Scrap the BDA!

[Editor’s Note: The Bangalore citizen for all seasons (Ashwin Mahesh) shared an interesting note about BDA (Bangalore Development Authority) on Facebook last night. I’m reproducing it here with his permission. A few weeks ago, the Karnataka High court addressed the BDA thus, “Mr Commissioner, the BDA requires immediate surgery, not only major heart surgery, but for multiple …

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Putting Bangalore’s Mayoral Election in Perspective

[Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on Namma Bengaluru Foundation‘s website – on the eve of Bangalore Mayoral ‘election’. While last year’s mayor (Sharadamma) was described by ExpressBuzz as an ‘obedient wife’, the newly elected mayor, Venkatesh Murthy from Padmanabhanagar, has been described as “winning elections and serving as a councillor for the past 15 years.” …

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Hunger Alleviation Lessons from Belo Horizonte

[Editor’s Note: (Sep 12, 2012): According to this Newslaundry editorial, Samar Halamkar (on whose column I based this post) might have indulged in plagiarism. Until I figure out what action I need to take, I’ve made no changes to my original post.] “Hunger is not caused by a scarcity of food but a scarcity of …

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Stop MNREGA for ONE year and let’s kickoff Second Green Revolution

“Stop MNREGA for one year and let’s kickoff Second Green Revolution with the corresponding budget of Rs. 40,000 crores!” Let me quickly disenchant you that a year of blogging and research on social enterprises has not made me an agricultural policy expert. The above statement was made by Dr. Ashok Gulati, a top agricultural economist …

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Key nuggets from Bill Gates’ Annual Letter 2012 – Global Health

This is Part 2 of TechSangam’s review of the 2012 Annual Letter from Bill Gates. The Gates letter covers 4 broad areas – Innovation in Agriculture, Global Health, US Education, and Foundation Updates and this post includes key insights from the Global Health area. When Melinda and I started this work more than a decade ago, we …

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UP Election Candidate Insights from ADR’s National Election Watch

National Election Watch (NEW), a nationwide campaign comprising of more than 1200 NGO and other citizen led organizations working on electoral reforms, improving democracy and governance in India has been monitoring the candidates for 2012 Uttar Pradesh Assembly Election declared by political parties. Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), Uttar Pradesh Election Watch (UPEW) and NEW …

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Rebooting IAS an essential part of Reforms 2.0

[Editor’s Note: One of my favorite policy wonks and Indian foreign policy expert, Nitin Pai, has often argued that the top item on India’s todo list is Reforms 2.0. To the long list of second generation reforms, we propose that a sacred cow from India’s colonial past also be reformed – Indian Administrative Service (IAS). …

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The curious history of conditional cash transfers

[Editor’s Note: This is the fifth in a series of six excerpts from chapter 4 (education policy) of Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo’s Poor Economics. According to World Bank, more than 30 countries have some form of Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programs.] In a recent interview, Harish Hande (Founder of SELCO) and 2011 Magsaysay Award …

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