Times of India | 14 March 2005

The Budget has come and gone, and it is time now to turn to governance. It was a good Budget, overall–it should continue our growth momentum. It lowered tariffs, reduced corporate tax rate, raised infrastructure spending via public-private partnerships, and simplified personal income tax.

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Times of India | 28 February 2005

There is really one paramount issue that concerns us all, and we should remember it tomorrow when the Finance Minister gets up to announce the nation's Budget. Fifty-seven years after Independence India is sadly not a common market where goods and services move smoothly. If Bollywood, cricket and Hinglish unite us, our irrational system of indirect taxes divides us.

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Times of India | 14 February 2005

 

Our politics is filled with ironies. Here is a government led by a dream team of reformers, but all we seem to hear is the Left's strident criticism of the reforms as the frustrated reformers watch the show. The second paradox is that the Left has historically stood for change but in India today our Left stands rigidly for the status quo. The third absurdity is that the Left advocates the same swadeshi policies of the extreme right wing RSS and SJM, policies that harm consumers and favour producers.

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Times of India | 31 January 2005

Earlier this month I found myself in unlikely Ajmer to attend a three day seminar on the Mahabharata. Walking along its lakefront, I was drawn to the marble pavilions called Bara Dara, built by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jehan. I thought this must be the most appealing spot on the earth to idle away a few hours. Until I stumbled onto a mountain of garbage piled like a scar on the city's beautiful face. I looked around for a garbage bin, but found instead a man urinating. I looked for a toilet, but there was none. By now the joy had gone out of my day.

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Times of India | 31 January 2005

They tell me that putting my email id at the end of this column is iffy, but when a gem crosses your path, such as this one, it makes it all worthwhile. Last week a female traveller to India wrote this:

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Financial Times | 15 August 2004

New Delhi— On Sunday Manmohan Singh, India's earnest, new prime minister, declared to the nation that his top priority is to change the way government runs and improve delivery of services to the poor. This happy focus on governance is one of the unexpected consequences of the change in government in New Delhi. For the past two months the Left has smugly spread the myth that the election verdict was a revolt of the poor against the rich. Nothing could be further from the truth. It was, quite simply, a vote against day to day failures of governance. Local governments in India are so eaten away by corruption and mismanagement that they cannot deliver the basic services to the poor, such as decent schools, primary health centres, and drinking water.

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Financial Times | 28 May 2004

NEW DELHI--Despite strong economic growth, good monsoons, improved relations with Pakistan and America, and a new mood of national self-assuredness, (plus a winning cricket team!) Indians were unwilling to forgive bad governance, and so they threw out one of India's better governments.

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Wall Street Journal | 04 May 2004

NEW DELHI -- Next Monday, India's general elections -- which began on April 20 -- will finally conclude. In an exercise that was both staggered and staggering, 670 million Indians will have had the opportunity to vote at 700,000 polling booths via 1.1 million voting machines -- with all this, the greatest democratic show on earth, supervised by 5.5 million state officials.

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Times of India | 29 December 2003

The government presented the free and compulsory education for children bill in the winter session, and we are celebrating as though we had beaten Australia in cricket. We should hail it as a great blow against the curse and shame of child labour. But we are not, and for good reason — we have lost faith in the state's ability to run schools.

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Times of India | 15 December 2003

A few months ago a well-meaning minister asked me if I had any ideas about how the government might help business. In an unguarded moment, he admitted that he had once been a socialist, but had now converted and wished to help the private sector.

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