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 […]
June 26, 2016

Across the aisle- Economic reforms: Act I, Scene I

Twenty five years ago, the mood of the people of India was one of fear and despair. The nation was in the middle of an election. 221 constituencies had voted, the remaining had yet to vote. Rajiv Gandhi was killed in a bomb blast on May 21, 1991, and elections in the remaining constituencies were postponed. When those elections took place […]
June 19, 2016

Across the aisle: Fake encounter with facts, fake controversy

Ishrat Jahan and three others were killed by the Gujarat police in an encounter. Was it a genuine encounter or a fake encounter? I do not know the answer. There are others who claim to know the answer. I am astonished by the certitude of some of my fellow citizens that the encounter was a genuine encounter. None of them […]
June 12, 2016

Across the aisle: Gross domestic product or puzzle?

It was good that Dr Raghuram Rajan, Governor, RBI, has cleared some of the mist — and myth — surrounding the GDP numbers. He gave two simple examples: * First example: ‘Exports minus imports’ is a contributory factor to GDP. Exports declined in 2015-16, but imports declined even more. So, ‘exports minus imports’ in 2015-16 was greater than ‘exports minus imports’ […]
June 5, 2016

Across the Aisle: Then and now – The model is flawed

‘Swachh Bharat’ or ‘Clean India’ cannot be a slogan or an event. It has to become a habit, nay, a passion. It involves many factors including: *Behaviour *Social structure *Technology *Money *Execution *Administration Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan, with the objective of eliminating open defecation by 2017, was apparently designed after taking into account these and other factors. In the early months […]
May 29, 2016

I wish the Prime Minister had said

My fellow citizens, brothers and sisters, I greet you on this day, May 26, 2016, when my government completes two years in office. The usual practice is to make a self-congratulatory speech and repeat old promises or make new promises. I have decided to break from this tradition and present an honest and objective assessment of the state of the […]
May 22, 2016

Across the aisle: It is not yet the turning point

Sometimes, the expected masquerades as the unexpected. Sober reflection had told us many months ago that the governments in Assam and Kerala would be voted out and new governments voted in. That a change would also happen in Puducherry. That in West Bengal, the TMC would be returned to power overcoming the unusual (but understandable) tactical alliance between the Congress […]