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, Scroll.in, 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.
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
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
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
“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
Documents reveal that all the costs associated with electoral bonds are paid from the Consolidated Fund of India, which includes all tax revenues
However, the bank regularly shares updates on the controversial funding scheme with the finance ministry, documents reveal
Documents obtained under RTI also reveal that crucial discussions on allowing shell companies to secretly fund political parties were not officially recorded
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!
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
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
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
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
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
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
Tapering growth, untamed inflation, alongside the pressure to ramp up welfare schemes in the run up to elections will shape the budget
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
Documents sourced through Right To Information applications reveal several irregularities in how the government brought the controversial source of political financing into effect