Pratap Bhanu Mehta in the Indian Express says the three reports are raising deep and fundamental questions about governance. Taken together they amount to an incontrovertible indictment of government.
A lot of the whispering against the CAG reports comes from an unstated fear: such scrutiny will slow down decision making. It will create economic uncertainty. These risks are present. But we have to face the fact that there is a lot more poison waiting to come out of the system. The system now needs to respond constructively and internalise new norms of governance, based on horizontal accountability, transparency and public reason, instead of arbitrary discretion. The CAG’s reports are part of the great cleansing now under way. In the medium to long run, these will make government stronger, not weaker, because it will be forced to ask the right questions.
You can contest the CAG’s numbers. But the reports, even if they do not say it, leave us in no doubt that the government is a rotting ancient regime. It is a deep morass of evasions, dereliction of duty, and outright fraud on the taxpayers. The responsibility for this runs to the highest levels, including the prime minister. He is, doubtless, an honourable and honest man. But will he admit that the government is at least guilty of a sin even worse than corruption: gross incompetence of the kind that has put the country’s future at risk?
Read the full column at the Indian Express: Great cleansing act
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A brinjal festival at Delhi Haat: File Photo
Should or not the government allow the commercial cultivation of genetically modified Bt brinjal?
In keeping with his earlier pronouncements on the subject, characteristically, the environment minister Jairam Ramesh has decided to put up the report of the Expert Committee, that formed the basis of the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) decision of October 14, on his ministry's website for seeking comments until December 31.
During January and February 2010, the minister says, he will have a series of consultations in different places with scientists, agriculture experts, farmers’ organisations, consumer groups and non-governmental organisations.
The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) has said that the government should not clear any genetically modified food crop till the time India has strict provisions for labelling.
Bt brinjal will be one of the few crops which are used for human consumption directly and not processed or used in other foods.
Check out the full controversy about Genetically Modified Seeds or GM Seeds here
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The minister for environment and forests, Jairam Ramesh has invited comments from the States, civil society, and other stakeholders regarding the design of an appropriate institutional structure for best addressing the growing environmental challenges. So click here if you wish to participate and provide online feedback to the ministry on the available options for a National Environment Protection Authority (NEPA) and to create a mechanism that would be responsible for monitoring and compliance of environmental standards.
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