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The Economic Times

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 >

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 >

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 >

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 >

Falling wheat prices and controls on MSP can rein in food inflation

Food inflation is a huge problem. It has, in different years, been concentrated in different items: sometimes cereals, sometimes proteins (dairy products, pulses, eggs, meat), sometimes vegetables. Skyrocketing global prices of wheat and maize after the mid-2000s have stoked Indian inflation too. The good news is that global wheat and maize prices have crashed spectacularly. More >

Time to think the unthinkable: Kejriwal as PM?

The unthinkable happened in 2013: Arvind Kejriwal became CM of Delhi. What’s the most unthinkable thing that could actually happen in 2014? Kejriwal could become prime minister of India. Readers may laugh incredulously at the very suggestion. But the revolutionary success of the Aam Aadmi Party in the Delhi election shows it’s time to abandon More >

Finding a balanced approach to environment and development

India Inc is delighted with the exit of Jayanthi Natarajan as environment minister, as also with a proposal for deemed environmental clearances if formal clearances are not given within a stipulated time limit. Natarajan was often castigated for slowing environmental clearances to a crawl, freezing the development process. Businessmen also talked of delays arising from More >

Muzaffarnagar offers chance to rejuvenate Congress

Dear Rahul Gandhi, When you visited the refugee camps in Muzaffarnagar district last week, you advised the refugees to return to their village homes, saying failure to do so would mean victory for the communalists who started the Hindu-Muslim violence. You also spoke of the need for peacemakers to heal communal wounds. I visited the More >

Runaway inflation can be curbed by reining in food prices

Runaway inflation caused the Congress debacle in the recent state elections. The latest inflation figure is 11.2%, with food inflation touching 14.5%. Inflation has averaged almost 10% a year for several years, one of the highest inflation episodes in history. All the other episodes (as in 1979, 1974 or 1965-55) were caused by major droughts. More >

Election 2014: The big battle is now between BJP’s Narendra Modi and AAP’s Arvind Kejriwal

A spectre is haunting BJP: the Modi effect may be dented by the Kejriwal effect, spoiling BJP’s chances of leading a stable government after the 2014 election. BJP has done well in the four state assembly elections, but Aam Aadmi Party has done even better. Starting from scratch, it has captured almost a third of More >