Waking up to Inflation

Waking up to Inflation

Ravi Shanker Kapoor After almost a decade of misrule, it has dawned on the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) that inflation is… well, something very bad. So, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram recently said that inflationary pressure and structural bottlenecks were hurting the growth process—something that was obvious to all but the entitlement-obsessed dogmatists. Chidambaram is little better than Rahul Gandhi who realized in the last week of December 2013 that fruits and vegetables should be exempted from the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act by January 15. The diktat to the Congress chief ministers was in response to the fact that fruits and vegetables have contributed much to food inflation. On the face of it, it is astonishing that a coalition that came to power for the sake of the aam aadmi remained oblivious to something that concern all sections of society, especially the poor. The numbers tell the story: retail inflation during four years (1999-2003) of National Democratic Alliance (NDA) rule was 3.1 per cent, while it was 6.1 per cent under UPA I and around 10 per cent under UPA II. These are the estimates by Zyfin, a financial information company. These figures prove beyond doubt that the UPA regime has been an unmitigated disaster for not only India Inc but also for the man in the street. Consider the irony: the fortunes of the grand old party revived on the premises that the NDA, under the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was blind to the concerns of the poor, that it was preoccupied with growth and was insouciant about ‘inclusion,’ and that the need of the hour was ‘inclusive growth’—and what we get instead is jobless growth (60 million jobs during 1999-2004 and three million during 2004-10) and high inflation! Political consequences are also becoming evident; the GOP has been on a losing streak, despite its apparent solicitude for the ‘marginalized’ and the ‘downtrodden.’ So, now UPA grandees are waking up to such mundane issues like inflation and employment. They were so busy perfecting the right-oriented political philosophy and implementing its dogmas that it never occurred to them that high prices and dearth of jobs could hurt common people. The rural employment guarantee scheme,...

Is this the Budget we want? – Pankaj Bhatiya

Is this the Budget we want? – Pankaj Bhatiya

This budget has once again amply proved the fact that with changing economic scenario the annual budget has lost its prestigious status as the most important annual event in terms of economic policy announcements by the government. Nowadays it is just a mere briefing on income expenditure statement of the government in current and coming financial year. On one hand the economic value of budget is going down, the political value is becoming much more significant. How else can we explain the over emphasis on the women in this budget after the inhuman act in national capital few months back? The victim’s family in this case is yet to get the due justice but the central government seems to have already done its part by naming the proposed Rs. 1000 Cr fund for women security & safety after Nirbhaya. Was the Delhi gang rape case a result of insufficient funds allocated for women security in India? Even a lay man can answer this correctly. Another women centric announcement of setting up India’s first women PSU bank with a capital of again Rs. 1000 Cr in the same budget is clear indication that the congress party is trying hard to retrieve its much battered image after Delhi gang rape as otherwise there is no viable economic reason behind this announcement. Shouldn’t lot of other more pressing issues in banking sector have got precedence over a Mahila PSU bank?  Are women of this country not getting desirable banking services by existing so called male dominated banking sector? Is the fairer sex being discriminated in access to best banking services? We are living in an India where some of the biggest private sector banks are being successfully headed by women and there is no dearth of women in senior executive ranks in PSU banks as well. Moreover all these banks are there in market for the business and to make profits (I assume this is true for PSU banks as well in changed competitive scenario) and why and how the hell any of these banks would like to discriminate on the basis of gender. One of the major cheer factors of this budget is the containment of...

Vote and watch in Gujarat – Priti Jain

Vote and watch in Gujarat – Priti Jain

Accusations, allegations, denunciation, vituperation and defamations shun our politicians to the greatest abyss of their careers. They are highly talked about in the media, their parties become busy cleaning their mess up and they start measuring their words before speaking in public. And when the elections are nearing be it regional or national the action is manifold. With the upcoming elections in the state of Gujarat, taking place in two phases on the 13th and the 17th of December, the political one upping is in full swing. The popularity of the Modi government has been castigating the ill-efforts of the Congress party for a decade now. His new technological sprint in the form of 3D speeches and Google+ talks with the common man has certainly given him an edge over the opposition. No doubt this received a mixed response but somewhere down the line his experimentation is commendable. The congress may scream all it wants, disgracing him as a distant politician having no time for direct contact with the people; things are changing, unlike the wasteful tactics of Congress. If they believe in the mettle of direct contact, why have they been unable in stirring the masses? Narendra Modi has won over all the business tycoons and turned his state into an industrial haven. His state being greatly dependent on the agricultural and manufacturing sector, he took the right step in bringing in investment opportunities. Gujarat is a businessman’s land, so inviting potential investments is simply sustaining the statehood of Gujarat. Leadership can never be confined to giving speeches and setting goals, being an opportunist is equally important. A conventional economic model does not allow a state to continually depend on its primary and secondary sector. An increase in the tertiary sector is an indicator of development and growth. Modi did realize the urgent need to shift to this sector. The main and the only problem then becomes the inevitable prioritization of the latter. The failure lies in the balancing act. India itself has failed in the commensuration of the former sectors; let alone Gujarat. For one to be happy, the other person automatically has to be sad, so then what is this inclusive...

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