Mihir Shah argued in a recent article that trained workers should be appointed in each Panchayat if NREGA has to fulfill its promises. While Panchayats need personnel to implement NREGA, I argue that for the purpose of planning it would be better to create nodal agencies that take up planning sound works in a campaign mode.

Will trained workers in Panchayats improve the quality of NREGA?

Improving accountability depends on political and social initiatives, and not technological solutions. But technology can shape society and politics in limited ways. This article looks briefly at how the Unique id project can help in improving accountability of the government to people in India.

Will the Unique ID project improve accountability?

An overview of institutional changes in Tamil Nadu over two centuries that explains the state’s relatively good governance Myron Weiner argued that India’s failure in providing universal education was due to the hierarchical mindset of the elite politicians and bureaucrats who did not consider it essential for children from the lower castes to be educated. Similarly in the Western world, there is evidence that evidence that relatively equal societies created provisions for universal primary education earlier. In other words, there is a strong relationship between social relations in a society and the role the government plays therein. I argue that […]

Overview of institutional change in Tamil Nadu & Governance

In one of the worst cases of attack on an NREGA activist, Lalit Kumar was murdered this week in Palamu Right from the word go combating corruption in the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) has been a major agenda of activists of the Right to Food Campaign. Needless to say, it brings activists into conflict with the vested interests that are deeply rooted in India today. This week in Palamu, a young and committed activist – Lalit Kumar – was murdered, perhaps a result of his actions to secure the poorest of people their rights. I am reproducing an […]

Murder of Lalit Kumar, NREGA activist in Palamu, Jharkhand

A search engine to search India’s Union budgets and State budgets (available) in one click A wealth of materials is available online today about budgets in India.  Unfortunately they are dispersed across dozens of websites that take time to find.  This search engine will enable to to search official budget websites of Government of India and most state governments in one click.  It is periodically updated. The results are not perfect, but it is the best that I was able to produce given the clutter and the constant changes in the budget websites of various states. Loading

India: Union & State budgets search engine

Search websites of Indian Parliament and most legislative assemblies in one go [inline] [script type=”text/javascript” src=””][/script] [/inline] About the search engine This is a special search engine that searches websites of Indian Parliament, most state assemblies and other government sites that offer content on debates and other proceedings in legislative bodies.  It also includes a few non-governmental sites.  It enables us to check if something is going on relating to a specific issue (e.g. VAT) in various assemblies in one click.  Google is not very useful in doing this since it would cover all websites that include “VAT” in its […]

India: Parliament & Legislative Assemblies search engine

Comparisons are often drawn between the New Deal in USA and the Employment Guarantee Act in India (NREGA). One programme of new deal comes close to NREGA – Civilian Conservation Corps The Government of India passed the all-important National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) in 2005 (for an intro click here). Whenever I mention it to my friends in USA the first question they ask me is, “is this like the new-deal”. The new deal has many similarities with NREGA, but is a much wider concept. NREGA is a programme dealing exclusively with labour-intensive, unskilled work. Employment programmes under new […]

America’s New Deal & India’s Employment Guarantee Act

Good introductory video on using right to information to combat corruption by Arvind Kejriwal Arvind Kejriwal has been at the heart of an inspiring campaign to combat corruption by using the right to information. He spearheaded a campaign in Delhi along with many other groups that popularised the use of right to information. Arvind got the Magasassay for his work. The videos below contain a talk he gave on using RTI, which I think is a good introductory material for people with an interest on how it could be used, and what it means.

Fighting corruption using right to information: Arvind Kejriwal’s talk

It looks like Government of Bihar has launched a Right to information call centre. Personally, I think this is a great idea, though I dont know how it works at this point. If found a video about it in You Tube that has been widely televised. This is a eight minute clip about that appeals to different groups of people to use it, and gives an idea about how it could be done.

Right to information call centre in Bihar: Video clip

Search debates, policies, laws, parliamentary questions, and other issues relating to policy, politics law and governance in India. Covers Indian Parliament and State Assemblies For those with an interest in policy issues, following what happens in the parliament and the legislative assemblies can be crucial. All state governments and the Government of India have reasonably information websites these days. But it is a little painful if we have to look for a new education initiative in over 50 websites one by one. On the other hand a generic search in Google or other search engines will give a lot of […]

Indian Parliament & Legislative Assemblies search engine

Many talks and interviews with well known people are now available online. I’ve put together a series of them that I have specially enjoyed. To see the rest, click here Justice Henderson started as a sports person and with some mentoring graduated in Law. As he was finishing school he had an interesting offer to work in the Kennedy administration on civil rights issues. The interview interlaces Justice Henderson’s biography with the tumultuous years of civil rights activism in USA. The path he took – African American sports person who finally went on to become a Judge in a US […]

Interesting interview on civil rights with African-American Judge – Justice ...

This documentary by Jan Madhyam Productions gives a very good introduction to the right to information campaign in India and on how RTI is used with social audits to combat corruption. In case you have trouble viewing it, please go to the permanalink by clicking the title above, or here

Documentary on MKSS and right to information campaign