Month: June 2014

The First 30 Days: A Twitter Flashback

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The first 30 daysRecently, Narendra Modi’s twitter account reached 5 million followers and he became the fourth-most followed political leader in the world. The PM has expressed his penchant for communication over Twitter and the party has encouraged BJP MPs to have a visible presence in social media.

It seemed only appropriate (and fun!) to take a look back at the first thirty days of the PM through Twitter. What does the PM talk to his Twitter followers about? I look at number of tweets by the PMO and an issue wise breakdown of the Tweets. Read the rest of this entry »


Whose Development?

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Type2 By now most people have read the leaked IB report indicting various NGOs in India for being ‘people- centric’ and for ‘questioning the Gujarat model of development’. This report and the consequent fall out got me thinking. Why is it that everyone from Modi to Sharad Pawar is beseeching us to not question the development mantra? And if development projects are all that they are made out to be why do people  regularly protest them? Is it all a big conspiracy?

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The Changing Nature of Indian Democracy

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Time-page-001A Parliamentary democracy envisages a Parliament as the primary legislative body and as a major check on executive power. How true is this in the Indian context? In today’s post, I look at data on previous Lok Sabhas to test the quality of Parliamentary democracy in India. Read the rest of this entry »

How Free is ‘Free’ Speech?

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Parliament - CriminalIndia’s already low tolerance for free speech and expression seems to be hitting new lows. Artists are being threatened for not blindly supporting the BJP, citizens are being murdered for posting cartoonswriters are being thrown into jail for publishing negative views on our current Prime Minister and books are being withdrawn for not ascribing to a right wing interpretation of Hinduism. Let’s be clear, India has never been a bastion for free speech. We have exiled artists and authors and thrown people in jail for criticism. Courts have proven fickle defenders of this freedom, particularly unhappy with criticism of themselves. However, this new brand of vigilantism is more violent and more brazen, with little in terms of government action to keep them in check. Read the rest of this entry »

The 16th Lok Sabha

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Members of Parliament took oath last week and this seemed like a nice time to get acquainted with our elected representatives. Today’s post takes a closer look at the 16th Lok Sabha. Is it truly representative of the Indian population?

The chart looks at gender breakdown, asset information, criminal information and incumbency. These statistics have important stories to tell on political privilege and the quality of India’s democracy. Read the rest of this entry »

Law and Disorder

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law and disorderIf you have been following news on India, you have read about the heartbreaking rape and murder of two teenage girls in rural Uttar Pradesh. The case brings to a confluence some of India’s biggest problems: lack of toilets, lack of security for women, rampant caste discrimination within the justice system, ineffective police procedures and a complete lack of governmental will to fix the system.

In today’s post, I look at the country’s justice system and it’s ability to deliver. I look at statistics on gender violence, conviction rates, caste segregated statistics. The results are horrifying. Read the rest of this entry »