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Meeting terrorists is a journalist’s duty, not sedition

If I was offered a meeting with Hafiz Saeed, head of the Lashkar e-Toiba, what would be my reaction? I would seize the opportunity with glee. Any self-respecting journalist should be delighted to get such a scoop. Yet when Ved Prakash Vaidik, a senior Hindi journalist, met Saeed in Pakistan, Indian politicians and TV anchors More >

Jaitley dons a PC mask

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s maiden budget repeats so many figures of Chidambaram’s interim February budget that global analysts call it a cut-and-paste job. I call it a Chidambaram budget with saffron lipstick. Chidambaram’s February figures were attacked at the time as bogus and inflated by the BJP. The same figures have suddenly become the BJP’s More >

Why budget? Corporatize the railways instead

Narendra Modi claims to be a radical reformer. He envisages a quadrilateral of bullet trains connecting India’s four metro cities, with more to follow. However, this cannot be done without radical surgery to rectify the total mess in the current structure and finances of the Indian Railways. Modi must declare he will convert the railways, More >

Sher ki soorat, khargosh ka kaleja

Narendra Modi’s fans expect him to extend his Gujarat model of development to all India. They think Modi’s “tough love” will lead to hard decisions that hurt immediately, but later yield handsome dividends. They believe Modi will, as promised in his campaign pledges, treat Indians not as recipients of doles and subsidies but as aspirants More >

Free the media, abolish the I&B ministry

Dear Prakash Javadekar, Your first instincts as Information and Broadcasting minister seem sound. You say you are willing “philosophically and ideologically“ to work towards abolition of the I&B Ministry, which has no place in a democracy with a free media. You accept there is no logic in prohibiting news broadcasts by private radio stations. Rather More >

Jaitley should enact a Right to Disinvest

Dear Arun Jaitley, As you prepare to present your first budget, you will be struggling to make ends meet. Your predecessor did some financial jugglery (like not paying overdue bills) to bring down the fiscal deficit, but that’s unsustainable. You also face an infrastructure crisis: the public-private partnership model has broken down, since private players More >

Modi must say no to Naidu’s demand for Rs 54,000-cr super-freebie

You have become Prime Minister by promising strong, decisive governance. To prove you are serious, you must veto the demand of your ally, Seemandhra chief minister Chandrababu Naidu, for Rs 54,000 crore to fulfil his crazy election promises. Your election campaign promised a dynamic economy enabling people to prosper on their own, not depend on More >

Powering up: Modi may soon control two-thirds of the states

I was among those warning that a Modi government could not transform the economy quickly. It faced deep structural constraints, both economic and political. However, both are lifting faster than seemed possible till now. Last week I wrote about how economic constraints were easing, thanks to soaring animal spirits. Foreign investors have brought in $11 More >

Soaring animal spirits can make Modi’s task easier

When expectations are strong enough, they become self-fulfilling. If enough people think land and stock prices are going to rise and all of them start buying, the price of land and stocks will indeed shoot up. If all businessmen fear a recession and stop investing that itself will cause a recession. I argued in these More >

How migrant labourers worked in Modi’s favour

Most of us are still struggling to grasp the dimensions of Narendra Modi’s victory. He won a mind-boggling 71 of Uttar Pradesh’s 80 seats. So he won far more seats in UP than the Congress party did in all India. Mayawati, who aspired to become prime minister in a hung Parliament, was so engulfed by More >

What a strong Modi govt implies for markets & economy

Exit polls suggest an absolute majority for the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA). If so, India will have a strong Modi-led government, free from fickle allies. What will be the outcome for Indian politics, the economy and markets? No party or combination has won an absolute majority in the Lok Sabha since 1984. So, the More >

Even in defeat, Aam Aadmi Party still matters

I have long been allergic to mainline political parties. On election day, I typically go to the polling booth, look at the photos of candidates, and vote for the bestlooking independent. I did not vote this time because I was abroad. But I made a donation to the AAP. It often makes me tear my More >

Strong pro-Modi sentiment in eastern UP, central Bihar

ET Now caught up with its Consulting Editor Swaminathan Aiyar for his take on the current political scenario and the possible election outcome. Excerpts: ET Now: You are just back from your election yatra. You have travelled across eastern UP and Bihar. What is the mood like on the ground? Is there a strong Modi More >

90 per cent chance of Narendra Modi becoming PM

In the Lok Sabha polls 2014, people have voted for BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi because of his good work in Gujarat, feels Swaminathan Aiyar, Consulting Editor at ET Now. “People have voted for Modi as he has done good work in Gujarat,” Aiyar told ET Now. Aiyar sees a ninety per cent chance More >

Well-intentioned laws, courts cripple growth

A key reason why India’s economic growth has halved from 9% to 4.5% per year is that, in search of inclusive growth, the courts and legislatures have increasingly made legitimate business difficult. It now takes 12 years to open a new coal mine. This is not inclusive growth but paralysis and stagnation. The new land More >