May 15, 2016

Across the aisle: Misadventures of the Modi government

Back in the summer of 2014, almost anything was possible for the BJP government. The once-in-a-generation mandate had endowed the government with enormous political capital that could be used to implement any reform, including some long-pending and difficult reforms. Alas, two years after May 2014, the government has become a punchline for jokes. Its hardcore supporters are scrambling desperately to […]
May 8, 2016

Wanted: A Bharatanatyam dancer, please

In a caustic comment on an economist, Dr Jagdish Bhagwati once said, “if he is an economist, I’m a Bharatanatyam dancer!”. Dr Arvind Panagariya is an honourable man. He has a job to do, but has a useless tool — the NITI Aayog — in his hands. The NITI Aayog is neither an all-powerful arbiter of policy differences and fund […]
May 1, 2016

Government should back CJI on idea of a Court of Appeal

The CJI proposed the idea of a Court of Appeal which would be a beginning of the end of an over-burdened and choked Supreme Court and the restoration of a true Constitutional Court. The subject cannot be dealt with in a single column, nevertheless I think I should make a beginning. The break down of the justice-delivery system is happening […]
April 24, 2016

Across the aisle: Let’s admit we are challenged in one eye

This government is a bundle of nerves. It sees ghosts where none exists. It sees enemies even among friendly and neutral commentators. And it has men and women who are ready to shoot to kill even without orders (under a political version of AFSPA — Angry Friends Special Powers Act). What did Dr Raghuram Rajan, Governor, Reserve Bank of India, […]
April 17, 2016

Across the aisle: Embracing Kashmir, alienating Kashmiris

‘Who am I?’ is a question that no one has been able to answer satisfactorily. Just as an individual seeks answers to the question of his or her identity, a people sharing many characteristics — land, language, religion, culture, history, suffering — also seek an answer to the questions who are they and where do they belong. Many people find […]
April 10, 2016

Across the aisle: A factual report from the ground

Data is pouring in from diverse sources and one thing is clear: investments are not taking off any time soon. New investment proposals that stood at Rs 22,00,000 crore in 2008-09 declined to Rs 10,64,000 crore in 2014-15 and further to Rs 8,00,000 crore in 2015-16. Why is this so despite the government’s efforts to motivate entrepreneurs to invest? Let […]
April 3, 2016

Across the aisle: Basking in an illusory sunshine

The Revenue Secretary is reported to have sent a missive to the Central Board of Direct Taxes asking the Board to explain why direct taxes collection had fallen short of the revised estimates. That the Revenue Secretary did not wait for the provisional accounts for the year is revealing. I think he gave vent to his frustration. Why is direct […]
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 […]