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...Overtures towards China were diplomatically rebuffed with big Chinese investment announcements in both Pakistan and Bangladesh, aimed at stealing India’s thunder. Domestically, Modi’s economic agenda has been largely successful. Growth is good, the stock market is hitting record highs, and India’s credit rating is set to improve. Yet the investment cycle is lagging and employment generation is stubbornly slow. Politically the momentum continues: a stupendous victory in the bellwether state of Uttar Pradesh, and more recently, in Shimla municipality, where Congress dominated for the last three decades. Yet, on governance, challenges abound. Jammu & Kashmir seems to be spinning out of control, polarisation has increased as social fault lines are surfacing, and there are fears of a police state. Indian leadership will matter more than ever before. Over to Prime Minister Modi! ...TOI on June 26, 2017, 2 a.m.
...It’s now a must-read in many business and public policy schools. The story goes like this: Some travellers arrive at a village after a long and tiring journey, but the villagers are unwilling to share their food. So the travellers go to a stream, fill the pot with water, put a large stone in it, and place it over a fire. When asked by inquisitive villagers what they are cooking, one traveller responds that they are making stone soup. A previously unresponsive villager offers a few carrots to help them. Another villager offers some seasoning. More and more villagers walk by, each adding an ingredient. Finally the inedible stone is removed from the pot, and a delicious pot of soup is ready. Villagers in recently concluded elections in five states responded in a similar manner. Politicians played the travellers, clocking miles as they visited remote areas they often forget. ...TOI on March 16, 2017, 2:10 a.m.