Saturday, March 29, 2014

Free the market in Indian agriculture sector

Very insightful thoughts from Ashok Gulati. Many interesting things he shares with BS. I did met him in one of the conference in Delhi recently. Inf act, he had shared most the following things in that talk he gave:

  • "export controls is one way of taxing the peasantry by suppressing prices"
  • “The problem is the government is trying to achieve equity through price policy and not using income policy, so you have massive misallocations. This is how Soviet Russia collapsed. We need to get out of this socialist mindset and allow markets to function,”
  • “This is the area where the second Green Revolution is supposed to happen. It was a bumper year, but you had export controls so you didn’t allow foodgrain to go out, you restrict the private sector domestically, plus you are not procuring. So the market collapsed for farmers in Bihar. Yet you are procuring from Punjab, which earns Rs 4,000 crore extra by charging a tax of 14.5%, what the heck!”
  • “He said, ‘Tumne saare desh ka theka le rakha hai? [are you responsible for the whole country?] The government has made you a chairman. Enjoy life’.”
  • He found Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar “progressive, more market oriented than other ministers and with a broad vision.”
  • “Well, the food minister wanted to protect consumers, the agriculture minister the farmer. Each ministry works in a silo, so, really, it is for the prime minister to take a call. That’s when you need a leader.”
  • “Vajpayee didn’t say much but he listened. Once, there was a discussion on deficit financing and Montek talked about how we need to disinvest in Maruti, Ashoka Hotel and so on. Vajpayee’s response was, ‘Bawaal khada ho jayega’ [it will become a problematic issue]. Yet, 15 days later, that’s exactly what the government announced. That’s leadership.” 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Rajaji, Jaswant Singh and Jan Sangh/BJP

Apart from one wing of the Swatantra Party that lived and died with the privy purses, 

K.K.Pathak says:

"I am somewhat surprised to note Jaswant’s unique understanding of Rajaji’s views and opinions as exhibited by him in his charming explanations of them in true national interest."

"C.Rajagopalchari wanted to unite the Opposition before the 1971 elections. Prof. N. G. Ranga, the then Chairman of the erstwhile Swatantra Party, was hobnobbing with the RSS, he even addressed its annual rally. He wanted a merger of the Jan Sangh and the Swatantra Party. C. Rajgopalchari was much influenced by Ranga in favour of a merger between the two parties. M.R. Masani was General Secretary of the Swatantra Party and was against Ranga’s move. Rajaji asked me what I thought of the proposal made by Ranga. I quite remember my remark: For God’s sake let’s do nothing to pollute the sanity of the Swatantra Party with the fanaticism of the Jan Sangh. When Masani came to know about my opinion he congratulated me for speaking the truth without mincing words. Today I feel I was right and Ranga was wrong in pleading the cause of merger. Nothing has changed over these four decades after I gave my opinion to C.Rajagopalchari in response when he asked me to unlock my heart." Read the interesting story from here.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Must read!

For me, T.C.A Srinivasa Raghavan is one of very interesting writer as far as the economics is concerned. He is also writes so excitingly about the political economics of India. I have been reading his articles for about a decade. However, I must confess that he writes so well and interesting topics only when he is with BS. His other works in newspapers like BL etc. were pretty bad and the reasons are know to any regular reader of The Hindu group. Infact, T.C.A wrote some very critically interesting articles on Indian political economy during the period 2004-2009 but for that he paid huge price in the next few years! 

Here are some interesting articles by T.C.A in the BS:

Monday, March 10, 2014

"India’s self-styled liberals have sprinted ahead of them"

Very moving lines to ponder over it for months to come before and aftermath of coming general elections in India:

  • India’s self-styled liberals have sprinted ahead of them. Seduced by the intellectual and financial patronage enjoyed under Congress dispensations, they have come to believe in their own unsubstantiated innuendoes against Modi as incontestable truths. They could neither hear, see nor smell anything wrong with the Congress in the past. Now the courtesy has been extended to the AAP despite evidence staring them in their faces.
  • Between cussed, old and yet ambitious politicians and pseudo-intellectuals, they have succeeded in reducing India into a socially dysfunctional economic rump.
  • If they succeed in stopping Modi from becoming prime minister after these elections, they will complete the task of making India an irrecoverable economic basket case. Restoring trust in the country’s leaders and institutions will be a lost cause forever if, even at this juncture, personal interests trump national interest.

B.R. Ambedkar, the greatest economist India never had

Whenever I hear about anything on to B.R.Ambedkar- bear with me- I only think of him as a greatest economist India never had at least so far. Of course, I am not overestimating him as an economist. All I am trying to say is that let's give him due credit to him for what he had achieved by giving wonderful original economic ideas in the field of economics which become dominant factor in the second half of last century. Its, strange that none has bothered to look at his many books and scholarly articles published in professional journals on economics. 

As far as the people are concerned virtually all are passionate about Ambedkar's contributions in the field of politics, social development, constitutional morality, etc. Out of all these, the one which comes to public attention and occasionally the attentions of authors and experts is the issue of Caste on which Ambedkar made some extremely controversial arguments. 

Remember, Ambedkar was neither a Marxist nor socialist. At the age of 45, Ambedkar wrote this text purely for a lecture to be delivered at Lahore but it was not delivered due to its controversial content. His work on Annihilation of Caste is the book which has been revisited by none other than the Marxist and socialist.

Arundhati Roy has written an introduction to the new edition titled Annihilation of Caste: The Annotated Critical Edition B.R. Ambedkar with ‘The Doctor and the Saint’ . The Caravan has published her introduction almost in full version. On the whole, she merely takes Ambedkar's thinking into a wild argument of why people have not taken serious about the Ambedkar's work as compared to M.K Gandhi. Of course, she try to give some idea of the role of castes in India in today's context.

In the early part of introduction Roy writes and rightly so that "Ambedkar was a prolific writer. Unfortunately his work, unlike the writings of Gandhi, Nehru or Vivekananda, does not shine out at you from the shelves of libraries and bookshops." This is something I quite agree with her as a matter of fact. That is all I can agree with her!

M.K.Gandhi vehemently criticized Ambedkar's work by saying its a big challenge to the Hinduism. Ambedkar replied to it with much muse in it.

One of Ambedkar's half-truth-full follower revisited his text and had written about recently in a English magazine. Nothing new in it.

Here you can see the range of people commenting on Ambedkar's revisited work. Why don't we have such similar authors/experts to comment on his economic writings?

The Hindu also carried Roy's shorter version of the introduction. Also another shorter version in the outlook. She also has some long interview with the Outlook magazine. Somehow I did not liked the interview and the kind of words she used.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Narendra Modi Mania-Tall Order or Tall Leader

There comes time when someone seems as ordinary becomes special and extraordinary in a few months time. Like this can only happen in the open-media society like the one we are blessed with now and enjoying in the middle of this revolution. Narendra Modi become one such person for all the good reasons and causes. Modi's ideas have been hot debate now more intensively. Some are very interesting and few are more political in nature. But that is always the case for any persons who work in the political process in any country.

The purpose of this post is to re-count the economic ideas of Mr Modi. Some grant ideas.

  • urbanisation, infrastructure, education and healthcare, apart from cracking down on scourges such as inflation and black money... Modi...wish list includes Indian Institutes of Technology, Indian Institutes of Management and All India Institutes of Medical Science in every state, 100 new smart cities and bullet trains to all four corners of the country. 
  • "If the railways is modernised, we can give impetus to progress. By the time the country celebrates the diamond jubilee of independence (2022), we should have bullet trains going in four directions. The world will start seeing us with a new vision,"
  • Modi spoke also of building Brand India through 5 Ts - talent, tradition, trade, tourism & technology and said India’s demographic and democratic dividend along with these plans will set in motion the investment cycle and revive India’s stalled growth.
  • 'Nobody has a textile policy like us. It is based on five Fs. Farm to fibre; fibre to factory; factory to fashion; fashion to foreign,' 
Here are some articles: One, second, third, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven and twelveOther articles: here,

OPEN Letters to AAP & AK

It become big viral to do a wild motive of writing open letters invariably addressed to the new infant political party in India, the AAP and the infant politician Mr AK. Some letters are not at all good to read but its out there to judge the merit and content of it. Here are some list:

There are about 13 letters. All of these letters were written in the last two-three month. One of my friend has penned a very interesting two letters at CCS Blog, first and second. Prof.V Raghunathan has two letters: first and second. Letter of former supporter of AAP. Letter appeared in BS. Letter on former Law Minister of AAP government in Delhi. A blogger letter. Media blogger letter. Letter in Kashmir Times. DNA letter. Letter in fairobserver. Letter in TSE.

The use of AAP in Indian polity-Very objective analysis. Another one here.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Bulky Beasts

"The Planning Commission’s internal systems are run on the lines of a government ministry. It has a secretary like all other ministries. The secretary reports to the deputy chairman who is a “minister” with independent charge. All officers in the planning “ministry” report to the secretary. Members of the Planning Commission are ranked as “ministers of state” for protocol purposes, and like ministers of state in other ministries they have no say in the appointments, transfers, evaluations, and quality of the staff in the divisions they are notionally responsible for. Thus the organization is run like a “ministry” albeit with a “commission” of a few full-time members attached to it. These members are expected to deliver high-quality guidance on the subjects assigned to them and to change the ways in which the Commission engages with the country and plans for its progress. They do not have the resources to do this." More here.

"Two hundred and fifty years have passed since the great debate between Burke and Paine. The 21st century has commenced with a noticeable decline of trust in elected governments in India and in the West too." More here

India's cockpit, 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Nowhere or Somewhere in between?

Let's utter something on the politico economy of India. Forgot the numbers produced by the nunny State time and again. No doubt, the economy is undergoing a different plane and where it has headed is surely nobody's guess. Talk to anyone who is observing, doing business, working in policy or simply pondering over it compared to the rest of the economies in the world. Its simple common sense that till next government is in place, nothing can be said assured for progress and prosperity. But it does not mean that the people will simply not at work with their own commonsense to achieve progress and prosperity in life. 

This season is also about the high drama of elections in India. Biting the words has become a kind of business in modern society-always this or that. People's characteristics are better visible during the elections. Once the elections are over, the people or citizens of any country should start working backward to the folly promises or vows entrusted by the political workers.

Too much focus is being concentrated on the particular political establishment for usual if and buts of the polity of folly. I mean the senseless stupid talk about personal attacks on each other. 

Here are some useful articles appeared recently in the popular media. Some are repeating the old things. Before that there are some interesting stuff happening at newly created Pune International Centre.  

"eliminate the nearly 70 clearances (yes 70, according to planning commission’s new manufacturing policy!) for starting a business"

In Kautilya's Arthashastra, this situation is called matsya-nyaya, or law of the fish (in other words, the big fish eat the small). That is why Kautilya argues that the rule of law is the single most important responsibility of the state.