March 27, 2016

BJP’s attempt to define a nationalist as one who will say ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ is a gross distortion of history

Slogans and elections are inseparable companions. When the Lok Sabha election of 2014 was imminent, the BJP named Mr Narendra Modi as its candidate for Prime Minister, and the candidate almost immediately began to popularise the slogans that would eventually define the election: Achhe din aanewale hain; Kaala dhan wapasi; sabka saath, sabka vikas, and many others. Along with other […]
March 20, 2016

Across the Aisle-Aadhaar Bill: Ends right, means wrong

History can be told through stories. So can politics. If you wish to explain the politics of India through a story, you need go no further than the story of Aadhaar. Aadhaar is a unique identification number that is intended to be given to all Indian residents. The idea is not novel or unprecedented. India was a latecomer to the […]
March 13, 2016

Across the aisle- Budget 2016-17: The fiscal math is puzzling

The Chief Economic Adviser should be glad that he lost the argument on fiscal deficit. It was a good argument to lose! I compliment the Finance Minister for achieving the fiscal deficit target of 3.9 per cent in the current year and fixing a target of 3.5 per cent for 2016-17. That one decision has lent a measure of credibility […]
March 6, 2016

Across the aisle- Dear farmers: Achhe din are coming

Farmers may rejoice. The government has finally acknowledged that farmers are part of India, that the farm sector faces acute distress, and that farmers need a helping hand. That is something which many commentators — especially Mr Ashok Gulati — have been saying for many months. Farmers had taken note of the BJP’s failure to keep its election promise of […]
March 1, 2016

Across the aisle: In good times and bad times, courage is the ally

We can debate endlessly whether these are good times or bad times. Last week, I had pointed out that the economy was facing headwinds. On February 26, the Economic Survey confirmed my apprehensions. This is what it said in the preface to Volume II Chapter 1: “Weak growth in advanced and emerging countries has taken its toll on India’s exports. […]
February 28, 2016

Across the Aisle: A wish list and some notes of caution

It is just as well that the last day of February will fall on a Monday when the budget will be presented. The commentators can pause, take several deep breaths today, and resume their breathless commentary when the dawn breaks tomorrow! The third budget of any government is a crucial milestone. If the economy is on a roll, it is […]
February 21, 2016

Across The Aisle: Maybe we are all anti-nationals

Bal Gangadhar Tilak declared “Swaraj is my birthright”. He was charged with sedition. He was an anti-national according to the rulers of the day. I have consistently pleaded for the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act. I hold the view that the Act allowed Army and police officers to act with impunity. In the eyes of the current […]
February 14, 2016

Across the aisle: Crouching tiger vs hidden dragon

How quickly an idea or a word or a phrase can spread across a country! In a matter of weeks, the phrase “net neutrality” went from a term used by a small group of tech industry insiders and academics to a phrase of common usage. The phrase means that the Internet will treat all content it carries equally, indifferent to […]