UPA-II: How to lose the plot and still be arrogant

An orgy of self-destruction is underway in the nation’s capital. A Prime Minister energetically backs his law minister who brazenly intervened in the CBI’s investigations into the coal scam. A loose-lipped foreign minister describes Chinese incursion in Ladakh’s Depsang valley as “acne” that can be cured by applying ointment.   A joint parliamentary panel chief … Continued

The obsession with private schools

It has been three years since India’s right to education law came into force. Except for a provision on teacher’s qualifications, compliance on all other provisions was to have been completed in this period.   In the past month, the shutting down of 473 private schools in Punjab for not complying with the law that … Continued

Drivers of the gold boom, crash and…

Central banks hold large gold reserve assets. Unlike their treasury assets, these do not yield any return. Central banks are, therefore, known to lease indeterminate volumes of these risk- free assets to bullion banks at around one per cent annual interest. Bullion banks, in turn, sell the gold in the London Bullion Market to invest … Continued

Need to bring repo rate in line with inflation

RBI’s monetary policy seems to be influenced by two considerations. The interest rate has to be above the rate of inflation and there should a minimum margin between the repo rate and the rate of inflation. That is not how other central banks are managing their money.   D H Pai Panandiker, president, RPG Foundation, … Continued

India’s labour pangs

A remarkable feature of the current growth slowdown in India is that it has not made getting labourers any easier for employers. Reports of labour shortages keep pouring in from across the country even today.   The scarcity of unskilled labour in an economy classified as “labour surplus” is a great paradox, and especially so, … Continued

Why Bihar’s Miracle Story Might Be Short-Circuited

  Highlights * Bihar grew at an average annual rate of 10.7% over the last seven years * But only 16% of 18.94 million households in Bihar have access to electricity * Some 82% of households still depend on kerosene as key fuel source for lighting   India’s third most populous state of Bihar grew … Continued

Can One More Scheme Improve Healthcare For Children?

The Government of India recently launched a new programme – Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) – under the National Health Mission (NHM) in February 2013 to focus on the health of school-going children.   The programme hopes to improve the quality of life of 270 million children with a focus on early detection of birth … Continued

Chits are not cheats

The relationship between the regulated and the unregulated parts of finance is not that between night and day, where the one is the obverse of the other. The RBI’s regulation is more like a tourniquet tied too long: it staunches the bleeding, all right, but it also cuts off blood supply to another part of … Continued

Why politics won’t come in the way of big bang fuel reform

The government has already built strong foundations for decontrolling diesel by regularly increasing retail prices by about 50 paise per litre. As a result, people have accepted the moderate and frequent changes in prices, and political parties no longer try to organise nationwide protests against any increase in fuel prices.   But the government needs … Continued