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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Trump’s implicit advice to India

President Trump does himself no favours by going out of his way to be deviant, as he did whilst addressing the UN General Assembly yesterday. Odd that a billionaire, realty tycoon should need to resort to coarse behaviour to stroke up self-confidence. Put it down to the testosterone filled hubris of corporate American, male machismo […]

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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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#Gender & #sexuality norms #India 2018

In Britain, “buggery” between consenting adults became legal in 1967. Let me hasten to assure that I use the crude term “buggery” not to mock the LGBT community. This is the physical act, defined by its antiseptic moniker “voluntary carnal intercourse against the order of nature”, which was excised from Section 377 of the Indian […]

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Slash petroleum consumption

Retail prices of diesel and petrol are the lowest in Delhi, among India’s key metropolitan cities. It isn’t cheaper to supply them to the national capital than in Chennai, Mumbai or Kolkata. The difference is that Delhi and Goa levy lower value-added-tax on petroleum products (PP) than poorer jurisdictions, even though they are havens for […]

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Jaitley returns as FM

Arun Jaitley has returned to take charge as finance minister well before those who care for him would have advised. So what was the haste all about? The uncharitable view would be that power abhors a vacuum. Politicians and film stars — no wonder the two often overlap — are most vulnerable to the prolonged […]

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