June 11, 2017

Across the aisle: The Make In India flop show

PM Modi was therefore absolutely right when he stated that his government’s goal was to give the highest priority to ‘Make in India’ and called upon the world’s manufacturing companies to “Come and make in India”. No large country can become rich without manufacturing the goods that are consumed or demanded by its people. Most services — especially the basic, […]
June 4, 2017

Across the aisle: CSO calls the government’s bluff

I have been making the arguments for weeks — that the government has totally failed to address the issues of declining investment as a proportion of GDP; sluggish credit growth; and non-creation of new jobs. These trends were visible in early- and mid-2016. There are three kinds of people who claim to have some knowledge of the state of the […]
May 28, 2017

Across the aisle: Behind the celebrations: no jobs, no peace

In a democracy, people vote a party (or parties) into government so that their ‘lives will be better’. That phrase, of course, is more complex than it seems. What makes life in the case of one person ‘better’ may not be true in the case of another person. Under normal circumstances, an election is fought and won/lost on roti, kapda […]
May 21, 2017

Across the aisle: That sinking feeling — 3

Speaking truth to power is a rare virtue. Dr Arvind Subramanian, the Chief Economic Adviser (CEA), has that virtue. Like his predecessor, he has brought original thinking to the Economics Division; like his predecessor, he has found the freedom to speak on a variety of subjects; but unlike in the case of his predecessor, he is not always consulted (e.g. […]
May 14, 2017

Across the aisle: That sinking feeling – 2

Everyone has likes and dislikes. They concern food, clothes, books, friends, neighbours, politics and practically everything else. That is why it is said ‘one man’s food is another man’s poison’. Family, culture and religion have a profound influence on one’s likes and dislikes. One may argue for what one likes (“vegetarian food is sufficient for a strong body”), or one […]
May 14, 2017

Across the aisle: That sinking feeling — 1

Once in a few years, there arrives a moment when the whole nation appears to share the same mood — of celebration or anger or despair. Such a moment may have arrived in India in 2017. You will find ample evidence of what I am saying in centre-page articles, columns, interviews, social media and even in some editorials. The narrative […]
April 30, 2017

Across the aisle: Do not stir up a hornets’ nest

Last week, I found myself in the unenviable position of not being able to either own or disown a report of a Parliamentary Committee! Such are the challenges of holding a public office. The Parliamentary Committee on Official Language was first constituted in 1976. By convention, the Home Minister is the ex-officio chairman of the committee. There are 20 members […]
April 23, 2017

Across the aisle: Go back and read George Orwell

Aadhaar, a unique identification number to every citizen, was an idea born in 2009. Was it an idea ahead of its time? A lot of people thought so, especially people working at the ground level among the poor and the neglected sections of the people. Aadhaar was not a revolutionary idea. It is the foundation on which identity cards are […]
twittermail
June 11, 2017

Across the aisle: The Make In India flop show

PM Modi was therefore absolutely right when he stated that his government’s goal was to give the highest priority to ‘Make in India’ and called upon the world’s manufacturing companies to “Come and make in India”. No large country can become rich without manufacturing the goods that are consumed or demanded by its people. Most services — especially the basic, […]
June 4, 2017

Across the aisle: CSO calls the government’s bluff

I have been making the arguments for weeks — that the government has totally failed to address the issues of declining investment as a proportion of GDP; sluggish credit growth; and non-creation of new jobs. These trends were visible in early- and mid-2016. There are three kinds of people who claim to have some knowledge of the state of the […]
May 28, 2017

Across the aisle: Behind the celebrations: no jobs, no peace

In a democracy, people vote a party (or parties) into government so that their ‘lives will be better’. That phrase, of course, is more complex than it seems. What makes life in the case of one person ‘better’ may not be true in the case of another person. Under normal circumstances, an election is fought and won/lost on roti, kapda […]
May 21, 2017

Across the aisle: That sinking feeling — 3

Speaking truth to power is a rare virtue. Dr Arvind Subramanian, the Chief Economic Adviser (CEA), has that virtue. Like his predecessor, he has brought original thinking to the Economics Division; like his predecessor, he has found the freedom to speak on a variety of subjects; but unlike in the case of his predecessor, he is not always consulted (e.g. […]
May 14, 2017

Across the aisle: That sinking feeling – 2

Everyone has likes and dislikes. They concern food, clothes, books, friends, neighbours, politics and practically everything else. That is why it is said ‘one man’s food is another man’s poison’. Family, culture and religion have a profound influence on one’s likes and dislikes. One may argue for what one likes (“vegetarian food is sufficient for a strong body”), or one […]
May 14, 2017

Across the aisle: That sinking feeling — 1

Once in a few years, there arrives a moment when the whole nation appears to share the same mood — of celebration or anger or despair. Such a moment may have arrived in India in 2017. You will find ample evidence of what I am saying in centre-page articles, columns, interviews, social media and even in some editorials. The narrative […]
April 30, 2017

Across the aisle: Do not stir up a hornets’ nest

Last week, I found myself in the unenviable position of not being able to either own or disown a report of a Parliamentary Committee! Such are the challenges of holding a public office. The Parliamentary Committee on Official Language was first constituted in 1976. By convention, the Home Minister is the ex-officio chairman of the committee. There are 20 members […]
April 23, 2017

Across the aisle: Go back and read George Orwell

Aadhaar, a unique identification number to every citizen, was an idea born in 2009. Was it an idea ahead of its time? A lot of people thought so, especially people working at the ground level among the poor and the neglected sections of the people. Aadhaar was not a revolutionary idea. It is the foundation on which identity cards are […]
April 16, 2017

Across the aisle: Kashmir is sliding into disaster

I have written many times on the situation in Jammu & Kashmir with particular reference to the situation in the Kashmir Valley. There were six columns on this page between April and September 2016. The thrust of my argument was, thanks to the policies adopted by the PDP-BJP government in J&K and the Central government, we were losing Kashmir. Few, […]
April 2, 2017

Across the Aisle: The intoxication of absolute power

The Finance Bill is, usually, the most important Bill on the annual legislative agenda of the finance minister. Policy decisions are first taken by the Department of Revenue with the approval of the finance minister and these decisions are conveyed to the draftsmen. Dozens of officers, including officers of the Ministry of Law, spend more than a hundred hours to […]