February 19, 2017

Across the aisle: The rise and fall of the AIADMK

De mortuis nil nisi bonum. (Of the dead say nothing but the good). The best I can do is to say nothing uncharitable about Jayalalithaa the person, but simply recount the events of the last 25 years. M G Ramachandran (MGR) broke with his party (DMK) in 1972 and founded the All India Anna DMK (AIADMK). He was elected as […]
February 12, 2017

Across the aisle: Wanted expansion, got contraction

A budget is contextual.  When the new year dawned, some things were abundantly clear. Firstly, the external environment was no longer benign (rising oil prices and rising protectionism). Secondly, the growth rate of the Indian economy was slowing down (as in many countries of the world). Thirdly, while the Indian economy was growing, few jobs were being created. Fourthly, there […]
February 10, 2017

Across the aisle: Muddling through another budget, another year

Budget day has come and gone. Millions of words have been spoken and written since Wednesday. Not many will remember the numbers or the artful phrases (there was none in this edition) or the flashes of poetry (who were the poets?). What will remain is the question, did this Budget leave the average citizen with the belief that the fundamental […]
January 29, 2017

Across the aisle: Navigating through the do’s and don’ts

Every budget is determined by the context and the context is determined by the circumstances — economic, political and the year in the term of the government. Budget 2017-18 will be the fourth budget of the NDA government (one more remains) and it will be presented when, according to the RBI and the CSO, the economy is slowing down. The […]
January 22, 2017

Across the aisle: It is a balloon, it is a kite!

The Chief Economic Adviser has promised a detailed analysis of the subject in the Economic Survey that will be presented to Parliament on the eve of the Budget. However, there is no word yet from the government. It is the Budget season. The good, bad and ugly (ideas) will be on display. One idea that is in the realm of […]
January 17, 2017

Across the aisle: Prepare for ‘slow down India’

The only engine that appeared to be running was government expenditure. In this scenario, what can be expected regarding the growth rate in 2016-17? There are four engines of growth: government expenditure, private consumption, private investment and exports. Two of the engines — private investment and exports — have languished for many months. Private consumption was strong and kept the […]
January 8, 2017

Across the aisle: Whither RBI’s autonomy?

The RBI’s main objectives in 1934 and now are the same to issue bank notes and to keep the reserves. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was born under unusual circumstances. A need was felt to ‘regulate the issue of bank notes and the keeping of reserves with a view to securing monetary stability’. However, in 1929, the world had […]
January 1, 2017

Will 2017 be a happy new year?

As 2016 draws to a close, the whole country should be celebrating the state of the economy, but there is no joy anywhere. Why are the people sullen, dejected and apprehensive about the immediate future? We should be happy that the Indian economy, according to the government, grew at an average of 7.4 per cent (new series) in 2014-15 and […]
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January 22, 2017

Across the aisle: It is a balloon, it is a kite!

The Chief Economic Adviser has promised a detailed analysis of the subject in the Economic Survey that will be presented to Parliament on the eve of the Budget. However, there is no word yet from the government. It is the Budget season. The good, bad and ugly (ideas) will be on display. One idea that is in the realm of […]
January 17, 2017

Across the aisle: Prepare for ‘slow down India’

The only engine that appeared to be running was government expenditure. In this scenario, what can be expected regarding the growth rate in 2016-17? There are four engines of growth: government expenditure, private consumption, private investment and exports. Two of the engines — private investment and exports — have languished for many months. Private consumption was strong and kept the […]
January 8, 2017

Across the aisle: Whither RBI’s autonomy?

The RBI’s main objectives in 1934 and now are the same to issue bank notes and to keep the reserves. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was born under unusual circumstances. A need was felt to ‘regulate the issue of bank notes and the keeping of reserves with a view to securing monetary stability’. However, in 1929, the world had […]
January 1, 2017

Will 2017 be a happy new year?

As 2016 draws to a close, the whole country should be celebrating the state of the economy, but there is no joy anywhere. Why are the people sullen, dejected and apprehensive about the immediate future? We should be happy that the Indian economy, according to the government, grew at an average of 7.4 per cent (new series) in 2014-15 and […]
December 25, 2016

Across the aisle | Cashless economy: A distracting mirage

Why should the government or its numerous agencies have access to our lives through access to Big Data? Every now and then a new word or phrase is introduced into the conversation. On November 8, 2016, it was demonetisation. It was portrayed as the white knight on a steed who will slay the demons of black money, corruption and fake […]
December 18, 2016

Across the aisle: Winners, losers and those ruined

This week too, I must stay with the subject of demonetisation. When change takes place, there will be winners and losers. Wisdom is required to cap the gains of the winners and limit the losses of the losers. Greater wisdom is required to ensure that no one is utterly ruined. Such wisdom can only come from full information and knowledge. […]
December 11, 2016

Across the aisle: The Unravelling

The phrase of the year 2016, at least as far as India is concerned, was ‘surgical strike’. The Oxford dictionary’s word of the year, post-truth, was largely unknown to Indians. I confess that I had not heard the word used in conversations or lectures before it was declared as word of the year. Surgical strike is simple, easy to understand […]
December 4, 2016

Across the aisle: Monumental mismanagement

Dr Manmohan Singh is a man of few words. He speaks softly and is careful not to offend anyone. These, in my view, are excellent attributes of a leader but, in a loud and raucous democracy, they are regarded as failings. Our democracy is poorer for encouraging lung power. Our debates are poorer because fact and logic are overwhelmed by […]
November 27, 2016

Across the aisle: No jobs, no credit growth, no private investments

Between the gathering storm on the India-Pakistan border and the massive disruption to the economy, Saturday, November 26, passed almost unnoticed. The day marked the exact mid-point of the tenure of the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It is a natural and opportune moment to take stock of the government, its promises, the delivery and the state of […]
November 20, 2016

Across the Aisle: Demonetising notes or demonising cash?

I am obliged to return to the subject of ‘Old Notes for New’ because the hardship and suffering of the people continue. It is now clear that the decision to demonetise notes of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 was ill-conceived, the preparation was terrible and the implementation was horrible. It has also emerged, through whispers of course, that besides the […]