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The Economic Times

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 >

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 >

Modi’s been lucky; now make it sustainable

When a general with excellent credentials was recommended for promotion, Napoleon asked “But is he lucky?“ In politics, as in war, luck counts for a lot. Narendra Modi today is riding a wave of good luck. GDP growth in the April-June quarter hit 5.7%, the highest for two years. BJP spin-masters say “achhe din“ have More >

Jan Dhan Yojana has all the characteristics of those bad old loan melas

Is Narendra Modi’s new Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana — providing two bank accounts each to 75 million poor families, an overdraft of Rs 5,000, accident insurance cover of Rs 1 lakh and a life cover of Rs 30,000 — a breakthrough in financial inclusion? Or is it a Rs 75,000-crore loan mela, as suggested More >

Corruption? Protection rackets more than crony

RBI governor Raghuram Rajan has lambasted crony capitalism. Other critics say economic liberalization has enriched only cronies through monopoly profits from political allocations of land, minerals and spectrum. Now big corruption is rampant. But I distinguish between crony capitalism and political protection rackets. The former bestows monopoly profits on cronies. But if after paying up, More >

Will Modi grab the idea of Kashi dwip?

During the general election, I was among journalists that visited Varanasi, Narendra Modi’s constituency. In the evening we went down to the famous Dashashwamedha Ghat, winding our way through crowded bazaars full of beggars, sadhus, religious offerings and mementos. Most photos you see of Varanasi are of the Dashashwamedha Ghat and its neighbouring one. These More >

To clean up the economic mess, Modi must prioritise three things: execution, execution, execution

Even if a Budget lacks any wow factor, as in Arun Jaitley’s maiden effort, this hardly matters provided the government acts on the other 364 days of the year. The media are full of speculation of significant reforms on many fronts. But everything will depend on execution, no matter how good the ideas. Sonia Gandhi More >

Budget 2014: FM Arun Jaitley must act tough for 2 years, bring long-term change

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s first budget should spell out his vision for the next five years, downplaying projections for the coming year. This vision must include a tough budget this year and another tough one next year, pruning populist excesses and improving tax administration. That will build a sound foundation for fast economic growth in 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 >