Farm laws’ repeal: In India, democracy isn’t dead

Friday’s announcement on repealing the new farm laws in India affirms how no government, irrespective of the strength of its mandate, can afford to disregard voices of people emerging from the ground. Vidya Venkat [First published in The Wire on November 20, 2021.] Narendra Modi’s announcement on Friday repealing the three new farm laws isContinue reading “Farm laws’ repeal: In India, democracy isn’t dead”

India: why secrecy over Narendra Modi’s COVID-19 relief fund damages democracy

In late August, I filed an RTI application seeking various details of the charitable trust under which the PM-CARES Fund had been registered, and which state regulatory authority was monitoring the trust. But I was refused information on the grounds that the fund was not a public authority. Vidya Venkat, SOAS, University of London SinceContinue reading “India: why secrecy over Narendra Modi’s COVID-19 relief fund damages democracy”

Reclaiming the Republic

[Essay published on the occasion of India’s 70th Republic Day in Economic & Political Weekly] On the occasion of India’s 70th Republic Day, it is worth considering how the very foundational idea of a republic, in which supreme power is held by the people, is at risk despite free and fair elections. To arrive atContinue reading “Reclaiming the Republic”

The farmer’s ‘mann ki baat’

[First published in The Hindu dated May 13, 2015] Everybody has an opinion on farmers these days. Be it politicians, policymakers, editors or economists. In fact, ever since the Parliament reconvened for the Budget session on April 20, the deteriorating condition of farmers has clearly dominated discussions. But even as the issue of agrarian crisis,Continue reading “The farmer’s ‘mann ki baat’”

India: government continues to suppress citizens’ right to information ahead of election

[Republished in leading Indian news sites: Scroll and Quartz] Back in 2014, when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ascended to power in India, it did so on the promise of running an open government accountable to its citizens that would eliminate corruption. But nearly five years later, and with an election due between March andContinue reading “India: government continues to suppress citizens’ right to information ahead of election”