In conversation with Arun Shourie on dissenting judges, judicial independence and the ‘established’ media.
M.K. Venu is a Founding Editor of The Wire. As an active economic and political writer, he has held leadership roles in newspapers such as The Economic Times, The Financial Express and The Hindu. He has written extensively on economic policy matters for over a quarter century after India opened up its economy in 1991. He also wrote regular political economy columns on the edit pages of The Economic Times, Financial Express and Indian Express over the past two decades. He hosts a regular political-economy discussion called ‘State of the Economy’ on the national public broadcast channel RSTV. He has also been invited by Parliamentary Committees to give his views on public policy matters. He is on Twitter @mkvenu1.
How can expressing an opinion on the merit or demerit of an investment be deemed defamatory by the Adanis?
The farm economy deteriorated and small enterprises were hit badly in the last year.
There were murky goings-on during the trial which the Narendra Modi government has to answer for.
The saffron party’s election strategy was similar when its leaders were unsure of a victory in Bihar.
While a ‘bail-in’ would backfire by creating a political storm, the government must step in to address potential concerns . After all, India’s middle class hasn’t forgotten about demonetisation.
Numbers show the BJP has always dominated the top tier. The real story of their big loss in vote share lies in the bottom two tiers.
A simpler and lower rate of tax is what was needed to widen the country’s tax base substantially. This was totally missing in GST’s initial design.
The prime minister’s ‘rich versus poor narrative’, which helped sell demonetisation in its first few months, is collapsing in the face of devastation in the informal and formal sectors.
While the government needed to kick-start growth and private investment, it is absolutely essential that promoters of defaulting corporate groups don’t end up laughing all the way to the bank.
Now that the government has stepped in to bat for BJP president Amit Shah’s son, it should clear up questions about Rajesh Khandvala’s KIFS – with which he has had business dealings.
With the ripples of demonetisation and a poorly-designed GST spreading economic distress, voters will assess the promise of Narendra Modi’s ‘New India’ in due course.
Over 50 years, the loan repayment value will be much higher based on the inflation differential, which is bound to persist between Japan and India.
Ministers were shuttled in and out, supposedly on the basis of performance. But who will take responsibility for the structural slowing down of India’s economy, poor employment generation and agriculture distress?
The RBI’s data, and the government’s new narrative, is indicative of how badly demonetisation failed. Worse still, more important goals such as cracking down on benami property and reforming political funding are being gone about in a half-baked manner.
The Sameeksha Trust has not explained its specific issues with the Adani article, while Paranjoy Guha Thakurta has said he has evidence for all allegations made in it.
The opposition will have to go back to the drawing board to review how it must respond to the developing political dynamics as the BJP tightens its vice-like grip.
Santosh Mehrotra and M.K. Venu analyse what the numbers from the latest available employment data say.
Salil Shetty, secretary general of Amnesty International, and M.K. Venu, founding editor of The Wire, discuss the state of human rights in India, crackdown on Amnesty and other NGOs, the global refugee crisis and more.
The government would do well to avoid hyping GST as India’s new midnight “tryst with destiny” and instead focus on its design and implementation, without which the biggest tax reform could turn into the biggest nightmare for the country’s economy.
Most of the outreach efforts of the finance ministry to explain and create awareness about the GST have been with the bigger industry players.
German businessmen also told the Indian prime minister that the lack of a bilateral investment protection agreement was hampering their investment plans in India.
Though India seems all set to sign a free-trade agreement with the EU, the details will require time and effort to work out.
However much Modi tries to convince people that things are better today than in the pre-NDA era, his government has struggled to make considerable progress in most areas of India’s political economy.
With the BJP winning in assembly polls on divisive and emotive issues, the government seems convinced all is well with the economy.
In a one-to-one personality contest, the opposition leaders are very weak vis-à-vis Narendra Modi. They need to define their own agendas.
If the rioting by ruling party affiliates had occurred in the earlier regime, the BJP would have charged “goonda raj”. Now the boot is on the other leg.
The BJP’s consolidation of power in many states has given activities driven by the RSS ideology – represented by issues like cow protection and the Ram Temple – a fillip.
Uttar Pradesh, and indeed other states, may issue farm loan waiver bonds to banks but everyone knows these bonds will have no takers. The Centre will have to guarantee them.
Global experience shows that implementing GST caused severe short to medium term disruption in countries’ economies – we shouldn’t expect better from India’s half-baked version either.
A clear and decisive narrative of Hindutva as an integral component of the larger economic development project is already out there. Various facets of this will soon unfold.
This ‘moral cleansing’ project of the prime minister has played a big role in enabling him to break through caste barriers to create a larger social coalition.
Narendra Modi may have declared the BJP the victor, but vote-block arithmetic means UP is still anyone’s game.
Campaigning in eastern UP, Modi has tried every trick in the book – polarisation on communal lines, fiscal giveaways and pitting the poor against the rich.
Narendra Modi and Amit Shah have raised the communal temperature in the state from the fourth phase onwards, but it remains to be seen whether the party will be able to get its critical mass of Hindu votes cutting across various castes.
Between 35-40% of candidates in the UP elections have a criminal record. Many criminal acts have ideological legitimacy, resulting in reward rather than punishment, as seen in the case of the UP BJP president.
Was Dainik Jagran attempting to neutralise the possible momentum UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav or Mayawati may get from the western UP sentiment, which seemed to be clearly going against the BJP?
There’s very little sensitivity being shown in forcefully shoving India’s small traders and producers into the formal economy. To what extent will this affect the BJP’s support base?
The dichotomy between the interest of finance capital and the needs of the social sector has never been starker.
After demonetisation, the NDA government needs to get its affairs in order: starting from reviving private investment to delivering on social programmes.