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India in the age of bread and circus - Siddharth Singh, Mint
It is the age of powerlessness at the Centre. For all practical purposes, a lame duck Manmohan Singh is presiding over a system where chief ministers call the shots. Nearly a dozen chief ministers, led by Mamata Banerjee, may have just ensured the freezing of the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC). And if any proof of the Union government’s weakness was required, the Prime Minister provided it himself. Read Full Article››
The politics of growth projections - Rathin Roy, Business Standard
Since my return to India two years ago, I have fielded many questions from rating agencies and fund managers about forecasts of India's economic growth by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Private forecasts from organisations like Goldman Sachs are also a regular feature of our policy landscape. The number of external agencies giving us their "take" on the future growth rate today far outnumbers domestic forecasters...
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A new energy - Vikram S Mehta, Indian Express
A year ago, I was requested to make recommendations on a 100-day action plan on energy for the new government. In response, I offered the following suggestions, which I hoped might define the roadmap for the following year. Steps should be taken to institutionalise the formulation of an integrated energy policy. The roadblocks constraining the production of oil, gas and coal should be removed; prices should be aligned to the market and the distortionary implications of subsidies should be addressed...
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India’s incredible outreach - Ashali Varma, Times of India
Who would have thought just a year ago that India had the expertise and manpower to make a huge difference in disaster relief? After all when Mumbai was attacked on 26 November, 2008, it took forever for our commandos to reach because they had to fly out of Delhi and a plane was not made available quick enough. And in Mumbai they had no transport ready for them. This while 10 militants from Pakistan were gunning down people by the hundreds. The recent earthquake in Nepal is a horrifying disaster...
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Building a young nation of character - Subramanian Swamy, Hindu
The world has come around to the view that democracy is essential for full human development. And only education and skill development can make this possible. The view of the late Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew on the one hand, and Communists on the other, that economic development must be first achieved before democracy is possible, has been decisively rejected. But democracy cannot be sustained unless the electorate is well informed, chooses its leadership wisely, and this leadership is intellectually...
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How NaMo won the internet - Siddhartha Rai, Mail Today
While the Narendra Modi regime is all poised to lose the ‘newly-elected’ tag as it draws closer to the completion of one year, the prime minister still commands the epithet of “master communicator” for his never-before-in-Indian-politics use of all platforms of mass communication, ranging from print and electronic to web-based services and even the radio, as well as emerging as the unchallenged king of the social media. His virtual presence remains unchallenged as he continues to strike up dialogues with the public.
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Missing entrepreneurs - Harish Damodaran, Indian Express
All things, goods and services, have a demand and supply side. The same holds true for entrepreneurship, albeit somewhat differently. Society needs entrepreneurs to create jobs and new products. They are the ones who have capital to invest or ideas that spur innovation. There is, therefore, “demand” for entrepreneurship, though it isn’t consumed in the manner of pizzas, smartphones, movies or financial services. The “supply” side is even more complex. Unlike for wheat or real estate...
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Why doing business in India is insane - Anuvab Pal, Economic Times
There are assumptions about businesses in India. That they are only run by rich people. That everything they are doing at some level must be unethical. That all of them must have some secret deal with the party in power. Being businessmen, they must also be automatically profiteers, hoarders and polluters of the environment. Plus, have an apartment in London paid for with black money from a Swiss account. Our notion of businessmen naturally comes from the media. We see magazine covers...
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Indian agriculture's 'Gujarat Model' - Rahul Jacob, Business Standard
A bumper potato crop in Gujarat coupled with oversupply in international markets prompted a crash in prices earlier this year, to as little as Rs 4 a kg. Local farmers launched an effective protest, spilling potatoes across a highway to stall traffic. The state government intervened, providing extra cold storage to house the surplus and subsidies to enable the farmers to ship their bumper crop to other states where prices were higher. "The farmers here are very vocal and force the government to take decisions...
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New land bill will win, not lose votes for Modi - SA Aiyar, Times of India
Rahul Gandhi wants to escalate the suicide of a farmer at a Delhi AAP rally into a national election issue, painting Modi as pro-industrialist and anti-farmer. Mamata Banerjee leveraged resentment against land acquisition in Singur and Nandigram to unseat the Marxist government in West Bengal. Can Rahul do something similar? Some BJP stalwarts want to dilute the new land acquisition bill to win over enough opposition parties to ensure success in the Rajya Sabha.
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No Proof Required, Time to bash the media - Surjit S Bhalla, Financial Express
I have been an active participant in the media (both print and TV) for the last 30 years—but never before have I been as embarrassed to be a part of the media as I was on Wednesday, April 24, the day of the suicide of a farmer at a rally of a political party, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). For me, a suicide is one of the most difficult events to comprehend. Suicides are complex; there are often multiple factors involved. They can rarely, if ever, be attributed to one thing.
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