Nitin Sethi

Nitin is a journalist and trustee of The Reporters Collective Trust. He is also visiting faculty at Ashoka University. He has written, reported and investigated for two decades on the intersections of India's political economy, natural resources, environment, climate change, economy, public finance and development. His reportage has won several awards, including the Asian College of Journalism's award for investigative journalism and the Prem Bhatia award for environmental journalism. He has previously worked in editorial positions at The Business Standard,, The Hindu, The Times of India and Down To Earth. He has also been the Media Lead at National Foundation for India and a Partner at Land Conflict Watch besides advising several media and non-profit organisations in pro-bono capacity.


May 15, 2020

Flawed Covid-19 Database Used To Ease Lockdown

The Centre’s ‘single source of truth’ in easing lockdowns is a database of Covid-19 cases ridden with unverified data, duplicate names and other flaws. States, some protesting at the confusion, use another database and only in five states do the two databases tally

May 14, 2020

Cases Surged In Lockdown As Govt Ignored Experts

In the first week of April 2020, the government’s top scientists laid out conditions for lifting the Covid-19 lockdown. The government ignored that advice and evolved its own criteria, still unclear to states. The result is a surge in cases and ever-changing criteria

April 24, 2020

Frustration In National Covid-19 Task Force Over Govt Inaction

Despite prior warnings from its scientists in late February, India’s government did not put in place a testing and surveillance strategy against the Covid-19 outbreak till end March, by which time its own medical experts expressed frustration at the inaction

April 23, 2020

Govt Knew Lockdown Would Delay, Not Control Pandemic

“Absent any other control measure, lifting lockdown would allow a resurgence of transmission:” India’s top medical-research body told the government in the first week of April. Two weeks into the lockdown, the measures were still not in place

December 1, 2019

Electoral Bonds: The Great Fraud

Modi govt's bizarre justification: Corporates should be allowed to donate secretly because they have a Right to Life under the Constitution which overrides citizens' right to information and is equal to citizen's right to secret ballot!

November 23, 2019

Electoral Bonds: Govt Admits It Lied That Donors Asked For Secrecy

The Modi government claimed repeatedly that donors asked for electoral bonds due to fear of political retribution if they used transparent methods of funding. An RTI reply shows this was a lie

November 22, 2019

Govt Made SBI Accept Expired Electoral Bonds Sold In Illegal Window

The bonds worth Rs 10 crore were redeemed soon after the 2018 Karnataka state elections resulted in a hung assembly. The bonds had been purchased in a special sale window opened at the direction of Prime Minister Modi's office

November 21, 2019

Electoral Bonds Are Traceable: Documents Nail Govt Lies On Anonymity

The State Bank of India (SBI) maintains a secret number-based record of donors who buy electoral bonds, and the political parties they donate to. Law enforcement agencies can request access to this record

November 20, 2019

Modi PMO Ordered Illegal Bond Sale Before Vital State Polls

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's office directed the finance ministry to break its own rules to approve the special and illegal sale of electoral bonds just before critical state assembly elections

November 19, 2019

Electoral Bonds: Confidential EC Meeting Exposes Modi Govt's Lies To Parliament

A confidential note reveals that finance ministry officials intentionally misled the Election Commission in an effort to dilute its opposition to the electoral bond scheme

November 18, 2019

Electoral Bonds: Seeking Secretive Funds, Modi Govt Overruled RBI

Former finance minister Arun Jaitley took just hours to dismiss the RBI's warning that electoral bonds could funnel black money into politics and destabilise the Indian currency, documents show



April 2024

Manipur Conflict: Where No One Comes Out Clean

Fuelling Manipur's conflict is a complex interplay of political ambition, armed groups, cross-border migration, ethnic divisions, narcotics, tainted armed forces, cynical statecraft and a devious game to give it all a communal colour. In this, the youth have become the fodder. Fed on hate, mobilised to defend themselves as the State fails to end violence. Our two-part investigative series delves into the layers, exposing a web of power, armed factions, and the battle for control.


January 2024

After becoming PM, Modi secretly tried to cut states’ income massively

Niti Aayog CEO BVR Subrahmanyam reveals Modi held backdoor negotiations with the Finance Commission to cut tax funds allocated to states, and says gov't finances are so shady, they could be hit by a 'Hindenburg'.


September 2023

Forests for Profit

This investigative series exposes how the Modi government favoured commercial interests over forest conservation and indigenous rights while abandoning the long-delayed National Forest Policy. Just after taking office, it aimed to open forests for private plantations, culminating in the 2023 amendments to the Forest (Conservation) Act. These changes prioritize profit over biodiversity, granting private businesses access to India's forests. The amendment limits protection to recognized forests, endangering large swathes of potential unofficial forestland. These investigations reveal a troubling pattern of forest exploitation, corporate interests, and indigenous rights neglect.


January 2023

In the budget ahead of national elections, challenges galore for Finance minister

Tapering growth, untamed inflation, alongside the pressure to ramp up welfare schemes in the run up to elections will shape the budget


June 2022

Centre Makes Aadhaar Must For Free Meals Under Nutrition Mission

The move could stop millions of poor children without Aadhaar from having healthy meal, and violates a Supreme Court order that no subsidy or service may be denied to children for want of Aadhaar


April 2022

Centre's Modified Auction Rules Allowed Millers To Corner Pulses Meant For Poor, Finds Government Agency

The Union government's auctions worth more than Rs 4,600 crore to provide pulses to the poor and armed forces were rigged to benefit a few big millers, shows the findings of the National Productivity Council, a government research body headed by Minister Piyush Goyal. The Council’s findings confirm The Collective’s previous exposé that the terms of auctions allowed the millers to rip the government off tonnes of pulses and sell them at a profit in the open market, and also supply poor-quality pulses.


December 2021

Modi Govt's Opaque Auction Rules Rip Off Govt Coffers, Help Millers Strike Rich

Auction method used to mill pulses under welfare schemes for poor and armed forces allowed millers to make unchecked profits for years, hammering the public exchequer and the quality of pulses supplied


August 2021

Gujarat's Real Covid Tragedy Revealed: Data Suggests At Least 2.8 Lakh Excess Deaths During Pandemic

Data from thousands of pages of death registers maintained by municipalities in Gujarat show an excess death count of 16,892 for just 6% of the state's population during the pandemic. When projected across the state, the figure zooms to a staggering 281,000.


May 2021

How MEA's Inaction Forced Embassies To Seek Covid Assistance From Opposition

MEA made urgent late evening deployments to its Covid Cell as late as May 01. This was 24 hours after the Philippines Embassy sought help from Indian Youth Congress for delivery of oxygen cylinders. In response, the MEA launched a bitter Twitter dogfight against the opposition for supplying cylinders to the embassy.


April 2021

A Bulky Mess: How Indian Vehicular Data Was Sold Cheap

Through a secretive deal, the government sold off vehicular bulk data of the entire country to a private company in a deal that officials red-flagged over lack of price discovery. With this exclusive low-cost bounty, the firm developed an entire business model based on the data. It even cut a separate agreement with a German firm and sent samples of sensitive data it received from the government. All this happened five years before the government announced a dedicated policy to sell the same data to other buyers.


March 2021

Inside The Hindu IT Cell: The Men Who Went Online To Protect Gods

A network of self-proclaimed Hindu volunteers file legal complaints and unleash a toxic wave of trolling, harassment, threats and doxing against social media users who they believed make “anti-Hindu” remarks


May 2020

Covid Crisis: How Dodgy Data Plagued Government Moves

Modi government first ignored its experts' recommendations on how to lift the country-wide lockdown. It then based its response on unreliable data, show its own records. This led to surge in Covid-19 cases


April 2020

How The Government Botched Its Covid-19 Response

Government documents and internal meeting records show its experts warned that a country-wide lockdown would only delay the pandemic not control it. The government repeatedly ignored experts' warnings and did not put in place key protocols even after a month into the lockdown


March 2020

Covid-19 Aid Package

Analysis of Modi's package: Analysis: Modi govt’s #COVID19 aid package is miserly & unimaginative. It will do little for poor who need help. With data & more.


November 2019

Paisa Politics: Exposing The Govt's Electoral Bonds Fraud

Documents sourced through Right To Information applications reveal several irregularities in how the government brought the controversial source of political financing into effect


April 2024

मणिपुर हिंसा के पीछे: ड्रग्स के कारोबार, सशस्त्र समूहों और राजनीति की हकीकत

ड्रग्स के व्यापार ने मणिपुर की राजनीति को तो प्रभावित किया ही है, मौजूदा जातीय हिंसा को बढ़ाने में भी महत्वपूर्ण भूमिका निभाई है।


April 2024

मणिपुर पर असम राइफल्स की रिपोर्ट: मुख्यमंत्री की तानाशाही के कारण बढ़ी हिंसा

प्रेजेंटेशन में लंबे समय तक चली इस हिंसा में मैतेई और कुकी-ज़ो दोनों समुदायों के सशस्त्र समूहों की भूमिका की ओर भी इशारा किया गया है


March 2024

मोदी सरकार ने कोयला नीलामी में भाग लेने से पश्चिम बंगाल को अवैध रूप से रोका, निजी कंपनी को हुआ फायदा

नीलामी में पश्चिम बंगाल सरकार की कंपनी की अनुपस्थिति से आरपी संजीव गोयनका समूह को 83 मिलियन टन का सरिसाटोली कोयला ब्लॉक हासिल करने में मदद मिली।


March 2024

Modi gov't illegally barred West Bengal from coal auction, benefiting a corporate

The state-owned company’s absence in auction helped RP Sanjiv Goenka Group collude to win 83-million-tonne Sarisatolli coal block.


February 2024

इलेक्टोरल बांड युग का अंत, लेकिन सरकार इकठ्ठा कर रही है हर पार्टी को मिले चंदे की जानकारी

आयकर विभाग ने डोनर्स से नकद, चेक या किसी भी अन्य माध्यम से राजनैतिक दलों को दिए गए हर डोनेशन का विवरण देने को कहा है। प्रवर्तन एजेंसियों के पास जल्द ही यह डेटा होगा, लेकिन अंधेरे में रहेंगे नागरिक।


February 2024

Electoral Bonds era ends. But gov’t is now collecting details of every donation to each political party

The Income Tax department has asked donors to divulge details of all contributions made to political parties through cash, cheque, or any other mode. Enforcement agencies will soon have this data, but the citizens will stay in the dark.


January 2024

प्रधानमंत्री मोदी ने राज्यों के फंड में बड़ी कटौती करने के लिए वित्त आयोग पर डाला दबाव

नीति आयोग के सीईओ बीवीआर सुब्रमण्यम ने खुलासा किया कि मोदी ने राज्यों को आवंटित कर निधि में कटौती के लिए वित्त आयोग के साथ अनौपचारिक बातचीत की, और कहा कि सरकार का वित्त इतना खराब है कि उन पर 'हिंडनबर्ग' जैसा आघात पड़ सकता है।


September 2023

लुप्त जंगल

1996 में SC ने केंद्र और राज्यों से कहा कि भारत की सभी वनों की पहचान कर उन्हें संरक्षित किया जाए। 27 साल गुजरने के बावजूद उन्होंने यह काम पूरा नहीं किया। अब, केंद्र के नए वन कानून ने उन वनों के संरक्षण को खत्म कर दिया है जिन्हें कागजों पर मान्यता प्राप्त नहीं है।


September 2023

Forests Deleted

In 1996, the Supreme Court asked the Union government and states to identify and protect all of India’s forests. For 27 years, they did not complete the job. Now, the Centre’s new forest law has removed protection for forests not recognised on paper.


September 2023

2015 में शुरू हुई जद्दोजहद को पूरा करने के लिए मोदी सरकार ने कारोबारियों के लिए खोल दिया जंगल

दस्तावेज़ों से पता चलता है कि मोदी सरकार ने जंगलों को व्यावसायिक पौधारोपण के लिए खोलने की योजना पर काम कार्यभार संभालने के तुरंत बाद ही शुरू कर दिया था। हालाँकि इसे आदिवासी अधिकारों और जंगलों को नुकसान पहुँचाने के लिए विरोध का सामना करना पड़ा, लेकिन हाल ही में वन (संरक्षण) अधिनियम संशोधन के माध्यम से यह योजना सफल हुई।


September 2023

Modi gov’t unlocks forests for business, a pursuit that began in 2015

Modi govt's dogged pursuit of a plan to open forests for commercial plantation began shortly after taking office, documents show. Though it faced pushback for hurting tribal rights and forests, the plan reached a fruition through the recent Forest (Conservation)Act amendment.


September 2023

एक खोखला आश्वासन: कैसे मोदी सरकार ने वन संरक्षण से मोड़ लिया मुंह

केंद्र सरकार ने नई वन नीति लाने का अपना वादा नहीं निभाया। यह वादा निभाने की बजाए वन संरक्षण कानूनों में ऐसा बदलाव किया जैसा वह चाहती थी।


September 2023

A hollow assurance: How Modi govt turned its back on forest conservation

Centre abandoned promise of a new forest policy. Instead chose to cut the laws on conservation down to the size it desired.


June 2023

India fumbles towards a carbon market

Will India allow industries to sell carbon credits in the international market at a cost to the country? The upcoming national carbon market postpones answering this fundamental question.

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