India is aiming for the moon – literally – but Indians’ social outlook doesn’t appear to have been lifted out of the dark ages. Latest sample registration data from the Registrar General of India shows that although Indians are having fewer children, they still prefer boys, so much so that the sex ratio has plummeted sharply from 910 females per 1,000 males in the three-year period ending 2013 to 898 for the triennium ending 2017. This despite the fact that the National Democratic Alliance government has been active in its policy responses towards promoting the well-being of the girl-child. So how can society be encouraged to change its gender prejudices? One answer, says Parthasarathi Shome in today’s leader, is to emulate New Zealand’s path-breaking attempt to use a “well-being framework” to define the priorities of its annual budget exercise, which focuses on societal outcomes (including cultural identity). Read it here.
In other opinion, writers tackle the size of the government, the problem with public sector enterprises, the crisis in Dewan Housing, media freedom and the expansive nature of the budgeting exercise.Kanika Datta sums up the views.
In expanding the ambit of the Finance Bill to other laws unrelated to taxation, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has undermined the role of Parliamentary oversight, say Chakshu Roy and Mandira Kala of PRS Legislative Research. Read it here
On the crisis in shadow bank Dewan Housing, the top edit suggests three ordered principles for regulatory agencies to follow in dealing with the consequences of the default. Read it here
The government has reiterated its commitment to strategic disinvestment. It not only needs to accelerate the process but leverage it to introduce some much-needed reform in its relationship with these enterprises going forward. Read it here
Narendra Modi reduced the size of the central government by just under half a million employees in his first three years. Then the next three years saw a surge. A K Bhattacharya examines the details here
The Global Conference on Media Freedom revealed that independent media is under siege everywhere. How can this be remedied? Vanita Kohli-Khandekar outlines some solutions here.