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Goods and services tax in India

Feasible options for the implementation of the GST in April 2016. The introduction of the goods and services tax (GST) involving the unification and rationalisation of multiple production and consumption taxes at the Union and State levels, into a unified value added taxes on goods and services (GST) at Union and State levels, has been […]

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Public procurement legislation: Essential for improving public financial management in India

The new government’s initiative to formally legislate Union government’s procurement process should be welcomed. Among the major continuing challenges in public financial management at all levels of government in India, has been obtaining commensurate outputs and societal outcomes from budgetary outlays. One of the major avenues which could contribute to meeting this challenge is a […]

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GST: small reform, big impact

Implementing GST will be one small step for the legislature but a giant step for the benefit of the country. Ad man Rory Sutherland of Ogilvy and Mather in a TED talk entitled “Sweating the small stuff”, refers to a strange disproportionality where the response of a target audience is inversely proportional to the force […]

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Single party majority and the anti-defection law

The anti-defection law may be seen to violate the principle that the executive is subject to oversight by Parliament and a single party majority government increases the risk. The composition of the new Lok Sabha is a reason to revisit the Anti-Defection Law.  This is the first time since the Constitution was amended in 1985 […]

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This Parliament’s legacy to the next

The next government will have to address issues across a number of areas and will have the prerogative to decide the priority list, and the approach to address these issues.  The Fifteenth Lok Sabha has been criticised for being one of the least productive ones.  However, it did pass a few important Bills. Also, during […]

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A task each for the next PM and LoP

Measures that can be taken to make Parliament and individual MPs more effective. The 15th Lok Sabha will have its last session in February. This Lok Sabha has been marked with interruptions, and on several metrics, has performed well below par. For example, the number of hours that Lok Sabha sat is about 40 percent […]

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The dead Ordinance

The constitutional issues around the ‘Convicted MPs’ Bill would have led to its dismissal by the Supreme Court.  The Union Cabinet has decided to withdraw an Ordinance to amend the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (RPA, 1951) that sought to provide time to convicted legislators to file an appeal. The Cabinet has also decided […]

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Bypassing the states

Can Parliament pre-empt state government resources through ‘rights’ laws? The Food Security Bill is expected to be discussed in Parliament in the next few days.  There have been several critiques of this Bill in terms of the coverage of the population, amount of grain, the mode of subsidy (food versus cash versus vouchers), availability of […]

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What is Indian secularism?

Secularism is more than laws, concessions, and special considerations. It is a state of mind, at best almost an instinctive feeling, such as India has known for many centuries. Dictionary definitions of secularism do not apply in any particular situation. Culture and context provide secularism with various manifestations which move well beyond what the lexicons […]

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Political change, the stimulus that India needs

India’s growth pains are a symptom of the structural – economic, social and political – malaise that the country has sunk into, in the last decade. Raghuram Rajan, the Chief Economic Advisor to the Government of India, has written a piece recently on why growth in India slowed and how it could be revived. He […]

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