Corruption and Economic Reform

The Prime Minister stated recently that corruption has declined on account of the economic reform process. Is it possible to substantiate this argument? Let us examine.

WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT BIHAR?

One of the great challenges facing our republic is the increasing regional disparities. It is well recognized that the South and the West are the engines of growth, along with the region in and around Delhi. The North and the East, with the exception of West Bengal are in dire straits, though considerable potential exists in the fertile Gangetic plains.

Faster Growth at Low-cost – Is It Feasible?

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Despite fractious politics and short-term populism, Indian growth rate at about 7% per annum, is next only to China’s among major economies.  This reflects the underlying strength of our economy.  However, comparisons with China are inevitable, given our comparable sizes, length of history and civilization, and somewhat parallel developments after the Second World War.

Oil Security or Energy Security?

The recent oil price hike and India’s frenetic efforts to leverage its diplomatic strength for oil security raise important questions about our future energy needs. Do we have a viable and coherent energy strategy, or are we merely responding in a knee-jerk manner disregarding our long-term interests? A serious debate is necessary on these vital issues.

Incentives in Politics and Politician – Bashing

>President Abdul Kalam made strong observations about the “dubious and undemocratic” political practices prevalent.  He rightly said, “When politics degrades itself into political adventurism, the nation would be on the calamitous road to inevitable disaster and ruination.  Let us not risk it”.

Constitution and Challenges of Federalism

We have just completed 55 years as a Republic, and this is a good opportunity to introspect.  With great hope and expectation, the members of the Constituent Assembly adopted the Constitution on November 26, 1949, and the new Republic came into existence on 26 January, 1950.  By any standard it was an extraordinary occasion.

Creative Tension vs Endless Conflict

By all accounts, Mr Chidambaram presented a credible and creditable budget. He had to achieve balance in a complex situation – between political compulsions and fiscal prudence, quest for economic growth and concern for equity, and infrastructure needs and populist impulses.

Manufacturing Holds the Key

 

Since the 1980’s India emerged out of the relative stagnation of the ‘Hindu’ rate of growth.  In the liberalization phase starting from 1991, these robust growth rates are consolidated.  India is now the second fastest growing nation among large economies. Global comparative studies indicate that our competitive advantage may continue for the next several decades, thanks to the young demographic profile, low cost economy, and large, ambitious, skilled manpower.

 

Fiscal Devolution – Thinking Outside the Box

The Union budget for fiscal year 2005-2006 is due in just over two weeks.  This is the period during which a lot of pressure is usually brought to bear on the Finance Minister (FM) to increase budgetary allocations for this or that panacea to transform India and eliminate mass poverty.  With greater continuity and stability in the tax regime the usual excitement about tax rates and the guessing games have been missing in recent years.  Therefore, much of the debate is about allocations, expenditure and fiscal deficits.

Corruption, Competition and Economic Growth

One year ago, in December 2003, the UN Convention against Corruption was adopted as the first global anti-corruption instrument.   As the Global Corruption Report 2004 of Transparency International (TI) points out, "It sets new standards in domestic and international law, in part by committing its signatories to enhanced cooperation and mutual legal assistance, particularly on the return of assets.  But its success requires political will and a commitment to monitor implementation".