ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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India’s Marie Antoinette Moment

Narendra Modi’s promotion of a “cashless society” shows the government’s disconnect from ground realities, and harks back to Marie Antoinette’s famous “let them eat cake” response to learning that peasants had no bread to eat. Clearly, a cashless or less-cash economy will not be achievable in the near future, and may also not be desirable.

Limited Geopolitical Accommodation Benefits for India–China Relations

The nature of Sino–Indian interactions across five issue areas highlights that Delhi and Beijing have more overlapping interests than is generally recognised. Such an analytical exercise also reveals that South Asia is potentially the most contentious arena for India–China relations. A limited Sino–Indian geopolitical accommodation in the immediate neighbourhood is both viable and necessary to arrest the deterioration in the bilateral relationship in recent years and ensure regional stability.

Debating Contempt of Court

By issuing a contempt notice to Justice Markandey Katju for his over-the-top criticism of its judgment, in the manner that it did, the Supreme Court has only diminished its institutional dignity. While Katju’s behaviour post retirement is not in keeping with the nature of the office he held, the contempt jurisdiction was not meant to be used like this.

Strange and Worrying International Market Liquidity

There seems to be a rise in illusory liquidity in international markets, which appears to be plentiful in quiet times, but vanishes at other times. “Flash crashes” are more frequent. Reforms that have made banks safer have contributed to this, leading to a withdrawal of short-term market participants, and causing long-term investors to act short term. There seems to be a trade-off between day-to-day liquidity and what I call “systemic liquidity.”

Demonetisation — Modi Digs a Ditch for the BJP

The demonetisation move has boomeranged on the Bharatiya Janata Party badly. The unprecedented hardship it caused people has surely paved the way to the BJPs Waterloo in the forthcoming assembly elections in some crucial states.

India's Strategic Shift

In abandoning strategic restraint in favour of strategic proactivism, India is transiting from a strategic doctrine of offensive deterrence to compellence. This is not without its dangers since the military doctrines of India and Pakistan are presently coupled in a volatile way. Moving towards proactivism makes them altogether combustible. This makes the strategic logic of the shift suspect, prompting speculations as to its inspiration.

Revisiting the Rationale for Reservations

The demand for reservations in jobs and education being made by agitating "middle castes" overturns the logic of affirmative action on its head. Instead of addressing historic discrimination, it is articulated as a means to "capture" public employment and education to maintain caste hierarchies. Accepting these demands, as the high courts have held, would be unconstitutional, but that will not stop governments from trying.

Fire of Una Ignites Saffron Udupi

For the first time in a long time Dalits have mobilised enmasse for issues concerning their livelihoods. The uprising in Una has shaken the political establishment in Gujarat and has spread to other parts of India as well, including saffronised Udupi in Karnataka.

‘Right to Choose’ as a Fundamental Right

Across India, high courts are interpreting Article 21 of the Constitution to give depth and detail to the “inner” aspects of the right to life, namely, the right to privacy and to make one’s own choices. In the face of increasing state intervention in the matter of personal choices, and questioning of earlier notions of what is a matter of choice, the Supreme Court will be called upon to adjudicate the extent and scope of the life and liberty of a citizen on many crucial issues.

Belt and Road Initiative

American unilateralism has become a problem for the world. Post the Cold War, American hegemony has become inimical to world peace. After more than 25 years, there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon. Both Russia and China are geographically destined to offer resistance against a unipolar world. However, the two are most likely to fail if they challenge the United States militarily. They can challenge American power peacefully by diverting international trade away from the oceans towards Eurasian land routes. The new Silk Road initiative by China, and unity hold the key to a peaceful world.

Public Sector Banks Are Adrift

With credit and deposit growth slowing in key sectors and only retail credit growing, low capital adequacy ratios of banks, senior management changes in the offi ng, and bank mergers, the National Democratic Alliance government needs to ask itself what it envisages for public sector banks, and indeed for the Indian economy.

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