Podcasts about Lok Sabha

Lower house of the Parliament of India

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Best podcasts about Lok Sabha

Latest podcast episodes about Lok Sabha

Business Standard Podcast
Is the govt going slow on privatisation?

Business Standard Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 20, 2022 6:04


After offloading Air India in October last year, the government has now kicked off the process to sell its stakes in its subsidiaries which were not part of the deal. Air India has four subsidiaries which are Air India Airport Services Ltd, or AIASL, Air India Engineering Services Ltd, or AIESL, Alliance Air Aviation Ltd, and Hotel Corporation of India Ltd. And, the process to offload AIASL and AIESL is on. The government is also moving ahead with the privatisation of IDBI Bank. DIPAM Secretary Tuhin Kanta Pandey has confirmed it this month, saying that the department would soon invite preliminary bids. The government holds a 45.48 per cent stake in the bank, while the Life Insurance Corporation of India, which is the promoter of the bank, owns a 49.24 per cent stake. The government will also reportedly invite financial bids for the privatisation of Bharat Earth Movers Limited in the December quarter. But, notwithstanding these moves, the overall picture regarding the government's disinvestment plans looks gloomy. For the current financial year, the government has budgeted to raise 65,000 crore rupees from disinvestment. But, even as half of the fiscal year is over, it has raised only about 25,000 crore rupees so far. Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had proposed the privatisation of two public sector banks in her 2021-22 Budget Speech. But, the amendment to the banking laws, which would have enabled the government to offload its stakes, has not been passed so far. Also, a research paper in the August issue of the Reserve Bank of India Bulletin lauded the role of PSBs. It argued that “big-bang” PSB privatisation would not be a panacea. While clarifying later, the RBI said that a gradual approach, as announced by the Centre, would result in a better outcome. Now, in September, Oil Minister Hardeep Singh Puri indicated that the much-delayed BPCL privatisation may not happen in the near future. Puri made it clear that there was “no proposal whatsoever” on his table for now. And earlier this year, the Centre had announced the sale of Pawan Hans to a consortium. But, the sale was scrapped later as questions of impropriety and non-payment of dues were raised about a company that was part of the consortium. The privatisation of Central Electronics Ltd may also be called off and that of the Container Corporation of India Ltd is yet to be initiated. In May, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the sale of the government's entire remaining stake in Hindustan Zinc Ltd, or HZL. The sale of the entire 29.5 per cent stake is estimated to fetch 38,062 crore rupees. But, this sale is also yet to go through and the government is in the process of appointing financial and legal advisors who will see it through to its conclusion. All of this has raised the question, is the government going slow on privatisation? The prevailing investment and economic atmosphere may have made the government go slow on privatisation, but going ahead, every such decision will also have to face another headwind, the fast-approaching 2024 Lok Sabha elections. Privatisation has always been a politically-sensitive topic, and thus, there may be doubts about the government going in for any big-ticket privatisations, especially of the two PSBs, during the remainder of its term. 

3 Things
SC order on BCCI, Congress cracks in Goa, and India's health expenditure

3 Things

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 16, 2022 29:08


First, Indian Express' National Sports Editor Sandeep Dwivedi joins host Shashank Bhargava to talk about the Supreme Court's latest order on BCCI, and how it effectively sets the stage for Secretary Jay Shah to become the next president of the board.Next, Indian Express' Mayura Janwalkar talks about 8 out of 11 MLAs of the Congress party in Goa defecting to the BJP, and how it will help the ruling party in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.And in the end, Indian Express' Anonna Dutt joins us to discuss the findings of the National Health Accounts (NHA) report, and what it reveals about the country's healthcare.

In Focus by The Hindu
What does the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2022 mean for ordinary consumers and farmers – Part 2 | In Focus podcast

In Focus by The Hindu

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 13, 2022 18:47


The Union Power Ministry introduced the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2022 in Lok Sabha on August 8. The Power Minister said at the stage of introduction that the Bill could be moved to the Energy Standing Committee of Parliament for broader consultations. But the Opposition has questioned the introduction of the Bill, saying that the Centre has broken the promise made to the farmers that this Bill will not be brought to Parliament. Opposition MPs have also said that the Bill is not only anti-farmer, but also anti-constitutional, and against the spirit of federalism. There are also concerns that the Bill may lead to the end of subsidies for farmers and poor consumers. In the second part of this two-part Deep Dive podcast, we take a closer look at why state-owned power distribution companies (DISCOMs) are forever making losses– is it purely because they are inefficient, or have they been set up for failure, thanks to an irrational regulatory framework and unrealistic expectations? What would a sustainable and fair model of privatisation that doesn't encroach on state governments' sovereignty look like?

In Focus by The Hindu
What does the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2022 mean for ordinary consumers and farmers – Part 1 | In Focus podcast

In Focus by The Hindu

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 12, 2022 24:27


The Union Power Ministry introduced the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2022 in Lok Sabha on August 8. The Power Minister said at the stage of introduction that the Bill could be moved to the Energy Standing Committee of Parliament for broader consultations. But the Opposition has questioned the introduction of the Bill, saying that the Centre has broken the promise made to the farmers that this Bill will not be brought to Parliament. Opposition MPs have also said that the Bill is not only anti-farmer, but also anti-constitutional, and against the spirit of federalism. There are also concerns that the Bill may lead to the end of subsidies for farmers and poor consumers. In the first part of this two-part Deep Dive series, we take a detailed look at the history of the Electricity Bill and power sector reforms going back to the 1990s, and decode the implications of the key provisions of the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2022.

Business Standard Podcast
What change does Central Vista bring to India's corridors of power?

Business Standard Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 9, 2022 6:07


Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday evening inaugurated the revamped 3-km-long Central Vista Avenue, which extends from Rashtrapati Bhawan to the India Gate. The tree-lined space flanked by green spaces and water channels is one of the most visited tourist places in Delhi and is best known for the annual Republic Day parade.  PM Modi also unveiled the 28-feet black granite statue of Subhas Chandra Bose, which is placed under the India Gate canopy. The statue is hand-sculpted by a team led by renowned sculptor Arun Yogiraj from a single block of granite stone weighing 280 metric tonne. The block of stone was brought to Delhi from Telangana and it took two months to carve the statue of Bose from it. The avenue was named Kingsway by the British after King George V, who visited Delhi during the Delhi Durbar of 1911 and shifted the capital from Calcutta to the city. Post-Independence, it was renamed Rajpath. A road bisecting the Kingsway was named Queensway. It is now known as Janpath. Now Rajpath has once again been renamed as Kartavya Path, which translates to path of duty. This is the first project that has been completed under the Modi government's larger ambitious Central Vista redevelopment plan. The redevelopment project of the nation's power corridor envisages a new triangular Parliament building, 10 buildings of the Common Central Secretariat, revamping the Rajpath, a new prime minister's residence and office, a new vice-president's enclave, Central Conference Centre, Additional Buildings for National Archives, among others.  Conceived in September 2019, the planned redevelopment is estimated to cost Rs 20,000 crore and involves projects spread over 6 years till 2026.  The project for the New Parliament Building was awarded at an estimated cost of Rs 862 crore to Tata Projects. The project for rejuvenation of Central Vista Avenue was awarded at an estimated cost of Rs 477 crore to Shapoorji Pallonji Group. Larsen & Toubro bagged the contract for the construction and maintenance of the first three of the 10 buildings of the Common Central Secretariat. In October 2019, architect Bimal Patel's Gujarat-based firm HCP Design had won the consultancy bid for the Central Vista redevelopment.  The consultancy services include master plan, building designs, cost estimation, landscape and traffic integration plans and parking facilities. HCP has developed several projects including Sabarmati Riverfront Development, Central Vista and state secretariat in Gandhinagar, Mumbai Port Complex, redevelopment of Varanasi temple complex, IIM Ahmedabad's new campus and CII-SN Centre of Excellence Kolkata etc. Recently, Hyderabad-based DEC Infrastructure emerged as the lowest bidder for building the Executive Enclave that will house the PMO, the Cabinet Secretariat, the India House and the National Security Council Secretariat. It had quoted an amount of around Rs 1,189 crore. The government in August said that 70% of work on the new Parliament building project has been achieved and the targeted date of completion is November 2022. The new Rajya Sabha hall is being built with a capacity of 384 seats while the new Lok Sabha hall will have 770 seats, with an additional capacity of up to 1134 seats for hosting joint sessions. The Vice President's enclave is expected to be completed by January 2023.

Business Standard Podcast
Is India seeing a revival of farmers' agitation?

Business Standard Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 24, 2022 5:29


Over 5,000 farmers reached New Delhi's Jantar Mantar on Monday, more than eight months after they ended their year-long stir after withdrawal of three farm laws. Wielding banners and flags and shouting slogans, the protestors broke through barricades to reach the ‘mahapanchayat' site.   Other than north India, farmers from states such as Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha and Kerala arrived in Delhi to protest against what they said unfulfilled promises of the government. Farmers are demanding a legal guarantee for Minimum Support Price based on the recommendations of the Swaminathan committee. The panel had suggested a minimum support price that is at least 50% more than the actual cost of farming, including the price of seeds, fertilisers, hired labour, family workers' own compensation, and land rent Monday's protests were called by a breakaway faction of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of farmer unions which had spearheaded the year-long agitation in Delhi. The protestors called themselves SKM-apolitical. They also sought a waiver of farm loans and demanded the withdrawal of the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2022, which the farmers fear will put an end to subsidies. After being introduced in the Lok Sabha on August 8th, the bill has been sent to a parliamentary standing committee for review.  Union Power Minister RK Singh has assured that the provisions of the bill do not affect farmers and that states can give any amount of subsidy, even free power, to any category of consumers.  Apart from this, the protesting farmers demanded a hike in sugarcane MSP, scrapping of the Agneepath scheme, release of jailed farmers and a speedy trial in the Lakhimpur-Kheri case, in which four farmers were allegedly run over allegedly by Union Minister Ajay Mishra's son in October last year. Devinder Sharma, Agriculture Expert, main demand is of legalising MSP for govt and private markets. Farmers feel this is required for income security. Estimates about impact on procurement cost are overstated. Even as farmers protested, the high-powered panel constituted by the government on MSP, following the repeal of the farm laws, formed four sub-groups to take up various issues in its first meeting on Monday. Three of the committee's 26 membership slots were kept aside for Samyukta Kisan Morcha, which rejected this panel and decided not to nominate its representatives. Now the question remains, will the latest protests snowball into something bigger along the lines of the opposition seen in the case of the farm laws  Sharma say, issue could snowball if govt dithers on matter of MSP. Farmer leaders are trying to build support. Making MSP a legal right is the reform agri is looking for.   The larger message here is that the trust deficit between the government and a significant section of the farmers that blew up during the farm laws protest is well and alive. Left unaddressed, not only will it have political implications but also ensure the absence of a buy-in from a large number of Indians for any major reforms that the government may attempt. 

News and Views
'Caste System Will Kill More Children if Not Abolished': Meira Kumar

News and Views

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 23, 2022 19:57


On 15 August, Meira Kumar, the former Lok Sabha speaker, tweeted: “100 years ago my father Babu Jagjivan Ram was prohibited from drinking water in school from the pitcher meant for Savarna Hindus. It was a miracle his life was saved. Today, a nine-year-old #Dalit boy has been killed for the same reason. 75 long years after Independence, caste system remains our greatest enemy.” Babu Jagjivan Ram was the Deputy Prime Minister of India, and a Dalit leader. Kumar was speaking about Indra Meghwal, a class three student, who died on 13 August, after he was brutally thrashed by his upper-caste teacher for allegedly drinking water from a pot meant for the teacher. On this episode of News and Views, Meira Kumar speaks to The Quint's Somya Lakhani.   

Politicsarca
Will there be Arvind Kejriwal vs PM Narendra Modi in 2024 Lok Sabha poll?

Politicsarca

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 20, 2022 1:28


Will there be Arvind Kejriwal vs PM Narendra Modi in 2024 Lok Sabha poll? My Instagram Page - www.instagram.com/politicsarca/ My Facebook Page - www.facebook.com/politicsarca My Twitter Page- twitter.com/politicsarca #politicsarca #arvindkejriwal #narendramodi #indianpolitics --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/politicsarca/message

Anticipating The Unintended
#181 We Shall Overcome

Anticipating The Unintended

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 15, 2022 54:59


Happy Independence Day!- Pranay Kotasthane and RSJThis newsletter can often seem pessimistic about India. That isn’t true, though. Every year, on Independence Day, we remind ourselves and our readers why we write this newsletter. This is how we ended the Independence Day edition of 2020:“What we have achieved so far is precious. That’s worth reminding ourselves today. We will go back to writing future editions lamenting our state of affairs.We will do so because we know it’s worth it.”  This year we thought it would be fun (?) to run through every year since 1947 and ask ourselves what happened in the year that had long-term repercussions for our nation. This kind of thing runs a serious risk. It can get tedious and all too familiar. Most of us know the landmark events of recent history and what they meant for the nation. Maybe. Maybe not. We’ve given an honest try (of over 8000 words) to see if there’s a different way of looking at these familiar events and their impact on us. Here we go.1947 - 1960: Sense Of A Beginning 1947Perhaps the most significant “What, if?” question for independent India surfaced on 17th August 1947 when the Radcliffe Line was announced. The partition of the Indian subcontinent has cast a long shadow. What if it had never happened? What if Nehru-Jinnah-Gandhi were able to strike a modus vivendi within a one-federation framework? These questions surface every year around independence.The indelible human tragedy of the partition aside, would an Akhand Bharat have served its citizens better? We don’t think so. We agree with Ambedkar’s assessment of this question. In Pakistan or the Partition of India, he approaches the question with detachment and realism, concluding that the forces of “communal malaise” had progressed to such an extent that resisting a political division would have led to a civil war, making everyone worse off. The partition must have been handled better without the accompanying humanitarian disaster. But on the whole, the partition was inevitable by 1947.“That the Muslim case for Pakistan is founded on sentiment is far from being a matter of weakness; it is really its strong point. It does not need deep understanding of politics to know that the workability of a constitution is not a matter of theory. It is a matter of sentiment. A constitution, like clothes, must suit as well as please. If a constitution does not please, then however perfect it may be, it will not work. To have a constitution which runs counter to the strong sentiments of a determined section is to court disaster if not to invite rebellion.” [Read the entire book here]1948What if Mahatma Gandhi wasn’t killed that year? How would the course of our history change? Gandhi spoke like an idealist and worked like a realist. He was possibly the most aware of the gap between the lofty ideals of our constitution and the reality of the Indian minds then. He knew the adoption of the constitution was only half the work done. He’d likely have devoted the rest of his life to building a liberal India at the grassroots level. His death pushed a particular stream of right-wing Hindu consciousness underground. We still carry the burden of that unfinished work.1949The Constituent Assembly met for the first time in December 1946. By November 26th 1949, this assembly adopted a constitution for India. Even a half-constructed flyover in Koramangala has taken us five years. For more context, Pakistan’s Constituent Assembly began work on 10th August 1947, and their first constitution came into force in March 1956, only to be abrogated two years later. India’s founding fathers and mothers were acutely aware that they were elite, unelected, and unrepresentative of the median Indian. They dared to imagine a new nation-state while grappling with that period's harsh economic, social, and political realities. Their work should inspire us to strengthen, improve, and rebuild—but never to give up on—the Republic of India.For more, check out the miracle that is India’s Constitution in our Republic Day 2021 special edition.1950We have written about our Constitution a number of times. It is an inspiring and audacious document in its ambition to shape a modern nation. It has its flaws. Some consider it too liberal; others think it makes the State overbearing. Some find it too long; others feel it comes up short. This may all be true. However, there is no doubt our constitution has strengthened our democracy, protected the weak and continues to act as a tool for social change. It is our North Star. And a damn good one at that. 1951Few post-independence institutions have stood the test of time as the Finance Commission (FC), first established in 1951. In federal systems, horizontal and vertical imbalances in revenue generation and expenditure functions are commonplace. Closing the gap requires an impartial institution that is well-regarded by various levels of government and the people. The Finance Commission is that institution.It’s not as if it didn’t face any challenges. As a constitutional body established under article 280 of the Constitution, it was sidelined by an extra-constitutional and powerful Planning Commission until 2014. But we have had 15 FCs in total, and each key tax revenue-sharing recommendation has become government policy.1952Our Constitution adopted a universal adult franchise as the basis for elections. Every citizen was to be part of the democratic project. There was to be no bar on age, sex, caste or education. And this was to be done in one of the most unequal societies in the world. The ambition was breathtaking. To put this in context, women were allowed to vote in Switzerland only in 1971. Not only did we aim for this, but we also moved heaven and earth to achieve it in 1952. In his book India After Gandhi, Ram Guha describes the efforts of the government officials led by the first Election Commissioner, Sukumar Sen, to reach the last man or woman for their ballot. The elites may lament vote bank politics or cash for votes scams and question the wisdom of universal franchise. But we shouldn’t have had it any other way. And, for the record, our people have voted with remarkable sophistication in our short independent history. 1953 For a new nation-state, the Republic of India punched above its weight in bringing hostilities on the Korean peninsula to an end. Not only did the Indian government’s work shape the Armistice Agreement, but it also chaired a Neutral Nations Repatriation Commission (NNRC) that was set up to decide the future of nearly 20,000 prisoners of war from both sides. This experience during the Cold War strengthened India’s advocacy of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).  1954Article 25 guaranteed the freedom of conscience and the freedom to profess, practice, and propagate religion to all citizens. But how does one define a religious practice? And can a practice under the garb of religion breach the boundary of individual rights or public morality? This is a familiar conflict zone in secular States and would inevitably show up in India because everything in India can be construed as a religious practice. Like Ambedkar said during the constituent assembly debates:“The religious conceptions in this country are so vast that they cover every aspect of life from birth to death…there is nothing extraordinary in saying that we ought to strive hereafter to limit the definition of religion in such a manner that we shall not extend it beyond beliefs and such rituals as may be connected with ceremonials which are essentially religious..."In 1954, the Supreme Court gave a landmark judgment on what constitutes a religious practice in what’s known as the Shirur Math case. It held that the term religion would cover all practices integral to that religion. Further, the Court will determine what practice will be deemed essential with reference to doctrines within that religion itself.This test of ‘essentiality’ in religion has kept the public, the legislature and the courts busy since (entry of women in Sabarimala, headscarf in Islam, to name two). The outcome has bent towards individual liberty in most contexts, but the ambiguity in the definition of essential means it could go the other way too.1955Another wild "What, if” moment that we like to recall relates to Milton Friedman’s visit to the Indian finance ministry in 1955. What shape would India’s economy have taken had his seminal document “A Memorandum to the Government of India 1955” been heeded?In this note, Friedman gets to the root of India’s macroeconomic problems—an overburdened investment policy, restrictive policies towards the private sector, erratic monetary policy, and a counterproductive exchange control regime. Being bullish about India’s prospects was courageous when most observers wrote epitaphs about the grand Indian experiment. But Friedman was hopeful and critical both.The Indian government, for its part, was humble enough to seek the advice of foreigners from opposing schools of thought. At the same time, it was too enamoured by the Soviet command and control model. In fact, many items from Friedman’s note can be repurposed as economic reforms even today.Here’re our points from Friedman’s note.1956The idea of One Nation, One ‘X’ (language, election, song, tax, choose any other) is both powerful and seductive. It is not new, however. Back in the 50s, there was a view that we must not strengthen any identity that divides us. So when the question of reorganisation of the colonial provinces into new states came up, an argument was made that it must be done on factors other than language. Nehru, ever the modernist, thought the creation of language-based states would lead us down the path of ethnic strife. The example of nation-states in Europe built on language in the 19th century and the two devastating world wars thereafter were too recent then. So, he demurred.Agitation, hunger strikes and deaths followed before we chose language as the primary basis for reorganising the states. It was perhaps the best decision taken by us in the 50s. As the years since have shown, only a polity assured of its heritage and identity will voluntarily accept diversity. The melding of our diversity into a single identity cannot be a top-down imposition. We should never forget this.1957India’s economic strategy of state-led industrialisation through deficit financing in pursuit of import substitution took off with the Second Five-Year Plan. Heavy industries needed imported machinery, inflating India’s import bill. Since the exchange rate was pegged to the British pound, it meant that Indian exports became pricier. This imbalance between rising imports and flagging exports was financed by running down the foreign exchange reserves. By 1957, India witnessed its first foreign exchange crisis. This event had a significant effect on India’s economy. Instead of devaluing the rupee, the government opted for foreign exchange budgeting - every investment in a project needed government approval for the foreign exchange required to buy foreign inputs. The immediate crisis in 1957 led to controls that worsened India’s economic prospects over the next 35 years.1958The government nationalised all insurance companies a couple of years earlier. India hadn’t gotten into a socialist hell yet, so this was a bit of a surprise. The proximate cause was a fraud that few private life insurers had committed by misusing the policyholders’ funds to help their industrialist friends. A run-of-the-mill white-collar crime that should have been dealt with by the criminal justice system. But the government viewed it as a market failure and moved to nationalise the entire industry. It would take another 45 years for private players to come back to insurance. Insurance penetration in India meanwhile remained among the lowest in the world.  Also, in 1958, Feroze Gandhi took to the floor of Lok Sabha to expose how LIC, the state insurer, had diverted its funds to help Haridas Mundhra, a Calcutta-based businessman. The same crime that private insurers had done.The government would repeat this pattern of getting involved where there was no market failure. The outcomes would inevitably turn out to be worse. Seven decades later, we remain instinctively socialist and wary of capital. Our first reaction to something as trifling as a surge price by Ola or a service charge levied by restaurants is to ask the State to interfere.1959“The longest guest of the Indian government”, the 14th Dalai Lama pre-empted the Chinese government’s plans for his arrest and escaped to India. Not only did India provide asylum, but it also became home to more than a hundred thousand Tibetans. Because of the bold move by the Indian government in 1959, the Central Tibetan Administration continues its struggle as a Nation and a State in search of regaining control over their Country to this day. This event also changed India-China relations for the decades to come.1960Search as hard as we might; we hardly got anything worth discussing for this year. Maybe we were all sitting smugly waiting for an avalanche of crisis to come our way. Steel plants, dams and other heavy industries were being opened. The budget outlay for agriculture was reduced. We were talking big on the international stage about peace and non-alignment. But if you had looked closer, things were turning pear-shaped. The many dreams of our independence were turning sour.The 60s: Souring Of The Dream1961The Indian Army marched into Goa in December 1961. The 450-year Portuguese colonial rule ended, and the last colonial vestige in India was eliminated. It took this long because Portugal’s dictator Antonio Salazar stuck to his guns on controlling Portuguese colonies in the subcontinent, unlike the British and the French. Portugal’s membership in NATO further made it difficult for the Indian government to repeat the operations in Hyderabad and Junagadh. Nevertheless, that moment eventually arrived in 1961. This was also the year when India’s first indigenous aircraft, the HAL HF-24 Marut, took its first flight. Made in Bengaluru by German designer Kurt Tank, the aircraft was one of the first fighter jets made outside the developed world. The aircraft served well in the war that came a decade later. It never lived up to its promises, but it became a matter of immense pride and confidence for a young nation-state.1962Among the lowest points in the history of independent India. We’ve written about our relationship with China many times in the past editions. The 1962 war left a deep impact on our psyche. We didn’t recover for the rest of the decade. The only good thing out of it was the tempering of idealism in our approach to international relations. That we take a more realist stance these days owes its origins to the ‘betrayal’ of 1962.1963ISRO launched the first sounding rocket in November 1963. Over the years, this modest beginning blossomed into a programme with multiple launch vehicles. The satellite programmes also took off a few years later, making India a mighty player in the space sector. 1964If you told anyone alive in 1964 that less than 60 years later, Nehru would be blamed for all that was wrong with India by a substantial segment of its population, they would have laughed you out of the room. But here we are in 2022, and there’s never a day that passes without a WhatsApp forward that talks about Nehru’s faults. It seems inevitable that by the time we celebrate the centenary of our independence, he would be a borderline reviled figure in our history. But that would be an aberration. In the long arc of history, he will find his due as a flawed idealist who laid the foundation of modern India. 1964 was the end of an era.1965As the day when Hindi would become the sole official language of the Indian Union approached, the anti-Hindi agitation in the Madras presidency morphed into riots. Many people died in the protests, and it led to the current equilibrium on language policy. The “one State, one language” project moved to the back burner, even as Hindi became an important link language across the country. The lesson was the same as in the case of the 1956 states reorganisation: melding our diversity into a single identity cannot be a top-down imposition.1966The two wars in the decade's first half, the inefficient allocation of capital driven by the second and third five-year plans, and the consecutive monsoon failure meant India was on the brink in 1966. The overnight devaluation of the Rupee by over 50 per cent, the timely help with food grains from the US and some providence pulled us back from it. The green revolution followed, and we have remained self-sufficient in food since.The experience of being on the brink taught us nothing. We still believe in the Pigouvian theory of market failure, where government policies are expected to deliver optimality.  Strangely, the idea that we reform only in crisis has only strengthened. There cannot be worse ways to change oneself than under the shadow of a crisis. But we have made a virtue out of it.1967This was the year when the Green Revolution took baby steps, and the Ehlrichian prediction about India’s impending doom was put to rest. But it was also the year when the Indian government made a self-goal by adopting a policy called items reserved for manufacture exclusively by the small-scale sector. By reserving whole product lines for manufacturing by small industries, this policy kept Indian firms small and uncompetitive. And like all bad ideas, it had a long life. The last 20 items on this list were removed only in April 2015. We wrote about this policy here. 1968In the past 75 years, we have reserved some of our worst public policies for the education sector. We have an inverted pyramid. A handful of tertiary educational institutions produce world-class graduates at the top. On the other end, we have a total failure to provide quality primary education to the masses. It is not because of a lack of intent. The National Education Policy (NEP) that first came up in 1968 is full of ideas, philosophy and a desire to take a long-term view about education in India. But it was unmoored from the economic or social reality of the nation. We often say here that we shouldn’t judge a policy based on its intentions. That there’s no such thing as a good policy but bad implementation because thinking about what can work is part of policy itself. NEP is Exhibit A in favour of this argument.1969 The nationalisation of 14 private-sector banks was a terrible assault on economic freedom under the garb of serving the public interest. The sudden announcement of a change in ownership of these banks was challenged in the courts, but the government managed to thwart it with an ordinance. Fifty years later, we still have low credit uptake even as governments continue to recapitalise loss-making banks with taxpayer money.1970The dominant economic thinking at the beginning of the 70s in India placed the State at the centre of everything. But that wasn’t how the world was moving. There was a serious re-examination of the relationship between the State and the market happening elsewhere. The eventual shift to a deregulated, small government economic model would happen by the decade's end. This shift mostly passed India by. But there were a few voices who questioned the state orthodoxy and, in some ways, sowed the intellectual seeds for liberalisation in future. In 1970, Jagdish Bhagwati and Padma Desai published their monograph, India: Planning for Industrialisation, which argued that our economic policies since independence had crippled us. It showed with data how central planning, import substitution, public sector-led industrial policy and license raj have failed. But it found no takers. In fact, we doubled down on these failed policies for the rest of the decade. It was a tragedy foretold. What if someone had gone against the consensus and paid attention to that paper? That dissent could perhaps have been the greatest service to the nation. It is useful to remember this today when any scepticism about government policies is met with scorn. Dissent is good. The feeblest of the voice might just be right.The 70s: Losing The Plot1971Kissinger visited China in July 1971 via Pakistan. Responding to the changing world order, India and the USSR signed an Indo–Soviet Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation in August of that year. India had become an ally of the USSR. Four months later, the India-Pakistan war pitted India and the USSR against Pakistan, China, and the US. The Indian strategic community came to internalise USSR as a super-reliable partner and the West as a supporter of India’s foes. It took another three decades, and the collapse of the USSR, for a change in this thinking. Even today, Russia finds massive support in the Indian strategic establishment. We had problematised this love for Russia here. 1972India won the 1972 war with Pakistan and liberated Bangladesh. India’s unilateral action stopped a humanitarian disaster. The victory was decisive, and the two parties met in Simla to agree on the way forward. This should have been a slam dunk for India in resolving festering issues on the international boundary, Kashmir and the role of the third parties. But international diplomacy is a two-level game, and Bhutto played that to his advantage. We explained this in edition 30. We paid a high price for giving away that win to Bhutto.1973The Kesavananda Bharti verdict of the Supreme Court rescued the Republic of India from a rampaging authoritarian. The basic structure doctrine found a nice balance to resolve the tension between constitutional immutability and legislative authority to amend the constitution. Bibhu Pani discussed this case in more detail here. 1974You are the State. Here are your crimes. You force import substitution, you regulate the currency, you misallocate capital, you let the public sector and a handful of licensed private players produce inferior quality products at a high cost, you raise the marginal tax rate at the highest level to 97 per cent, you run a large current account deficit, and you cannot control Rupee depreciation.Result?People find illegal ways to bring in foreign goods, currency and gold. And so was born the villain of every urban Bollywood film of the 70s. And a career option for a capitalist-minded kid like me. The Smuggler.But the State isn’t the criminal here. The smuggler is. And the State responded with a draconian law to beat all others. An act the knowledge of whose expanded form would serve kids well in those school quizzes of the 80s. COFEPOSA — The Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Act. A predatory state's defining feature is how it forces ordinary citizens to do unlawful activities. COFEPOSA was the mother of such laws. It has spawned many children. 1975This blank editorial by the Indian Express says it all. 1976We view our population as a core problem. The politicians, the public servants and the ordinary citizens share this view. We don’t want to acknowledge our governance deficit. Calling population a problem allows us to shirk the responsibility of running a functioning State. We have written about the flaw in thinking about the population as a problem on many occasions.How far could we go to control the population? Well, in 1976, during the peak of the Emergency, the State decided to sterilise male citizens against their wishes. This madness ended when the Emergency was lifted. But even today calls for population control keep coming back. 1977The first non-Congress union government was an important milestone for the Indian Republic. While Morarji Desai’s government did reverse the worst excesses of the Emergency rule, its economic policies were less successful. This period went on to witness a demonetisation in search of black money (2016 from the future says Hi!), and the same old counter-productive policies in search of self-reliance.1978Despite all available evidence that statist socialism was an abject failure, the Janata government that came to power decided to double down on it. One of the great ideas of the time was to force MNCs to reduce their stake in their Indian subsidiaries to below 40 per cent. A handful agreed, but the large corporations quit India. One of those who left was IBM in 1978. The many existing installations of IBM computers needed services and maintenance. In a delightful case of unintended consequences, this led to the nationalisation of IBM’s services division (later called CMC). Domestic companies started to serve this niche. Soon there were the likes of Infosys, Wipro and HCL building a business on this. CMC provided a good training ground for young engineers. And so, the Indian IT services industry got underway. It would change the lives of educated Indians forever.1979In a classic case of violating the Tinbergen rule, the Mandal Commission recommended that the reservation policy should be used to address relative deprivation. While the earlier reservations for oppressed castes stood on firm ground as a means for addressing unconscionable historical wrongs, the Mandal Commission stretched the logic too far. Its recommendation would eventually make reservation policy the go-to solution for any group that could flex its political muscles. We wrote about it here. 1980After ditching the Janata experiment and running out of ideas to keep Jan Sangh going, the BJP was formed. It wasn’t a momentous political occasion of any sort then. A party constitution that aimed for Gandhian socialism and offered vague promises of a uniform civil code and nationalism didn’t excite many. Everything else that would propel the party in later years was to be opportunistic add-ons to the ideology. The founding leaders, Advani and Vajpayee, would have been shocked if you told them what the party would be like, four decades later.The 80s: A Million Mutinies Now1981This year witnessed a gradual shift away from doctrinaire socialism in economic policymaking. “The Indira Gandhi government lifted restrictions on the expansion of production, permitted new private borrowing abroad, and continued the liberalisation of import controls,” wrote Walter Anderson. The government also “allowed” some price rises, leading to increased production of key input materials. The government also permitted foreign companies to compete in drilling rights in India. All in all, a year that witnessed changes for the better. 1982The great textile strike of Bombay in 1982 was inevitable. The trade unions had gotten so powerful that there was a competitive race to the bottom on who could be more militant. Datta Samant emerged intent on breaking the monopoly of RMMS on the city's workers. And he did this with ever spiralling demands from mill owners in a sector that was already bloated with overheads and facing competition from far eastern economies. There was no way to meet these demands. The owners locked the mills and left. Never to come back. The old, abandoned mills remained. The workers remained. Without jobs, without prospects and with kids who grew up angry and unemployed. The rise of Shiv Sena, political goondaism and a malevolent form of underworld followed. Bombay changed forever. It was all inevitable.1983The Nellie massacre in Assam and the Dhilwan bus massacre in Punjab represent the year 1983. Things seemed really dark back then. It seemed that the doomsayers would be proved right about India. Eventually, though, the Indian Republic prevailed. 1984Her Sikh bodyguards assassinated India Gandhi. The botched Punjab policy of the previous five years came a full circle with it. An unforgivable backlash against innocent Sikhs followed. A month later, deadly gas leaked out of a Union Carbide factory in Bhopal, killing and paralysing thousands. 1984 will rank among the worst years of our republic. There were two silver linings in retrospect. One, we would learn to manage secessionist movements better from the harrowing Punjab experience. Two, had Indira continued, would we have had 1991? Our guess is no.1985This was an eventful year in retrospect. Texas Instruments set up shop in Bangalore. It was to begin one of modern India’s true success stories on the world stage. This was also the year when the Anti-defection law transformed the relationship between the voter and her representative. Political parties became all-powerful, and people’s representatives were reduced to political party agents. We have written about this changing dynamic here. This was also the year when the then commerce minister, VP Singh, visited Malaysia. The visit was significant for India because it served as a reference point for Singh when he visited that country again in 1990, now as the Prime minister. Surprised by Malaysia’s transformation in five years, he asked his team to prepare a strategy paper for economic reforms. This culminated in the “M” document, which became a blueprint for reforms when the time for the idea eventually came in 1991.1986Who is a citizen of India?  This vexing question roiled Assam in the early 80s. The student union protests against the widespread immigration of Bangladeshis turned violent, and things had turned ugly by 1985. The Assam accord of 1985 sought to settle the state's outstanding issues,, including deporting those who arrived after 1971 and a promise to amend the Citizenship Act. The amended Citizenship Act of 1986 restricted the citizenship of India to those born before 1987 only if either of their parents were born in India. That meant children of couples who were illegal immigrants couldn’t be citizens of India simply by virtue of their birth in India. That was that, or so we thought.But once you’ve amended the definition of who can be a citizen of India, you have let the genie out. The events of 2019 will attest to that.1987Rajiv Gandhi’s ill-fated attempt to replicate Indira Gandhi’s success through military intervention in another country began in 1987. In contrast to the 1971 involvement, where Indian forces had the mass support of the local populace, the Indian Peacekeeping Force (IPKF) got itself embroiled in a bitter Sri Lankan civil war. Not only did this involvement end in a failure, it eventually led to Rajiv Gandhi’s brutal murder in a terrorist attack. The policy lesson internalised by the strategic community was that India must stay far away from developing and deploying forces overseas.1988Most government communication is propaganda in disguise. However, there are those rare occasions when government messaging transcends the ordinary. In 1988, we saw that rare bird during the peak era of a single government channel running on millions of black and white TV sets across India. A government ad that meant something to all of us and that would remain with us forever. Mile Sur Mera Tumhara got everything right - the song, the singers, the storyline and that ineffable thing called the idea of India. No jingoism, no chest beating about being the best country in the world and no soppy sentimentalism. Just a simple message - we might all sing our own tunes, but we are better together. This is a timeless truth. No nation in history has become better by muting the voice of a section of their own people. Mile Sur Mera Tumhara, Toh Sur Bane Hamara, indeed.  19891989 will be remembered as the year when the Indian government capitulated to the demands of Kashmiri terrorists in the Rubaiya Sayeed abduction case. It would spark off a series of kidnappings and act as a shot in the arm of radicals. 1990VP Singh dusted off the decade-long copy of the Mandal Commission report and decided to implement it. This wasn’t an ideological revolution. It was naked political opportunism. However, three decades later, the dual impact of economic reforms and social engineering has increased social mobility than ever before. Merit is still a matter of debate in India. But two generations of affirmative action in many of the progressive states have shown the fears of merit being compromised were overblown. The task is far from finished, but Mandal showed that sometimes you need a big bang to get things going, even if your intentions were flawed.1990 also saw the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits (KPs) from the valley. A tragedy that would bookend a decade of strife and violence in India. The only lesson one should draw from the sad plight of KPs is that the State and the people must protect minority rights. We’re not sure that’s what we have taken away from it. And that’s sad.The 90s: Correcting The Course1991With the benefit of hindsight, the 1991 economic reforms seem inevitable. But things could well have been different. In the minority government, powerful voices advocated in favour of debt restructuring instead of wholesale reforms. In the end, the narrative that these changes were merely a continuation—and not abandonment—of Nehru and Indira Gandhi’s vision for India carried the day. This political chicanery deserves some credit for transforming the life of a billion Indians. 1992Harshad Mehta scammed the stock markets. It wasn’t a huge scam. Nor did it hurt the ordinary Indians. Fewer than 1% invested in markets back then. Yet, the scam did something important. It set in motion a series of reforms that made our capital markets stronger and safer for ordinary investors. Notably, over the years, Mehta came to be seen as some kind of robber baron figure. Capitalism needed an anti-hero to catch the imagination of people. Someone who could reprise in the 90s the Bachchan-esque angry young man roles of the 70s. Mehta might not have been that figure exactly, but he helped a generation transition to the idea that greed could indeed be good.Also, Babri Masjid was brought down by a mob of kar sevaks in 1992. It will remain a watershed moment in our history. The Supreme Court judgement of 2019 might be the final judicial word on it. But we will carry the scars for a long time.1993The tremors of the demolition of the Babri Masjid were felt in 1993. Twelve bombs went off in Bombay on one fateful day. The involvement of the city’s mafia groups was established. The tragic event finally led to the government rescuing the city from the underworld. Not to forget, the Bombay underworld directly resulted from government policies such as prohibition and gold controls. 1994One of the great acts of perversion in our democracy was the blatant abuse of Section 356 of the constitution that allowed the union to dismiss a state government at the slightest pretext. Indira Gandhi turned this into an art form. S. R. Bommai, whose government in Karnataka was dismissed in this manner in 1988, took his case up to the Supreme Court. In 1994, the court delivered a verdict that laid out the guidelines to prevent the abuse of Section 356. It is one of the landmark judgments of the court and restored some parity in Union and state relationship.Article 356 has been used sparingly since. We are a better democracy because of it.1995India joined the WTO, and the first-ever mobile phone call was made this year. But 1995 will forever be remembered as the year when Ganesha idols started drinking milk. This event was a precursor to the many memes, information cascades, and social proofs that have become routine in the information age. 1996Union budgets in India are occasions for dramatic policy announcements. It is a mystery why a regular exercise of presenting the government's accounts should become a policy event. But that’s the way we roll. In 1996 and 1997, P. Chidambaram presented them as the FM of a weak ragtag coalition called the United Front. But he presented two budgets for the ages. The rationalisation of income tax slabs and the deregulation of interest rates created a credit culture that led to the eventual consumption boom in the next decade. We still carry that consumption momentum.1997The creation of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is an important public policy milestone for India. By no means perfect, the setting up of TRAI helped overturn a norm where government departments were both players and umpires. TRAI made the separation of “steering” and “rowing” functions a new normal. That template has been copied in several sectors thereafter, most recently in the liberalisation of the space sector. 1998India did Pokhran 2, which gave it the capability to build thermonuclear weapons. We faced sanctions and global condemnation. But the growing economy and a sizeable middle class meant those were soon forgotten. Economic might can let you get away with a lot. We have seen it happen to us, but it is a lesson we don’t understand fully.Also, in 1998, Sonia Gandhi jumped into active politics. The Congress that was ambling towards some sort of internal democracy decided to jettison it all and threw its weight behind the dynasty. It worked out for them for a decade or so. But where are they now? Here’s a question. What if Sonia didn’t join politics then? Congress might have split. But who knows, maybe those splinters might have coalesced in the future with a leader chosen by the workers. And we would have had a proper opposition today with a credible leader.1999This was a landmark year for public policy. For the first time, a union government-run company was privatised wholly. We wrote about the three narratives of disinvestment here. 2000We have a weak, extended and over-centralised state. And to go with it, we have large, unwieldy states and districts that make the devolution of power difficult. In 2000, we created three new states to facilitate administrative convenience. On balance, it has worked well. Despite the evidence, we have managed to create only one more state since. The formation of Telangana was such a political disaster that it will take a long time before we make the right policy move of having smaller states. It is a pity.The 2000s: The Best Of Times2001Not only was the Agra Summit between Musharraf and Vajpayee a dud, but it was followed by a terrorist attack on the Indian parliament. It confirmed a pattern: PM-level bilateral meetings made the Pakistani military-jihadi complex jittery, and it invariably managed to spike such moves with terrorist attacks. 2002There was Godhra and the riots that followed. What else is there to say?2003The Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act and the Civil Services Pension Reform are two policy successes with many lessons for future policymakers. We have discussed these on many occasions. 2004The NDA government called for an early election, confident about its prospects. India Shining, its campaign about how good things were, wasn’t too far from the truth. It is how many of us felt during that time. The NDA government had sustained the reform momentum of the 90s with some of the best minds running the key departments. Its loss was unexpected. Chandrababu Naidu, a politician who fashioned himself like a CEO, was taken to the cleaners in Andhra Pradesh. Apparently, economic reforms didn’t get you votes. The real India living in villages was angry at being left out. That was the lesson for politicians from 2004. Or, so we were told.Such broad narratives with minimal factual analysis backing them have flourished in the public policy space. There is no basis for them. The loss of NDA in 2004 came down to two states. Anti-incumbency in Andhra Pradesh where a resurgent Congress under YS Reddy beat TDP, a constituent of NDA. TDP lost by similar margins (in vote share %) across the state in all demographics in both rural and urban areas. There was no rural uprising against Naidu because of his tech-savvy, urban reformist image. Naidu lost because the other party ran a better campaign. Nothing else. The other mistake of the NDA was in choosing to partner with the ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu (TN) over DMK. TN was famous for not giving split verdicts. It swung to extremes between these two parties in every election. And that’s what happened as AIADMK drew a blank.Yet, the false lesson of 2004 has played on the minds of politicians since. We haven’t gotten back on track on reforms in the true sense. 2005The Right to Information Act and the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act came into force in 2005. The “right to X” model of governance took root.2006In March 2006, George W Bush visited India and signed the Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement with Manmohan Singh. From facing sanctions in 1998 for Pokhran 2 to the 123 Agreement, this was a victory for Indian diplomacy and its rising status in the world. You would think this would have had bipartisan support among the political class in India. Well, the Left that was part of UPA and the BJP that worked on the deal when it was in power, opposed it. Many shenanigans later, the deal was passed in the parliament in 2008. It is often said there’s no real ideological divide among parties in India. This view can be contested on various grounds. But events like the opposition to the nuclear deal make you wonder if there are genuine ideological positions on key policy issues in India. Many sound policy decisions are opposed merely for the sake of it. Ideology doesn’t figure anywhere. 2007It was the year when the Left parties were out-lefted. In Singur and Nandigram, protests erupted over land acquisition for industrial projects. The crucible of the resulting violence created a new political force. As for the investment, the capital took a flight to other places. The tax on capital ended up being a tax on labour. Businesses stayed away from West Bengal. The citadel of Left turned into its mausoleum.2008Puja Mehra in her book The Lost Decade traces the origin of India losing its way following the global financial crisis to the Mumbai terror attack of 2008. Shivraj Patil, the home minister, quit following the attack and Chidambaram was shifted from finance to fill in. For reasons unknown, Pranab Mukherjee, a politician steeped in the 70s-style-Indira-Gandhi socialism, was made the FM. Mehra makes a compelling case of how that one decision stalled reforms, increased deficit and led to runaway inflation over the next three years. Till Chidambaram was brought back to get the house in order, it was too late, and we were halfway into a lost decade. It is remarkable how bad policies always seem easy to implement while good policies take ages to get off the blocks.2009The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) was established in January 2009 to architect a unique digital identity for persons in a country where low rates of death and birth registrations made fake and duplicate identities a means for corruption and denial of service. Under the Modi government, the digital identity — Aadhaar — became the fulcrum of several government services. This project also set the stage for later projects such as the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) and Abha (Health ID).2010There’s petty corruption everywhere in India. It is pervasive. Not surprisingly, it is one political issue leading to mass movements in India. The anti-corruption mood gripped India in 2010 on the back of the 2G spectrum scam, where the chief accountant of the government claimed a notional loss of about Rs. 1.8 trillion to the exchequer. Auctioning of natural resources wasn’t exactly a transparent process then. It was evident there was a scam in the allotment of the 2G spectrum. But the 1.8 trillion number was a wild exaggeration that anyone with a semblance of business understanding could see through. It didn’t matter. That number caught the imagination. UPA 2 never recovered from it. More importantly, the auction policy for resources was distorted forever. We still suffer the consequences.The 2010s: Missed Opportunity2011India’s last case of wild poliovirus was detected in 2011. Until about the early 1990s, an average of 500 to 1000 children got paralysed daily in India. The original target for eradication was the year 2000. Nevertheless, we got there eleven years later. India’s pulse polio campaign has since become a source of confidence for public policy execution in India. We internalised the lesson that the Indian government can sometimes deliver through mission mode projects. 2012If you cannot solve a vexing public policy issue, turn it into a Right. It won’t work, but it will seem like you’ve done everything. After years of trying to get the national education policy right, the government decided it was best to make education a fundamental right in the Constitution. Maybe that will make the problem go away. A decade later, nothing has changed, but we have an additional right to feel good about.2013This year saw the emergence of AAP as a political force via the anti-corruption movement. AAP combines the classic elements of what makes a political party successful in India - statist instincts, focus on aam aadmi issues, populism and ideological flexibility. Importantly, it is good at telling its own version of some future utopia rather than questioning the utopia of others. 2014The BJP came to power with many promises; the most alluring of them was ‘minimum government, maximum governance’. Over the past eight years it has claimed success in meeting many of its promises, but even its ardent supporters won’t claim any success on minimum government. In fact, it has gone the other way. That a party with an immensely popular PM, election machinery that rivals the best in the world, and virtually no opposition cannot shake us off our instinctive belief in the State's power never ceases to surprise us.2015The murder of a person by a mob on the charges of eating beef was the first clear indication of the upsurge of a new violent, majoritarian polity. It was also one of the early incidents in India of radically networked communities using social media for self-organisation. Meanwhile, 2015 also witnessed the signing of a landmark boundary agreement between India and Bangladesh, which ended the abomination called the third-order enclave. The two States exchanged land peacefully, upholding the principle that citizen well-being trumps hardline interpretations of territorial integrity. 2016There will be many case studies written in future about demonetisation. Each one of them will end with a single conclusion. Public policy requires discussion and consensus, not stealth and surprise. We hope we have learnt our lesson from it.2017Until 2017, many in India still held the hope of a modus vivendi with China. Some others were enamoured by the Chinese model of governance. However, the Doklam crisis in 2017, and the Galwan clashes in 2020, changed all that. Through this miscalculation, China alienated a full generation of Indians, led to better India-US relations, and energised India to shift focus away from merely managing a weak Pakistan, and toward raising its game for competing with a stronger adversary. For this reason, we wrote a thank you note to Xi Jinping here. 2018It took years of efforts by the LGBTQ community to get Section 377 scrapped. In 2018, they partially won when the Supreme Court diluted Section 377 to exclude all kinds of adult consensual sexual behaviour. The community could now claim equal constitutional status as others. There’s still some distance to go for the State to acknowledge non-heterosexual unions and provide for other civil rights to the community. But the gradual acceptance of the community because of decriminalisation is a sign that our society doesn’t need moral policing or lectures to judge what’s good for it.2019The J&K Reorganisation Act changed the long-standing political status quo in Kashmir. Three years on, the return to political normalcy and full statehood still awaits. While a response by Pakistan was expected, it was China that fomented trouble in Ladakh, leading to the border clashes in 2020. 2020We have written multiple pieces on farm laws in the past year. The repeal of these laws, which were fundamentally sound because of a vocal minority, is the story of public policy in India. Good policies are scuttled because of the absence of consultation, an unclear narrative, opportunistic politicking or plain old hubris. We write this newsletter in the hope of changing this. 2021The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic left behind many bereaved families. People are still trying to pick up the pieces. The sadness was also interrupted by frustration because of the delays in getting the vaccination programme going. India benefited immensely from domestic vaccine manufacturing capability in the private sector. Despite many twists and turns in vaccine pricing and procurements, the year ended with over 1 billion administered doses. In challenging times, the Indian State, markets, and society did come together to fight the pandemic. So, here we are. In the 75th independent year of this beautiful, fascinating and often exasperating nation. We are a work in progress. We might walk slowly, but we must not walk backwards. May we all live in a happy, prosperous and equal society. Thanks for reading Anticipating the Unintended! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support our work. This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit publicpolicy.substack.com

covid-19 tv ceo china europe peace state british french west russia chinese government friendship german lgbtq left public congress indian supreme court political court overcome union states portugal muslims businesses whatsapp islam emergency insurance switzerland responding economic korean prevention republic constitution pakistan independence day tn ibm prime capitalism twelve steel cold war nato malaysia conservation domestic indians soviet portuguese result george w bush fifty singh agreement bangladesh surprised hindu mumbai dalai lama bollywood gandhi hindi friedman north star cooperation ideology ussr rs xi jinping pakistani tibetans merit bangalore kashmir anticipating modi importantly notably bombay dissent lic calcutta nda mahatma gandhi mehta strangely goa punjab sri lankan indo fcs wto happy independence day cmc trai one nation hyderabad partition 2g milton friedman aap bangladeshi smuggler unintended assam information act bjp memorandum bengaluru karnataka ganesha sikhs foreign exchange agitation nep west bengal texas instruments madras infosys ladakh green revolution upa planning commission bhopal hcl india pakistan rupee india china kashmiri andhra pradesh mehra wipro republic day nehru united front naidu mncs indira gandhi telangana mandal ambedkar tdp indian express aadhaar bhutto lost decade lok sabha industrialisation auctioning advani gandhian dmk india us constituent assembly kps indian it shiv sena bachchan chidambaram rajiv gandhi manmohan singh sonia gandhi union carbide citizenship act indian state babri masjid sabarimala musharraf janata aiadmk vajpayee doklam tinbergen walter anderson ram guha chandrababu naidu jagdish bhagwati pranay kotasthane
The Times Of India Podcast
Big hitch for BJP in Nitish's switch

The Times Of India Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 11, 2022 24:46


Political journalist and TOI Plus columnist Radhika Ramaseshan explains how Nitish Kumar's moves affect political equations in Bihar and the BJP's plans for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls

The Times of India podcast
Big hitch for BJP in Nitish's switch

The Times of India podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 11, 2022 24:46


Political journalist and TOI Plus columnist Radhika Ramaseshan explains how Nitish Kumar's moves affect political equations in Bihar and the BJP's plans for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls

In Focus by The Hindu
Why has Nitish Kumar parted ways with the BJP again? | In Focus podcast

In Focus by The Hindu

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 10, 2022 25:51


Nitish Kumar has done it again. He probably holds a record for the number of times he has ditched his allies, only to ally with them again, in India's politics. There is, clearly, nothing ideological about his choice of partners – Nitish Kumar's decisions seem governed by one goal alone – how to keep his seat of power warm. As he becomes chief minister for the eighth time in 22 years, Nitish Kumar has clearly dominated the politics of Bihar – with or without the BJP – and with or without the Rashtriya Janata Dal. Will the new alliance with the RJD and Congress hold? Does this new bonding hold anything for India's politics beyond Bihar? Can Nitish Kumar become the face of the Opposition in Lok Sabha 2024? 

ThePrint
Cut The Clutter: Fight over the new law & India has excess power, people starved & sellers bankrupt

ThePrint

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 8, 2022 26:34


As the Centre introduced the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2022 in Lok Sabha on Monday, in episode 1052 of #CutTheClutter, ThePrint Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta looks at the highlights of the proposed bill, why some critics have apprehensions over the bill & how India's power economics has gone wrong. 

HT Daily News Wrap
Mamata to meet president, PM in Delhi today

HT Daily News Wrap

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 5, 2022 4:12


Mamata to meet president, PM in Delhi today, New Parliament building 70% complete, Lok Sabha told, PETA invites Ranveer Singh to pose nude again for their campaign, cites Pamela Anderson as an example and other top news in the bulletin.

Business Standard Podcast
Why does India not have a data protection bill yet?

Business Standard Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 5, 2022 6:21


According to Dutch cybersecurity firm Surfshark VPN, India had the second highest number of data breaches in the first half of 2022.  And on Friday, a Ukrainian cybersecurity researcher claimed that sensitive personal data of 280 million Indian citizens allegedly from the Employees' Provident Fund Organisation database surfaced online.  Each record allegedly included personal information like full name, nominee details, marital status, address, bank account numbers, Aadhaar details, income levels etc. India currently lacks a sound legislation for data protection. After five years in the making, the bill that was designed to protect the privacy of Indians, the Personal Data Protection Bill 2019, was withdrawn by the government on Wednesday. The government assured to table a new bill soon. A committee led by former Supreme Court Justice BN Srikrishna, constituted in August 2017, submitted the draft PDP Bill 2018 the following year.  On December 11th, 2019, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology tabled the PDP Bill 2019 in Lok Sabha. The same day, it was referred to a Joint Parliamentary Committee, which tabled its report two years later, on December 16, 2021.  IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said the bill was withdrawn because the panel suggested 81 amendments and 12 major recommendations.  The bill had alarmed big technology companies like Meta and Google, who feared it could increase their compliance burden, data storage requirements and restrict cross-border flow of data.  As the bill provided large exemptions to government departments, several privacy advocates said it would allow agencies to abuse access to data. The parliamentary panel also said that non-personal data should be included in the purview of the bill, which originally focused only on individual privacy in tune with the 2017 Supreme Court verdict that held Right to Privacy as a fundamental right. Speaking to Business Standard, Tejasi Panjiar, Associate Policy Counsel, Internet Freedom Foundation says, there is no denying the bill was imperfect. But it went through long consultation and review process. What should've taken us forward brought us back to square one, he says.  The delay has consequences for Indian consumers and companies alike Salman Waris, Managing Partner, TechLegis Advocates & Solicitors, says consumers will be the ultimate sufferers as their data is at risk. Govt may bring two bills for personal and non-personal data. India's outsourcing industry will face hurdles while serving global clients.  The government says it is working on a “comprehensive legal framework” after considering the parliamentary panel's report.  Meanwhile, the Internet Freedom Foundation has argued that the existing legal vacuum on data protection is an infringement of the fundamental right to privacy.  Whether or not the new bill addresses the existing concerns raised by companies and privacy advocates, the wait for a personal data protection law in India gets longer.

3 Things
5G auctions, la-Qaeda leader killed, and BJP's Bihar meeting for ‘24

3 Things

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 3, 2022 29:58


First, Indian Express' Soumyarendra Barik joins host Utsa Sarmin to talk about the recent 5G spectrum auction and how different companies bid for different bands and when it will be available for consumers. Second, Indian Express' Associate Editor Shubhajit Roy talks about Ayman al-Zawahiri, the al-Qaeda leader killed in Afghanistan by a US drone strike and what that reveals for India. Third, Indian Express' Senior Assistant Editor Santosh Singh explains to us the reasons for BJP's meeting in Bihar and how that may chart the course for 2024 Lok Sabha polls and 2025 Bihar assembly elections.

The Wire Talks
In Parliament members should be able to speak freely Ft. P. D. T. Achary

The Wire Talks

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 26, 2022 31:54


Recently when the Lok Sabha secretariat released a list of words to be banned in parliament, it created headlines in the political world. Words such as Jumlajeevi, drama, corrupt and more were banned from being used in the Parliament. The Indian politician and a member of the Indian Parliament, Rahul Gandhi took a dig at the current ruling party for the same.On The Wire Talks, our host Sidharth Bhatia talks to P. D. Thankappan Achary. An ex-officio administrative head of the Secretariat of the Lok Sabha, Achary explains the reason behind the ruling party releasing a booklet of the banned words and their pros and cons. So don't forget to tune in to the latest episode of The Wire Talks on IVM Podcasts.Follow Sidharth Bhatia on Twitter and Instagram @bombaywallah and https://instagram.com/bombaywallahYou can listen to this show on The Wire's website, the IVM Podcasts website, app on Android: https://ivm.today/android or iOS: https://ivm.today/ios, or any other podcast app.

HT Daily News Wrap
4 Cong MPs Suspended From Lok Sabha Over Misconduct

HT Daily News Wrap

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 26, 2022 7:39


Top #news today:> In school jobs case, Bengal minister, aide in ED custody till Aug 3, says court> ‘Kharge disprected at President's swearing-in': Opposition writes to RS chairman> 4 Cong MPs suspended from Lok Sabha over misconduct> CBI busts racket offering Rajya Sabha seats for ₹100 crore> Biden says Trump is anti-police, lacked courage to stop Jan 6 attack on the Capitol> Putin expands Ukraine war goals, now firm on wanting to see the back of ZelenskyListen here:ilyNews #DailyUpdates #CurrentAffairs #AudioNews #Podcasts #HTSmartCastIn school jobs case, Bengal minister, aide in ED custody till Aug 3, says court, ‘Kharge disprected at President's swearing-in': Opposition writes to RS chairman, CBI busts racket offering Rajya Sabha seats for ₹100 crore, and other top news in this bulletin.

Anticipating The Unintended
#178 How Do I Raid Thee? Let Me Count The Ways

Anticipating The Unintended

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 24, 2022 23:30


India Policy Watch #1: To Catch A Falling Rupee Insights on burning policy issues in India— RSJThe Indian rupee this week declined to an all-time low as it went beyond 80 per dollar. For reasons that aren’t always clear to me, this kind of thing makes a lot of news in India. I mean, it was 79.9 the week before. There isn’t a yawning gap between that and 80. Yet opinion pieces are written, cartoons sketched, and old tweets of macroeconomic theorists like Akshay Kumar, Juhi Chawla and Sri Sri (Sri?) Ravishankar are dug out to contrast their current reactions to this phenomenon with their past asides. The WhatsApp factory also rolls out their new models that suggest how a strong dollar is bad for the US economy and how this is some kind of a switch and bait move that we are making on them. Somewhere in many of our heads, the strength of the Indian rupee is no longer subject to the dynamics of the currency market. Like many things these days, it too is anchored to our self-respect. And since our national clarion call is desh nahin jhukne doonga (won’t let the country down), we then start working on the narrative that shows all of this in a warm, positive glow. All in a day in the life of India.Anyway, I thought it would be useful to take this moment to appreciate the winds that are buffeting it, the long-term view of what will actually strengthen the rupee and then zoom out a bit to appreciate what’s happening to the US economy and what it could mean for India. The Safety Of Dollar We will start with why has the rupee gone to 80 a dollar? The simple answer is the US dollar has been more in demand since the start of the Ukraine war than before. This is true for all currencies, not just the rupee, as the chart below shows.There are reasons for this. The 40-year high inflation print that the US is witnessing month over month has turned the Fed hawkish. It is likely to raise rates by another 75 bps in its meeting next week, and the consensus suggests the benchmark rates will be around 3.4 per cent by the end of the year. These rate hikes make storing money in dollars more attractive. This potent cocktail of uncertainty around the Ukraine war, the high oil and commodity prices that make emerging markets more vulnerable and the prospect of a global recession is starting to give global fund managers a massive hangover. Their most obvious response: flight to the safety of the US dollar. The dollar demand has gone up as foreign portfolio investors have checked out of domestic equities across the world. In India, we have had over ₹2.3 trillion of outflow from the equity market so far this year. Things would have been worse had it not been for the domestic investors (mutual funds and insurers) who invested about ₹1.4 trillion during this period. The price of oil—averaging over US$ 120 or so during this year—has made things worse because we import over 90 per cent of our requirements. The across-the-board rise in commodity prices has further increased our import bill. Almost simultaneously, the high rate of inflation, the rise in interest rates and a prospect of a recession have meant our exports are beginning to soften. The commentary from our software services giants suggests the demand pipeline isn’t what it used to be. This might also show up in other export-dominated sectors as the steep rise in interest rates starts to kill off growth in developed markets. This has meant the consensus forecast among analysts for the current account deficit has inched up to 3 per cent for the year-end. We will need more dollars to support that kind of deficit. That apart, our own inflation numbers have remained high, and we are running a negative real interest rate (the difference between interest rate and rate of inflation). This will continue to support riskier assets and reward consumption that will feed back into inflation. So, expect further interest rate hikes, and that will impact growth. All of this indicates the dollar strengthening against the rupee is here to stay.Propping Up The RupeeWhat can be done to address this? This is market dynamics at play. There are too many interlinked factors here. Beyond a point, there are only tweaks that you can do in the short term to support the currency. The RBI has tried to ensure that the depreciation is orderly and gradual, which is the best it can do now. It has increased dollar inflows by loosening norms in multiple areas, helping curb volatility. The raft of measures taken here shows how many short term levers are available with a central bank to manage currency volatility. These included removing the interest rate restrictions on banks for foreign currency and non-resident deposits. Such deposits have also been exempted from the statutory liquidity requirements that Banks need to carry for their deposits. This has allowed banks to hike their savings rates for such deposits by almost 75 bps. This will attract dollar deposits from non-resident Indians. The RBI has also relaxed foreign investments in debt instruments and allowed the use of overseas foreign currency borrowing for lending domestically in foreign currency. Even the amount of external commercial borrowing businesses can do through the automatic route has been doubled to US$ 1.5 billion. These immediate measures will smoothen the flow and increase the supply of dollars. The idea here is to weather through the Fed interest rate hike storm for the next two quarters and then take stock. The RBI also made an interesting move last week that was reported as the ‘internationalisation’ of the rupee. It allowed special accounts (rupee Vostro accounts) to pay and settle exports and imports in rupees. Further, the surplus in these accounts could be invested in government T-bills and securities. What does this mean? Simply put, if Indian firms can find counterparties who are willing to trade with them in rupees, they can do so more easily than before. On the face of it, this means very little. Because there aren’t many global firms who would want to settle their trade in a currency like the rupee that will depreciate in the long-term and which isn’t useful for trade with non-Indian partners. But it allows us to trade with Russia without getting the dollar involved. In fact, it is both an economic move and a geopolitical one. We run a trade deficit with Russia. We can now pay for Russian oil in rupees. Russia can use those rupees to buy our exports. The surplus in these accounts can be used to buy government bonds. So we save on buying more dollars to settle this trade, and we create demand for government bonds because the surplus in this account will be invested there. Seems like a neat solution, and I guess the US and the west won’t mind because we have pointed out their hypocrisy on Russian gas and Saudi oil more than a few times now. Apart from this, the government has done its usual quota of excise duty tweaks to manage the situation. We have increased duties on the export of petroleum products and limited sugar and wheat exports. And we have cut import duties on key raw materials and on cooking oils to manage inflation. These won’t add to much, but it gives an impression that something’s been done to address inflation. When inflation stabilises, we will take ages to dismantle these duties. That is an old and different story. That takes care of the short term. In the long run, the rupee's strength depends on the fundamentals of our economy. We must run a current account shortfall below 2 per cent, bring down the fiscal deficit and debt to GDP ratio that have gone up significantly in the past two years and keep inflation in the four per cent range, which was the RBI mandate. All of this is hard work and will need the government to translate its words into action. Structural reforms in labour and capital have been pending for ages, the infrastructure push promised in the last budget is still in the works, and fiscal discipline is a tad out of fashion. If we continue to insist on pegging our self-respect to the rupee, then we must know what to demand from the government. Where Next?Lastly, where does the global economy go from here? Well, it is clear that the Fed and other central banks were wrong in their assessment in 2021 that the inflation was transitory. They could have raised rates then, and we wouldn’t have seen the serious inflationary pressure we have now seen for the last six months. This isn’t hindsight. There were more than a handful of sceptics about the notion of transitory inflation. So, the question is, now that the Fed has gone into the territory of whatever it takes to control inflation, what kind of a landing will we have? Will it be a short and mildly painful recession, or are we going to be in for a hard landing? As some are saying, it is possible that we will see the peak of inflation in the next few months, and then the rate hike impact will start to bring it down quickly to more comfortable levels within a year. We could then have a rate reversion cycle begin as early as the end of 2023. That is what the optimists are seeing today. However, it is possible that there’s a hard landing. That is not just inflation taking longer to tame, but the sustained high-interest environment kills growth and puts the financial system under enormous stress. There’s a possibility that a perfect storm of decline in investment, reduction in consumption and a recession could hurt incomes around the world. The pandemic saw a significant rise in debt levels for both firms and households. A scenario where interest rates stay high and incomes start coming under stress would spell bad news for the ability of these entities to service their debt. A cycle of default could then start and put the entire financial system under stress. We might not have a GFC (2008) like moment, but we could be in that vicinity in future. We have been so used to quantitative easing, low inflation and low-interest rate scenario in the last decade that it is difficult to envisage an alternative where things are radically different. Yet, as history has shown, you ignore long-tail risks at your own peril. As a parting shot, the then finance minister Manmohan Singh’s response in the Rajya Sabha addressing the fears of devaluation of the rupee needs a revisit:Let me say that in this country there seems to be a strange conspiracy between the extreme left and extreme right that there is something immoral or dishonourable about changing the exchange rate. But that is not the tradition. If you look at the whole history of India’s independence struggle before 1947 all our national leaders were fighting against the British against keeping the exchange rate of the Rupee unduly high. Why did the British keep the exchange rate of the Rupee unduly high? It was because they wanted this country to remain backward and they did not want this country to industrialise. They wanted the country to be an exporter of primary products against which all Indian economists protested. If you look at Indian history right from 1900 onwards to 1947, this was a recurrent plea of all Indian economists—not to have an exchange rate which is so high that Indian cannot export, that India cannot industrialise. But I am really surprised that something which is meant to increase the country’s exports and encourage its industrialisation is now considered as something anti-national.India Policy Watch #2: Q.E.D.Insights on burning policy issues in India— Pranay KotasthaneNowadays, it seems like just one government agency is burning the midnight oil: the Enforcement Directorate (ED). It’s never out of the headlines.There’s data to back this claim too. Responding to a Lok Sabha question earlier this year, the Minister of State (Finance) revealed that while during 2004-14, 112 searches were carried out by the ED, this number stands at 2974 in the eight years since 2014, a twenty-six-fold increase! Forget for a moment that the conviction rate of ED in raids conducted under the Foreign Exchange Management Act is merely 0.5 per cent.Whether it is political parties in the opposition, Chinese companies, fugitive economic offenders, or non-profits, the ED has become the de-facto brahmastra.Structurally, ED is a law enforcement body deriving powers from a wide range of laws. It was constituted as the “Enforcement Unit” way back in 1956. And since foreign exchange control was a big obsession back then, it primarily investigated cases arising from the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA), 1947. Then came the Foreign Exchange Management Act in 1999, the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in 2005, and the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act in 2018. A wide remit backed by labyrinthine economic laws made it easily weaponisable. Now, it is well-known that many law enforcement agencies in India are politicised. Neither is ED the first one nor the last. In the naughties, the “CBI raids” served the same purpose. Exploring the pervasive politicisation of the ED, Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes:The use of the ED has three purposes. The first is intimidation. The second is to keep the narrative of the old corrupt regime boiling. This is not a difficult proposition to sell to the public. But the third is to reveal the sheer self-absorption of the Opposition. “For my friends, everything; for my enemies, the law.” said a former Peruvian Field Marshal Óscar Benavides. That is precisely what seems to be happening here.Domestic politics aside, two Chinese mobile phone companies have recently come under ED investigation. In response, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson had this to say:The frequent investigations by the Indian side into Chinese enterprises not only disrupt the enterprises’ normal business activities and damage the goodwill of the enterprises, but also impedes the improvement of business environment in India and chills the confidence and willingness of market entities from other countries, including Chinese enterprises to invest and operate in India.Keeping aside the hypocrisy of China’s moralising, the spokesperson makes an important point. If the narrative goes out that economic crime investigations are being used for political purposes, India will pay a big price. Retrospective taxation was the poster child for India’s economic mismanagement last decade. We don’t need another deterrent puncturing investment dreams this decade.What could bring law enforcement agencies under control? Are there structural checks and balances that prevent political misuse? I don’t know. But an essential component of strengthening India’s Republic has to be to make investigative agencies truly autonomous from executive control. Not(PolicyWTF): The Question of ChoiceThis section looks at egregious public policies. Policies that make you go: WTF, Did that really happen? - Pranay Kotasthane"Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." This Forrest Gump quote is equally applicable to the Indian judiciary. On most days, it comes out with verdicts that just follow the prevailing social trend. But, there are also those rare moments when the judiciary stands up to defend the Republic from the Democracy. Take what happened last week. In 2019, the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) —a new regulatory body—was formed to protect consumer rights. Earlier this month, the CCPA, in its infinite wisdom, issued guidelines that prevent hotels and restaurants from levying service charges. The guidelines thundered:No collection of service charge shall be done by any other name. No hotel or restaurant shall force a consumer to pay service charge and shall clearly inform the consumer that service charge is voluntary, optional and at consumer’s discretion… No restriction on entry or provision of services based on collection of service charge shall be imposed on consumers. Service charge shall not be collected by adding it along with the food bill and levying GST on the total amount.Why would the Indian State want to invest resources and time in changing these small matters is an always-relevant confounding question. But this time, the courts came to a partial rescue. The Delhi High Court stayed the guidelines. The judge even had a libertarian statement to go with the ruling. He said:If you don't want to pay, don't enter the restaurant. It is ultimately a question of choice.Music to my ears. Information asymmetry is not a problem as long as the service charges are known to the consumer beforehand. There is no market failure. The State can move on. How I wish the courts applied this new-found virtue of choice to other areas such as:If you don't want to get offended, don't read the book. It is ultimately a question of choice. No need to ban the book. If you don't want to pay, don't enter the movie theatre. It is ultimately a question of choice. No need to cap movie tickets.If you don’t like what others say about you, don’t talk to them. It is ultimately a question of choice. No need for defamation laws.You get the drift. Don’t make the State a tool to address your pet grievance. It has bigger fish to fry. (And let it apply service charges for the fried fish.)Global Policy Watch: The Three InternetsInsights on policy issues making news around the world— Pranay KotasthaneMany editions ago, I linked to one of Yiqin Fu’s articles on the Chinese internet. There’s so much about it that’s different beyond the fact that the State tightly controls the information flow there. For instance, Fu explains that the Chinese internet is different from the Western internet in these respects:One, search engines (and not just Google) are hardly used. People read primarily through social media feeds. And two, the complete dominance of super-apps:Take WeChat as an example. It is home to the vast majority of China’s original writing, and yet: 1. It doesn’t allow any external links; 2. Its posts are not indexed by search engines such as Google or Baidu, and its own search engine is practically useless; 3. You can’t check the author’s other posts if you open the page outside of the WeChat app. In other words, each WeChat article is an orphan, not linked to anything else on the Internet, not even the author’s previous work.The result of a lack of rediscovery means that knowledge creation, reflection, and historical context-setting are disincentivised. This resembles some parts of the Indian internet but is not quite the same. This architecture also means that people are pushed towards tracking the latest social media trend, with little or no incentive to create and read time-invariant content, such as blogs, articles, and papers without news pegs.So, there are three broad internet prototypes:The Western one: primary access is through desktop/laptop, not super-app based, search-engine driven, high discoverability of older articles, and email-based.The Chinese one: primary access is through the mobile phone, super-app driven, low discoverability, and instant-messaging based.The Indian one: The elites see an internet that’s a mix of the Western one and the Chinese one minus the censorship, while the non-elites are experiencing something much closer to the Chinese one. Forget geopolitics for a moment. And consider the impact of these three internet prototypes on their respective users. Will their cognitive effects be different? If yes, in what way? This is a fascinating question to which I have no good answers yet. What do you think? Another downside to skipping desktop is that weak ties built around emails are never formed. I don’t have data on Chinese employees’ modes of communication, but I wouldn’t be surprised if 90% of work communication is done over instant messaging. Multinational firms still use email, although when I asked on Chinese social media, my readers complained that emails often went unread. It seems like in the Chinese workplace, instant messaging still reigns supreme.Fu argues that the result is that weak ties through cold emails are seldom formed. Again, not very different from the case in India where we need to have a phone number in order to form a weak link now. What is the social consequence of this phenomenon?HomeWorkReading and listening recommendations on public policy matters[Podcast] MacroVoices #333: Erik Townsend and Patrick Ceresna in conversation with Harley Bassman on Inflation, Bond Yields, VIX vs MOVE, Demographics & More.[Blog] Pakistan is in big trouble: Noah Smith covers the subcontinent for the second week in a row.[Article] The functioning of the Enforcement Directorate, by Sonam Saigal.[Paper] How to reform high-stakes exam systems? is an important question in the Indian context. A new NBER paper titled Pareto Improvements in the Contest for College Admissions has some clues. This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit publicpolicy.substack.com

HT Daily News Wrap
13 people were killed after the bus crashed in MP's Dhar district

HT Daily News Wrap

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 18, 2022 3:45


13 people were killed after the bus crashed in MP's Dhar district, Lok Sabha paid tribute to former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and Petrol, diesel prices were reduced in crisis-hit Sri Lanka Sunday as state-owned Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) and other top in news bulletin.

ThePrint
ThePrintPod: Jaishankar on Tharoor turf, Meghwal in Amritsar: BJP gets cracking on seats where it lost in 2019

ThePrint

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 15, 2022 7:37


BJP has identified 144 Lok Sabha constituencies where it's 'weak' but can win in 2024 if an effort is made. Senior leaders have been assigned to look after & regularly visit these seats. ----more---- https://theprint.in/politics/jaishankar-on-tharoor-turf-meghwal-in-amritsar-bjp-gets-cracking-on-seats-where-it-lost-in-2019/1039182/ 

Top Headlines
Top Headlines Of The Day (July 14, 2022)

Top Headlines

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 14, 2022 2:14


Left, Right & Centre
"I Will Use These Words": Trinamool's Derek O'Brien Dares Government On 'Gag' Order

Left, Right & Centre

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 14, 2022 5:22


Left, Right & Centre
Beep Beep... : Redefining "Unparliamentary" Or Gagging Democracy?

Left, Right & Centre

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 14, 2022 24:28


Politicsarca
Why Samajwadi Party lost Azamgarh and Rampur Lok Sabha bypoll and why Bjp won those seats?

Politicsarca

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 29, 2022 5:32


Why Samajwadi Party lost Azamgarh and Rampur Lok Sabha bypoll and why Bjp won those seats? My Youtube Channel- bit.ly/2LiPAgC My Instagram Page - www.instagram.com/politicsarca/ My Facebook Page - www.facebook.com/politicsarca My Twitter Page- twitter.com/politicsarca #politicsarca #azamgarh #rampur #samajwadiparty #bjp #uttarpradesh --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/politicsarca/message

Business Standard Podcast
How is the President of India elected?

Business Standard Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Jun 24, 2022 2:38


NDA's presidential nominee Draupadi Murmu met Union home minister Amit Shah on Thursday. If elected, 64-year-old Murmu will become the first tribal President of the country. And the second woman president after Pratibha Patil. President Ram Nath Kovind's tenure is coming to an end on July 25. And an election to fill his post will be held before that, on July 18. And we will know the name of the new President on July 21 if an election takes place at all. So how is the President of India chosen? Unlike that of MLAs and MPs, it is not a direct election. The President is elected by an electoral college. And who all are the members of this electoral college? They are from Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, Legislative Assemblies of the states and Legislative Assemblies of the Union Territories of Delhi and Puducherry. Nominated members to Rajya Sabha and state legislative councils are not part of the electoral college. The votes of electoral college members have a certain larger value. For instance, each MP's vote carries a value of 700.  In the case of MLAs, the value of vote is calculated based on the population of each state and the value differs from one state to another. In highly populated states like Uttar Pradesh, an MLA carries a vote value of 208, while less populated states like Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, the value of vote for an MLA is 8. According to the Article 55(2) of the Constitution, every elected member of the Legislative Assembly of a State shall have as many votes as there are multiples of one thousand in the quotient obtained by dividing the population of the State by the total number of the elected members of the Assembly. To win the Presidential election, the candidate has to bag over 50% of the votes. The Presidential candidate filing for the nomination has to secure signed approvals from 50 proposers and 50 seconders. The proposers and seconders could be members from the electoral college.

HT Daily News Wrap
Tamil eternal says PM Modi after Stalin's Hindi jibe

HT Daily News Wrap

Play Episode Listen Later May 27, 2022 4:06


Tamil eternal says PM after Stalin's Hindi jibe, Telangana CM K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) hinted at a grand opposition alliance ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, The hijab controversy resurfaced in Karnataka's Mangaluru district and other top news in this bulletin.

Business Standard Podcast
What is delimitation?

Business Standard Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later May 20, 2022 4:25


Earlier in May, as it redrew Jammu and Kashmir's electoral map, the government's three-member Delimitation Commission recommended creation of six assembly constituencies in Jammu and one in Kashmir. With this, there will be 47 assembly segments in the Kashmir division and 43 in Jammu. So there are 90 assembly seats in JK, up from 83 earlier. According to the 2011 Census, the population of Jammu and Kashmir is 12.5 million. Of them 6.89 million live in Kashmir, 5.38 million in Jammu and 2, 74,00 in Ladakh. The exercise and the proposal have drawn heavy criticism from various political quarters, especially within the Kashmir Valley. “The delimitation commission has become an extension of BJP… We reject it, we have no faith in it,”   Former JK chief minister Mehbooba Mufti BJP's former ally Mehboob Mufti was blunt in criticism. She said that the commission has ignored the basic parameter of population and added or removed areas as per their wishes. But what exactly is delimitation? Delimitation is the process by which the limits or boundaries of a country's territorial constituencies are rejigged to reflect changes in population. The redrawing of these boundaries is based on the recent census. In India, the number of Lok Sabha seats allocated to different states, along with the total number of seats in a state's Legislative Assembly, can change as a result of a delimitation exercise. And the body tasked with carrying out the exercise is called delimitation commission or boundary commission. Such commissions have been constituted four times in India. First was in 1952 under the Delimitation Commission Act, 1952, then in 1963 under Delimitation Commission Act, 1962, in 1973 under Delimitation Act, 1972 and in 2002 under Delimitation Act, 2002. The delimitation exercise is done for three main reasons. First, to ensure a fair division of geographical areas. Second, to ensure equal population representation from every seat. And, third, to ensure that the principle of “One Vote One Value” is maintained. Now, let us delve into the controversy in Kashmir over the delimitation commission's proposal. The report has five major takeaways. First, the five parliamentary constituencies have been re-organised so that each now has 18 assembly constituencies. Second, six assembly seats in Jammu and three in Kashmir have been reserved for Scheduled Tribes. The third is the formation of the Anantnag-Rajouri Parliamentary constituency by merging Kashmir's Anantnag area with Jammu's Rajouri and Poonch. The fourth is the addition of six new Assembly constituencies in Jammu and one in Kashmir. Last and fifth, it has been proposed that the Union Territory's Legislative Assembly should include at least 2 people from the Kashmiri migrant population. So, why the criticism and opposition? As a recent Business Standard editorial explains, the main reason for this is the seat distribution in both the Assembly and Lok Sabha. It appears that the old communal divide between Jammu and Kashmir has been maintained by allocating them 43 and 47 seats, respectively. This allocation significantly alters the vote shares in the Assembly. Jammu, with 44 per cent of the population, will get to vote for 48 per cent of the seats. Meanwhile, the Kashmir division, with 56 per cent of the population, will get to vote for 52 per cent of the seats. Under the earlier configuration, Jammu had 44.5 percent of the seats and Kashmir 55.4 per cent. And when it comes to the realignments of the parliamentary seats, critics see the influence of Kashmiri-speaking Muslim voters being reduced with the restructuring of the Jammu and Anantnag seats. No wonder there have been allegations of gerrymandering.

Business Standard Podcast
What are Swiss banks and how do they work?

Business Standard Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 21, 2022 4:17


Early Swiss laws protecting the identity of clients were codified way back in 1713 AD by authorities in Geneva -- a city which, by then, had become a refuge for the wealth of French royalties and European elites. Since then, the notion of secrecy has always been at the centre of all the banking laws formed in Switzerland, a small European country tucked between snow-capped Alps. And about 80 years ago, in 1934, a law made sharing client information with foreign countries a criminal offence. Article 47 of the Swiss Banking Act said that without the customer's consent and in the absence of a criminal complaint, revealing clients details to almost anyone, including the government, would be a crime. A violation could land the person in question in prison for five years. And, over the years, the country became a magnet for tax-dodging people and entities around the world. They parked their money to evade taxes in their countries – denting their government's exchequers. But some sort of watershed moment came in May, 2014 when over 50 countries signed a declaration prepared by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. The countries, for the first time, agreed on global exchange of information about their respective taxpayers' financial information. Switzerland too promised to share information about client bank accounts. But, early this year, a leak of Credit Suisse data again triggered a debate around the banking laws of the Alpine country. The alleged leak revealed that the bank's clients were involved in torture, drug trafficking and money laundering. Meanwhile, back home in India, the hunt for black money is still on. Prime Minister Narendra Modi rode to power in 2014, promising to bring it back. But in July 2021, a news agency reported that Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary had told the Lok Sabha that the government had no official estimate of the black money kept in Swiss banks for the past 10 years. Since 2018, India and Switzerland have a system of automatic exchange of information in tax matters. Under it, in September 2019, for the first time, detailed financial information on all Indian residents with accounts in Swiss financial institutions was provided to Indian authorities. But most experts believe that the official data given by the Swiss banks is that of the legal wealth parked by Indians there. The black money reaches Swiss banks after travelling through 5-6 tax havens, like Jersey Island To Havana. This process is called layering, which makes it very difficult for authorities to trace the trail. Meanwhile, India has passed a Black Money law that arms its taxmen to go after citizens with secret foreign bank accounts and assets. Citing lawyers, a financial daily report said that close to half a dozen appeals were coming up for hearing in Switzerland courts. The petitions want to stop Swiss authorities from sharing information with India. The grounds for appeal are that the

The Big Story
929: Will Congress Give Prashant Kishor The Mandate Over Election Strategy?

The Big Story

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 20, 2022 14:54


It's been a busy few days at 10 Janpath with political strategist Prashant Kishor meeting Congress president Sonia Gandhi and other senior party leaders, with the former reportedly looking to join the party full time. With three high level meetings since 16 April, Kishor reportedly gave a detailed presentation on the roadmap to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections to party leaders like Priyanka Gandhi, Mukul Wasnik, KC Venugopal, Randeep Surjewala, Digvijay Singh, Ambika Soni, and Kamal Nath. And this is also not the first-time buzz of Kishor joining the Congress have surfaced since similar discussions also happened between the two entities in 2021 but the negotiations were reportedly unsuccessful due to disagreements over his role. So, what led to the Congress finally changing its mind? What are Kishor's plans for the Congress, and the big question remains – Will the Congress give Kishor the mandate to make the crucial election decisions? To help us answer these questions, joining me today in Aditya Menon, The Quint's political editor. Host and Producer: Himmat Shaligram Editor: Aditya Menon Music: Big Bang Fuzz Listen to The Big Story podcast on: Apple: https://apple.co/2AYdLIl Saavn: http://bit.ly/2oix78C Google Podcasts: http://bit.ly/2ntMV7S Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2IyLAUQ Deezer: http://bit.ly/2Vrf5Ng Castbox: http://bit.ly/2VqZ9ur

The Suno India Show
Criminal Procedure Act: Break a law and the police can store your personal information

The Suno India Show

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 20, 2022 24:10


The Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on March 28. And by April 6, it was passed in both houses of the Parliament. This new law allows law enforcement agencies to collect a range of private information from people arrested under any offence. The information can be stored for 75 years.  In this episode, host Suryatapa Mukherjee talks to Nikita Sonawane, co-founder of Criminal Justice and Police Accountability Project, and Praavita Kashyap, a member of Article 21 Trust and Rethink Aadhaar campaign. We explore who this new law will impact and we tease out its ambiguities. This is part one in a two-part miniseries.  Additional reading: Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill, 2022 NCRB data: Higher share of Dalits, tribals, Muslims in prison than numbers outside | The Indian Express See sunoindia.in/privacy-policy for privacy information.

All Things Policy
Simultaneous Elections: What It Means and The Implications.

All Things Policy

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 11, 2022 36:37


Simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies are an idea to solve a lot of ills associated with the Indian election system. Do the claims of one nation - one election add up? What are the implications for voters and parties and more importantly for Parliamentary democracy? Pranay Kotasthane and Suman Joshi discuss. Follow Pranay on Twitter: https://twitter.com/pranaykotasFollow Suman on Twitter: https://twitter.com/sujo2906Check out Takshashila's courses: https://school.takshashila.org.in/You can listen to this show and other awesome shows on the new and improved IVM Podcast App on Android: https://ivm.today/android or iOS: https://ivm.today/iosYou can check out our website at https://www.ivmpodcasts.com

Business Standard Podcast
How are India's large municipal corporations fairing?

Business Standard Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 7, 2022 6:06


On Tuesday, Rajya Sabha passed the Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2022, clearing the path for the reunification of three municipal corporations of Delhi into a single entity.  The decision comes a week after Lok Sabha passed the bill for the unification of the municipal corporation's South, North and East divisions, which were split nearly a decade ago. While defending the move, the finance minister informed the Rajya Sabha that the new entity would be “efficient and provide better services”. But how the country's major municipal corporations are faring financially. Let us see.  BMC had presented a budget of Rs 45,949.2 crore for 2022-23, whereas the combined budget of the three municipal corporations in Delhi was a little over Rs 17,000 crore. The total outlay for Bengaluru's Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) was Rs 10,482.5 crore for 2022-23, whereas Amdavad Municipal Corporation (AMC) had a budget of Rs 8,807 crore for the year. Pune Municipal Corporation had a budget of Rs 8,592 crore for 2022-23. It remains to be seen if the reunification will improve the finances of Delhi's civic body. An RBI analysis of 2017-18 data of 221 municipal bodies across the country found that nearly half the bodies were under high fiscal stress, given their limited ability to raise their own revenues. An ICRIER study in conjunction with the fifteenth finance commission found that for most of the large entities -- barring Delhi -- own revenues as a proportion of total revenues had declined. For instance, in the case of Mumbai, own revenues accounted for 97.6 per cent of total municipal revenues in 2012-13, but the ratio declined to 73.1 per cent in 2017-18. Bengaluru's contribution to municipal revenues was 44.1  per cent in 2017-18 against 49.6 per cent in 2012-13. The rest was being funded from state transfer. Civic bodies have long been criticised for their inability to raise revenues from property taxes. An OECD report from 2017 had found that the average property tax collection in OECD countries was 1.08 per cent of GDP. In contrast, India had a ratio of 0.2 per cent. An earlier study in 2016 had found that Pune collected four times as much property tax per capita than Delhi. Bengaluru's per capita property tax revenue was triple of the national capital. A recent RBI study had found that 70 per cent of surveyed urban local bodies had reported a worsening of revenues and an increase in expenditure during the pandemic.   The combined entity in Delhi, thus, shall have an uphill task of improving efficiency and raising own revenues.   Watch video

In Focus by The Hindu
Decoding the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill, 2022 | In Focus

In Focus by The Hindu

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 1, 2022 28:53


On March 28, the government introduced a new Bill in the Lok Sabha – the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill, 2022. The Opposition vehemently opposed it, going so far as to seek a division of votes. But it failed to defeat the introduction of the Bill, as it could muster only 58 votes against, with 120 votes in favour of the Bill. On the face of it, the Bill proposes to empower police and prison authorities to take “measurements of convicts and other persons for the purposes of identification and investigation in criminal matters”. The term “measurements” includes finger-impressions, palm-print impressions, foot-print impressions, photographs, iris and retina scan, and even biological samples. Criticism from the Opposition has broadly followed two strands. One thread argues that the Bill violates certain constitutional principles and guarantees and that it goes beyond the House's “legislative competence”. The other set of criticisms dwell on the fact that it gives too much power to the executive, with very little accountability, raising the temptation for abuse of this law's provisions. So, does India really need a Bill of this kind, and how does the current draft of the Bill fare when assessed against constitutional norms? Guest: Apar Gupta, Executive Director at the Internet Freedom Foundation, a Delhi-based non-profit that conducts advocacy on digital rights and liberties Host: G. Sampath, Social Affairs Editor, The Hindu Edited by Ranjani Srinivasan

3 Things
What the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill allows the police to do

3 Things

Play Episode Listen Later Mar 30, 2022 25:55


On Monday, the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill, 2022 was introduced in the Lok Sabha. The bill allows the police to collect, store and analyze physical and biological samples including retina and iris scans. In this episode, Indian Express' Deeptiman Tiwary and Apurva Vishwanath join host Shashank Bhargava to discuss the details of the bill, the concerns it raises for ordinary citizens, and why many in the opposition are saying that it will be challenged in the Supreme Court.

Cyrus Says
CnB ft. Navin & Amit | Petrol-Diesel Prices, Sri Lanka Seeks Further $1 Billion Credit Line, Roman Abramovich, Ukrainian Peace Negotiators Hit by Suspected Poisoning

Cyrus Says

Play Episode Listen Later Mar 29, 2022 71:28


On Cock & Bull this Tuesday, we are joined by Amit Doshi, Navin Noronha, (and where did Antariksh disappear?)Cyrus says no to coming into the studio henceforth seeing the increasing prices of petrol and diesel. What the hell is up with that? What is happening with our neighbouring country Pakistan and its PM, whether there is going to be a change in the position of PM of Pakistan very soon, and more. In other neighbourly news, Sri Lanka's crisis has worsened as two of their newspaper outlets shut down, Sri Lanka seeks help from India with a 1 billion dollar credit line, what happens if they aren't able to pay their debts on time, and lots more. The panel also discusses why there seems to be anger towards India by the Quad countries on its stance on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. Further, they move towards the movie 83 coming out on OTT and its ratings going up on IMDB, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich and two of the Ukrainian peace negotiators being poisoned during a meeting earlier this month in Kyiv and the news of the Criminal Procedure Amendment Bill being tabled in Lok Sabha amid protests. Tune in for this and much more. You can follow Navin Noronha on Instagram at @houseofnoronhaYou can follow Amit Doshi on Instagram at @doshiamitDo send in AMA questions for Cyrus by tweeting them to @cyrussaysin or e-mailing them at whatcyrussays@gmail.comDon't forget to follow Cyrus Broacha on Instagram @cyrus_broacha(https://www.instagram.com/cyrus_broacha)In case you're late to the party and want to catch up on previous episodes of Cyrus Says you can do so at: www.ivmpodcasts.com/cyrussaysYou can listen to this show and other awesome shows on the new and improved IVM Podcasts App on Android: https://ivm.today/android or iOS: https://ivm.today/ios

The Big Story
913: What Does a Unified MCD Mean for Delhi Citizens & Does it Help BJP Politically?

The Big Story

Play Episode Listen Later Mar 28, 2022 17:01


The deference of the Delhi civic polls has left the AAP-led Delhi government at loggerheads with the BJP-led Centre. At the heart of the delay is The Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2022 that seeks to merge the North, East and South Delhi municipal corporations. The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha by Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai who said it would make the MCD “a single, integrated and well-equipped entity”, however, the Delhi government along with several opposition parties have been vehemently opposed to calling it an unconstitutional move. What has been particularly irking the Delhi government is that the bill also appears to strip the Delhi government off authority when it comes a lot of big decision-making processes around the unified MCD. The AAP led Delhi government even accused the BJP of “murdering democracy”. But why does the Centre want to unify Delhi municipality? What is the administrative significance behind it all? And is there any political significance in the move? Host and Producer: Shorbori Purkayastha Editor: Shelly Walia Guests:  Aditya Menon, The Quint's Political Editor Milind Mhaske, Director of Praja Foundation  Music: Big Bang Fuzz Listen to The Big Story podcast on: Apple: https://apple.co/2AYdLIl Saavn: http://bit.ly/2oix78C Google Podcasts: http://bit.ly/2ntMV7S Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2IyLAUQ Deezer: http://bit.ly/2Vrf5Ng Castbox: http://bit.ly/2VqZ9ur

3 Things
Jaishankar's trip, Centre's plans for Delhi, and service startups expand

3 Things

Play Episode Listen Later Mar 28, 2022 28:34


First, Indian Express' Associate Editor Shubhajit Roy talks about the significance of External Affair Minister S Jaishankar's visit to Maldives and Sri Lanka, and its highlights so far.Next, Indian Express' Mallica Joshi explains how a recent bill introduced in the Lok Sabha could give the Central government even more control over Delhi (10:20).And in the end, Indian Express' Soumyarendra Barik tells us how service startup companies like the Urban Company are planning to sell their own products to customers (18:58).

HT Daily News Wrap
Hindustan Times News | 22nd March 2022 | 6 PM

HT Daily News Wrap

Play Episode Listen Later Mar 22, 2022 3:38


Akhilesh Yadav quits as Lok Sabha MP, submits his resignation to Lok Sabha speaker, 7 people charred to death, houses caught fire at Bogtui village, West Bengal, Half-century and all-round performance powered India a 110-run win over Bangladesh and other top news in this bulletin.

ThePrint
ThePrintPod: ‘Threw stone at liquor bottles to save women's dignity' — Uma Bharti sends signal to BJP bosses

ThePrint

Play Episode Listen Later Mar 15, 2022 7:34


The firebrand leader has her eye on the state and Lok Sabha polls due in the next two years. But Uma Bharti is believed to be struggling to find a footing after her sabbatical. ----more---- https://theprint.in/politics/threw-stone-at-liquor-bottles-to-save-womens-dignity-uma-bharti-sends-signal-to-bjp-bosses/873531/

The Jaipur Dialogues
Election Results Analysis with Bhau, Omkar C, Abhishek T, Dhirendra P

The Jaipur Dialogues

Play Episode Listen Later Mar 12, 2022 69:29


Uttar Pradesh Election results have the potential of consolidating the hold of the new political narrative all over the country. Bhau Torsekar, Omkar Chaudhary, Dhirendra Pundir and Abhishek Tiwary join Sanjay dixit to analyse the results of UP and other Elections and to look at its impact on the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, as also on the BJP internal politics. The new M-Y is firmly set.

Anticipating The Unintended
#159 Three Conundrums

Anticipating The Unintended

Play Episode Listen Later Feb 20, 2022 29:20


PolicyWTF: Band-aids for Bullet WoundsThis section looks at egregious public policies. Policies that make you go: WTF, Did that really happen? - Pranay KotasthaneThe ongoing political crisis in Ukraine has a small sub-plot that links to India’s education policy self-goals. Before the current crisis unfolded, I had heard that Russia and Ukraine were popular destinations for aspiring medical students from India. What I didn’t know was how big this cohort is in Ukraine. Multiple news reports claim that there are nearly 18,000 of them in Ukraine alone. Apparently, Indian medical students are also opting to study in Bangladesh, the Philippines, and Kyrgyzstan besides Russia and Ukraine. Of course, these students are merely responding to incentives. Commonly understood reasons for students taking up courses outside India are the limited number of seats in government medical colleges, and higher costs in private medical colleges. Ask anyone about MBBS education in India, and they will launch into a tirade about how the “commercialisation” of medical education has turned it unaffordable.But as readers of this newsletter would know, price is just a signal of the underlying market conditions. And so, fixing prices cannot be done by price-fixing. In this particular case, higher prices are due to the low supply of undergraduate medical seats. Apparently, 88,120 seats are on offer every year. For reference, there were 2,86,000 undergraduate seats in China. A good 40 per cent of these seats are in government colleges where the fee is subsidised by the taxes Indian citizens pay, while the remaining 60 per cent are in private colleges where the fee can range from ₹18 lakhs to ₹30 lakhs a year. The demand outstrips the supply by quite a margin and hence the high prices. Had the market for seats been liquid, many more colleges should have sprung up and brought the prices down. Since there are nearly 600 colleges in India now, collusion by all of them can be ruled out. But clearly, this hasn’t happened, for two reasons.One, unreasonable restrictions for setting up medical colleges. Until 2019, the regulatory authority for this sector was the Medical Council of India (MCI), an organisation that regulated both medical education and practice. Run by doctors, increasing the supply of doctors wasn’t their highest priority. After all, which beneficiary wants to reduce the “elite-quality” of their professions? Setting up a college meant pleading with this regulator and complying with their conditions like owning 20 acres of land and running an attached hospital. Colleges had to justify their student intake and were evaluated on the basis of things like the size of the “auditorium-cum-examination” hall, classroom sizes, and of course the student fees. In short, all the perverse incentives dutifully put together to create a rent-seeking apparatus par excellence. Corruption rose. Only politicians who could stare down the regulator risked starting new colleges, and the rest stayed away. Two, the existing medical colleges are dwarfs. In recent times, the number of medical colleges per se has increased handsomely, albeit from a low base. In a Lok Sabha reply, the union health ministry said that 132 medical colleges in the government sector and 77 medical colleges in the private sector have been approved by the NMC/MCI since 2014, an increase of 72 per cent since 2013. However, the intakes of these colleges continue to remain low. While the number of undergraduate medical seats in China are nearly 3.5 times those in India, the former has far fewer medical colleges — 420 (2018 figure) as against India’s 596 (2021 figure). So, India now has the largest number of medical colleges in the world and yet isn’t producing nearly enough doctors. The private colleges that pick up the gauntlet prefer to stay small rather than grow. The reason: regulations disincentivise scale. If you were to visit the webpage for starting a new college, you will find five different compliance categories. Depending on whether you admit 50, 100, 150, 200, or 250 students, the regulatory requirements keep scaling up. All the rules mentioned in the previous point — such as hospital seats, number of examination halls — need to increase correspondingly for the student intake to increase. Those who can, set up another college instead. Those who don’t, are conservative with the student intake. And of course, what is regulation without a price cap! Fees for 50 per cent of the seats in private colleges are capped. There are only so many people in the other 50 per cent who will cross-subsidise the rest. Even 10 per cent of seats going vacant dents profits significantly. So, colleges prefer doing laghu-udyog.And so, we continue to regret that India falls way below the WHO-recommended target for doctor density. Despite the miserable status quo, the policy community in this sector is unable to confront the trade-offs. Most people think the solution is simple — the union government must establish more medical colleges. They discount the fact that the size of the problem goes beyond the capacity of the government — fiscal and administrative. Enlisting the support of the market is necessary for India to have a shot at meeting the doctor deficit. There are a few solutions that go against the grain. Dr Devi Shetty recommends introducing undergraduate medical education in private hospitals using a problem-based learning approach. The government has also suggested a two-year bridge course for AYUSH doctors. Whatever the merits or flaws with these solutions, it is difficult to budge the policy orthodoxy. Like for farming and defence services, debates on healthcare professionals acquire moralising undertones quickly — “commercialisation” becomes evil and economic reasoning is deemed inapplicable. The fear of a poorly trained doctor misdiagnosing patients is used to dead bat any solution for liberalising medical education. Addressing this concern requires strengthening the regulation of medical practice, not smothering medical education. And so, we continue to be stuck with the status quo. Second-order effects follow. The scarcity of seats generates a huge demand for coaching institutes that can help crack entrance exams, further increasing costs for students. Some states opt out of entrance exams unable to fix the underlying scarcity. The problem doesn’t go away.If we are serious about changing the status quo, a radical liberalisation of medical education in India is the only option. The problem of ‘bad’ commercialisation can only be solved by more liberalisation. All other solutions are akin to putting a band-aid on a bullet wound.(Thanks to three friends who understand the healthcare sector much better than me. Mistakes are all mine.)India Policy Watch: Public Ka PaisaInsights on burning policy issues in India— RSJPublic finance is complex to understand. How the government earns revenue, what principles it follows to allocate its funds among various constituents that are fair and productive, how it distributes its surpluses etc. The list is long. All sorts of frameworks are used to figure this out. Pranay has often written on this topic in previous editions.A more fundamental question on public finance that doesn’t get covered is this. Who does the money belong to? I mean, of course, it belongs to the government. But where did it get this money from, to begin with? I guess the simplistic answer is it earned money from providing services to its citizens and taxing them for it. Then it built up the surplus, invested the money in creating assets that generate good returns, improved the productivity of the citizens that in turn helped in increasing revenues and this continues nicely so long as it keeps its expenses below its revenues. As we see all around this isn’t as easy for any government. Over time it spends more than it earns and creates a deficit. Then it goes into debt to bridge this gap. If that isn’t forthcoming, it prints more money. All of which is like taking a loan from future generations. And this sort of a giant Ponzi scheme of borrowing fresh money to pay past debt continues. Someone will be left holding the can in distant future. But who cares. All this is quite intuitive. What’s the point of this preamble, you might ask? Well, the two topics I cover today are related to this. In one instance, there was quite surprisingly no “can” to hold for future generation for previous government’s excesses. Instead, there was a prize. So, if the future generations usually hold the can, do they also hold on to the prize in the rare event they get that? We’ll see how that goes. The other case is about where’s inflation in India? And how will the government meet its borrowing targets for the new fiscal?Your Friendly Neighborhood LIC Agent To begin, consider this. You live in a nice, middle-class neighbourhood (the real middle class, not the gated variety). One of these days a nice, dependable sort of young man arrives. He’s a do-gooder sort. He helps with community issues, plays with the kids, tutors them in his spare time - you get the picture. A couple of years later he claims he can help manage your savings. He is open and transparent on how he will do this in a prudent and conservative manner. He will take money from people in the neighbourhood, pool all the funds together and he will invest it. He will earn a 5 per cent commission on whatever surplus he generates for you. You have seen such charlatans before so you’re careful. But you know this nice man. You have come to trust him so all of you decide to give part with some of your savings. Turns out he is true to his word. He takes a small part of your savings and he keeps investing it every year. He is good at his job. He gives you a stable return. Not spectacular but you never lost any money. He’s a safe pair of hands who delivers. Every year. This goes on. Not for one, two or three years. But say for 60 years. He is that one dependable presence in your lives. Though much older now. He now has a huge pooled fund that he manages. He keeps distributing modest and stable returns every year. But after giving all of you those returns, there’s a large surplus that’s sitting with him. How did that happen? Well, there are reasons. He’s been conservative in how much return he gives you when the times are good because he thinks there might be tough times in future. Indeed, there were a few bad years in between. But they were never as bad as he had anticipated. So, over time that corpus gets built up. Also, many who invested at the beginning are no more. Their kids have left the country. They haven’t come back to claim the money. Others have left the neighbourhood and probably forgotten they made a small investment all those years ago. You get the picture. This old man is now sitting on a large amount that’s unclaimed by anyone. But he’s 85 now. He wants to sell this business to someone, hand over a tidy sum to his daughters and retire to the Himalayas. So, here’s the question: how should he treat that large unclaimed amount? Should he:a) distribute this unclaimed amount to all his current and past customers who have helped build his business over the years? After all, these customers took the risk of investing with him and the upside should be theirs. It is their money as a group. Or,b) add this unclaimed amount to the regular business that he’s selling to new owners. Why? Because this is the upside of him doing the hard work of running this business and giving steady returns over so many years. Nobody should grudge him this because he’s never defaulted on any of his promises. Whatever remains after that is his. So, he takes the sale proceeds for himself and retires.Or, c) keep the unclaimed amount as-is. Tell the new owner this is a separate amount and this has to be kept the same way for a rainy day in future. This is a conservative option but this doesn’t solve the problem of the unclaimed amount. It only kicks it down the road. Now, read this:“State-owned insurance company LIC filed its Draft Red-Herring Prospectus (DRHP) on Sunday. Noteworthy among the risk factors mentioned by the corporation was the splitting of the single ‘Life Fund’ into participatory and non-participatory funds. This will, however, have a positive impact on LIC’s valuations as it approaches the primary market.Let us start with participatory and non-participatory policies. Under a participatory policy, a policyholder can get a share of the profits of the company. This is received as a bonus. Examples of such products offered by LIC include Jeevan Labh and Bachat Plus. No such sharing of profits happens under non-participatory products, which under the LIC fold includes policies such as Saral Pension and  Nivesh Plus.As all insurance companies do, LIC also reinvests premium monies that policyholders pay. The profits or surplus that comes about as a result was till September last year held in one single fund. This was the Life Fund. The surplus was divided in the 95:5 ratio between policyholders (in the form of bonuses) and shareholders (which is the Government, in the form of dividends).”In summary, LIC is that dependable old man.It is a state-owned company that’s over 60 years old. It has been selling investment products (with a small insurance component) to its customers and it has built up a surplus pool. In one surplus pool (participatory policies), the profit is shared between the policyholders (customers) and LIC’s owner (Government of India) in the ratio of 95:5. In another pool (non-participatory policies), the surplus need not be shared between the shareholders and policyholders. Why? Because here LIC promises some kind of guarantees to customers on their investment and so long as that is met, the surplus belongs to shareholders. And in the same way, if the guarantees were not to be met, the government would have had to pay from its pocket to meet the obligations. So, the risk and rewards are symmetric. Through an amendment now the government (owner of LIC) has decided the entire accumulated surplus pool sitting with it can be transferred to this non-participatory pool. That’s one move. This move then enables the government as a shareholder of LIC to transfer that surplus to shareholders; current and future. And apart from this transfer, it appears LIC has valued the equity component of this surplus (that is the part that’s invested in shares of public companies) at the current market value. In finance speak, the equity component of the surplus has been marked-to-market.    How much is this surplus pool and where has it come from? Well, LIC has run for over 60 years. Customers have left without taking their money, some have died and no one has claimed the amount and LIC has been prudent in paying out annual returns to its customers and building a surplus for a rainy day ahead. How much is this amount that LIC has transferred to the book that’s now attributable to the shareholders? Around ₹4 trillion or ₹4 lakh crores. That’s what it looks like. Mind you, there’s nothing illegal here. There’s an amendment made and it is perfectly fine to then transfer the surplus to shareholders after that. And it is also fine to mark-to-market the equity component.But then we go back to the original set of three questions I raised about the old man’s business. Now ask them for LIC. Should it:a) distribute this unclaimed amount to all their customers who have helped build LIC’s business over the years? After all, the customers have taken the risk of investing with them and the upside should be theirs.b) claim this unclaimed amount to itself and its shareholders. It becomes a useful tool to sell its IPO as an attractive proposition. Nobody should grudge them this because they have never defaulted on any of their promises. This is the upside of them running the business and giving steady returns over so many years. c) keep the unclaimed amount as-is. Tell the new shareholders this is a separate amount and this has to be kept the same way. This is a safe option but this doesn’t solve the problem of the unclaimed amount. It only kicks it down the road. The answer based on the LIC IPO is b).I don’t know if there’s a right answer here. But I have a feeling many policyholders may ask why not a)? It goes back to that question that’s not often asked in public finance. Whose money is it to start with?That brings me to the other point I wanted to cover. Where Is Inflation? We had the inflation prints of January come for India and the US last week. For the first time in over 30 years, we now have five consecutive months where US consumer inflation is higher than that of India. The US reported a consumer price inflation (CPI) of 7.5 per cent for January ‘22 while the corresponding number for India was 6 per cent. It looks like this trend will continue for the entire year. So, what should we make of this? I mean leaving aside the usual chest-thumping in some quarters on how this shows the current government is managing the economy better than the Biden administration. There are five key points for us to consider.One, the US inflation is being driven by three factors. The huge fiscal stimulus they gave their economy during the pandemic. Broad estimates suggest the total stimulus was about 25 per cent of the US economy. This has meant significant liquidity in the system. That coupled with supply chain bottlenecks that still afflict the global trade system and an almost full employment scenario means there’s more money chasing fewer goods in the US. Housing prices are high, petrol prices have gone up and consumption is up by 10 per cent last year. So, inflation. The Fed (US central bank) has no option but to raise interest rates to make money ‘costlier’ and reduce the liquidity in the system. Not taming inflation will hurt the Biden government politically. And like we have often said before, inflation is the worst kind of tax on the poor.Two, the inflation outlook of the RBI in India is fairly benign. They expect it to be about 4.5 per cent next year. What explains this? Beyond all other rhetoric, the problem in India is demand. Private consumption which has been the primary driver of the Indian economy in the past decade is still at pre-pandemic levels. People aren’t spending enough. Maybe because their incomes aren’t growing and that’s because the economy isn’t really growing at a macro level. So, all the song and dance about stock markets, unicorns and wage inflation among techies aside, the aggregate numbers tell us we aren’t spending enough. And this despite the supply chain bottlenecks and higher liquidity environment that we are in which should lead to inflation in usual circumstances. Three, because of this the RBI doesn’t want to cut rates. The RBI came out with a very ‘dovish’ outlook in the MPC that concluded last week. Behind all the technical jargon, the message was this. We aren’t growing fast enough and we see the ‘recovery’ after the pandemic tapering off soon. The RBI spoke of the multiple indicators that suggest a slowing down of momentum in post-pandemic recovery - sale of automobiles, tractors, capital goods and fall in purchasing manager’s index (PMI) scores, all leading indicators of economic activity. So, RBI will continue to be as accommodating as possible to spur growth. RBI believes it is not behind the curve on this while most of the market thinks otherwise. The broader point about the recovery being weak and ‘k-shaped’ has been made in our past editions multiple times. There’s an underlying weakness in the economy that has to be addressed by first acknowledging and then working on it. Four, there’s a scenario in the next six months where the RBI will continue to hold interest rates in India while the US may have multiple rate hikes that could add up to between 75-100 bps (100 bps = 1 per cent). This means the gap between interest rates in India and the US will come down materially. Usually, this means spillover and volatility risks of the dollars flowing out of India and hurting the INR exchange rate. The RBI seems to be comfortable that it has healthy forex reserves, a narrow current account deficit and continued inbound investment flow that can cushion this risk. We will have to see how long this comfort lasts. Finally, the RBI has a task on its hand to manage this huge borrowing plan, remaining dovish to not scuttle even the weak recovery on hand while managing the risk of a narrower rate differential between India and the US. And the government has to find ways to service the ever-increasing interest burden of its debt while staying on course for the ambitious capex plan it has laid out. The borrowing programme based on the budget presented is to the tune of Rs. 15 lac crores in the coming year. Managing this requires a lot of skill. Whatever it does, there will be more debt in its books. That brings us back to that question again. Who is footing the bill for this? Whose money is it?Matsyanyaaya: Aap Hamaare Hain Kaun, Russia?Big fish eating small fish = Foreign Policy in action— Pranay KotasthaneAs Russia-Ukraine tensions threaten to reorder international arrangements, the question Aap Hamaare Hain Kaun, Russia? has gained renewed importance. “What does a worsening relationship between Russia and the West means for India’s strategic autonomy” has been a theme that’s dominated the mental bandwidth of India’s strategic community over the past month. The choice for India should be obvious. If it has to pick between the US and Russia, the convergence with the US on all three parameters — interests, values, and capacities — far outweighs Russia’s importance to India. Yet, three objections persist.The first argument is that a strong relationship with Russia is necessary for India’s strategic autonomy. Without this partnership, the fear is that India will become a mere pawn in the hands of the US. I vehemently disagree. Strategic autonomy is a function of power. And to gain more power, it's better to partner with a stronger partner who can build your capability. Even if it leads to a loss of tactical autonomy, it is better than betting on a weaker partner like Russia. To side with Russia just for the sake of proving one’s independent credentials is the precise opposite of ‘strategic’ thinking. Rajesh Rajagopalan puts it bluntly here.“The argument that India’s strategic autonomy requires it to maintain high levels of political and defence relations with Russia is particularly thoughtless. Strategic autonomy is an objective of foreign policy, not a doctrine. As an objective, the question to ask is — which policy helps increase India’s strategic autonomy? In a complex international environment, for a relatively weak power, the answer requires picking among bad, unappetising choices.A China-dominated Asian order, which will be the consequence of Moscow’s efforts to undermine the US, can hardly be conducive to India’s strategic autonomy. Refusing to deal with the deepening chasm in India-Russia relations will not make it go away, it will only make the fall that much harder.”The second objection is even more ideological. The old guard in the strategic community of India has a soft spot for Russia. Soviet Union helped India in the 1971 war while the US backed Pakistan, and Russia has been a reliable partner through thick and thin for India, while the US hasn’t, are the arguments put forward in support of this line of thinking.I again disagree. To explain why, consider this initial framework for assessing the reliability in international relations. This framework assigns reliability perceptions based on the impact of state X’s actions on India’s interests. Each quadrant assigns binary labels to the state based on its chosen strategy.The strictest condition for reliability is when a state takes a self-harming action in India’s interest (lower-right quadrant). For many, the Soviet Union met this criterion by deploying destroyers and submarines in the Bay of Bengal to ward off the US Task Force 74 during the 1971 war. What’s forgotten is that four months before the war, India and the USSR had signed an Indo–Soviet Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation. India had effectively allied with the USSR. USSR’s actions were thus at best reliable in a much looser sense (upper-right and lower-left quadrants). We should get over this fiction of Russia being India’s super-reliable partner. Especially in today’s situation when it is a much weaker partner heavily dependent on India’s foremost adversary.The third objection is a realistic one. Since India is heavily dependent on Russia’s weapon systems, it cannot let the relationship worsen in the short term. I agree with this framing. While the short-term options are limited, the immediate implication is two-fold. One, diversify the trade relationship with Russia so that India can deter Russia’s denial of access to defence equipment by quid-pro-quo. Two, reduce dependence on Russia by buying from partners with whom India has a broader partnership. This is a point Nitin Pai has made for many years. In his words:The fundamental challenge remains that our relations with Russia are massively concentrated on defence trade. It is best to purchase defence equipment from a country with whom we have broad and deep trade relations; failing which, to try and build such relations with the country we’re buying arms from. Russia falls into the latter category. Yet, bilateral trade has remained around $10 billion for years, with the balance being in Russia’s favour. India trades more with Venezuela, Belgium and South Africa.In short, Russia is important to India for an instrumental purpose alone. No permanent friends, only permanent interests, and all that.HomeWorkReading and listening recommendations on public policy matters[Video] Pavan Srinath on the need to liberalise medical education[Articles] Read these two opposing viewpoints in ThePrint on India-Russia relationship by Rajesh Rajagopalan and Andrew Korybko.[Article] How we fixed the Ozone Layer, by Hannah Ritchie for Works in Progress is fodder for a solutionist. This is a public episode. If you would like to discuss this with other subscribers or get access to bonus episodes, visit publicpolicy.substack.com

ThoughtSpace - A Podcast from the Centre for Policy Research
Episode 13: Dissecting Electoral Trends for Assembly Elections 2022

ThoughtSpace - A Podcast from the Centre for Policy Research

Play Episode Listen Later Feb 11, 2022 35:02


With crucial assembly elections, all eyes are on the states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur. Why are these elections important? What are the key electoral issues in these states? How will these elections shape the political narrative for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections? In episode 13 of India Speak: The CPR Podcast, Yamini Aiyar (President and Chief Executive, CPR) is joined by Rahul Verma (Fellow, CPR) to determine the current political trends and his outlook for the 2022 assembly elections. With the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Trinamool Congress (TMC) emerging as new actors in the opposition, they discuss what this means for the Congress. They also discuss where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) stand in the race. Further, Aiyar and Verma focus on the role of political economic dynamics in the political outcome of any electoral campaign, the long term implications of these polls for national politics and what they signal for 2024.

Miss Conduct: A True Crime Podcast

GUEST ON BOARD: We are joined by Priya Mirza, who teaches political science at Zakir Husain Delhi College. Priya is the host of The Longest Constitution podcast, which looks at how the vision of the Constitution and how it affects everyday life! On 12th June 1975, 4 years after the 1971 Indian general elections, incumbent Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was found guilty by the Allahabad High Court of electoral malpractices. The complaint against her was filed by Raj Narain, her opposing candidate in the constituency of Rae Baraeli. The Court convicted her of election fraud, stripped her of her parliamentary seat, unseated her as the Prime Minister, and barred her from holding office for another 6 years. And how did Mrs. Gandhi respond? By locking down the entire country under an “Emergency” for over 2 years. Mrs. Gandhi also followed this up by passing the 39th Amendment to the Constitution, which barred any court in India from challenging the election of any person to Lok Sabha holding the office of Prime Minister. This Amendment was struck down later by the Supreme Court for trying to amend the Basic Structure of the Constitution. So Mrs. Gandhi was basically told a resounding “NO” at least twice by Indian courts. Find out more at - https://ivmpodcasts.com/miss-conduct-blogYou can follow our guest Priya Mirza on Instagram- https://www.instagram.com/thelongestconstitution_/You can follow our hosts on Instagram.Ragavi: https://www.instagram.com/ragi.dosai/Nisha: https://www.instagram.com/just.nishful.thinking/You can listen to this show and other awesome shows on the IVM Podcasts app on Android: https://ivm.today/android or iOS: https://ivm.today/ios, or any other podcast app.You can check out our website at http://www.ivmpodcasts.com/