Violence, Violence, Everywhere

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InjuredMany skeptics of the BJP point towards their dubious attitude on secularism and the risk they pose to the social fabric of the country. Is this true? Do the numbers back this up?  Today, I look at state-wise instances of communal violence between 2010-2013. I also look at the number of people killed and injured to test the intensity of each of these riots. All data was obtained from this reply to a question in the Lok Sabha. Graph 1 looks at the instances of communal violence, Graph 2 plots the number of people killed and Graph 3 looks at the number injured in these instances.

Finally, I talk about the importance of these numbers and why we should be paying attention to them. 
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Karnataka: Who are you voting for?

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CriminalWhile casting a vote is a great moment in the democratic process, the quality of democracy depends on the choice that is being offered. The vote is as important as the person it is being cast for. Who are we casting our vote for? My home state of Karnataka goes to polls on the 17th of April. For this post, I look at economic and social statistics on leading parties and candidates in the state of Karnataka. I find that most candidates are overwhelmingly rich, incredibly violent and predominantly male.  Read the rest of this entry »

The Growth Mantra

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If I haveNSDP heard it once, I have heard it a thousand times: Gujarat is a model state for economic development. The whole campaign seems to be run on this one irrefutable fact. But is it fact? To answer this question, I decided to look at the facts. I mined data from the RBI website and the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. I compared the economic growth rates of 4 states: Bihar, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. I chose these states because they are generally considered better performers amongst Indian states. While Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Maharashtra started at a higher base, Bihar represents a state which was in the doldrums a decade back but has fast caught up.  Read the rest of this entry »

Signing Over Our Environment

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MiningTOR-page-0Finally, 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 »

The Curious Case of AFSPA

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KashmirFinal-page-0Prashant 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 »

Curb Your Enthusiasm

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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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What Delhi Wants

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DelhiPolitical 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.

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