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The Coal Conundrum: Executive Failure and Judicial Arrogance

The Coal Conundrum: Executive Failure and Judicial Arrogance

Way back in 2004, as Secretary of the Ministry of Coal, Government of India, the author had proposed opening up the coal sector for commercial mining and allocation of coal blocks through open competitive bidding. Had these proposals acted upon, ‘Coalgate’ and India’s current dependence on imported coal could have been avoided.The Comptroller & Auditor General of India in its report estimated that the Government’s failure to follow competitive bidding resulted in a notional loss of Rs1.80 lakh crore to the exchequer. Following this report, a PIL was filed in the Supreme Court of India. In an unprecedented order the Supreme Court of India cancelled all allocations of coal blocks made from 1993 to 2010, holding them as illegal and arbitrary.Simultaneously, the CBI started investigations into the allocation of coal blocks and filed a number of FIRs including one against the author. Though after thorough investigation the CBI filed three closure reports, the CBI Court decided to take cognigence of criminal offences against the author, industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla and the former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.This book is an attempt to show the inability of the Government to take right decisions at the right time and that of investigating agencies and courts to comprehend complex issues involved in economic and technical decision-making that has taken a heavy toll on the country’s economy and polity, apart from demoralising the civil services.

Radical Equality: Ambedkar, Gandhi, and the Risk of Democracy

Radical Equality: Ambedkar, Gandhi, and the Risk of Democracy

B.R. Ambedkar and M.K. Gandhi are two figures who have had the most enduring impact on India.Their well-documented divergence and combativeness is met with either facile attempts at synthesis,or the forbidding of any attempt to study them in proximity. Resisting both these positions, Aishwary Kumar's Radical Equality: Ambedkar, Gandhi, and the Risk of Democracy offers an archeology of the interminable tension between two visions of democracy, two ways of grasping at sovereignty, in the colonial world. With close readings of texts, statements and political stances, Kumar identifies the sites where the two thinkers come closest to each other, while also revealing their irreconcilable distance in thought. Their shared grammar of struggle becomes the ground of their absolute incommensurability. Radical Equality challenges us to think afresh the ideas of equality, justice,freedom and dissent.

The Other Lucknow

The Other Lucknow

There are few cities in the world that evoke the same nostalgia among its inhabitants, visitors and historians as Lucknow. Perhaps, Delhi and Calcutta are the only two cities in South Asia on which more has been written. In the case of Lucknow, most of the published scholarship focused on 1857, historical monuments and the Nawabi palace life and culture. This fascination with the Nawabi era is largely responsible for the neglect of various other aspects of Lucknow such as its social fabric (castes, sects, occupational groups and communities), the subaltern and the marginalised sections of the society, problems and plight of the artisans, Sunni-Shia violence, local landmarks, vanishin/dying skills, its Bollywood connection, people from outside the state of Uttar Pradesh who have made Lucknow their home and have enriched it, several other issues and the virtual metamorphosis of Lucknow. This study is an attempt to grapple with the present but not severing ties with the past because the wholesale loss of memory makes a city characterless. The present study maintains that the nostalgia and the undying memories must be there in the face of modernization. In the process of transformation, Lucknow should not be allowed to become a ‘city of amnesia’. There has to be a closer association between the ‘tradition’ and the ‘modernity’. In a way, this study may also be seen as an ‘ethnographic portrait’ of Lucknow in the tone and tenor of ‘auto ethnography’.

Indian Government and Politics

Indian Government and Politics

The revised volume presents a fairly comprehensive view of the evolving Indian political system at a critical period of its development.

Rebooting India: Realizing a Billion Aspirations

Rebooting India: Realizing a Billion Aspirations

India is sitting on a demographic dividend, expected to become the world’s youngest country by 2020, with 64 per cent of its population, roughly 800 million people, of working age. But our country cannot become a global powerhouse unless we resolve the contradictions and bridge the gaps that distort our society. According to Nandan Nilekani and Viral Shah, the only way to do this is by using technology to radically reimagine government itself.

Rebooting India identifies a dozen initiatives where a series of citizen-friendly, high-tech public institutions can deliver low-cost solutions to India’s grand challenges. Based on the learnings from building Aadhaar, the proposed initiatives would save the government a minimum of Rs 1,00,000 crore annually, about 1 per cent of India’s GDP. These visionary, cutting-edge ideas, the authors hope, will enable each one of India’s 1.2 billion citizens to realize their aspirations.

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