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Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar

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Posts by Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar

Land issue: How Modi can go on the offensive

The government believes it has found a roundabout solution to the land acquisition imbroglio. One investment bank estimates that acquisition problems affect over 40% of major stalled projects, though they are not always the binding constraint. The 2013 Act on acquisition provided for the consent of 70-80% of affected persons plus a social impact assessment. More >

Competitive devaluations will be a race to the bottom, triggering real recession

Ruchir Sharma of Morgan Stanley has warned of a global recession, driven by collapsing growth in China. World growth is dropping well below IMF predictions, with emerging markets performing especially badly. Currency after currency is falling against the dollar. The Brazilian real is down over 23% since the start of the year. The Russian rouble More >

Mr Modi, don’t let Bihar distract you from ruling India

Dear Narendra Modi, The coming Bihar state election has made you lose your once-clear sense of direction and conviction. You seem terrified of doing anything that may antagonize vote banks, or draw charges of corruption or pro-business sympathies. You seem indecisive and defensive, not tough and decisive as in your successful 2014 campaign. Cynics already More >

Naidu proves land pooling is better than land acquisition

The Modi government has abandoned its move to drastically dilute the clauses of the 2013 land acquisition law that has stalled projects across India. Economic analyses suggest that 43% of all stalled projects face land acquisition problems. This may not be the only constraint: such projects are also constrained by lack of profitability and difficulties More >

Why Land Acquisition Bill reveals PM Modi as indecisive, happier retreating than an authoritarian

Forgot the mythology that Narendra Modi is an authoritarian set to impose dictatorship on India by other means. The land acquisition fiasco reveals him as frightened and indecisive, happier retreating than fighting to the finish. This is not an isolated example: he has repeatedly given priority to tactics over strategy, to political convenience over conviction. More >

Do not kill terrorists, take them alive

Who were the militants who attacked the Dinanagar police station in Gurdaspur district? What were their aims and ideology? How many of their comrades are waiting for another chance to attack? How much help are they getting from the Pakistani authorities, and what other sources of support and finance do they enjoy? India needs the More >

Ten years of N-deal: Glass is just half full

The 10th anniversary of the Bush-Manmohan Singh nuclear deal has been a low-key affair. Obama and Narendra Modi did not rejoice from the rooftops. The respective ambassadors of the two countries wrote a joint op-ed hailing the improvement in bilateral ties. Ashley Tellis of the Carnegie Endowment declared with enthusiasm, “What a deal!” Yes, the More >

RK Pachauri needs to go

As a feminist, I am dismayed that the Delhi High Court has allowed RK Pachauri, accused of molestation and harassment by several women at The Energy and Resources Institute (Teri), to visit all but two offices of the organisation. Pachauri has been the long-time head of Teri, but the sex scandal obliged him to go More >

N-deal effect: India needs a strong Iran to combat ISIS, al-Qaida

Indians are happy with the lifting of UN sanctions on Iran after its nuclear deal with the US. This will mean more Iranian oil production and hence cheaper crude. It will mean more trade and investment with Iran. The Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline may become a reality. Yet an emphasis on economic benefits is mistaken. The More >

After gay rights, is polygamy the next revolution?

Historical sexual and social taboos are disappearing in ways considered impossible even a couple of decades ago. Indian and US courts have decreed that transgender persons have the same rights as males and females. In the US, where conservative Christianity is a powerful force, the supreme court has upheld gay marriage as a fundamental right, More >

100,000MW of costly solar power can sink ‘Make in India’

Narendra Modi has raised the target for solar electric capacity from 20,000MW to 100,000MW by 2022 at a cost of maybe $100 billion. This is a serious blunder. It will sabotage his “Make in India” plans by technically disrupting the whole electricity grid, and raising the cost of a critical manufacturing input — electricity. India More >

Why foreign acquisitions need opportunism, not gigantism

Back in 2008, chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian co-authored a paper showing that India had overtaken China in outward FDI as a proportion of GDP. Typically, FDI flows from rich to poor countries, and many Indian economists warned in 1991 that Indian industry would be decimated by multinationals if India opened up. Subramanian showed that More >

Government should lease land, not acquire it

The Joint Parliamentary Committee reviewing the proposed land acquisition law has asked for suggestions from the public. I suggest that the law’s thrust must shift from compulsory acquisition to leasing. This will benefit all concerned — farmers, governments and project authorities. I instinctively dislike compulsion in sales. Yet for linear infrastructure projects like roads, railways, More >

‘Make in India’ and ‘Manufacture in India’ are two different things

The Modi government has laid much stress on its “Make in India“ campaign. After all, he won the election by promising jobs galore through rapid indus trial growth. However, industrial jobs are not growing fast anywhere in the world. Modern technology is increasingly mechanizing industries, and manufacturing requires ever fewer workers per unit of output. More >

Little sign of Modi cronyism in stock market trends

Last week’s column cited news reports of The Times of India and Economic Times in which businessmen and bureaucrats agreed almost unanimously that big corruption had fallen dramatically under Narendra Modi. But Rahul Gandhi says that Modi heads a suited-booted government favouring only the rich and a few close cronies. Let’s examine that claim this More >