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Yamini Aiyar
Articles by Yamini Aiyar

Reshaping the State-citizen relationship

A corrosive culture distances the State from the public and legitimises demands for public ‘discipline’ to achieve policy goals

Police cane-charge a farmer at Karnal's Bastara toll plaza during a protest against the new farm laws, in Karnal, Haryana on August 28. (Manoj Dhaka / Hindustan Times)
Updated on Sep 02, 2021 06:40 PM IST
ByYamini Aiyar

In India, a diminished economic future

Employment trends, the shock to informal sector and persistently high demand for welfare present an alarming picture. Don’t get misled by revenue numbers and corporate profits

The long-term challenge for India remains finding its way toward an employment-intensive growth trajectory. This will require more than the current policy toolkit of extended credit guarantees and bulldozing reforms, as was attempted through farm laws (Vipin Kumar /HT PHOTO)
Updated on Aug 13, 2021 07:22 PM IST
ByYamini Aiyar

To reopen schools, India must go local

Involve parents; decentralise decision-making; and give schools greater autonomy for expenditure. Local innovation is the path forward

Schools have to be prepared for three scenarios — a strict lockdown; partial movement; and when all restrictions are lifted. The response of schools to these realities has to be localised (Keshav Singh/Hindustan Times)
Updated on Jul 28, 2021 06:00 PM IST
ByYamini Aiyar and Rukmini Banerji

Reforms and Indian capitalism

Crony capitalism is entrenched, regulation is weak, and inequality is high. Reforms need a new imagination

Representational image. (AFP)
Updated on Jun 29, 2021 04:21 PM IST
ByYamini Aiyar

Covid-19 and the disease of inequality

The second wave will deepen inequality. Expand support to states, universalise PDS, and ramp up MGNREGS now

A Jharkhand government health worker conducts thermal screening of a villager at Chaite village in Namkum block of Ranchi earlier this month. (File photo)
Updated on May 27, 2021 05:45 PM IST
ByYamini Aiyar

The second wave and the Indian State

The Centre and states are at war, but India urgently needs a coordinated response. It’s not too late. But soon it will be

We need a hospital policy; a human resource policy; transparent data on oxygen requirement, allocation and supply processes; war-rooms to help citizens find beds, oxygen, medicines and tele-consultation (PTI)
Updated on May 09, 2021 10:32 PM IST
ByYamini Aiyar

As Covid’s second wave surges in India, history repeats itself

From curbs to blindness towards the plight of labour, from opacity in data to blaming citizens, it is 2020 all over again

Much has been said about the need for universalisation of vaccines and better coordination. But it is important to remember that a successful vaccination strategy will require transparency, citizen confidence and trust. (REUTERS)
Updated on Apr 09, 2021 03:43 PM IST
ByYamini Aiyar

The Union versus Delhi, Act II, Scene 1

The attempt to change the Capital’s governance structure raises a fundamental question — what should be the nature of the Indian Union?

The degree of sobriety, political maturity and commitment to the federal principle that is necessary for a harmonious construction of responsibilities is lacking in India. (SHUTTERSTOCK)
Updated on Mar 21, 2021 10:40 PM IST
ByYamini Aiyar and Partha Mukhopadhyay

Navigating Centre-state fiscal ties

The 15th FC report re-enacts a fundamental tension that lies at the heart of India’s fiscal federal relations.

On vertical devolution, the Centre can maintain the status quo. And, on states vs local governments, the nature of FFC’s grant recommendations reflects the tensions in the refusal of states to fulfill their constitutional obligation to local governments (ANI)
Updated on Feb 18, 2021 06:35 AM IST
ByYamini Aiyar

Decoding the budget and the economics of welfare

Several announcements — a bad bank, the proposal for a development financial institution, and bank recapitalisation — aim at reforming the economy. But these will not respond to the structural inequalities caused by the pandemic

The FY 22 budget ought to have increased expenditure for welfare, provided for an inclusive social protection architecture that protects vulnerable groups especially migrant workers, and increased capital expenditure. At first glance, the government has only done the last. (Yogendra Kumar/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Feb 02, 2021 01:55 PM IST
ByYamini Aiyar

Budget 2021 mantra: Spend and empower states

The direction of post-Covid recovery is skewed. The FM must prioritise employment generation and social security for the vulnerable through increased spending

As finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman unveils her budget, she confronts an economy scarred by increased informality in the labour market, a shrunken micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector, and economic activity moving to large firms who are incentivised to generate profits rather than employment. (Sanjeev Verma/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Jan 30, 2021 04:46 AM IST
ByYamini Aiyar

2020: The people vs the Indian State

The anti-CAA protests, the defiance of migrants, and now the farmers’ stir show that the everyday practice of democracy is a powerful corrective in the face of arbitrary and unilateral State decisions

Migrant workers returning from Madhya Pradesh and en route Haryana seen while crossing DND Flyway on foot in Noida.(Sunil Ghosh / Hindustan Times File Photo)
Updated on Dec 26, 2020 07:40 PM IST
ByYamini Aiyar

On farm laws, how the Centre faltered

Rebuilding trust with farmers is essential for India’s reform process and federal compact

Farmers sitting at Singhu Border to protest the Centre's farm reform laws, New Delhi, December 1, 2020(Vipin Kumar/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Dec 02, 2020 01:06 PM IST
ByYamini Aiyar and Mekhala Krishnamurthy

Creating an inclusive welfare architecture

Cover all of India’s poor; and merge welfare programmes under one umbrella scheme

The MGNREGS and PDS proved to be lifelines as central and state governments were able to mobilise the administrative machinery and expand the welfare net, at relative speed(Shutterstock)
Updated on Nov 18, 2020 08:26 PM IST
ByYamini Aiyar

What happened to Nitish’s governance?

By insulating governance from politics, he failed to effect deep change, build a political constituency

Bihar is a reminder that the quest for good governance and State capacity is about politics, even if politics is the reason governance suffers(Santosh Kumar/ Hindustan Times)
Updated on Oct 30, 2020 06:55 AM IST
ByYamini Aiyar

Where reforms and federalism clash | Opinion

The Centre’s attempt to bulldoze the states on agriculture weakens the entire reform process

What was needed to reform agriculture was political statesmanship and consensus-building for genuine cooperative federalism(Waseem Andrabi/ Hindustan Times)
Updated on Oct 06, 2020 06:06 AM IST
ByYamini Aiyar and Mekhala Krishnamurthy

Grand bargain to great betrayal?

With the Goods and Services Tax dispute, the future of India’s fiscal federalism is at stake

Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman chairs the 41st GST Council meeting via video conferencing, New Delhi, 2020(PTI)
Published on Sep 03, 2020 09:00 PM IST
ByYamini Aiyar

Reimagining India’s welfare toolkit

Universalise PDS, make it demand-driven; give more funds to states; and ramp up MGNREGS

On MGNREGS, states have already spent one­third of the funds allocated to them for the year. Provide more support(HTPHOTO)
Updated on Aug 24, 2020 08:50 PM IST
ByYamini Aiyar

NEP and the classroom consensus

It offers an alternative to the exam-centric, rote-learning model, and is strong on the foundations

Our ability to bring educators, politicians and parents together to debate this will shape the future of education(SHUTTERSTOCK)
Updated on Aug 02, 2020 06:57 PM IST
ByYamini Aiyar

Covid: The State-citizen trust deficit

This distrust has shaped official communication, relief and the health response to the pandemic

A medical worker tends to a Covid-19 patient at Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Hospital, New Delhi, July 17(REUTERS)
Updated on Jul 23, 2020 06:01 AM IST
ByYamini Aiyar

A blueprint to protect labour rights without constraining capital | Opinion

Take into account State capacity, new economic realities, and the informality of the labour markets

Disempowering labour through poorly conceptualised reforms will only exacerbate other economic and governance challenges. The growth-versus-labour rights binary is false(PTI)
Updated on Jul 03, 2020 08:07 PM IST
ByYamini Aiyar and Maitreesh Ghatak

Build a new economic imagination

Move beyond State-market, rural-urban, agri-non agri and welfare-growth binaries. They are linked

For growth, invest in State capacity and regulatory institutions(Reuters)
Updated on Jun 15, 2020 06:24 PM IST
ByYamini Aiyar and Mekhala Krishnamurthy

Cash transfers: There is a way out

The Centre’s defence about lack of data on migrants is weak. It is possible to identify them

Limited bureaucratic imagination has legitimised the State’s refusal to find solutions to help the vulnerable(Sunil Ghosh/HTPhoto)
Updated on May 25, 2020 06:10 PM IST
ByYamini Aiyar

To restart, revise national strategy

Rework migrant policies; reset the Covid-19 crisis management set-up, and improve communication

Migrants from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar take rest before they start walking back to their home states, Navi Mumbai, May 10, 2020(PTI)
Updated on May 11, 2020 06:07 PM IST
ByYamini Aiyar

The State needs to step up, urgently| Opinion

Provide food; improve Centre-state mechanisms; communicate better; and show compassion

It is crucial that the mistakes of the last 21 days are not repeated in the next phase of the lockdown(Sanchit Khanna/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Apr 16, 2020 07:23 PM IST
ByYamini Aiyar

Covid-19: Centre and states must work together | Opinion

Coordinate on finance, procurement and supply chains. Activate inter-state coordination systems

Migrant workers head home on Day 5 of the 21-day nationwide lockdown imposed by the government to curb the spread of coronavirus, New Delhi, March 29, 2020(Amal KS/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Apr 01, 2020 07:29 PM IST
ByYamini Aiyar and Mekhala Krishnamurthy

Covid-19: An emergency economic manifesto

To prevent distress, the State must manage the movement of people, food, money, schemes

India needs uniform outcomes, not uniform measures. Command and control won’t work. Be flexible, work with states(Parveen Kumar/Hindustan Times)
Updated on Mar 25, 2020 08:07 PM IST
ByYamini Aiyar and Mekhala Krishnamurthy

Covid-19 will test, reshape the State

Today’s choices will determine the future of the Indian State’s relationship with citizens

Test aggressively, prepare hospitals, deploy human resources, and ensure better Centre-state coordination(Satish Bate/HT Photo)
Updated on Mar 22, 2020 04:27 PM IST
ByYamini Aiyar

How India is failing its Muslims

The community has been left alone to defend their constitutional rights in a secular State

By relying merely on tactics, the Opposition is not providing an ideological counter-narrative to Hindutva(Raj K Raj)
Updated on Mar 05, 2020 07:05 PM IST
ByYamini Aiyar

The states are financially squeezed | Opinion

The Centre’s budget arithmetic and delays in fund transfers are pushing them towards a fiscal crisis

There is an urgent need to adopt modern public finance management systems(Samir Jana / Hndustan Times)
Updated on May 15, 2020 02:39 PM IST
ByYamini Aiyar
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