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Suresh Kumar
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Guest Column| Democracy prevails despite political fluctuations

Long-term solutions encompassing social, economic, administrative, and judicial reforms are necessary to mitigate the impact of political vicissitudes. Strengthening institutions, codifying rules, and accelerating job creation are paramount. Innovative laws are required to make these unbreachable.

Poll officials at a counting centre on Tuesday. The recently concluded 18th general elections since Independence showcased the country’s democratic strengths and maturity. (HT Photo)
Published on Jun 05, 2024 03:01 PM IST

Guest Column | Towards sustainable governance: Embracing change for collective welfare

We should aim to realise the promise of inclusive and equitable governance for all by reforming institutions, promoting transparency, and empowering communities through an updated or new statutory framework.

The notion of a “new normal” in governance should signify a deliberate shift towards sustainable and accountable practices. (HT File)
Published on May 21, 2024 05:09 AM IST

A tech-driven path to our water future

This article is authored by Malini Balakrishnan, director, Center for Water Security & Prashanth Suresh Kumar, assistant professor, Plaksha University, Mohali.

Water (Shutterstock)
Published on May 07, 2024 05:48 PM IST

Guest Column| Changing paradigm: Media moderation in governance

The media’s responsibilities to critique government policies and decisions, hold power to account, and advocate for the public interest remain paramount. Constructive criticism, grounded in evidence and unbiased analysis, serves as a check on government power and fosters transparency and accountability.

As India traverses elections to the Lok Sabha, the imperative of media moderation in governance becomes increasingly evident. (Representational image)
Updated on Apr 30, 2024 03:30 PM IST

Guest Column: Changing paradigm of governance; balancing perceptions with evidence

Governance must be grounded in evidence and informed by data-driven insights; while perceptions have a role in shaping public discourse, they must be tempered by empirical evidence to ensure informed decision-making

The political discourse surrounding general elections to the Lok Sabha revolves around forecasts, survey results, and media reports that are rooted more in perceptions than substantive evidence (HT File)
Updated on Apr 02, 2024 05:02 AM IST

Guest Column: Our country needs more participatory governance

Citizen engagement is often interpreted and taken for granted with regular elections in the country. A critical evaluation since 1952 reveals that the average voter turnout in parliamentary elections hovers around 60%, resulting in governments representing only a fraction (one-fourth) of the population.

While some argue that good governance, with speedier decision-making, transparency, and the reduction of bureaucratic red tape, is essential for efficiency and quicker growth, others caution against sacrificing democratic values such as discussions, consultations, participation, and collaboration. (Shutterstock)
Updated on Mar 17, 2024 08:40 AM IST

Guest Column: Prospects of unitary system in India

Rather than a drastic overhaul of the existing system, an emphasis on refining the operational aspects, nurturing transparency, and fostering inclusivity can pave the way for a more responsive and resilient governance structure.

Before the proposal for one nation, one election, the idea of oneness manifested in various forms, such as one nation, one tax, one nation, one ration card, and one nation, one market. It is now stretched to something referred to as one nation, one leader. (AP)
Updated on Mar 09, 2024 08:56 AM IST

Guest column | Farmers hit the road again, govt at crossroads

The prospect of a new MSP law, coupled with a revamped procurement system, could adversely affect the original green revolution states, with Punjab being a major player

Farmers during their 'Delhi Chalo' march, near the Punjab-Haryana Shambhu border, in Patiala district. (PTI)
Updated on Feb 26, 2024 08:28 AM IST

Guest Column: Opinions differ, but differences matter

The intrinsic value of disagreement in democratic governance needs recognition. The synthesis of diverse perspectives ensures a decision-making process that is well-informed, accountable, and adaptive to evolving societal needs.

Divergent opinions, while initially perceived as obstacles, are, in fact, the cornerstone of effective governance in a democratic federal system. (Shutterstock)
Updated on Jan 23, 2024 03:03 PM IST

Guest Column | Financial centralisation a threat to India’s federal structure

One of the most alarming consequences of financial centralisation is the increasing dependence of states on the central government for their financial needs. This dependence is quite conspicuous even in sectors crucial for disaster management. Recent tragedies in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Tamil Nadu underscore this vulnerability, exacerbated by the states’ liquidity crunch.

One of the most alarming consequences of financial centralisation is the increasing dependence of states on the central government for their financial needs.
Updated on Jan 02, 2024 06:58 AM IST

Guest Column| Stubble trouble: Make policies more evidence-based

The present policy lacks a holistic approach and fails to address residue management adequately. It needs to be reworked and synthesised with the agriculture policy, which should respond to all issues on soil, water, and energy management and conservation, including marketing support, transportation and warehousing, crop residue management, and climate change mitigation.

Farm union members protesting against the Punjab government outside the district administrative complex in Bathinda recently on the action against paddy growers over stubble disposal. (Sanjeev Kumar/HT)
Updated on Dec 04, 2023 02:15 PM IST

Guest Column| Sutlej river basin needs immediate attention, integrated management

An integrated approach to the management and governance of the Sutlej basin is essential. Since all three rivers of the Indus system, namely the Sutlej, Ravi, and Beas, are interlinked and interdependent, establishing the Punjab Water Management Board will be appropriate.

People wading through a flooded area at Lohian Khas in Punjab’s Jalandhar district after a breach in the Sutlej river embankment during the monsoon in July. (ANI Photo)
Published on Nov 20, 2023 01:48 PM IST

Guest column: Stubble trouble: Why pin blame on farmers for policy failures?

It is claimed that the government agencies in Punjab have failed to effectively control the burning of paddy straw despite repeated directives from judicial authorities

The area under paddy cultivation has increased to 3 million hectares in Punjab this year, with an estimated production of over 20 million tonnes of straw in the state (HT File Photo)
Updated on Nov 15, 2023 07:32 AM IST

Guest Column: Withering cotton cultivation in Punjab

The weather and market uncertainties are two key factors contributing to the farmers’ reluctance to adopt cotton cultivation. Erratic rainfall and subsequent water scarcity, coupled with over-extraction of groundwater, worsen the situation for cotton growers.

A farmer shows his damaged cotton crop in Fazilka on Monday. (Sanjeev Kumar/HT)
Updated on Oct 01, 2023 11:01 PM IST

Disconnect in farm governance: Bridge gap for sustainable growth

The triumphant legacy of Punjab’s agriculture remains an inspiration, a testament to the remarkable potential that resides within India’s heartland. However, as the clamour for progress grows louder and the challenges intensify, it is imperative to rectify the disjointed policies and governance that hinder the sector’s full potential.

The lasting impact of the Green Revolution, pioneered by Punjab, Haryana, and Western Uttar Pradesh, continues to resonate through India’s agricultural landscape, a testament to its enduring success in eradicating hunger and freeing the nation from imposed food dependency. (Getty Images)
Published on Sep 24, 2023 12:44 AM IST

Guest Column| Punjab’s water woes: Beneficiary states should share the burden

The states of Haryana and Rajasthan, the beneficiaries of Punjab’s rivers, remarkably escape the flood predicaments. They enjoy the rewards, but Punjab bears the brunt of reduced water share and the flooding consequences. This scenario represents a blend of political manoeuvring and economic inequity, breeding unrest and alienation among the people of Punjab.

The Ghaggar’s fury in Punjab’s Mansa district on July 19, a day after the fifth breach at Phus Mandi, the floodwater entered Sardulgarh town. (HT file photo)
Updated on Aug 31, 2023 02:56 PM IST

Guest Column| Re-energisation of policy machine is need of hour

The resilience of civil services should be enhanced and sustained through appropriate training and requisite amendments to the existing systems of reward and punishment. Such an effort should focus on more professionalism in the services. Else, aspirational politics based on unsustainable premises will become more pronounced.

Senior civil servants are expected to be politically more astute in crafting advice and proposals that suit the political policy ambitions but within the framework of laws. Over the years, these traits have waned. (Representational photo)
Updated on Jul 24, 2023 03:43 PM IST

Guest column: Need to foster balanced role for think tanks in policy-making

The influence of think tanks as power centres in making public policies and mighty governments and corporations manipulating them for their stated or unstated objectives needs to be addressed

The rising role of think tanks in policy-making has sparked intense debates of late. (HT File)
Updated on Jun 29, 2023 03:36 AM IST

Wind energy could support India’s decarbonisation journey

While India has made great strides in deploying solar power, another renewable resource – wind – has not witnessed a similar growth path

India ranks 4th globally after China, the United States and Germany, in terms of installed wind energy capacity. (Bloomberg)
Updated on Jun 15, 2023 07:41 PM IST

Transition to evidence-based policies is need of the hour

Despite excelling in agriculture, Punjab lacks an agriculture policy. It has industrial policies in place but falls short when it comes to education, health, and employment generation policies

Despite excelling in agriculture, Punjab lacks an agriculture policy. It has industrial policies in place but falls short when it comes to education, health, and employment generation policies
Updated on May 29, 2023 12:14 AM IST
BySuresh Kumar

Guest Column | Ensure universal basic income to shun populism

The state should find ways and means to execute the universal basic income (UBI) as a new social contract in a statutory framework for the early development of its human capital and secure its future economic growth.

A PDS shop in India helps in keeping food affordable and accessible to the poor. (HT File photo)
Published on Jan 09, 2023 12:56 AM IST
BySuresh Kumar

Guest Column| Digital push to agriculture is inevitable

The second push for Green Revolution will be more successful if policies impinging upon the development of agriculture give greater thrust on digital technology, preparing farmers for technological transformation through updated structural arrangements. The agriculture policy should not remain in a silo

Whatever the compulsions of agriculture nationalism, the digital push to agriculture with a global perspective on economic growth is unavoidable. It can be achieved despite political and socio-economic barriers. (Representational photo)
Published on Dec 19, 2022 04:11 PM IST
BySuresh Kumar

Guest column | The changing imperatives of governance

The regulatory mechanism should focus more on human well-being than merely on financial monitoring and evaluation. It should recognise technological, economic and social dynamism and aim to improve the human happiness index

The disenchantment against governments, it is observed, rises too fast. (Representational Image/HT)
Published on Oct 26, 2022 03:42 AM IST
BySuresh Kumar

Guest Column | Add value to agriculture for its transformation

More synergised efforts in the public and private sectors, ensuring value addition to local crops, will hasten doubling farmers’ incomes. Agriculture diversification will reduce the damage due to the non-sustainability of operations and challenges emerging from climate change

Food processing is a panacea to alleviate the financial stress of agriculturalists. It transforms agriculture through value addition. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Updated on Oct 02, 2022 01:55 AM IST
BySuresh Kumar

Guest Column: Time for Punjab to shun precarious governance

Punjab is prosperous. The number of poor in the state is relatively small. No one goes hungry, and there are a very few shelter-less people in the state. It is home to nearly 3 million migrants from other states. Punjab’s growth, however, is not detached from politics and historical shocks suffered by it.

Punjab’s growth is not detached from politics and historical shocks suffered by it. (HT photo)
Published on Sep 10, 2022 02:35 AM IST
BySuresh Kumar, Chandigarh

Guest Column: Punjab’s issues need attention: Tipping or turning point?

Speedier creation of jobs, an impetus to agriculture growth to take it to the next level of income generation, diversification of the rural economy, and better health and education services are some of the actions that are singularly different from other states and will make Punjab still a more prideful golden state of the country

The rising unemployment, stagnant farm household incomes, high farm household debt, widespread life-threatening diseases, and social evils such as abuse of intoxicating substances, female foeticide, brain drain, gangsterism, and violence are some of the worrying issues. (AFP picture for representational purpose)
Updated on Aug 24, 2022 07:15 PM IST
BySuresh Kumar

Guest Column| Fiscal management and the politics of debt

Public debt is rising because revenues are not increasing as much as they should, whereas expenditures remain uncontained. From 2006-07 to 2021-22, Punjab’s total revenue receipts have increased by 365%, whereas the revenue expenditure has increased by 409%. It has diminished the government’s capacity to meet its expenditures and service the debt, indicating financial mismanagement and lax tax administration

Chief minister Bhagwant Mann addressing the Punjab assembly during the recent budget session. Punjab is not under-taxed. The state’s tax-GDP ratio is comparable with other states, but tax compliance is poor. (HT file photo)
Updated on Jul 14, 2022 11:44 AM IST
BySuresh Kumar

Guest column | Pandemic unveils the politics of expertise

Policymaking during the pandemic unveiled a new debate on the politics of expertise. The exclusion theorists feel that domination of experts in an emergency, however successful it may be, cannot be a rule forever. Their efforts during the pandemic implore that the role of experts in the making of public policies should henceforth be more pronounced

Policymaking cannot remain in a silo. It is also not merely a function of experts or civil servants. It requires multidisciplinary thoughts and actions for success. (HT Photo)
Published on Jun 12, 2022 01:37 AM IST
BySuresh Kumar

Guest Column | Leveraging bureaucracy for effective public service delivery

The problems of the bureaucracy and politicians fall into four categories, namely the interference in governance, bureaucratic power-misuse thereof, loyalty, and collusion. However, these are invariably made out without going into the determinants of bureaucratic behaviour

Political policy ambitions are put in a frame by the executive. And, wherever execution requires implementation and enforcement through laws, these are enacted by the legislatures. (Representatives Image/HT File)
Published on Jun 01, 2022 03:07 AM IST
BySuresh Kumar

Guest column | It’s time to reboot India’s broken policy machine

As the policy ambitions of politicians rise on unsustainable premises, civil servants’ declining resilience is making the ‘spoils system’ more entrenched

India, whose policy machine – administered by civil servants and controlled and superintended by political executives –is getting bigger, is in a similar position. (Representative Image/HT File)
Published on May 15, 2022 01:47 AM IST
BySuresh Kumar
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