Santa on good governance

Santa Claus is known globally for his — yes, his is still a male preserve — penchant for grunting his massive bulk through chimneys, including, miraculously, the narrow outlets of smokeless challahs, into homes to bestow gifts on sleeping children. Santa the original behavioural economist He is the original behavioural economist, grading gifts by the […]

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Das – the new Raja of Mint Street

Babus are hugely upset, understandably so, at the less than laudatory media coverage of Shaktikanta Das, an IAS officer of the Tamil Nadu cadre who had retired as secretary, economic affairs, in the finance ministry and was appointed the 25th governor of the Reserve Bank of India last week. The first two governors of the […]

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Deepawali depression unwarranted

Nothing makes Diwali sparkle more than the comforting bulge of spare cash in one’s pocket. This year there are few who could claim that privilege. Suffering in tandem are the unfortunates who catch the trickle lower downstream. Body blows to carefree spending have taken their toll. The combined effect of the Goods and Services Tax, […]

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IL&FS Robber Baron of India’s gilded age

India is deservedly an “emerging market”. Information asymmetries are extreme and caveat emptor rules, making investment riskier than it should be. The rapid implosion of the Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS) — a private group — bears this out. Opaque financials First, consider that no outsider knows how many subsidiary companies it has. Estimates […]

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US bringing China to heel

America’s President Donald Trump is nearly halfway through his four-year term. This is when most occupants of the White House get edgy about their “legacy” — how would America remember them? It’s too expensive to launch a war and once launched even harder to bring it to an end. Making peace is a better option. […]

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Babus as default tycoons

Our style of governance remains “provincial”. Of course nothing wrong in that. The French, despite being the last word in art, films, fashion and style – and now fighter planes – exult in the provincial core of their culture. The dapper President Sarkozy first became a mayor of a charming French commune – through the […]

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