March 2019
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Andhra Pradesh and Telangana: Regional Parties Dominate Poll Space

In Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the two Telugu-speaking States in southern India, which together elect 42 MPs, the electoral battle is almost entirel

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Full text: Reuters Institute India Digital News Report [PDF 4.14 MB]

Despite the popularity of online news and social media platforms, India's legacy media are far more widely used by respondents, according to a survey

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Defence, Make in India and the Illusive Goal of Self Reliance

The potential rise of a private military industrial complex with a collusive relationship with the State and its security apparatus is one of the most

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Political Nominations & the Anglo-Indian: A Reality Check

As India gears up for another general election, a forgotten section of the electorate is the about 1.50 lakh strong Anglo-Indian community. Under the

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Jingoism will not be able to surmount the deep discontent, says Manish Tewari

The Balakot bombings that followed the terror strike in Pulwama have given an edge to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP)’s election plank of muscular

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Playing Politics with the Jamaat in Kashmir

The Jamaat-e-Islami, Jammu and Kashmir, was recently banned by the Union Home Ministry for the third time in its chequered history. Oddly enough, mai

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The Global Environment Outlook-6: Spotlight on Synergy between Health and the Environment

The Global Environment Outlook-6: Healthy Planet, Healthy People (GEO-6), released on March 13, 2019, covers all environmental issues and their link t

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Speaking Truth to Power: The Indian Media’s Descent from Sharp Hawks to Screeching Parrots

It was heartening to see the media collectively stand up to the Narendra Modi government, when with characteristic bluster, it accused The Hindu of re

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"BJP's prospects are bleak in the whole country": Siddaramaiah

The former Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah emerged as an all important leader for the Congress party in Karnataka when he led the party to a major

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Can the Ten per cent Quota for Economically Weaker Sections Survive Judicial Scrutiny?

The Constitution (103 rd Amendment) Act, 2019 has empowered the state to provide up to 10 per cent reservation in education and public employment for "economically weaker sections" (EWS) of citizens other than the Scheduled Castes (SC), the Scheduled Tribes (ST), and the non-creamy layer of the Other Backward Classes (OBC-NCL). This will be over and above the existing scheme of reservations and increases the total reservations to 59.50 per cent. The fraught legal history of reservations in India shows that from 1951 onwards whenever the Supreme Court gave an adverse ruling on some aspect of reservations in education or public employment, the Parliament responded by amending the Constitution to reverse or overcome the inconvenient judicial pronouncements. The 103 rd Amendment is the latest step in this direction aimed at overcoming the Supreme Court’s rulings that (1) economic backwardness cannot be sole criterion for reservation and (2) the total reservations should not be greater than 50 per cent. Even a Constitutional amendment can be struck down by the Supreme Court if it has the effect of destroying or abrogating the "basic structure" of the Constitution. So, the only possible legal challenge to the validity of the 103 Amendment is a "basic structure challenge". In this Policy Watch, K. Ashok Vardhan Shetty , retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, traces the constitutional and legislative history of reservations in India, discusses past ‘basic structure’ challenges relating to reservations, highlights the legal infirmities in the 103 rd Amendment, looks at the different scenarios available before the Supreme Court, and analyses if a successful ‘basic structure’ challenge can be made out in this case. All these years, the “50 per cent ceiling” rule was the only thing that had stood in the way of the demands for greater reservation from various pressure groups. Once this Lakshman Rekha is crossed, there is no going back and we may be letting the genie of proportional representation out of the bottle. Click to read this Policy Watch (HTML) [PDF 1.10 MB]

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Can the Ten per cent Quota for Economically Weaker Sections Survive Judicial Scrutiny?

The Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act, 2019 has empowered the state to provide up to 10 per cent reservation in education and public emplo

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The Constitution (One Hundred and Third Amendment) Act, 2019

The full text of the 103 rd Constitutional Amendment, which provides for 10 per cent reservation to Economically Weaker Sections, can be accessed here: The Constitution (One Hundred and Third Amendment) Act, 2019 [PDF 1.24 MB] Source: Ministry of Law and Justice, The Gazette of India  

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Fatal, not Funny: Nationalist Outrage & Journalists against Journalists

India’s dyed-in-the wool ‘nationalist’ TV channels have made it clear that even as they rage against Pakistan, they will also hunt down anyone defying

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Fixing Child Malnutrition in India: Views from a Public Policy Practitioner

India is home to the one of the world’s largest flagship programmes for under-6 children, the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), which was introduced more than four decades ago on October 2, 1975. Tragically, India continues to languish way down in international rankings on child nutrition indices. Nonetheless, there has been a progressive evolution in policies, advanced at times by judicial interventions. Significant financial resources have also been expended on the ICDS and related programmes. Yet, substantial improvements are yet to be seen, especially in the laggard heartland States of northern and eastern India. In this Policy Watch,  Venkatesan Ramani, a retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of the Maharashtra cadre and the first Director-General of the Rajmata Jijau Mother-Child Health and Nutrition Mission, the first such mission to be set up in the country in 2005, analyses why both planning and implementation of programmes impacting child nutrition have been deficient. Data gaps have impeded the framing of sound policy measures, leading to one-off actions to solve the problem rather than a concerted effort to address underlying economic and social causes, especially in pockets of high incidence of child malnutrition in the country. Drawing on his experience in Maharashtra, Ramani suggests measures to help reduce child malnutrition in the coming years. Political will and administrative skills, he writes, are key to such changes and need to be accompanied by adequate funding and activating what, in many States, is a rather moribund ICDS machinery. He can be contacted at  [email protected] Click to read this Policy Watch (HTML) [PDF 1.01 MB]

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Fixing Child Malnutrition in India: Views from a Public Policy Practitioner

India is home to the one of the world’s largest flagship programmes for under-6 children, the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), which was