Modi 1.0 was all about learning the ropes of national governance. Budget preparation and execution is a key ingredient. Budget purists cavil that budgets under Modi 1.0 were high on fuzzy motherhood goals and discretionary expenditure but low on schematic, multiplier enhancing allocations. Arun Jaitley’s five years as FM Rhetoric and poetry are part of […]Read More Budget FY2020 – Marching to a different drum beat
Congress workers were blasted last week by their leaders for the poor showing of the party in the national elections. P. Chidambaram, possibly the most distinguished Congress leader today, who has held key portfolios like Commerce, Home and Finance, followed in the wake of his party bosses and fingered bureaucrats, as the main stumbling blocks […]Read More Unjustly flaying the “small g” – the bureaucracy
Nirmala Sitharaman has notched up a record merely by taking over as Finance Minister in the Modi 2.0 government. She will be the first woman to hold this position as a stand-alone charge. Indira Gandhi was the first woman Finance Minister in 1970-71. But she was already Prime Minister and assumed the position from Finance […]Read More Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman – an avatar of Durga or Laxmi?
The 2019 election results illustrated the transformative political and social changes sweeping India. Will the new Narendra Modi government adapt its economic policies to fit the changed expectations or will it dish out more of the same? The honeymoon is over The 2014 Budget was expectedly a laundry list of good intentions. Five years down […]Read More Modi 2.0 Different Economic Strokes?
So, the laddoos will remain to be savoured in the spanking new BJP headquarters. But formal celebrations are delayed. The results cannot be announced till 5 vote-verified-paper-audit-trail (VVPAT) per assembly segment are matched with the vote count of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVM)– a concession the Supreme Court gave to the wailing opposition parties who […]Read More Modi 2.0 Benign Ambition
The exit polls would have us believe that the National Democratic Alliance (BJP plus allies) will win 65 per cent of Lok Sabha seats. Could this be a repeat of 2004, when the NDA was supposed to sail home but the heaps of ladoos at the BJP office had to be transferred to the Congress […]Read More NDAs winner’s curse
So hotly are the elections being contested that it is easy to forget the real life challenges awaiting the new government. Challenges come in three buckets — institutional; policy design and uncertainties from external and domestic shocks. Poor policy choices are easily reversed, institutional change happens slowly while shocks can neither be forecast nor fully […]Read More Bitter morning-after pill awaiting new government
A duality of capacity and intent casts a patina over elections in India. At one end, battery-powered, surround-sound “hologram discs” worn around a party worker’s neck shock and awe while belting out the BJP’s message in remote Himachal Pradesh. At the other end, the less well-endowed Aam Aadmi Party in metropolitan Delhi is falling back […]Read More Elections highlight the duality of Indian politics
BJP president Amit Shah is technically correct to say that Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, one of the accused in the September 2008 Malegaon (Maharashtra) bomb blast case, who is on bail, has a right, under our liberal electoral laws, to contest the elections. It hardly matters that she voluntarily claimed being part of the Hindutava forces […]Read More The Sadhvi as a symbol of New India
One wo(man) one vote” is the nominal cornerstone of our democracy. But in practice the elective power of a vote varies significantly across states. On the surface, we are very democratic — elections are held regularly and voter enthusiasm has not waned unlike elsewhere. Participative Indians Voter turnout — the proportion of those on the […]Read More How much is your vote worth?