How does India fit into the US Pivot to Asia Strategy?

Not a word was raised about why Ashton Carter was really present in India, on why he chose to visit Vishakhapatnam before the capital or about the role he saw India playing in the United States pivot to Asia. This piece is an effort to throw light on a matter that has been ignored by our print and television media.

Posted on June 17, 2015 .

The promise and challenge of Narendra Modi in Al Jazeera America

For four decades after independence from British rule, India muddled along at what observers derisively termed the 2 percent annual Hindu rate of growth. A severe economic crisis and International Monetary Fund demands prompted radical economic reforms in 1991, leading to rapid growth in incomes over the past two decades. The fact that former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the key architect of those far-reaching reforms, is now being lampooned as an ineffectual and indecisive leader is a pungent irony. 

Similarly, the unceremonious loss of Modi’s incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) colleagues in the 2004 election, after a slick campaign for re-election on a platform of “India Shining,” should provide a lesson in the dangers of hubris. Even though the economy grew quickly during the BJP’s tenure, the Congress party–led coalition exploited popular discontent with growing national inequalities to win that election. Ten years later, the BJP is back at the helm with Modi as its undisputed leader.

Posted on May 31, 2014 .

MGNREGA claims, and facts : OpEd in the Indian Express

As per the CAG beneficiary survey, 63 per cent of the beneficiaries confirmed that the MGNREGA helped them avoid migration in search of work. Seventy one per cent of those surveyed felt that useful assets have been created. The CAG also concludes that around 90 per cent of the beneficiaries were either casual labourers or small and marginal farmers. This is indicative of the fact that the MGNREGA is reaching the poorest and most marginalised.

Posted on May 15, 2014 .

UPA's jobs legacy: Created crores of non-agri jobs, lowered jobless rate

The agriculture growth rate has increased from 2.6 percent under NDA to around 4 percent under UPA-II. This was accompanied by an increase in real agriculture wages, rural consumption expenditure (used as a proxy indicator for income) and an absolute decline in the number of poor.  NSSO data, analysed by Crisil, suggests that between 2009-10 and 2011-12, the rate of rural consumption expenditure, at 19 percent per person annually, outpaced urban consumption expenditure for the first time in 25 years. 

The numbers reveal much more than can be captured in a sound bite, and are, therefore, unlikely to be of interest to TRP pundits in the age of 24/7 media. However, the fact is that the period following 2004-05 has witnessed a structural shift in employment that has promoted sustainable and inclusive economic growth. These remain the unsung achievements of the last ten years.

Posted on May 10, 2014 .