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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 >

Attack on artistic freedom is our shame

We Indians have done a thousand lousy things. But near the top of the list is the hounding out of Maqbool Fida Husain, our greatest painter, who died abroad last week, aged 95. This was not an isolated incident: author Taslima Nasreen was also hounded out by communalists. These will remain terrible blots on a More >

Competition: Newcomers keep penetrating BSE’s top 30

In a recent column in The Times of India, I showed that Indian business was not a small cozy club of crony capitalists: newcomers kept getting into the top 30 with surprising regularity. Of the 30 companies in the Bombay Sensex in 1990, only nine are still there. The Birlas are down to one company More >

India Inc is not a small crony club

Crony capitalism has been in the spotlight because of the 2G telecom scam, mining scams and real estate scams like Satyam. Apart from corruption, crony capitalism can help entrenched oligarchs to shut out talented newcomers lacking political contacts. Steven Pearlstein of The Washington Post wrote, in a recent article on India, that “much of the More >

Bharat and India joined at the hip

After being thrashed in West Bengal and losing in Kerala, CPM policies have come in for much criticism. Yet it is not just the Left Front that lost. It is also the notion that this country suffers from a grave rich-poor divide, often called the India-Bharat divide, and that politicians must favour Bharat over India. More >

No Politician to head IMF, Please

Given the depth and complexity of the Eurozone crisis , many observers say the next IMF chief should be from Europe. Phooey! During the Asian financial crisis, nobody suggested that the IMF should be headed by an Asian. Indeed, Asians were regarded as singularly unsuitable because of the need to impose politically unpalatable conditions on More >