Interviews

SY Quraishi, former Chief Election Commissioner, interviewed by Vrinda Gopinath (Scroll.in)SY Quraishi, former Chief Election Commissioner, interviewed by Vrinda Gopinath (Scroll.in)

-Scroll.in In this environment of majoritarianism, we must seriously consider proportional representation, adds SY Quraishi. SY Quraishi, who was Chief Election Commissioner from July 2011 to June 2012, is known to be outspoken about several issues regarding electoral reform both when he was in the Election Commission and after he retired. He has asked for public funding of political parties, putting an expenditure cap on them, financial transparency among parties, and to bring political parties under the Right to Information Act to clean up the electoral process. In an interview with Scroll.in, Quraishi brushed off accusations by political parties, mainly the Bahujan Samaj Party’s Mayawati and Aam Aadmi Party’s Arvind Kejriwal that Electronic Voting Machines in the just-concluded state Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab were tampered with. However, Quraishi agreed that for greater transparency regarding Electronic Voting Machines, the Narendra Modi government at the Centre must implement the suggestions made...

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MS Swaminathan, Father of the Indian Green Revolution and renowned agri-scientist, interviewed by Rajalakshmi Nirmal (The Hindu Business Line)MS Swaminathan, Father of the Indian Green Revolution and renowned agri-scientist, interviewed by Rajalakshmi Nirmal (The Hindu Business Line)

-The Hindu Business Line MS Swaminathan talks of the problems plaguing farmers and possible solutions Father of the Indian Green Revolution and renowned agri-scientist, Prof MS Swaminathan, in an interview with BusinessLine, states emphatically that the Centre’s promise of doubling farmer income can become a reality if careful thought is applied and a comprehensive plan is drawn up. The role of the State and the public are crucial here, he stresses. Excerpts: * When the real income of farmers is growing at 4-4.5 per cent, can the government really double it in five years? If you read the report of the National Commission on Farmers, we recommended that agricultural progress should be measured by the net income of the farmer and not just by his total production. How far have farmers benefited from the increase in production? Not much. So, income orientation to farming is necessary. We suggested three measures for this. The first one...

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Ramesh Chand, Niti Aayog member, interviewed by Prasanta Sahu and Sandip Das (The Financial Express)Ramesh Chand, Niti Aayog member, interviewed by Prasanta Sahu and Sandip Das (The Financial Express)

-The Financial Express While the Central Statistical Organisation has estimated “agriculture and allied services” to grow 4.1% in FY17, Niti Aayog member Ramesh Chand expects the growth rate to be a handsome 7%. Chand spoke to FE’s Prasanta Sahu and Sandip Das on critical factors that need to be addressed to ensure at least 4% annual growth over the next 15 years. * How do you foresee the direction of the agricultural sector especially after the 12th Plan period got over? Under the new dispensation, we have been asked to prepare a vision for all sectors of the economy for next 15 years. In keeping with this, we have set the targets for the agriculture sector, with focus on achieving prosperity for farmers. Our strategy is in tune with the plan to double farmers’ income by 2022. Critical factors include ensuring nutritional security, sustainable use of natural resources, etc. We have worked out...

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Amartya Sen, Nobel Laureate and economist, speaks to Suvojit Bagchi (The Hindu)Amartya Sen, Nobel Laureate and economist, speaks to Suvojit Bagchi (The Hindu)

-The Hindu The truth may ultimately prevail about demonetisation, but the government might be able to maintain the loyalty of a large part of the public for a long time, says Amartya Sen More than two months after the demonetisation, Nobel Laureate and economist Amartya Sen says that any proper “economic reasoning could not have sensibly led to such a ham-handed policy.” He predicts that the demonetisation will hit the economy quite drastically. In an interview with Suvojit Bagchi at his home in Santiniketan, which he visits every winter, Professor Sen spoke about the motives and impact of the move. * We’ve seen the primary impact of the demonetisation: long queues outside banks and shortage of cash. Now we are seeing the secondary impact, which is on the informal sector. Potato sowing in West Bengal is affected and some other businesses are collapsing. What could be the impact of all this? What you are...

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Pronab Sen, Country director of the International Growth Centre, interviewed by Ajaz AshrafPronab Sen, Country director of the International Growth Centre, interviewed by Ajaz Ashraf

-Scroll.in India’s first chief statistician, Pronab Sen, is now country director of the International Growth Centre, which seeks to build effective growth facilities through engagement between policymakers and researchers. In this interview to Scroll.in, he speaks on the 50 days of demonetisation, its failings, its severe impact on the poor, the loss of credibility of the Reserve Bank of India, the push to make India a cashless or less-cash economy, and suggests measures the government could take to rev up the slowing economy. Excerpts: * Much of the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes seem to have come back to banks, perhaps beyond the government’s expectation. Does this imply a large percentage of black money was converted into new currency notes? Or was it that the government miscalculated the amount of black money in the economy? The government’s estimate of black money and ours was roughly the same – about Rs...

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