Taming regulatory excess in retail

How should government balance the interests of retail sellers whilst protecting the interests of consumers? Even handed legislation and transparent, market-based rules to kindle higher investment and growth, better employment opportunities and higher tax collection from trade would be the long-winded answer. Political economy shoulders out technical common sense Sadly, legislation, in democracies, is strongly […]

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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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Feeding the beast- civil service training

Mission “Karamyogi”, the Modi governments first stab at public sector capacity development, was unveiled during the pandemic in September last year—a reminder that whilst the rest of us worked languidly from home, bureaucratic wheels continued to churn albeit with reduced physical presence. The name of the Mission derives from the Bhagawad Gita—a lively, ancient, masterclass on […]

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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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How creative is the Indian economy?

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 […]

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Ending poverty statistically

India’s poor were delighted yesterday, to read in the newspaper, that India’s Executive Director to the International Monetary Fund – the celebrated data scientist Surjit Bhalla, assesses India’s poor to have reduced from 21.2 per cent in 2011 to just 6.3 per cent by 2018. He also asserts that the fastest reduction in poverty happened […]

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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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Indian Economy – The great slide

It’s scarier going downhill than climbing to the top. Whilst on the way up, the heavyweight of inertia is known and hence manageable. Going downhill, inertia accelerates descent in unknown ways.  The economy is no different. Flab (public sector banks), poorly maintained brakes (uncompetitive private firms), worn gear cogs (lack of structural reforms) or inadequate […]

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