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... If the Union budget was to be given an imaginative title, like those in the Economic Survey, it would be “Much Ado About Nothing”. The Survey raised the hope that something will be done to revive private investment and rationalise subsidies. The budget failed on both counts. Instead, it increased MGNREGA allocation to a record level, which is surprising since Prime Minister Narendra Modi had railed against this scheme in the run-up to the 2014 election. It seems that the prime minister has become its main champion now, perhaps realising its obvious vote-getting potential. The Survey also raised hopes that something will be done to rationalise subsidies and aggressively push JAM (Jan Dhan, Aadhaar and Mobile), but no such luck. ...Indian Express on Feb. 4, 2017, 12:32 a.m.
...The Modi government’s hit on black money may go down as one of India’s biggest economic blunders — or greatest achievements. Whether one agrees with the move or not, its implementation has been bungled and the collateral damage is likely to be heavy. Where did this idea originate? Surely the PM’s key economic advisors would not have recommended it. Demonetisation is usually associated with decrepit economies and hyperinflation, such as Zimbabwe recently and Argentina in the past. The Argentine government demonetised several times in the last century; it even changed its currency’s name from peso to austral, then back to the peso — each time, it further reduced confidence in the currency. Myanmar, Ghana, the former Soviet Union, Nigeria and Zaire also demonetised, leading to devastating economic consequences. ...Indian Express on Nov. 28, 2016, 12:04 a.m.
...That desire to not allow any outside power to interfere with its food security played itself out in the recently concluded WTO discussions in Bali, where India rightly opposed a push by the US and others to limit the size of its food subsidy.But having won that battle, India must now try and modernise its food security system for its own sake, rather than under pressure from the WTO.India's food subsidy bill has risen considerably in the last few years because of open-ended grain purchases at high minimum support prices, large and costly stock holdings and a food distribution system riddled with inefficiencies and leakages.The government now buys a major share of the marketed grain 50 per cent in the case of wheat and 40 per cent in the case of rice. ...Indian Express on Dec. 19, 2013, 3:10 a.m.