A bill approved by both houses of Parliament last week March 2021, will sharply reduce the Delhi’s Government’s ability to act independently of the Lieutenant Governor (LG), an appointee of the President of India (ergo the Union government). Every executive decision has now to be referred to the LG. Similarly, whilst the Delhi Assembly can legislate, […]Read More Is Delhi democratically enfeebled?
Finance Ministers have an uncanny way of figuring out what makes the fish bite and neutralizes the sceptics. Nicely rounded words in the budget speech – like phonetic “quick wins” – come in handy to send the roosters crowing a new Dawn. A three pronged paradigm shift in the budget? FM Sitharaman’s salad dressing for […]Read More Budgetary provisions matter more than the speech
Despite receipts being 18% lower than even last year till November, largely because of the yawning gap against the aggressive budget estimate for disinvestment receipts (Rs 2,1 trillion), the Union government did well to spend almost 5% more than last year by enhancing borrowing. This is in the best traditions of trying to keep the […]Read More Budget for hope, build resilient foundations
A decadal “look ahead,” even as geopolitical, technological and environmental disruptions push uncertainty to worrying levels, closely resembles a fool’s wager. The upside, however, is an even chance of getting it right, just like everyone else. DOMESTIC POLITICS — The silence of stability Our biggest challenges will emerge from domestic politics. The political threats are […]Read More India till 2030- Testing the marginal utility of political stability
Creativity blooms during periods of extreme turbulence. One such example is the “Doing Business” index, which was initiated in 2003, in the aftermath of the dotcom boom-bust of 2000-2004. Back then, state led development had decisively given way to a preference for an open economy, competition, markets and private enterprise. The Doing Business index benchmarked […]Read More How creative is the Indian economy?
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
“Ghasiram Kotwal” Vijay Tendulkar’s brilliant Marathi satire on the predilection of the powerful to subvert ideology to their own survival, was penned in 1972. It faced rough weather in getting permissions to be staged. The Shiv Sena raged against it, presumably because it portrayed Nana Phadnavis, a prime minister of the Peshwas, in a bad […]Read More Holding a mirror to India
South Asians integrate the least with each other as a region. Joyeeta Bhattacharjee of ORF, who studies the region, puts it down to fear of Indian domination (India accounts for 80% of the combined GDP and 74% of the combined population), historical mistrust (a colonial legacy) and targeted terrorism (a recent innovation of war by […]Read More Fracturing South Asia into action
Politics is heating up. Elections in Bihar loom in November with Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu* and West Bengal tightly packed together in May next year, just after the FY 2021-22 budget. Bihar remains rural at heart. Luckily for the BJP, agriculture is the bright star in the Indian economy with expected growth of 3%. Doesn’t […]Read More The price of fiscal exuberance
“Waiting for Godot”- a play by Samuel Beckett in which a fictional Godot never arrives. The title has now become a code or allegory, to describe waiting forever for something which never happens. The 2014 “election jumla” of Rs 15 lakhs of recovered hawala money to be deposited into each bank account, quickly acquired this […]Read More Fiscal stimulus – Waiting for Godot