Civil Aviation Policy: Subsidise the Rich, Corporates & Foreign Companies

IT is by now clear that the settled policy framework of the Modi government is to pump in public investment for infrastructure, services, taxes and other incentives for corporates and higher income groups in the belief that this will stimulate further investment especially FDI, wealth creation and GDP growth which will in turn, hopefully and ultimately, trickle down to the less well-off or at least lead to a “feel good” factor.

Is TRAI Reversing its Order on Free Basics in the Name of Free Data?

FREE Basics, promoted by Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook, rejected by TRAI in February this year, appears to have made a comeback with TRAI's new consultations paper dated May 19 on Free Data. The paper seems to imply that the problem with Free Basics was not that Facebook would be a gatekeeper for the internet, promoting some content over others, but its tying up with only one Telecom Service Provider (Telco), namely Reliance Communications.

FDI in Pharmaceuticals Why Hand Over a National Asset to Foreign MNCs?

IN the recent slew of measures aimed at liberalisation of norms for foreign direct investment (FDI), norms for the pharmaceuticals (medicine) sector have been further liberalised. Existing norms allowed for 100 percent FDI in the case of Greenfield projects (projects that involve infusion of FDI to set up a completely new facility) through the automatic route – ie, without prior permission from the government.

100 Percent FDI in Defence: How Wrong Can You Get?

A GOLDEN Raspberry Award or Razzie has been awarded in Hollywood every year since 1981 to the film declared to be the worst movie of the year just a day before the Oscars. If there were a Razzie for the worst public policy in India in the recent past, it would certainly go to the Modi government’s announcement of opening up the defence manufacturing sector to 100 percent FDI with relaxed norms.

Reforming the Regulator: Parliamentary Committee Report on Medical Council of India

THE World Health Organisation (WHO) identifies India as one of the 57 countries with a critically low level of human resources available for healthcare. This would not come as a surprise given the evidence in the country of widespread shortages of skilled health workers of all kind including doctors, nurses and other health workers – in most parts of the country. The shortage of health workers and the attendant poor quality of skills in a large proportion of them is one of the biggest obstacles to the availability of quality healthcare services in India.

The Cost of Modi's US Visit: Offering Rs 2.8 lakh crore to Westinghouse

THE fourth visit of Modi to the US has very little to show as achievements. No wonder, the headlines screamed about “the start of the preparatory work” on six nuclear reactors as a major achievement. Not content with this, the Westinghouse AP 1000 reactors were hyped as fifth generation reactors, skipping two whole generations of reactors in between.

India’s Reusable Launch Vehicle

ISRO added another feather to its cap by successfully launching, on May 23, 2016, the first of four experimental versions of its Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) technology demonstrator (RLV-TD) programme under which a series of calibrated tests with serially upgraded versions would be tested towards the ultimate objective of developing a two-stage-to-orbit (TSTO) reusable launch vehicle. Once again, India joins a small group of countries working to develop an RLV, and has show-cased the vision and strengths of its multi-faceted space programme.

Oppose the National Intellectual Property Rights Policy

THE cabinet has approved the national IPRs policy on May 12 2016. It is India’s ‘first of its kind” policy which covers all the forms of intellectual property and follows a common set of principles to govern the rights of intellectual property owners without bothering to pursue the concerns of development. In the recent past, India has been under pressure from the US government under Section 301. India has been asked to strengthen the intellectual property regime beyond TRIPS Agreement to which India reluctantly acceded to in order to be member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Geospatial Bill or the Monumental Stupidity of the Home Ministry?

THE Geospatial Bill, May 2016 has been released by the ministry of home for public discussions before being placed in the parliament. The bill is not about geospatial data or applications of geospatial data for development and better governance, but only about how to “protect” India's borders on various maps, and “hide” sensitive information from its enemies. In the process, we have a throwback to the 19th century mindset, when Survey of India was the sole map making entity, maps were confidential and only paper maps existed.