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Why are mass graves in Kashmir so passé?

The Jammu & Kashmir State Human Rights Commission says 2,730 bodies have been found in unmarked graves in Kashmir. This officially confirms earlier accusations by human rights groups. Security forces once claimed any such graves were those of unidentified militants killed in military encounters. But the commission says 574 bodies have already been identified as More >

Arrest corruption, not those who protest against it

Sixty-four years ago, the Congress Party led the independence movement that exposed British rule as repressive, callous and often stupid. But in last week’s Anna Hazare fiasco, the same Congress Party exposed itself as repressive, callous and stupid. By jailing Hazare, it simply created a wave of public support for him that eclipsed anything seen More >

How to tackle crisis when governments can’t print money

We are used to the notion that companies can go bust for want of cash but not governments, since the latter can print money without limit. This may cause high inflation or even hyperinflation (as in Russia under Yeltsin or Germany in the 1920s). But as long as governments can print currency, they can spend More >

India’s high savings rate and forex reserves will weather global economic troubles

Given the global financial turmoil, India faces three possible outcomes – slow global growth, a borderline recession, and a financial crunch resulting in serious recession. I put the chances of slow growth at 65%, of borderline recession at 25%, and of serious recession at 5%. So, despite evident risks, stock market investors should treat the More >

Financial crisis? It’s the politics, stupid!

When Bill Clinton ran for US President in 1992, his campaign theme was “It’s the economy, stupid.” His opponent, George H W Bush, sought to focus the election on his crushing victory over Saddam Hussein in the 1991 Gulf War. But Clinton avoided foreign affairs and politics, and focused instead on the ongoing recession and More >

Inflation is the most likely way out of rising OECD debt problem

The world economy is reeling under the burden of rising government debt in OECD countries. I predict that the main way out will eventually be inflation. Huge monetary stimuli in many countries have already created the potential for inflation. And, given the political difficulties politicians face in either raising taxes or cutting spending, the most More >

The unexpected rise of dalit millionaires

For centuries, dalits have been at the bottom of the income and social ladders, despised and exploited. Independent India aimed to improve their lot through job reservations, but with very limited results. Nevertheless, empowerment through democracy and economic opportunities created by 20 years of economic reform have created an astonishing new phenomenon—the rise of dalit More >

Growth data shows gaps in Maoist narrative

Last week, at the release of another book on the rise of Maoism, “Hello Bastar,” author Rahul Pandita described the terrible exploitation of tribals by petty officials and forest contractors. He condemned Salwa Judum, the anti-Maoist vigilante force, and said the tribals had little choice but to pick up the gun along with Maoists and More >

India’s statistical system should be improved to form a good basis for policy

RBI Governor D Subbarao has recently expressed dismay that data on prices and industrial production are simply not reliable enough to form a good basis for policy. The inflation rate is frequently revised upward by as much as 100 basis points. Trends in industrial production data are so erratic as to leave analysts gasping. Governor More >

Neo-illiberalism is India’s bane

Dear Justices Nijjar and Reddy, Many of us welcome your decision in the Supreme Court case on black money, castigating the government for its inaction and setting up an independent special investigative team. This approach needs to be institutionalized: i have long argued for an independent Police Commission, analogous to the Election Commission. However, in More >

Mining royalty gives tribals a better deal

At last a pernicious nationalization is going to be partly rectified. A new mining bill has just been cleared by a group of ministers, mandating the sharing of 26% of mining profits with the local population in the case of coal, and the payment of a sum equal to last year’s royalty for other minerals. More >

Where are all the women workers?

The latest employment data show that worker participation (the ratio of workers to population ) fell to just 39.2% in 2009-10 from 42% in 2004-05. This implies that only two million new jobs were created in five years. Leftists are screaming, “Jobless growth.” However, officials say proudly that unemployment on all three standard measures–annual, weekly More >

Unsung hero of the India story

Twenty years ago, Narasimha Rao became Prime Minister and initiated economic reforms that transformed India. The Congress party doesn’t want to remember him: it is based entirely on loyalty to the Gandhi family, and Rao was not a family member. But the nation should remember Rao as the man who changed India, and the world More >

20 years to an economic miracle

Twenty years ago, on June 21, 1991, Narasimha Rao became head of a weak minority government grappling with a terrible financial crisis. Yet he initiated economic reforms that eventually transformed India, and even the world. India in 1991 was a poor, misgoverned country, derided as a bottomless pit for foreign aid. Today it is called More >

Our black money is here, not in Switzerland

Baba Ramdev’s financial naiveté is only to be expected. But i am astonished that the media endlessly repeats the myth that enormous hoards of black money are lying in Swiss banks. Only financial illiterates will leave their money in Swiss banks offering very low interest rates (sometimes under 1%). To maximize their gains and hide More >