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Ideal as Modi's proposed reform may sound, the devil lies in the details. At this juncture, it is bound to work only on paper and its implementation would go against the fabric of our democracy, leading to confusion and a chaotic election season.
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After the huge disappointment of having his Private Member's Bill to amend 377 slapped down even before it could be introduced, Shashi Tharoor went on to start a change.org campaign calling for the decriminalization of homosexuality, receiving 65k+ signatures in a few days. After all that support, you would think MPs would have changed their mind? At least, Tharoor seemed optimistic. But in Indian politics, lessons are seldom learnt. The MPs went on to defeat the introduction of Tharoor's Bill once again.
I have spent a number of years in the legislative research domain and Pallam Raju was the first politician to tell me that political arguments didn't matter, that it was the numbers that were required. Watching Smriti Irani's fiery speech in Parliament the other day, I was reminded of my interaction with him. Would the current crises have been handled any better if Pallam Raju and Shashi Tharoor were running the HRD Ministry?
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A stormy Winter Session of Parliament concluded on 23 December. While it saw the passage of several vital legislations, we unfortunately witnessed five trends that plagued the Parliament's functioning. These trends strike at the heart of a deliberative democracy and its legislative machinery, warranting a close look and some thought.
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The Kyoto Protocol has been largely unable to achieve the reduction in emission targets it set out for developed economies. With the US withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol in 2003 and an increase in Canada, Australia and Japan's emissions by more than 23.4%, 22% and 8.1% respectively from 1990 levels, the Kyoto Protocol has essentially been a failure. The lesson is loud and clear: international law can sometimes end up being a very poor mechanism for allocating emissions permits.
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In the mid 90s, Bihar was famously gripped by a parallel mafia government that controlled dealings relating to land, mining, sand, liquor, excise, forest etc. Twenty years later, little seems to have changed. While the mafias may have been neutralised to a certain degree, the influence of money and muscle power in elections has increased disproportionately.
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I won't deny that all this insensitivity business can get a little overwhelming and might not be particularly easy for those who have the disadvantage of an education background hanging around their neck like an albatross (six-day degrees included) or come from decent families. I have only one piece of advice for you. Shed your inhibitions or perish.
The year 2015 has been a rather eventful one for Indo-German cooperation. In January, Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu and the visiting German Minister Barbara Hendricks signed an agreement, with Germany deciding to partner with India in developing three smart cities... However, amidst the hullabaloo over the smart city mission, the million-dollar question on every Indian's mind continues to be, what exactly is a smart city?