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Yamini Aiyar
Articles by Yamini Aiyar

When data becomes political it also becomes vulnerable

For all the data the NDA government routinely showcases, citizens’ know far less today about the government’s performance than ever before

A government survey shows Delhi as one of the dirtiest Indian cities with rampant open defecation and poor waste management facilities, indicating that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swachh Bharat mission might not have had a big impact in Delhi(Arun Sharma/HT File Photo)
Updated on Aug 28, 2018 04:55 PM IST
ByYamini Aiyar

How NRC is legitimising exclusion

The State’s excessive reliance on documents for proving citizenship is leading to harassment

People queue at the office to verify and check their names in the final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), at Morigoan on Saturday, Aug 4, 2018(PTI)
Updated on Aug 15, 2018 11:49 AM IST
ByYamini Aiyar

Are bureaucrats turning politicians?

Establishing direct communication between the Centre and districts will entrench centralisation

There’s now a discernible change in the IAS’ communication strategy. Twitter and op-eds are increasingly being used to keep the public informed of achievements(Priyanka Parashar/MINT)
Updated on Jul 26, 2018 12:05 PM IST
ByYamini Aiyar

The politicisation of transfers has undermined teacher accountability

Networking and building relationships with politicians is for teachers a necessary survival tactic and therefore a legitimate activity, relegating teaching to the background. Teachers, on their part, have used their access to politicians to game the system.

It is easy to dismiss this culture of victimhood and narrative of weak agency as a deliberate strategy of an apathetic workforce. Indeed, the fact that government school teachers are often overpaid and persistently absent is a testimony to this fact. But dismissing these perspectives merely serves to reinforce them.(Sneha Srivastava/MINT)
Updated on Jul 10, 2018 11:00 AM IST
ByYamini Aiyar

Look beyond rules to reform the bureaucracy

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has rightly characterised India’s bureaucracy as a 19th century administration struggling to tackle 21st century challenges. But building a 21st century bureaucracy requires changing the frame of the current debate on reforms to move beyond rules and procedures to focus instead on institutionalising a new culture of trust and deliberation

A rarely debated but critical aspect of bureaucratic norms is the role of trust. Public commentary on bureaucracy has long focused on the trust deficit between citizens and the (non-performing) bureaucracy (Representative Photo)
Updated on Jun 01, 2018 01:02 PM IST
ByYamini Aiyar

Four years of Modi government: Confused priorities hit welfare strategy

Jobs, skills and startups have given way to a medley of social sector schemes – housing, sanitation, gas connections, health insurance – that are being used to craft this government’s primary political message.

File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.(AFP photo)
Updated on May 26, 2018 09:48 AM IST
ByYamini Aiyar

Why the Aspirational Districts Programme may not change anything on ground

In building an outcome-focused, data-driven framework Niti Ayog has taken an important step. But data is not a substitute for entrenched implementation failure.

The real barrier to tailoring development interventions to district needs is not data (although it certainly is part of the story) but the centralised financing and decision-making structure that districts are embedded in(Bloomberg)
Published on May 15, 2018 02:51 PM IST
ByYamini Aiyar

Time to deepen the federal dialogue

Our fiscal architecture will have to navigate tension between the imperatives of redistributive transfers and rewarding efficient development

Kerala chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and finance minister Thomas Isaac with Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)
Published on Apr 25, 2018 11:59 AM IST
ByYamini Aiyar

No one cares about state budgets

This failure to have a robust debate about state budgets is likely to cost the country heavily. State budgets are entering a period of deep instability as fiscal deficits are on the rise.

The Union budget has created a mini-industry of commentators (this columnist included) and TV talking heads who routinely scrutinise every detail of the budget days after it is presented. State governments expenditure is significantly larger (and growing) than the Centre’s. It is state’s that are in charge of spending and implementing schemes, which affect our everyday lives. And any meaningful commentary and discussion on budgets must necessarily focus on state budgets.(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)
Published on Apr 02, 2018 04:14 PM IST
ByYamini Aiyar

Why simultaneous elections are bad for India’s democracy

Simultaneous elections runs the risk of undermining the representative gains that political decentralisation of the last two decades have made

Polling officers check electronic voting machines (EVMs) at an EVM distribution centre, Phase 2, Noida, NCR (File Photo)(Burhaan Kinu/HT)
Updated on Mar 16, 2018 04:29 PM IST
ByYamini Aiyar

A better education administration will be decentralised and focused on learning

The shift to learning outcomes is a clear signal that education policy makers are breaking out of the input trap to focus on the learning challenge. While this focus on measurement must be celebrated, attention is also needed on the even greater challenge of translating measurement to action

In the current design of the education system, the district is recognised as a critical unit for education planning and administration. In practice however, districts have little financial flexibility as plans have to be aligned to centrally and state determined line items(Bhushan Koyande/HT)
Updated on Feb 23, 2018 01:00 PM IST
ByYamini Aiyar

Budget 2018: No real ease of living for Indians

Improved rural infrastructure, particularly sanitation, housing, roads and the showstopper of this budget: health insurance, are the key focus. A new promise is being slowly constructed

The focus on health care in this budget is indeed very welcome. For the last three years, the NDA’s health policy has been floundering and in need of urgent attention.
Updated on Feb 01, 2018 07:10 PM IST
ByYamini Aiyar

After Budget 2018, Centre and states need to focus more on cooperative federalism

The key challenge to deepening federalism in India, as this ongoing battle over CSS demonstrates, lies in determining the optimal allocation of functions across levels of government. Addressing this challenge will require debate and consensus building

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has often said that the NDA government promotes “competitive cooperative federalism” without discriminating between states on the basis of the party in power.(PTI)
Updated on Jan 30, 2018 02:03 PM IST
ByYamini Aiyar

The persistent problem of unspent funds is a symptom of a deeper malaise

The bureaucracy’s culture of centralisation and penchant for paper work are the primary culprit

The persistent failure to spend is a direct consequence of India’s broken governance structures. But here’s the paradox. The Indian State is grossly under-resourced particularly in critical areas like health, education, nutrition. Yet, it is precisely in these areas that under-spending is high.(Mint)
Updated on Jan 03, 2018 07:53 AM IST
ByYamini Aiyar

Union Budget 2017 was a status quo budget for the social sector

The finance minister’s status quo approach to social policy should lay to rest, for the moment at least, the ongoing debate about this government’s attempt to radically restructure India’s welfare architecture.

An Indian woman separates mustard seeds from the husk in a paddy field in Roja Mayong village, east of Guwahati on Feb 1.(AP Photo)
Updated on Feb 02, 2017 01:00 AM IST
New Delhi | ByYamini Aiyar

A fight for better governance

Social auditing, now a mandatory requirement under the NREG Act, demonstrates the need for public vigilance and monitoring of developmental works, writes Yamini Aiyar.

HT Image
Updated on Jul 24, 2007 12:43 AM IST
None | ByYamini Aiyar
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