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Let citizens, not the state, decide the allocation of public money to civil society organizations

What is the best way to help others? Basically there are three options:

There should be a clear demarcation of the boundaries between the personal and the political. A libertarian view of the uniform civil code.

What would be the Uniform Civil Code or personal law under gram swarajya or in the village republics that Mahatma Gandhi championed? It would probably resemble the one that prevails in Anna Hazare’s Ralegan Siddhi. If you violate the code, say by consuming liquor, you would be ostracised or even beaten up in public.

Karnataka’s state board couldn’t stop the chemistry exam paper from walking out on 21 March. The exam was rescheduled to 31 March and the paper was leaked again! Now it’s scheduled for 12 April. What do you think would happen on the 12th? These paper leaks are routine at state boards and cause serious distress to millions of students in the state.

The Union Budget 2015-16 is long on rhetoric but short on vision. Given the ruling BJP’s campaign promises, it was reasonable to expect this budget would rival the 1991 budget in launching the next phase of momentous reforms. Big bang reforms however, are not in the DNA of NDA. At best, it’s an evolutionary rather than revolutionary, budget.

Narendra Modi’s government has restarted the process of statutory legal reform that had been stalled for a while. The last serious effort at reviewing and systematically eliminating ineffective, outmoded and counter productive legislation was spearheaded by Arun Shourie in 2001 under the Vajpayee government. The prime minister said during his speech at Madison Square Garden in New York that as opposed to other politicians’ lust for new legislation, he will be happier if he can repeal one law every day!

Satya of 'Education in India' discusses the idea of school choice and the prospects for it in India with Parth Shah, President of the Centre for Civil Society (CCS) in this episode of the Education in India podcast.

Bringing the element of choice into education will make schools accountable to parents, and will lead to a more efficient schooling system, where poor performing schools are weeded out due to lack of patronage.

The Indian education system does not effectively promote the prior right of parents to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children. This column argues that the degree of freedom of not just parents, but also of school principals, teachers and education providers is a key determinant of quality and equity in education. It outlines reforms to promote the right to ‘education of choice’.

Quality education and skills training are two of the most critical ingredients for youth empowerment, for the demographic dividend, and for a prosperous and peaceful India. The access to education is now almost universal; we have built schools, provided mid-day meals, uniforms and textbooks to attract students to schools. And more than 96% of school-going age children are in schools.

The activists demand that the government of India must spend at least 6% of GDP on education. They claim that this is the minimum money required to assure quality education to all.

There are four specific problems with this mantra of 6%:

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