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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Oil shock: Entry point for reform

The latest oil shock — an increase from $69 (average Indian import price) to $80 per barrel (Brent) this week — is courtesy the American President, Donald Trump, who unilaterally pulled the United States out of the 2015 deal between Iran and the UN’s Permanent Five (US, UK, Russia, France, China) plus Germany. This spooked […]

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FM walks the budget plank gingerly

The Union Budget 2018-19 appears an honest and judicious construct when first viewed on video. Reading the fine print takes some of the shine off, going by precedent. The biggest relief is that there has been no substantive deviation from the path of fiscal discipline. The fiscal deficit for 2017-18 is pegged at 3.5 percent […]

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Fiscal 2018-19: Revive shared hopes

Normally, the fate of the next fiscal is sealed even before the year begins. Barring windfall gains, the economic engines of value addition are quite stable — business keeps running and salts away its surplus; the government similarly keeps churning out public goods; and individuals — particularly us Indians — keep squirrelling away something for […]

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Recapturing growth with stability

All governments game their performance metrics. Smart governments guard against falling for the make-believe themselves. The BJP stumbled in believing that India had earned an entitlement to grow, faster than China, at eight per cent per year. Well-intentioned measures — to end black money, resolve the stressed bank loans and reform indirect taxes added to […]

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The budget of small things

(photo credit: dailymail.uk.co) February is when the Indian Finance Minister (FM) gets flooded with unsolicited help from well-wishers on how to get his job done of presenting the Union government’s annual budget on the 28th. This time, the flood is a Tsunami as a consequence of the Delhi state assembly electoral debacle for the BJP […]

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Why Planning Died in India

(www.thebetterindia.com) So what will the post-Plan India look like? Will we veer away from the soaring flyovers; highways straight as Arjun’s arrow; high rise apartments and carefully “zoned” areas, typical of planned development and turn instead towards the squiggly, irregular lines so dear to the foreign tourist, of “charming”, little, oriental streets; buildings leaning precariously […]

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Jaitley’s Maiden Budget Mujra

“Mujra”, the traditional PakIndia dance of seduction honed in glittering Lahore, immortalized by the ever beautiful, dusky Rekha in Umrao Jan, a classic film by our very own desi, aristocrat, designer Muzaffar Ali. Mujra is a dance of deception. The idea is for the danseuse to so mesmerize the viewers, that their head gets delinked […]

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