Taming regulatory excess in retail

How should government balance the interests of retail sellers whilst protecting the interests of consumers? Even handed legislation and transparent, market-based rules to kindle higher investment and growth, better employment opportunities and higher tax collection from trade would be the long-winded answer. Political economy shoulders out technical common sense Sadly, legislation, in democracies, is strongly […]

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Tamil Nadu needs an economic reboot

Tamil is an ancient language which jostles Sanskrit on antiquity but remains in vibrant, modern use. It is also a cultural identity. Post-Independence, in 1947, the erstwhile Madras Presidency became the Madras State within the Union of India. In 1956, its borders were redrawn to shed the non-Tamil speaking peripheral areas of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, […]

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Feeding the beast- civil service training

Mission “Karamyogi”, the Modi governments first stab at public sector capacity development, was unveiled during the pandemic in September last year—a reminder that whilst the rest of us worked languidly from home, bureaucratic wheels continued to churn albeit with reduced physical presence. The name of the Mission derives from the Bhagawad Gita—a lively, ancient, masterclass on […]

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The morality of stock markets

Indian stock markets look like “mushroom rocks”, top-heavy and delicately balanced, just waiting to be tipped over by bad news, of which there is plenty. Investors, whose stocks are part of the ongoing bull-run starting February 2021, could not care less having gained Rs.11 trillion, since May 24. This bonanza of wealth accretion, for the […]

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The problem with fiery federalism

Of the five natural elements (Panchabhuma) which comprise the world – Earth, Water, Air, Space and Fire, it is the last which best describes the existing relationship between Delhi (Union government) and Kolkata (state government of West Bengal) .Didi’s salvo protecting her citadel The most recent flare up is over Chief Minister Mamata “Didi” Banerjee […]

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Through the social media looking glass

Social media — the use of online platforms, as substitutes for old style, high-touch, physical contact formats like newspapers and one-on-one meetings — is now near ubiquitous, boosted greatly by the pandemic. Follow the money The ebb and flow of advertising revenues best illustrates the media preferences of customers. Digital marketing accounted for more than […]

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Repurposing governance- trim the fat in state governments

The tragic snafu over making sufficient oxygen available to meet the spike in demand from COVID-related morbidity is a red flag for an underlying malaise—of overlapping mandates, state governments enfeebled by decades of Union government spoon feeding, and under capacitated local government. Sadly, state governments have voluntarily accepted this hollowing out of their core functions. […]

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Who’s in charge here?

India spends around just under 2% of its GDP on managing external threats as a core sovereign function of the Union government. By all accounts, this arrangement works well. Two generations of Indians since 1965, have never known war personally, except those brave hearts, who chose to take upon themselves, the weighty task of protecting […]

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