crucial questions we must ask ourselves in responding to the Naxal threat: Why would a whole belt of the nation revolt against a freely elected, democratic government? What can the Indian government do to peacefully bring people back into the fold?
While the democratic model is based on the idea of representational equality, it often ends up privileging the traditional social order. A diverse and truly representative elected body is reflective of an inclusive and progressive society. Under-representation of certain groups in politics, and in polling, is generally reflective of their depressed societal status.This post explores the space that women occupy in the Indian political system.