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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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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India needs a haircut

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 […]

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India’s Raj inheritance

Delhi has yet to overcome its Raj inheritance. The capital exudes the complacence of satiated imperialism, decades after the rest of the country has been democratized.  The most egregious twin dogmas Two particularly deep-seated Raj dogmas plague Delhi. First, that India has an entitlement to lead the world and second, that our long-term foe is […]

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How much is your vote worth?

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 […]

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The price of democracy

Prof. Ashutosh Varshney of Brown University calls India an improbable democracy — poor, impossibly heterogeneous and multicultural, and ironically, only its colonial heritage keeps it going. So has our hubris cost us plenty? Why we are not China Forget comparing ourselves with China today. Are we at least on the same path? No, we are […]

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What the cash crunch foretells

Conspiracy theorists are hard at work to identify the drivers behind the ongoing cash crunch, that has left the automated teller machines (ATMs) in cities and towns across large parts of the country dry. There is much finger pointing between the Reserve Bank of India and the commercial banks, both private and public sector, each […]

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Lock your data & sell it

The concept of information asymmetry” was taught using the well-worn example of a secondhand car salesman who uses his insider’s knowledge to sell a “lemon” (a defective car) to the innocent buyer. The new-age example of information asymmetry relates to data. Visionary business leaders know that “data is the new oil”. But the average person […]

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