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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Times of India | 01 December 2003

When I was thirteen I was lucky to have a history teacher who inspired me, made me learn to think for myself, and gave depth to my private life. Many of us, I think, have had the same experience there was one good teacher at some point in our lives who changed us, and this made all the difference. Vimala Ramchandran's recent research with poor children in U.P., Andhra, and Karnataka also confirms that the biggest motivator in getting children to complete primary school is a welcoming, and affectionate teacher.

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Times of India | 06 October 2003

Dick Grasso is one of the most competent leaders that the famous New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) has had in decades, but he resigned on September 17 because they discovered that he had been paid a shockingly-high salary. When I read about his $140 million salary and benefits, I thought it must be a misprint, but the obscene figure turned out to be true, and even I, a votary of free markets, winced. The head of California Teachers Retirement System (Calpers) told us that it would take an average American 5,200 years, working 40 hours a week, to make the same money. The Wall Street Journal reported that even his 2002 base salary (without benefits) of $12 million was greater than the combined pay of the heads of nine top stock exchanges around the world.

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Times of India | 03 October 2003

The following appears in honour of brevity, the defining characteristic of leaders. And of The Times of India Speednews, a new edition of The Times of India that packs in more news, in a concise form. For astute, time-pressed readers who demand a quick uptake.

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Times of India | 22 September 2003

The best teachers and CEOs will tell you that performance is a function of expectations, and those with higher expectations get more out of their students and employees. So it is with nations.

When national leaders create high expectations and follow them up with good policies and rules, citizens and businesses respond and nations prosper. This is in part the secret of China's success, and today it no longer thinks of itself as a Third World nation but as an emerging Asian tiger and a global power capable of challenging America.

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Times of India | 08 September 2003

'The World as India' is the title of a lecture that Susan Sontag gave in London last year, which was published in the Times Literary Supplement this June 13.

In it the distinguished writer celebrates the success of Indians in harvesting their legendary English-speaking skills in the global economy through call centres and other services. But Harish Trivedi, the no-less distinguished critic at Delhi University, promptly wrote an angry rejoinder in which he characterised call centres as ''brutally exploitative'' and its employees as ''cyber coolies of our global age, working not on sugar plantations but on flickering screens, and lashed into submission through vigilant and punitive monitoring, each slip in accent or lapse in pretence meaning a cut in wages.''

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