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Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar

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Posts by Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar

Disarmament is for wimps. Go get your nukes if you can

All my life I have opposed nuclear bombs. I have argued that such bombs are basically unusable; that, instead of ensuring security, they risk escalation of small conflicts into disasters; and that they lead to undesirable macho foreign policies. Most Indians exulted after India’s nuclear tests of 1998, claiming India was now a great power More >

Modi should shun jingoism & must learn from WW I and Vietnam War

This year is the 100th anniversary of World War I, and the 50th anniversary of the US escalation of war against North Vietnam. In both cases, small incidents escalated into horrific wars because of jingoistic bravado and lack of cool heads. This holds lessons for India, which has border clashes with China and Pakistan. Narendra More >

Gujarat is India’s top state in economic freedom

Does Narendra Modi actually have a great Gujarat model, or just wellpackaged hype? Critics say that Gujarat has grown fast, but some others have grown faster. The Raghuram Rajan Committee on development indicators says Gujarat’s social indicators are just middling. Looking at children of class 3-5 who can do subtraction, Gujarat has declined from 22nd More >

UPA’s 10-year averages are just statistical spin

Collapsing economic growth, high inflation and corruption explain why the Congress is heading for its worst defeat ever. GDP growth averaged 9% for much of UPA rule, but has halved to 4.5% in its final two years, crushing incomes and opportunities. The Congress manifesto explains this away by using long-term averages. It says GDP growth More >

To catch a crook: Three lessons from the Rajaratnam case

Last week, I wrote on how not to catch corporate and political crooks. Readers naturally asked, what is the right way? Some analysts say India has only 1.3 policemen per 1,000 citizens against 2.5 in the US, 5.3 in Turkey and 5.5 in Russia. But China has only 1.2 per 1,000, yet convicts and executes More >

CBI follies: This is no way to check crony capitalism

The Supreme Court seeks to ensure a strong, independent Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to check corruption. Sadly, the CBI is using this enhanced power to pursue frivolous charges against honourable officials. This simply demoralizes and paralyses the bureaucracy, without catching the big fish. The CBI has registered a preliminary enquiry (PE) against CB Bhave More >

Modi euphoria on Sensex? Voters are selling, foreigners buying

Has Modi fired up the stock markets? The Sensex has leaped up from 18,000 last August to almost 22,000. Many analysts say another bull run has begun. The markets think Modi is almost certain to come to power in May, reviving economic growth and business confidence. However, the current bull run is most peculiar. The More >

Why babuji goes too slow

Politicians make policy, bureaucrats implement them. Trust and harmony between the two can produce amazing results. If trust and harmony decline, so do decision-making and economic performance. Bureaucrats can function brilliantly if they get clear signals from their political bosses, and assurance that being decisive (which typically includes short-cuts through a jungle of rules) will More >

WTO becomes India’s protector, not predator

When the World Trade Organisation (WTO) was created in 1995, critics protested that India must not join this vehicle of US imperialism, whose tough patent rules would ruin India’s agriculture and pharmaceutical industry. They could not have been more wrong. Both Indian agriculture and pharma have flourished under WTO rules. And today, the WTO is More >

Why Sonia’s right-based approach was rejected by the aam aadmi

Opinion polls predict the worstever defeat for the Congress in the coming election. The party swore by the aam aadmi for a decade, promising him succour through a rights-based approach . Alas, the aam aadmi rejects this categorically. In 2009, Sonia Gandhi created the powerful National Advisory Council with the top names in the NGO/activist More >

FIR against Moily? As absurd as one against Kejriwal

Aam Admi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal has filed an FIR (first information report) accusing petroleum minister Veerappa Moily of conspiring with Mukesh Ambani to raise the price of natural gas, bestowing billions of windfall profit on Reliance Industries Ltd. Now, the Ambanis and Congress politicians have committed a thousand sins over the years. I will More >

Ambedkar vs Gandhi: The risks of village empowerment

January 30, the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, drove home the growing irrelevance of the father of the nation. In West Bengal, not a single state cabinet minister attended the formal ceremony held by the Governor. In Mumbai, mayor Sunil Prabhu clean forgot about the usual ceremony, and blamed the lapse on the bureaucrat who More >

AAP can take a leaf out of Amartya Sen’s book

Many analysts and businessmen fear that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), dominated by socialists and Marxists like Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan, is an extreme Left party. These fears are overblown. The AAP has appointed a seven-member committee to formulate its economic policy. This includes libertarian economist Laveesh Bhandari and business honchos like Meera Sanyal More >

Rupee slide to 65/dollar and shrinking CAD will boost India’s exports and growth

Once again, emerging market currencies are falling but not nearly as dramatically as in May-August 2013. The episode was sparked by the US Fed indicating it would soon taper and eventually end quantitative easing (QE3). Tapering is now partly priced into markets, but a new problem is GDP slowing and a possible financial crash in More >

The case for offshore airports

Mumbai’s proposed fourth airport at Navi Mumbai, essential for future traffic, is in trouble. Huge increases in proposed compensation to landowners have raised the project cost to Rs 14,000 crore, almost five times the initial estimate. Some villagers have refused to accept even monumental compensation (in the form of developed land with a floor space More >