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Use wiki-ways to improve accountability

Dear Arvind Kejriwal, Your Aam Aadmi Party has asked the public to suggest what should be in its national manifesto. This suggests a remarkable openness.You will find thousands of suggestions attractive, especially those appealing to one vote bank or another. Please ignore all except those relating to the one thing for which you have been 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 >

AAP can scale up like JP, VP Singh movements

The recent state elections revealed a big Narendra Modi wave in Rajasthan (vote share up 12 percentage points), and to a lesser extent in Madhya Pradesh. But in Delhi, an AAP wave swamped the Modi wave. The BJP’s vote share actually dropped 2 percentage points. Can the AAP effect beat the Modi effect in enough 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 >

Why Congress should ditch desperate populism before 2014 elections

Having been smashed in the recent state elections, how will the Congress try to recover ground before the general election in May 2014? Fixers within the party may argue for new populist giveaways. Why not have another farm loan waiver, of the sort that helped win the 2009 election? Why not steal some ideas used 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 >

Global slowdown exacerbates India’s follies

At last week’s ET Now conclave, finance minister Palaniappan Chidambaram defended India’s poor growth performance, ascribing it mainly to a global slowdown. Many will dismiss this as the whining of a ruling party that has messed up badly and may suffer its worst-ever drubbing in the 2014 general election. Chidambaram has been unlucky to be More >

BJP’s rhetoric and the behaviour of its CMs show no appetite for radical reforms

Despite dismal GDP growth, the stock markets are buoyant. Market analysts hope that a BJP-led coalition will be elected in 2014, liberalising policies and boosting economic growth. These hopes are grossly inflated. FirstPost editor R Jagannathan says, aptly, that Indian political parties have a consensus on bad ideas. A BJP-led coalition will be better than More >

There’s a Modi effect, but not a Modi wave

Shortly after the Gujarat state election, Swaminomics argued that Narendra Modi would not be able to make this a launching pad for the prime ministership. I need to qualify that judgement heavily after a recent tour of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan to cover the state Assembly campaigns. When asked what the main issues were in More >

Will Chamling become the Deve Gowda of 2014?

Most opinion polls predict a seriously hung Lok Sabha in 2014. A Third Front government, supported by either the BJP or Congress Party, looks very possible. This will be reminiscent of the Third Front government of 1996-98, a motley collection of small and regional parties headed by Deve Gowda. Will something similar happen again next More >

States need to reform fast to speed up projects, growth

With GDP growth having halved from over 9% in 2010-11 to just 4.5% today, many observers are demanding more reforms from New Delhi. Finance minister Palaniappan Chidambaram replies that a new wave of reforms is indeed being implemented. The central Cabinet has cleared more than Rs 3 lakh crore worth of projects. Yet, industrial growth More >

A nation that has forgotten about competing

Back in 1991, India was the world’s greatest aid recipient, a patently uncompetitive giant begging for alms. Economic reforms from 1991 onwards gradually made India highly competitive, enabled it to touch 9% GDP growth, and to be called a potential superpower. Those days are gone. GDP growth has halved to 4.5%. India has become uncompetitive More >

New global trade pacts may cut out India, China

A new global trading system is being erected, almost unnoticed in India. One of its unstated aims is to check China’s rise through economic discrimination. But it could end up discriminating against India too. Two major new international trade pacts are under negotiation. One is the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), creating a free trade area More >