October 30, 2016

Across the aisle: The case for creative destruction

In my column on October 2, 2016 (How free is freedom in India?), I had made a brief reference to the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report and concluded thus: “Despite the reforms since 1991, which is a remarkable story, the State-to-firm interface remains a problem. What needs to be done and what can be done deserve a separate […]
October 23, 2016

Across the aisle: Wake up and smell the coffee

Even by the usual standards it was a l-o-n-g communique consisting of 109 paragraphs, each marked not by a number but by a bullet point. I can imagine what would have happened when the deputies gathered to draft the communique. I am reminded of how a camel was created: the Creator appointed a committee to design a horse and when […]
October 18, 2016

Across the aisle: If we kill dissent, we will kill liberty

According to the Director General of Military Operations (DGMO), there were “surgical strikes” on “launch pads” situated “along” the Line of Control in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. I believe the DGMO, as we have always believed past Director Generals and past Chiefs of the Army. The DGMO said that “significant casualties” had been inflicted on the enemy but he did not […]
October 9, 2016

Across the aisle: Bad ideas will drive out the good

We have a new Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, we have a Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), and we have their first statement on monetary policy. It is tempting to read the tea leaves! The MPC’s statement, with unanimous support, is significant not only for the cut in the policy repo rate but also for the analysis of the […]
October 2, 2016

Across the aisle: How free is freedom in India?

Twenty-five years after the Congress government under P V Narasimha Rao ushered in “liberalisation” of the economy, India has still not come to terms with the idea of economic freedom. This is disappointing for a country that was at the forefront of the struggle for political freedom for all countries. We understand political democracy, but we do not understand economic […]
September 25, 2016

In search of a Pakistan policy

It is said that ‘Hard words break no bones’. But they have a way of coming back to haunt the speaker. I am prepared to allow much latitude for a leader who had never been a minister in the Central government and was, by his own admission, an outsider so far as Delhi and the Central government were concerned. Even […]
September 18, 2016

Across the aisle: Why not try alternative approach?

I am sure the Home Minister meant well when he said that he expected the situation in the Kashmir Valley to return to normal soon, but it has not and there are no signs it will. The Home Secretary was sending a message of support to the security forces when he said that the situation was improving, but it is […]
September 11, 2016

Across the aisle: Near collapse of justice-delivery system

LAST year, the Supreme Court struck down the Constitution (Ninety-ninth Amendment) Act, 2014 that enabled the constitution of the National Judicial Appointments Commission. The Court declared that the Collegium of judges would have exclusive authority to select candidates for appointment as judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts. There are as many people who criticised the judgement as […]
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September 4, 2016

Across the Aisle: Lift the veil, hold a debate

Last week, India and the United States quietly signed the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA). The agreement had been under discussion since 2002. NDA I and the UPA government, especially the Ministry of Defence under Mr A K Antony, were not in favour. The Congress party too had reservations. The Left parties stoutly opposed the proposal. The discussions dragged […]
August 28, 2016

Dalits are right: Enough is enough

On July 11, 2016, a video of cow vigilantes mercilessly beating up seven Dalit men for skinning a dead cow in Una district, Gujarat, came to light. In protest against the incident, many Dalits have refused to handle cow carcasses. The gau rakshaks should be happy, but they are not. Non-Dalits, presumably including gau rakshaks, have retaliated with more violence […]
August 21, 2016

Across the Aisle: Gameplan, gambit or gamble?

As I write this, the curfew in the Kashmir valley has entered the 42nd day. The official death toll of protesters and civilians is 65. The number of security personnel killed is two, not counting the brave men who were killed in encounters with infiltrators. The state government is paralysed, the coalition partners are divided, and the chief minister is […]
August 14, 2016

Across the aisle: Awaiting space for policy action

Dr Raghuram Rajan will lay down the office of Governor, Reserve Bank of India, on September 4, 2016. It is a pity that the government has eased him out at the end of three years when he would have willingly served until September 2018 and, if nudged, until the government’s term ended in May 2019. Anyway, let us put those […]
August 7, 2016

Across the aisle: Good sense triumphs, danger lurks

The first round of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bill is over. There were no losers. The next round is expected in the Winter Session of Parliament beginning in November 2016. Key issues are still at large, and I wish to begin a debate on them. Contrary to the impression that the Central government may have conveyed to the […]
July 31, 2016

Across the aisle: Silence-new gold standard of governance

India elected an eloquent, some would say voluble, candidate as prime minister. Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks frequently, tweets extensively and writes sparingly. No one is surprised when he seizes the occasion and speaks. It is only when he ignores the occasion and withdraws into silence that questions are raised. Here are a few samples of his silence: VYAPAM: That […]
July 24, 2016

Across the aisle: Defend the land, win over the people

The protests in the Kashmir valley continue for the third week, There is curfew in many parts of the Valley. Fresh incidents occur in the Valley every day. That is why I have decided to stay with the subject and write a follow-up column to my previous column (The Indian Express, July, 17, 2016). During the debate in Parliament last […]
July 17, 2016

Across the aisle: Kashmir is more than land, it is people

I am not surprised that the Kashmir valley is on the boil. The surprise is that it has taken so many months after the demise of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed for the people to rise in revolt. We must define ‘Kashmir’. To most people it is another state that is part of the territory of India. It may have acceded to […]
July 10, 2016

Economic reforms: The next frontiers

The past week marked the 25th anniversary of economic reforms and the liberalisation of the Indian economy. The government ignored the occasion and the reason was not far to seek: the reforms were ushered in by a Congress government under P V Narasimha Rao and the BJP had, at that time, stoutly opposed them. (The Swadeshi Jagaran Manch survives to […]
July 3, 2016

Across the aisle: Disconnect between government and people

The people of the United Kingdom (UK) have decided to leave the European Union (EU). More accurately, a divided people of a disunited kingdom have voted by a majority of less than 4 per cent to quit a Union they had joined 43 years ago. Scotland, Northern Ireland and London were on one side of the divide while England and […]