India’s economic freedom plunge

For a government so devoted to rankings and ratings, India dropping 20 places to 143 in the 2017 Index of Economic Freedom must have been a bummer. If Prime Minister Narendra Modi felt it worthwhile to approvingly cite India’s 19-place improvement in the World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index, surely such a dramatic fall in economic freedom …

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Rank exaggeration

A look at India's rapid rise in the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Index, first published as an oped in the Hindustan Times: It’s clear that the Modi government can’t get enough of comparative rankings and indicators. And this is understandable: despite a solid reform push and favourable (if controversial) official statistics, many feel that …

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The Lion’s Meow: a closer look at Make in India

The logic behind the government’s Make in India initiative is clear. As Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated in his speech at the launch of “Make in India Week” in Mumbai on 13 Feb 2016: We launched the Make in India campaign to create employment and self-employment opportunities for our youth. We are working aggressively towards making India …

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How various regions fare in Modi’s Cabinet

There has been much talk of the politics behind Prime Minister Narendra Modi 's 5 Jul Cabinet reshuffle. It hasn't escaped anyone's attention that several new appointees came from Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat, both states in which the BJP has big stakes and that have elections due in 2017. But how important is regional representation in the appointment of ministers? …

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Fact checking Modi’s WSJ interview

Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a wide-ranging interview to the Wall Street Journal to mark the second anniversary of his government. Modi argued that he had restored confidence to India and put an end to the "sense of policy paralysis, bad economic conditions and corruption" of 2012 and 2013. As usual, there was a grain of truth, and also the exaggeration …

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No end of the road for the Congress

Here's a look at the Congress Party's national prospects, first published as an oped in the Hindustan Times: https://twitter.com/htTweets/status/736021072424886273 After a merciless series of election defeats since 2014, it’s tempting to write off the Congress as a leading national force. With few visible signs of a Congress revival, some argue that India’s regional parties are now the …

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Arvind Panagariya spins an infrastructure tale

There's something about serving in the Modi government that converts seemingly sensible people into inept spinmeisters. Consider the respected Columbia University economist and NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Arvind Panagariya. In an 8 May 2016 Business Standard op-ed titled The turnaround in infrastructure, he reeled off the Modi government's many accomplishments in this arena. Following which he warned …

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The use and abuse of President’s Rule

After the furore over the Modi government imposing President's Rule in Congress-ruled Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand  -- in seeming defiance of the Supreme Court's 1994 Bommai judgement -- supporters have pointed out that previous governments have used Article 356 more frequently to remove state governments: https://twitter.com/rupasubramanya/status/714094610306322432 There are two obvious problems with this line of argument: Legitimacy. It fails …

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