The Modi government has its near-term challenges well defined – containing China, Covid and Congress in the order they are presented. The Congress bogey Of these, the last seems the most doable. The Congress lingers primarily because Indians are habituated to hedge their bets and have a back-up plan. Never put all your eggs in […]Read More Containing the 3Cs- China, Covid and Congress
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
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
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?
It’s a beautiful, clear, clean night. But the streets are empty. The traffic is sparse –its absence is soothing as compared to the usual nerve-wracking clatter. Houses are full and public spaces sparsely populated. Cities are blanketed in a pall of apprehension and sobriety — almost village-like, where chudails (witches) lurk around every peepul tree […]Read More Th lockdown is an overkill that won’t tame the virus
The faux London clouds and cold plaguing Delhi over the past two months lifted and bright sunlight came tumbling through today with the arrival of the Brazilian President– lifting spirits around. Part of the lift was triggered by the enervating sight of the young men and this time loads of young women in uniform, who […]Read More Republic Day 2020 – A turning point?
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?
In the run up to the annual budget it is said the Prime Minister is engaged in reviewing the working of departments in eleven hour long meetings. The PMs brand managers possibly think this nugget will comfort the nation that all is well, now that the man at the helm has his hand on the […]Read More Modi takes charge of the budget
If development, or the promise of it, won the BJP its imposing political dominance in 2014 and again in 2019, is it now destiny which will maintain the inertia of electoral endorsements? Sustainable Development metrics “Development” is best measured by the 17 Sustainable Development Goals under which there are 169 targets to be achieved by […]Read More Forget elusive growth, focus on development