Bridging The Public Policy gaps

In the noticeably short term, say less than five years, decision paths and trade-offs are clearer than in the long term, say more than ten years. This is why governments make sensible short-term bets but like most individuals, flounder whilst taking decisions from the long-term perspective. Covid-19 management – a triumph of short-term decision making […]

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Being optimistic on India

India has changed. Gone is the earlier hesitation about being coldly pragmatic while keeping the public interest in mind. Foggy Post-Colonial and Cold-War ideological baggage is being stowed away, appropriately. The clear guard rails developed for dealing with the Ukrainian crisis do the country proud—extending principled support for the continuation of the international mediation effort, […]

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The Modi budgets- High achievements sans institutionalised changes

Budgets reflect the economic philosophy, near-term political economy pressures, and the long-term vision of a government. A review of budget metrics (table below) across the twilight years of the Manmohan Singh UPA government and the Modi government reveals a surprisingly elevated level of similarity, despite differentiated specific outcomes. In plainer words, the rulers changed but […]

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Budget Fy 2023 – Saying sorry is ok

The drama and spectacle around Budgets in India are completely undeserved. More than four-fifths of the Union Budget demands relate to expenditure that is carried through from past decisions, leaving little leeway for bold new outlays. And even when such programmes are budgeted, it is unclear who is going to pay for the added expense. […]

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To spend or not to spend

Governments are habitually profligate and gladly eat into an ever-larger share of GDP growth. The United States, the richest, big country in 1990, spent 40.6 percent of GDP on government expenditure. By 2011 its government was spending even more at 43.7 percent of the GDP. Countries which went in the opposite direction were rare- such as […]

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Leasing-out operational public assets to boost private investment

The Modi government launches new initiatives with blindsiding flamboyance. The National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) announced August 23 does not disappoint. It targets raising INR 6 trillion over four years (Fiscal 2022 to 2025) by leasing out operational public sector assets. The target for this year, with just six months in hand, is INR 0.9 trillion when disinvestment […]

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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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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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