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Showing posts from June, 2014

How to be newsy: Choosing wheat from the chaff

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By Rajiv Shah
So, while preparing a short version, or news, of what is happening around you, as a journalist, it is necessary to identify for a journalist the big question: “What is news?” Though involved in formal journalism since 1979, I personally never thought of putting down the issue of “What is news” in black and white till about three years ago, when I had to introduce myself in order to be a blogger for the Times of India; as someone, my editor thought, to my amusement, had “wide experience” with bureaucrats and politicians in Gandhinagar. Quite in line with what I thought, I gave two definitions of news, while writing about myself – that “news is what somebody somewhere wants to suppress; all the rest is advertising” (Lord Northcliffe, 19th century British publisher), or “Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations” (George Orwell). I thought these definitions fitted well into the type of job I was involved in – to cull…

A Gujarat ‘model’ in budget making

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By Rajiv Shah
Will the Government of India’s new policy framework for budget adopt the “model” worked out by the Gujarat government under Narendra Modi, in which the richer states should walk away with a much higher cake of the Central funds as compared to the poorer states? It would seem so, if one takes a closer look at one of the most crucial documents prepared by the Gujarat government late last year, but not made public because of reasons best known to the officialdom. Submitted to the Centre-appointed 14th Finance Commission, the document crucially calls for “an urgent need to include” a formula in devolution of Central funds which would “incentivize economic efficiency.”
Handed over to the Centre in October 2013 and still under consideration, the Gujarat government specifically says in the document, “It is important to incentivize the states with high tax contribution”, and subsequently “national growth”. This is particularly important because, according to it, “post-1991, in the…