The first 100 days of the Modi 2.0 government have been marked by lows and highs. Sadly, the lows are longer lasting, while the highs are transient, even in the short term. The biggest low was the Budget for FY 2019-20 in July, which was presented, in the absence of the late Arun Jaitley, with […]Read More Modi 2.0 100 not out!
It was an unequal fight to begin with. Structurally, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the nation’s central bank, is squarely under the government’s thumb. The government appoints the governor of the RBI and can curtail his tenure. Two-thirds of the RBI’s board consists of government appointees who are not RBI officials. The government can […]Read More Urjit Patel the only winner in the Govt-RBI slugfest
The brouhaha over Mr Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to Nagpur, as the chief guest at a valedictory function of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), foregrounds the stunted nature of politics in India. Politics is about reaching out First, consider the absurdity of the prevailing schoolboy notion of “team” spirit extending to a ban on supping […]Read More Pranab da mimics Atal ji
Maharajakrishna Rasgotra, India’s foreign secretary from 1982 to 1985, records that in 1948, contrary to the popular perception, the wealthy “Doon School wallahs” preferred to join the domestic services, where they could keep an eye on their assets, and that the IFS boys were at a premium only amongst the urbanised, “sophisticated girls of marriageable […]Read More An “Ambassador” amongst “box wallahs”
It is not often than an innocuous government statement becomes the fulcrum of a storm. The sudden announcement that Minister Nitin Gadkari’s plan to announce a policy for 100% electrification of transportation by 2030 was off the cards, sent shock waves through the industry and political analysts. Subsuming Gadkari’s proposed electric vehicle policy in a […]Read More BJP self goals dim the shine
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 […]Read More FM walks the budget plank gingerly
So when does hubris — the corrosive comfort of undiluted power — overtake a government? Conventional wisdom points to three early red flags. First, when routine tasks are ignored for grand ambitions. Second, when party cadres act out of entitlement rather than commitment. Third, when rant replaces reason as public outreach. Has this already happened […]Read More Is hubris slowing down Modi?
Presidential elections in India are a ho-hum event for the average citizen. At best, this is a moment when the government “signals” its political identity or its governance style. The BJP-led NDA government has succeeded in the former but not the latter. Shivshankar Menon, national security adviser in Dr Manmohan Singh’s government, uses the “minimum […]Read More Template Rashtrapati
In a welcome change of national focus, becoming rich is no longer enough unless the poor are taken along. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is very au fait with international headwinds, was prescient in his December 31 address. For the first time, it was not the youth, nor non-resident Indians, nor Hindus, that the PM […]Read More Fiscal courage needed on Feb 1, 2017
Finance Minister Jaitley thinking. The Election Commission has expectedly kicked the “postpone the budget” ball -rolled out by the opposition- to the government for comments by January 10. This is smart, because it offers the government an exit strategy from the ill-conceived plan to fast forward the budget to February 1 just two days […]Read More Postpone budget 2017