‘The Flaws In Our Laws’ By Dr Bibek Debroy | Absurdities Of Indian Laws – Part I

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By Somali K Chakrabarti

On rare occasions, it happens that a person can dig into a complex topic with remarkable ease and make perfect sense to a diverse group of listeners, while capturing their attention all along and making the subject exceptionally interesting.  Dr Bibek Debroy is certainly one of those people blessed with such rare ability. Fascinated by his knowledge on the vast array of subjects he tweets about, I had registered for the seminar arranged by MoneyLife Foundation, to hear Dr Debroy speak on the Flaws in Indian Laws.

I reached the Royal Bombay Yacht Club just 5 min before the start of the event. The building is just at a stone’s throw from the Gateway Of India and has an old world charm about it. With hardly any time in hand to appreciate the architecture, I rushed into the hall and yet found myself seated on a single vacant seat on the 2nd row.  And there I was, all set to listen to one of the most interesting sessions by the noted economist, columnist and author.

So the session began. Right from the word ‘go’, it was replete with anecdotes that held the audience in rapturous attention and we found ourselves intermittently bursting into peals of laughter at the absurdities existing in the Indian laws. I am recollecting here some of the numerous anecdotes shared, which I had managed to scribble down.

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The Trigger For Initiating A Research Project For Legal Reforms.

 

The 1st anecdote was about an unexpected and a seemingly innocuous event that had provided the trigger for initiating a research project by the Government Of India for Legal Reforms.

The story goes back to the year 1993.

One day Dr Ashok Desai, then the Chief Economic Consultant to the Govt. of India,  invited Bibek Debroy for lunch to ask about his interest in heading the research project. He gave him the time between the start of lunch & dessert to make up his mind. The project was approved by none other than our ex PM Dr Manmohan Singh, who was then, the Finance Minister Of India.

Quite in line with the thesis of a book called ‘Accidental India’, written by Shankar Aiyar,  much of what happens in India, happens purely by accident rather than by design, the prompt for the project inadvertently came from Dr Ashok Rudra, a scholar, economist and professor at the University of Vishva Bharti. Read more

Inbuilt Apathy Towards Road Traffic Accidents In India

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A few days back a young man from Kurukshetra, Dikshant Sharma had started a petition requesting Aamir Khan to take up the issue of Road Accidents in India on his show Satyamev Jayate.

After I signed the petition [i], I surfed for information on road traffic accidents and came to know the following facts:

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), road traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for young people in developing countries. India accounts for about 10% of road crash fatalities worldwide.

One person dies every five minutes on Indian roads. Going by National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), this figure is expected to escalate to one death every three minutes by 2020 [ii]. In terms of absolute numbers more people die in road crashes in India than anywhere else in the world.

Every other day we read in the newspapers about road accidents. Unresponsive governance coupled with personal apathy makes the situation worse and many are left to die on the streets even when hospitals are close by.

Infographics - Road Traffic Accidents
Infographics – Road Traffic Accidents

 

The disconcerting question is why do these recurring incidents of traffic death remain as just statistics and do not stir up the authorities or people in general? Read more

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