Plus & Minus

  • Will traffic behaviour ever improve in our city?

    DNA, September 15, 2016

    I travel abroad frequently for my work, and the road discipline that I see in poor African countries is starkly far better than India. They do not even honk when traffic is crawling. n the recent past, many new traffic lights have been installed across the city. One hopes that this move will help improve the driving habits of our vehicle drivers but it is a big no. Many drivers continue to drive through red lights or in the opposite direction (and many a times speaking on their mobiles) creating a hazard for those who follow the rules

  • Debate rages on how to implement Metro project

    Hindustan Times Jaipur Live, June 21, 2010

    It is time to go back to the drawing board to re-examine whether Jaipur needs a metro or whether some alternative and cheaper mode of rapid transport such as monorail should be considered. And if metro is the way forward then to invite private sector investors to work on a public-private partnership (PPP) model. Granted that the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has good experience of building and running a metro rail project in Delhi, but that is because its boss, Sreedharan was given the complete freedom to implement the project, even though today he is quite old, over 78 years of age. We cannot create another Sreedharan here to implement the project.

  • Citizens await Metro rail

    Hindustan Times Jaipur Live, December 07, 2009

    The government will build a metro railway in the city among other infrastructural improvements. Simultaneously, we also have a new municipal government with a directly elected Mayor: Jyoti Khandelwal, who has promised a clean and women friendly city. In terms of the Jaipur project there is already a big debate on the model to be followed. There are both pros and cons on both sides. If there is a PPP partner, then the possibility of speedy and efficient execution and operation is far far better.

  • Discipline defines a world-class city

    Hindustan Times Jaipur Live, November 30, 2009

    Two recent happenings in Jaipur need to be looked at in a dovetailed fashion: The Government of Rajasthan’s announcement of an ambitious plan to make Jaipur a world class city and the direct election of a lady mayor, Jyoti Khandelwal who was elected by the voters in Jaipur to represent them. Her first promise is to make Jaipur a city which is safe for women and also promote cleanliness. These two are essential ingredients for a world class city.

  • Need for ‘Stop Bribes Corruption Ltd’

    Hindustan Times Jaipur Live, November 23, 2009

    Not so long ago I went to buy a ticket from the ticket window at the Ahmedabad Railway station to travel to Baroda, a journey of about two hours. The next fast train was due in a very short time and I found a longish queue at the counter with the usual crowd milling around the ticket window. I had thought that due to computerisation the time taken would be little. Alas, that was not so.

  • Saving Lives on Jaipur’s Roads?

    Hindustan Times Jaipur Live, November 16, 2009

    Jaipur is one of the worst five cities in the country for road accident deaths. In 2006, the rate of traffic accident deaths per million population in Jaipur was 233, as against Amritsar’s 33 or Kolkata’s 36. Agra topped the list at 317. The government can deal with the problem by implementing traffic calming measures recommended by study carried out by CUTS and the Lund University of Sweden on the high accident zones of Jaipur city.

  • Efforts continue to arrest global warming

    Hindustan Times Jaipur Live, November 09, 2009

    On 17th October, the ministerial cabinet of our small neighbouring country, Maldives held its meeting underwater in the beautiful sea of the Indian ocean where it is situated. It was not a stunt but a demonstration of the horrible prospect of becoming an underwater nation if the current global warming trend is not arrested. It was also the International Day for Action on Climate Change to draw global attention to the perils of climate change which is now affecting all of us.

  • Nobel Peace Prize and Gandhi

    Hindustan Times Jaipur Live, November 02, 2009

    The whole world is wondering about President Barack Obama being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize after being in the office for only about nine months, and there being no solid reason to award him for his platitudes of making peace in the world. He is yet to walk the talk. A recent global survey which looked at good candidates for the peace prize, even posthumous, Gandhi’s name came up first. For, what he achieved by practicing non-violence and showing that this simple and peaceful tool can move mountains.

  • Infrastructure Holds Key to India’s Growth

    Hindustan Times Jaipur Live, October 26, 2009

    Infrastructure, as everyone knows, will be the key challenge for India’s growth story. One of the key factors in infrastructure is roads, and it is worth recalling John F. Kennedy’s famous: ‘American roads are not good because America is rich, but America is rich because American roads are good’. Hopefully, the same will happen in India, too.

  • Rajasthan rated high in law and order, NREGA

    Hindustan Times Jaipur Live, October 20, 2009

    Rajasthan continued to remain somewhere at the 12th position in the overall ranking, and around the same in other indicators as well. However, in terms of annualized growth rate, we were 19th at 6.52 percent as against the national growth rate of 7.8 percent, while Gujarat was at the top with 10.22 percent.

  • The state of Rajasthan

    Hindustan Times Jaipur Live, October 12, 2009

    “The state of Rajasthan occupies the top slot in rapeseed and mustard production. These crops require little rainfall and are ideally suited for a dry and arid state like Rajasthan. But unfortunately in the last so many years, our production of mustard is very low compared to other countries because no new varieties of mustard has been developed. Why have scientists failed?”.

  • Inflation Low, but Food Prices Rising

    Hindustan Times Jaipur Live, October 05, 2009

    About a decade ago, the Delhi assembly elections were lost by the BJP on the price of onions. Today a 75 percent rise in their prices does not appear to make any difference. Rise in prices can also be attributed to the losses due to bad infrastructure, which does not allow perishable items to stay for long. This too adversely affects the rural people as they are depending upon getting their produce to the market, well in time.

  • Science Offers a Ray of Hope

    Hindustan Times Jaipur Live, September 28, 2009

    This article states about three science and technology stories that can change how the future will evolve for mankind: The world has been struggling for over 25 years with finding a cure for the deadly AIDS, but efforts have not been successful; man could become immortal in as little as twenty years time through the use of nanotechnology and better understanding of human body mechanism; and India’s unmanned mission to Moon has confirmed the existence of water.

  • Austerity measures border on the absurd

    Hindustan Times, Jaipur Live, September 21, 2009

    This article takes a look at a burning issue which is engaging the polity in a most amusing manner, i.e. of austerity measures. The adoption of austerity measures by the government is being touted as an exhibition of solidarity with the drought affected people of India. Some have rightly defined it as absurdity.

  • Bureaucracy Hampers Growth

    Hindustan Times, Jaipur Live, September 14, 2009

    Nandan Nilekani, the newly appointed Chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India in the rank of a union cabinet minister, refused to put a red beacon light on his white official car, which was given to him recently. He does not need a false sense of secured identity as is the problem with our polity and bureaucracy.

  • Right to Information is the Secret to Good Governance

    Hindustan Times, Jaipur Live, September 07, 2009

    Sweden was the first country in the world to pass an access to information law in 1776. Since then there has been a steady increase in public demand at the global level for legislation that stresses upon transparency, openness and accountability on the part of the government, thereby ensuring that official proceedings are not kept secret from the very people for whom it is made and good governance is promoted. In response to such justified demands by citizens, by 2006 around 68 nations had responded by enacting suitable laws.

  • Converting Intent into Reality

    Hindustan Times, Jaipur Live, August 31, 2009

    There are good tidings for Rajasthan’s investment scenario. A study by business chamber, ASSOCHAM shows that Rajasthan has emerged as the leading state in northern India for attracting the largest planned investment in 2008-09. It has cornered Rs 69,052 crores for upgrading and modernising its infrastructure in nine areas. Now is the time to take stock of the planned investments and see how the same can be realised on the ground.

  • Of Traffic Police and Chaos on City Roads

    Hindustan Times, Jaipur Live, August 26, 2009

    We, the people of India, observe the annual Road Safety Week from first Monday of January for seven days. The shining feature of the Week in Jaipur in 2009 was to book drivers with alcohol on their breath, thus causing some fear among those who often drink and drive. One good action that the Chief Minister has taken is to curb the business hours of liquor shops, and cutting down their numbers as well. All these measures will have a salutary effect on not only driving but other aspects of our social life.

  • Emulating Gujarat in rural and farm development

    Hindustan Times, Jaipur Live, August 17, 2009

    Long ago, inspired by Gujarat’s success in rural and farm development, Chief Minister, Ashok Gehlot in his earlier regime, vowed to take Rajasthan forward in the same way. Some progress has been achieved from then until now but there is a big unfinished agenda. We are now faced with another drought and thus attention needs to be paid to planning for future.

  • Economist Jagdish Bhagwati in town

    Hindustan Times, Jaipur Live, August 10, 2009

    Bhagwati was reacting to the 2002 budget, when he made his famous remark. His opinion on the budget not being good enough was perhaps a back handed compliment – some good economics, but not a crowd pleaser, and possibly not a major growth booster either. One can expect a similar and delightful analysis from him on India’s reforms, when he delivers the Raj Krishna Memorial Lecture on 12th August afternoon at the University of Rajasthan at Jaipur: “India’s Reforms: Past Achievements and Future Challenges”.

  • Inequality in Access of Toilets for Women

    Hindustan Times, Jaipur Live, August 03, 2009

    The Jaipur Municipal Corporation will soon have one third women councilors. They should take appropriate steps to restore equal rights for women in our public toilet facilities. Because, the approach to designing and building public toilet is gender-blind. Wherever we go, work, shopping malls, movies, restaurants and hotels, the public toilet facility for men and women are the same, which is not sensible and fair.

  • Etiquette: Where Do We Stand?

    Hindustan Times, Jaipur Live, July 27, 2009

    Much has been said over the recent past in the budget discussions about improving our infrastructure, but no attention was paid to the softer part of our infrastructure, i.e. human behaviour. Proper civic behaviour is conspicuous in India by its absence. Increasing road rage in our cities is symptomatic of this unhealthy trend because of which we lose many precious lives every year.

  • Buttressing airport facilities for more tourists, but…

    Hindustan Times, Jaipur Live, July 20, 2009

    Rajasthan has taken a step forward in addressing a key concern, i.e. aviation fuel tax, which is crucial to enable more flights to operate in Rajasthan and bring in more tourists. This is purely under the state’s jurisdiction. The tax on aviation fuel was as high as 28 percent and has now been brought down to 4 percent. This step will attract airlines to use the Jaipur airport to save on fuel costs. In view of the clogging of the Delhi airport, some airlines have been mulling over the prospect of using Jaipur as a hub. That will now happen faster.

  • Budget was More or Less Fair

    Hindustan Times, Jaipur Live, July 13, 2009

    Nani Palkhiwala, the famous jurist used to deliver a popular public lecture in Bombay after every budget. Criticising one such budget he termed it as a ‘bureaucrat’s revenge’ as all the new proposals only levied new taxes and introduced complications in rules, rather than simplifying them. The latest budget hopefully is not in the same category but Pranab Mukherjee could have dealt with the onerous tax regime created by P Chidamabaram. Let us take a swift look at the pluses (good news) and minuses (bad news) of the budget.

  • Of Statues and political Controversies

    Hindustan Times, Jaipur Live, July 06, 2009

    I attended a seminar on WTO in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office of the UK Government in June 2009, which was held at the India Office of the hallowed portals of the British Foreign Ministry. The imposing room had huge oil portraits of all possible Viceroys and Governor Generals of British India, glaring down upon all. I could not resist commenting that the UK government should recognise the current scenario and add portraits of Gandhi, among other great Indian freedom fighters, to these walls in their India Office. It brought about both mirth as well as scorn.

  • Inflation Declines, but Food Prices Rise

    Hindustan Times, Jaipur Live, June 29, 2009

    In the last few days, the expected failure of monsoons has triggered a rise in fruit, vegetable and other food prices. The government is neither admitting to the possibility of a drought nor of food scarcity. This might seem hypocritical but is understandable. The government has adopted this stand to prevent people from panicking, hoarding, triggering another cycle of price rise and so on. Paradoxically, the overall inflation rate has been declining. For the first time in 32 years, our inflation rate has reached (-) 1.61 percent. Why?

  • Nilekani, an Interpreter of Indian Society

    Hindustan Times, Jaipur Live, June 22, 2009

    Nandan Nilekani was at the Jaipur Literature Festival speaking about his widely read book Imagining India – Ideas for a new Century. In this book, one of the country’s finest minds examines the central ideas that have shaped modern India, and offers an original perspective on our past, present and future. Nilekani is recognised as one of India’s most successful software entrepreneurs and as the co-founder of Infosys.

  • Private security industry grows by leaps and bounds

    Hindustan Times, Jaipur Live, June 16, 2009

    If you walk through any upper middle and rich houses in Jaipur or any other metro, you will see a box at the gate housing a private security guard. It is not just a status symbol, but is a necessity because of the threats and disorderliness. Apparently, the police force has failed to come up to the citizens’ expectations to provide the security and consequently, the private security industry in India is growing at a faster pace than the police force.

  • Solving the City’s Transport Problems

    Hindustan Times Jaipur Live, June 01, 2009

    Signboards carrying two four-letter words have been dotting the city’s roads for quite some time. They are responsible for digging up the roads and creating some amount of discomfort to road users.

  • Good Times Are Here Again

    Hindustan Times, Jaipur Live, May 24, 2009

    When will the economic situation improve is a question often posed to me. In an opinion poll published by a national magazine, about 58 percent people expected it to remain the same, while 27 percent believed it will improve, in the next six months. I belong to that minority. Why? We, therefore, need to un-zip our purses and spend more liberally. Good times are near at hand. A little positive thinking from us will ensure that these become a reality.

  • The Illogic of the Model Code

    Hindustan Times, Jaipur Live, May 18, 2009

    The governance agenda was at a standstill ever since the polling dates were announced about three months ago. This happened both at the centre and the states. Everything was postponed until after the elections due to the Model Code of Conduct. It was used more often as an excuse to not to do any work or even take any decisions. If one did a round in government offices in the last three months, one could see the inertia oozing from the corridors of the offices. The standard and silly refrain was that we cannot do anything because it may violate the election code.

  • Double Whammy

    Hindustan Times, Jaipur Live, May 07 & 08, 2009

    The investment climate in an economy is determined by a mix of factors. Out of these one very important factor is the regulatory framework. Except for a few states, the regulatory framework at the state level in India, including that in Rajasthan, has not been conducive for business, either at the entry stage or during operations.

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