One of the realizations, home-spun by Covid in India, is that there is value to “atmanirbharta” (ANB) or self-reliance – the capacity to march alone, if necessary. An admirable attribute except that “aloneness” creeps up silently on you like a habit, difficult to shake off. Looked at more cheerily, it is not so different from […]Read More Marching alone
In the first half of fiscal 2020-21 Union government receipts are just 25% of budgeted annual receipts as opposed to 40% in the previous fiscal. Receipts tend to have a slow start but not this slow. We are Rs 2.7 trillion short of the Rs 8.4 trillion we collected as receipts last fiscal till September. […]Read More Come September outcomes fiscal blues
The “non-development expenditure” of state governments – the cost of keeping their government apparatus going amounted to Rs 10.5 trillion or 27.5% of their total receipts in 2019-20 (RBI Public Finance Data) versus 20% of receipts for “establishment” expenses in the Union government (Union Budget Documents). Too top heavy by half Putting the two together, […]Read More Indian States as Regional Ecological Managers
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?