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The page of Gurcharan Das

14 March 2022

Union Budget: Investment over consumption in 2022

This Budget chooses job creation over freebies and this is a victory.

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18 January 2022

Toolkit for the Indian reformer: The farm laws fiasco offers 7 lessons on how to reform in a democracy

Prime minister Narendra Modi stunned the nation on November 19 when he revoked three farm laws that had led to sustained protests during the past year. A government at the zenith of power, with a strong majority, had listened to the people. It was a victory for India’s democracy.

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26 November 2021

AI: Branding & billion dollars

Tatas will have to infuse substantial equity and run two brands to optimise the Air India acquisition

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25 September 2021

No nation became prosperous without trust between government and business.

In the past few weeks, a series of disquieting events have raised the question of trust between government and business. It brought back unhappy memories of the License Raj. Some think that getting government and business to trust each other is hopeless, like getting a pig to sing.

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31 May 2021

Covid and the bureaucracy: India needs modern institutions that are autonomous, accountable and creditworthy

The events of the past month have been so tragic, so unspeakably ugly that the only rational response was to pretend it wasn’t happening. The raging second wave of the virus revealed not only the governmental ineptitude but also exposed India’s soft underbelly – our heavy bureaucratic system, which wasn’t nimble enough to cope with the crisis.

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29 April 2021

Can Covid shift our politics? It’s a national emergency now. Let it bring to an end our Age of Hatred

The dreaded second wave of the coronavirus has created a national emergency. You’d think it would have united our republic, but India remains hopelessly divided. A straightforward problem of vaccinating our people becomes the subject of political football. While aam admi scrambles helplessly from hospital to hospital in search of oxygen, a bed, a ventilator, our political parties behave like prehistoric tribes, fighting elections as though they are battles for extinction. They don’t even share a common vocabulary to empathise in this Age of Hatred.

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30 March 2021

A tale of two heroes: An Ashoka University donor on the challenges of doing good in today’s world

Pratap Bhanu Mehta, professor of political science and a passionate critic of the government, resigned from Ashoka University last week because he felt he’d become a ‘political liability’. The media has portrayed it as a morality tale of good versus evil but, in fact, it’s a tragedy.

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13 November 2020

Doing good in India gets harder: Philanthropy should be regulated by an independent regulator, not by the home ministry

Indira Gandhi’s Emergency was a tragedy in modern India’s history. A second tragedy was not to have undone the terrible laws enacted during the Emergency. One of these is the Foreign Contributions (Regulations) Act or FCRA, which was amended last month and has become more draconian.

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30 September 2020

India’s language conundrum: The National Education Policy has skirted elegantly a political minefield. But the obstacle is the teacher

In 1947, a weary Britain packed up and left India, leaving behind absent-mindedly the English language and a headache for Indians. Ever since, we’ve been quarrelling over the place of English in our lives, particularly in what language to teach our children. The latest to join the debate is the National Education Policy (NEP), which to its credit, has skirted elegantly a political minefield, coming up with an answer that has satisfied almost everyone, offending only those who insisted on being offended. But the obstacle is the teacher.

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2 August 2020

One and a half cheers: National Education Policy promises much, but fails to come to grips with India’s education crisis

There is so much good in the recently announced National Education Policy (NEP) that it seems churlish to point out its failings. It will receive well deserved applause. However, the truth is that it has failed to come to grips with the crisis in Indian education. I will focus only on schooling, the crucial foundation of the edifice. Instead of three cheers, I am afraid I can only offer it one and a half.

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