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Did Modi learn from the fall of the Berlin Wall?

The Berlin Wall fell 25 years ago. An entire generation has come up since, barely aware of the Wall’s history. Its lessons must never be forgotten. World War II ended with East Germany occupied by the USSR and West Germany by the US and its allies. East Germany by the US and its allies. East More >

Beedis a bigger killer, tax them like cigarettes

Dear Dr Harsh Vardhan, You are rightly worried about the health effects of cigarettes. You are campaigning for much higher taxes to deter cigarette smoking, a ban on the sale of loose cigarettes, and a ban on e-cigarettes. You want three-quarters of every cigarette pack to be covered with health warnings. Very good, but there More >

Are Prime Minister Modi’s reforms half-hearted or clever gradualism?

Policy changes after the Maharashtra elections have sent animal spirits and stock markets soaring. Diesel has been decontrolled. The price of natural gas has been revised to $5.61, with a proviso to revise it every six months. Coal blocks deallocated by the Supreme Court are going to be auctioned soon. Earlier, there were some changes More >

Can Congress bounce back from No 3?

Having been thrashed in the general election, and again in the state elections last week in Maharashtra and Haryana, can the Congress bounce back? And if so, how and why? In the past, the Congress has often been written off after massive defeats but bounced back. However, we may have entered a new phase. The More >

Child labour can’t end without good schools for all

Indians are delighted that Kailash Satyarthi has won the Nobel Peace Prize for combating child labour. This includes Indians who have, directly or indirectly, used child labour in house holds, dhabas, and artisanal work of every kind (from weaving and matchstick-making to pottery and gem polishing). Child labour is so common that it evokes tut-tutting More >

Chidambaram’s ghosts

Narendra Modi has generated much hope and enthusiasm. He has been praised for the Jan Dhan Yojana, the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, higher FDI limits for defence and insurance, punctuality requirements for bureaucrats and selfcertification of documents by citizens. Some of these are simply extensions of old Congress schemes, but Modi has done a fine sales More >

Don’t bribe Pak with gas when we need it more

The government seems serious about a ridiculous proposal — supplying Pakistan five million units of imported gas per day, enough for two large power plants. When India is desperately short of gas, this is folly. Many Indian power plants lie closed for want of gas. The consequent power shortage translates into lakhs of farmers with More >

‘Bimaru’ MP now fastest-growing state in India

For several years, Bihar has been India’s fastest-growing state. In 2013-14 it has been overtaken by another backward state, Madhya Pradesh, which grew 11.08% against the national 4.7%. MP has averaged over 10% in the last three years, even as national rate has plummeted. Till the 1990s, backward states in the Hindi belt grew slowly, More >

Falling commodity prices are good, unless they signal global recession

The stock markets have soared this year, with blue chips up 30% and some midcaps up 100% or more. Many analysts believe that, even without radical reform, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administrative dynamism will help raise GDP growth from last year’s 4.7% to 5.5% this year, 6.5% next year, and 7% later. Some stock market More >

PM Modi’s US Visit: Rock show in New York over, it’s time to roll action in India

Narendra Modi’s Madison Square Garden address to overseas Indians was more a rockstar concert than a prime minister’s lecture. He had delirious fans cheering, clapping, and chanting “Modi, Modi, Modi!” He plucked their heartstrings, praising them lavishly for raising India’s global image, and promised that India would become a stunning success that would make them More >

Denationalize coal, produce gas along with it

Denationalize coal. Auction all future coal blocks. Allow all winners to produce associated gas (methane) as well as coal. These should be the key features of a new coal policy, following the Supreme Court’s striking down of 214 coal block allocations since 1993. Many analysts call this a verdict against corruption. Actually, the court has More >

PM Modi’s US Visit: India has to look like a superpower to get US investors interested again

WASHINGTON DC: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s US visit is a damage repair job, not a triumphal clinching of a strategic relationship. Indo-US relations resemble a broken-down car covered with dust. Modi must do more than wipe off the dust. He must convert India into an economic powerhouse that is globally relevant again, and has strategic More >

If Indians aren’t investing here, will foreigners?

Narendra Modi came to power by promising fast economic growth to create millions of jobs. So, it’s mysterious that he has spent so much time on foreign visits and receiving foreign dignitaries like Chinese president Xi Jinping. Foreign relations matter, but cannot create millions of jobs – that requires structural reforms that dynamise Indian investment. More >

A Kelkar Committee model could be the best option for oil and gas pricing

Media analyses of the Kelkar Committee on reducing import dependency in oil and gas have focused on the committee’s suggestions on gas pricing. But it has also proposed new models for exploration and production contracts to reduce disputes and corruption, while improving bidders’ interest in new exploration blocks. For decades, India has signed production-sharing contracts More >

Sell gas at top prices like coal blocks, spectrum

The Kelkar Committee has produced a road map for a market-determined price for natural gas. Inter-generational equity, it says, requires non-renewable resources like gas to be sold to the highest bidder. A lower price deprives future generations of their full entitlement to national resources. This novel argument strengthens the simple logic of auctioning resources to More >