New column: The credibility crisis facing India’s elite institutions

Last week, I published a lengthy column in Mint on the credibility crisis facing India’s elite institutions.

To make a long story short, we have long assumed that India’s apex institutions function reasonably well even while its lower level limbs and appendages struggle. This is at the core of Lant Pritchett’s notion of India as a “flailing” state. Unfortunately, recent events raise questions about just how healthy the “head”–these elite institutions–are.

To quote the piece:

Against this backdrop, one cannot help but reflect on recent events and wonder whether India’s elite institutions are as healthy as we had once thought. In the last 12 months, each of the aforementioned institutions [the Election Commission of India, Reserve Bank of India, and the Supreme Court] has experienced a crisis of credibility. These events—and the systemic infirmities they point to—suggest that we should no longer take the health of these apex institutions for granted.

You can read the entire column here.

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New column: the 2018 Indian Budget’s most cynical act

I have a new column in ThePrint on 34 words of fine print in the draft 2018 Finance Bill that have the potential to reshape how elections are funded in India.

The offending words?

In the Finance Act, 2016, in section 236, in the opening paragraph, for the words, figures and letters “the 26th September, 2010”, the words, figures and letters “the 5th August, 1976” shall be substituted.

These words seem mundane on the surface, but they constitute the latest stunt in a multi-year, subterranean effort to rewrite India’s election finance rules.

You can read the full piece here.