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<August 2016>
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Pratap Bhanu Mehta
Dr Mehta is the president of Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi.
List of Articles by Pratap Bhanu Mehta
None of the above, particularly not the unelected elite
Published on : Thursday, February 02, 2012
Politics is the slow boring of hard boards, as Max Weber said. But India’s privileged, having failed to do the requisite manual labour of politics, and elicit trust, now place excessive faith in new rules. Their clamour for "right to reject", or an additional button on voting machine for "None of the Above", or requiring candidates to secure at least 50%, in order to win, are muddled responses to electoral issues. All these suggestions may have unintended adverse consequence. We need to discuss serious issues: party systems, election finance, decentralisation. We have created huge anomalies by aspiring for proportional outcomes out of a first past the post system. But the clamour for negative voting is distraction, writes Pratap Bhanu Mehta in the Indian Express.
A dictionary for our times
Published on : Thursday, January 27, 2011
There are curious words associated with government. These are curious because they mean themselves and their opposite. Is it a coincidence that they are used in connection with our government? Language is an inherently social enterprise we will all have to contribute to the reconstruction of our language. But how can one possibly make sense of our times, when words and institutions lose all their meaning? In uttering them, we conjure up merely unmeaning shadows of their former referents, writes Pratap Bhanu Mehta in The Indian Express.
India’s own politics of denial
Published on : Friday, January 21, 2011
It is a scandal that after two decades of high growth, India still does not make adequate nutrition available to large sections of the population. The debate is largely a futile exercise. Strangely, we are not even shocked by the failure in ensuring food security. The government has had its head in the sand over inflation too for a long time. The planning commission chairman’s reported claim that inflation has to do with rising wages was, in the context, a bit like blaming the victim. If he had blamed the Commonwealth Games for inflation, it would have been more plausible, writes Pratap Bhanu Mehta in The Indian Express.
The crises of money
Published on : Wednesday, January 05, 2011
There is no dearth of proposed solutions for the current moral crisis regarding political institutions: everything from the creation of independent investigative agencies with more powers to political reform is on the table. The big mystery of our time is not corruption; it is the breakdown of institutional proprieties at so many sites. And this crisis will only deepen. To paraphrase Freud, money is not about money. It is always important and signals very important different things, writes Pratap Bhanu Mehta in The Indian Express.
Level the Field
Published on : Saturday, January 01, 2011
The factors that affect women’s participation in institutions of collective deliberation, the impact their presence in these institutions have on their outcomes, How one should think of the relationship between presence, representation and power in democratic institutions are all some of the central questions for democratic theory and the fate of democratic societies.Bina Agarwal’s book looks at these issues in the context of women’s presence in community forestry, and argues that women’s presence, in the right critical mass, makes a considerable difference to outcomes, writes Pratap Bhanu Mehta in The Indian Express.
God in God’s Own Country
Published on : Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Recently, some fanatics chopped off the hands of Prof T. J. Joseph of Newman College for a controversial reference to Prophet Mohammad.The problem is that we have legitimised too much the idea that speech offensive to religion should be an actionable offence, so that those wanting to police offences against religion feel empowered. Collective ideologies will try to compensate for a sense of individual failure and inadequacy. To preserve liberal values, we need more clarity and consistency, writes Pratap Bhanu Mehta in The Indian Express.
It's land, stupid
Published on : Thursday, August 19, 2010
India is least liberalized in three areas-land, liquor and learning, and it has resulted in bigger problems in all these areas. The revolt against land acquisitions is a revolt against the Indian state. It has exacerbated inequality and deprives the poor of their land. The deal the poor gets depends on the wealth of the state they live in. Monetary compensation and the promise of jobs won't work that way for several reasons. Political parties have a vested interest in keeping these issues alive, writes Pratap Bhanu Mehta in The Indian Express.
Political crisis: Need to snap out of denial
Published on : Monday, August 09, 2010
India shows inability to take advantage of the propitious political circumstances in Bangladesh. The Government is unable to inspire confidence and curb corruption and wastage of resources. The Prime minister can't deliver on any of his serious promises. There is no possibility of a liberal India. Politics is about evasion of responsibility, writes Pratap Bhanu Mehta in The Indian Express.
Protest, softly
Published on : Tuesday, July 06, 2010
In some issues, public protest is necessary. But, it imposes unnecessary hardships on the common man. The Government is not concerned about the iffects on inflation on poor. Political parties have a vested interest in neutralising social protest or using it timidly and sparingly, writes Pratap Bhanu Mehta in The Indian Express.
Bhopal Tragedy: Caught in court
Published on : Thursday, June 10, 2010
There is much public outrage over the verdict in the Bhopal gas tragedy. A large part of it is as of the fact that the whole system managed to wipe out the tragedy. the Supreme court has lost its credibility, and it is mostly self inflicted. There is an urgent need for serious intellectual leadership, writes Pratap Bhanu Mehta in The Indian Express.

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