Opinion | When cows become white elephants

Cow cess in Uttar Pradesh | The Uttar Pradesh government aims to build shelters for cows across the state, the cost of which the public has to bear in the form of a “cow welfare” cess on excise and other departments. Ravi Krishnan Long before Swacch Bharat was a gleam in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s eye, China’s Mao Zedong started a hygiene campaign in 1958. Prime among the measures: the citizenry was encouraged to kill four pests – mosquitoes, rats, flies and sparrows. To whip up fervour, the government also…

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Opinion | When it comes to surveillance, who will watch the watchman?

The Government of India’s recent notification allowing all central security and investigative agencies to intercept, monitor and decrypt “any information on any computer” resulted in protests of a surveillance state. The government was quick to clarify that these “investigative” powers had been previously provided to agencies under the IT (Procedure and Safeguards for Interception, Monitoring and Decryption of Information) Rules 2009, which flowed under Section 69 of the Information Technology Act. Rule 4 of the 2009 guidelines allowed an agency of the government to “intercept, monitor or decrypt information generated, transmitted, received or stored in…

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