May 3, 2015

Across The Aisle: Even to the causing of death

Some things do not have a place in a civilised country. One of them is The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, hereinafter AFSPA. AFSPA is unique in many respects. I cannot recall any other law made by Parliament which applies only to the Seven Sisters of the North East — Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura. […]
April 26, 2015

Across the Aisle: Inflation is bad, but is deflation good?

There is satisfaction all around that inflation has declined. The decline in the rate of inflation began in November 2013 (which was the month when both CPI inflation and WPI inflation had peaked). The decline has been secular, and in November 2014, WPI inflation touched zero. The numbers published in March 2015 estimated WPI inflation at (-)2.33 per cent and […]
April 19, 2015

Across the Aisle: The bugle has been sounded

In a column that was published in this newspaper on March 22, 2015 (‘Equity suffers Rs 75,000 crore blow’), I had pointed out that Central assistance to State Plan(s) had been reduced by more than Rs 75,000 crore in the Budget for 2015-16 from the assistance in the revised budget of 2014-15. If one compared the budget estimate for 2014-15 […]
April 12, 2015

Across the Aisle: Land acquisition – Nine steps to nirvana

It is difficult to believe that a government will stake so much — risk of defeat in the Rajya Sabha, political capital, support of allies, the Prime Minister’s time — on a mere land acquisition amendment Bill. It is also difficult to believe that the Government has decided to brave farmers’ anger, street protests and media criticism to get the […]
April 5, 2015

Across the Aisle: Who wants rupee at 40 to the dollar?

Not Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Not Ms Sushma Swaraj (who famously tweeted in August 2013, “The rupee has lost its value. The Prime Minister has lost his grace”). At least not any more, and it would not be polite to remind them of their promise during the election campaign last year. We should be happy that that was a promise the government has not kept...
March 29, 2015

Across the aisle – Natural resources: Fog is yet to clear

We were told that auction was the only correct way to transfer the right to use a natural resource. Thankfully, the Supreme Court retracted from that obviously wrong position and approved of any fair, transparent and non-discriminatory method of allocating natural resources...
March 22, 2015

Across the Aisle: Equity suffers Rs 75,000-crore blow

The Finance Minister listed thirteen points for his Vision 2022. Among them were a roof for each family, clean drinking water, providing medical services, upgrading schools, and increase in agricultural productivity. Everyone agreed wholeheartedly. He also listed five major challenges but promised that “the government has decided to continue supporting important national priorities such as...
March 15, 2015

Across The Aisle: Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty

To most Indians, the story of the struggle for Independence ended on August 15, 1947. In fact, the struggle began on that day. The idea of an open and free society was unknown in most parts of India and to several generations of Indians. Many of them lived their whole lives under a king or a satrap. Many lived their whole lives in fear of God and godmen. Many accepted the societal rules and restrictions as if they were scripture...