Regulatory Impact Analysis: Hopefully, a prelude to ‘Make in India’

In view of the new ‘Make in India’ agenda of the Modi government, Aparajita Bharti argues for the adoption of the Regulatory Impact Analysis, a global practice to evaluate the costs and benefits of a proposed/existing regulation, that has also found favour in Planning Commission and other governmental reports.

With the new government in the driving seat and ‘Make in India’ high on its agenda, improving the regulatory environment for business is a top priority. This is, therefore, a golden chance for the government to introduce in India the practice of Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA), which is followed worldwide to assess the costs and benefits of a proposed or an existing regulation.

The 12th five yearindiaproduction plan (2012-2017) recommends the employment of RIA for both existing and future regulations that impact the business environment in India. RIA enables the governments to judge the efficiency of the proposed regulatory framework in creating a more competitive market vis-à-vis the compliance and enforcement costs that it puts on businesses and the governments. In some countries, RIA also includes an evaluation of other regulatory options (including self regulation) to judge the most effective way in which a near perfect market can be delivered to the consumers at the lowest cost. RIA is considered an important activity as it exposes compliance and other costs arising out of the new regulations, which are ultimately passed on to the consumer. It enables the governments to weigh these costs against the benefits that accrue to the consumers as a result of the regulation. Although RIA may come across as expensive, however, in the long run, it saves huge costs that are incurred because of an inefficient regulatory framework. Continue reading “Regulatory Impact Analysis: Hopefully, a prelude to ‘Make in India’”

Getting this Straight: Decriminalising Gay Sex is an Idea Whose Time has Come

Karan Singh looks at the medievalism of the criminalisation of gay sex, and grounds his argument for the reversal of the Supreme Court judgment in India’s long history of social reforms. On 11 December 2013, the Supreme Court of India overturned the 2 July 2009 Delhi High Court judgment decriminalising gay sex between consenting adults, bringing with it an avalanche of emotions, ranging from disappointment and betrayal to satisfaction and relief, from people who waited for the verdict but for diametrically opposite reasons. The subsequent political and media discourse was as much rooted in the religious beliefs, political climate and social conservatism as … Continue reading Getting this Straight: Decriminalising Gay Sex is an Idea Whose Time has Come

Bringing political parties under the RTI – a big mistake

The Central Information Commission’s (CIC) order to bring six large political parties under the ambit of the Right to Information (RTI) Act set the ball rolling for a head on collision between the political class and the civil society. There has been much name calling since, so much so that the outcries (and hashtags) of #SaveRTI have unceremoniously drowned all opposing viewpoints. The spectacle of politicians coming together in uncharacteristic haste has only added fuel to the fire. It has been sixty six years since independence and many say that the credibility of the Indian political class has never been … Continue reading Bringing political parties under the RTI – a big mistake

A Case for Democratising Lobbying in India

Kaushiki Sanyal and Harsimran Kalra

Courtesy: Cartoonist Dhir
Courtesy: Cartoonist Dhir

The issue of lobbying hit the headlines two years ago when recorded phone conversations of corporate lobbyist Nira Radia exposed her role in the 2G spectrum scam.  More recently, with Walmart’s disclosure of its lobbying expenses in India, questions were raised about the strategies adopted by the corporate to enter the Indian market.  Unfortunately, since lobbying activities were repeatedly identified in the context of corruption cases, they became synonymous with corruption and political scandals in the public consciousness.  However, in practice every interest group lobbies with policy makers with varying means of influence and degrees of success.

At present, a few countries have laws to regulate lobbying.  These include Australia, Canada, US, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Lithuania, Slovenia, Israel and Taiwan.  Other countries such as France, Spain, Portugal, India and Japan do not have any such law while UK and Ireland regulate the lobbied.

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Does the Participatory Approach to Development work?

Uthara Ganesh

web_projet_env_chhattisgarthIn recent years, the idea of civic engagement and participation has placed itself at the nucleus of development policy. Following from a severe critique of the rigidly centralised, large-scale public investment driven development policy followed in the 1970’s and mid 80’s, the early 90’s saw a renewed interest in the potential of participatory governance. Noted economists such as Amartya Sen brought to the fore of development discourse the idea of  ocial capital, making a substantial case for a bottoms up, participatory approach as a more effective and desirable means of delivering governance.

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Deepening Democracy in India: Fine-tuning rules and procedures to strengthen parliamentary oversight

Aparajita Bharti

Parliament-House-Delhi-IndiaThe Deepening Democracy report by the Global Commission on Elections, Democracy and Security discusses the importance of improving the integrity of elections. While fairness, funding and conduct of elections undoubtedly is a concern that citizens espouse worldwide, that in itself may not be a panacea to fulfill the function of representative democracy. Sometimes democracy itself is undermined in democratically elected Parliaments due to rules biased towards the elected government, and not giving sufficient power to opposition members and independent members of Parliament to voice their concerns. Continue reading “Deepening Democracy in India: Fine-tuning rules and procedures to strengthen parliamentary oversight”

Knee jerk responses or policy in action?

Dhvani Mehta

ImageIn a frenzied news cycle that has been dominated by the headline-grabbing resignation of the Pope, the horrific death of Reeva Steenkamp, and closer home, yet another corruption scandal of mammoth proportions, it is small wonder then that a short news item about the Indian hockey team almost having to pull out of the Azlan Shah hockey tournament went virtually unnoticed. Hockey India (HI) cited the refusal of the Sports Authority of India (SAI) to bear the air fare expenses as the reason for its withdrawal. HI accused the SAI of backtracking on its original funding commitment, even suggesting that this might have been a ‘retaliatory gesture’ in response to HI Secretary General Batra filing a police complaint against a security officer at the National Stadium in a separate incident. The SAI, for its part, insisted that this funding had never been agreed upon. An eleventh-hour intervention by the Union Sports Secretary directing the SAI to allocate funds towards the expenses has averted what would have been a shameful pull-out from one of hockey’s most prestigious tournaments.

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