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The Economic Times

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 >

NGOs and their ideas seen as hurting development should be countered , not banned

Free access to ideas of all sorts is a fundamental right. Many ideas may be terrible, but battles against them should be fought in the high country of the mind, not through censorship or bans. Caveat: ideas accompanied by or leading to violence are subject to reasonable restrictions. Yet, such restrictions need to be minimal. 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 >

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 >

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 >

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 >