Expectations of the post-Covid world being qualitatively better than before are misplaced. If anything, it is likely to be nasty, brutish and permanent, to misquote Hobbes – the 17th century English philosopher of “Leviathan” fame. The twin drivers of Hobbesian dystopia There are two ways India could slip into a Hobbesian dystopia. First, Covid could […]Read More Keep Hobbes at bay whilst Covid is in play
Is Covid-19 an inflection-point in Indian history? And if so, what direction does it presage? Why should this “cough-cough” moment be considered significant? Three reasons appear plausible. Political consolidation First, the Modi government is settling into a comfortable additional medium term – ten year – political run all the way to 2029. Enough secondary support […]Read More New India – Like Gujarat, minus the sugar
In a quietly subversive “revolt” 47 officers of the Indian Revenue Service, which administers taxes on income, hit the headlines this week with a policy paper “Fiscal Options and Response to Covid-18 Epidemic” FORCE outlining the tax measures government could take to deal with the economic downside of Covid-19. Too young to be seen or […]Read More May the FORCE be with young IRS officers
We have needed one since the 2008 global financial crisis when massive fiscal interventions provided the fizz to drag out a functioning economy for the next decade. The buzz fades This fizz has now run dry, sapped by – corporate freeloaders, who misused the cheap money at the expense of small investors, who naively assumed […]Read More India needs a haircut
Whither art thou going? This is the question that will now be asked of the flood of COVID refugees fleeing the cruel and unfeeling cities to the “safety” of their rural homes. District authorities and border controls will now turn them back to the hell holes they tried to escape from. To what end? Return […]Read More Quovadis COVID refugees?
Many couples intending to get married stress test their relationship to determine whether it goes deeper than the kiss-kiss-bye-bye-baby level. Professionals can design a premarital experience – like reality TV shows do – to bring out the best and the worst in you so you can both make a considered choice. The ongoing novel COVID experience […]Read More Work with not against communities, to manage COVID 19
It can’t be very gratifying being the Finance Minister when the International Monetary Fund is calling out India for being a growth laggard pulling down world growth in 2019 to 2.9 per cent (from 3.3 per cent forecast earlier) and in 2020 to 3.4 per cent (from 3.6 per cent forecast earlier). International Financial Institutions […]Read More Is India the global fall-guy?
Good governance day aka Christmas and the late Atalji – India’s poet politician’s – birthday, dawned with some good news. The government unleashed two initiatives to signal its commitment to “jointness” a clumsy European synonym for better teamwork. Both initiatives, curiously, relate to the breaking down of self- sufficient silos in administration to promote better […]Read More Governance reform baby steps
Since the government no longer leaks information to the press on what is about to happen, it is tough to figure out whether the unanimous decision to hold the repo rate (the bank rate) at 5.15 per cent by the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) on December 6 has the Union government’s blessings. Maybe this is […]Read More RBI Gov Shakti Das does a U turn
In early 2014 Narendra Modi as a prime ministerial aspirant made three pledges to the people of India, which swept him to power and kept him at the helm. First, the pledge to employ jobless young adults in decent jobs. Second, to shrink the government while increasing governance. Third, to put Rs 1.5 million into […]Read More Only private “animal spirits” can rescue India