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Surjit S Bhalla

The writer is contributing editor, 'The Indian Express', and senior India analyst, The Observatory Group, a New York-based macro policy advisory group

The little-revenue tax
Sat, Feb 17, 2018

LTCG is a bad idea. The best policy for the taxman is one that maximises revenue, not one that maximises his morality, or his employment, or discretionary powers

Revolution and regression
Sat, Feb 10, 2018

Tax buoyancy has helped the government to budget for schemes that make transfer of revenues to the bottom third of the population possible. There was no reason for the long-term capital gains tax

Smart policies for redistribution
Sat, Jan 27, 2018

India can, and must, reform its welfare system. More efficient redistribution is desirable for ethical and political reasons

Piketty has got it wrong
Sat, Jan 20, 2018

The implied savings estimates for India, derived from his calculations of income distribution, do not conform to any known model of savings behaviour

Tax-fruits of demonetisation
Wed, Jan 17, 2018

A direct outcome of demonetisation is a sharp increase in 2017-18 in tax buoyancy (revenues per unit of growth). Given this ‘unexpected’ result, will the knee-jerk critics of demonetisation please stand down?

World economy: Looking up
Mon, Jan 01, 2018

It is on course for high growth, low inflation, lower taxation, increased income support for the needy. And declining inequality.

No proof required: Gujarat 2017, lessons for all
Sat, Dec 23, 2017

This election was the first since slow economic growth was apparent and in the data. A slow economy, however, was not the only factor — after all, in Himachal Pradesh (HP), the BJP won by a large margin.

No Proof Required: Gujarat 2017- A turning point?
Thu, Dec 14, 2017

For whom will the election bells toll -- a confident BJP or a reviving Congress? The opinion polls suggest that this may not be a Rahul Gandhi moment.

Give accountability a chance
Sat, Dec 02, 2017

Here is a modest proposal to bring about much-needed accountability to the decisions of the RBI (and MPC): Let the RBI governor be questioned by Parliament twice a year

No proof required: Making RBI accountable
Sat, Nov 25, 2017

The first year of operation of the Monetary Policy Committee has imposed considerable costs on the economy with very few benefits. What explains its decisions?

Dead parrots tell no tales
Sat, Nov 11, 2017

A forthcoming book explains that inflation, which haunted the world in the Seventies and the Eighties, is now only a windmill to be tilted at

No Proof Required: Demonetisation and its contents
Wed, Nov 08, 2017

It was about both politics and economics. It is an acknowledged political success and early ‘returns’ indicate an economic success story as well.

Hungry for publicity
Sat, Oct 21, 2017

Surveys on hunger suggest that like poverty, it is more a relative, than absolute, concept. The best policy to increase nutrition is via sanitation and clean water

Looking for honesty in the wrong places
Sat, Oct 14, 2017

We all have a choice — we can either debate evidence, or manufacture conclusions

Data vs gossip: Who should win?
Sat, Sep 30, 2017

The incomes of the poorest are rising at a faster pace than any time since January 2015. That could be the reason for Modi winning elections and why the growth slowdown will soon reverse.

No Proof Required: It’s interest rates, stupid
Tue, Sep 19, 2017

Inflation is down by 700 bp since 2013, and policy rates have declined by 200bp — and you are still wondering why GDP growth is slow?

No proof required: Madness in monetary policy
Sat, Aug 19, 2017

In India we have a monetary authority that admits to not understanding inflation — but persists in damaging an already weak economy because it does not understand it

No proof required: Leave your ego at home
Tue, Aug 01, 2017

Average CPI inflation for eight months since September 2016 has been 3.7 per cent. How long are you going to wait and watch, MPC, before you admit that you were wrong in your assessment?

No proof required: Battle of the elites
Sat, Jun 17, 2017

The old elite — politicians, corporates, left-intellectuals, academics — won’t give up their privileges easily. They will try to derail the structural transformation happening in India and object at every turn

No proof required: Just why are farmers rioting?
Sat, Jun 10, 2017

It is politics that best explains the phenomena of farmer riots amidst growing prosperity.

No proof required: MPC — you are not in D-School any more
Tue, Jun 06, 2017

One logical way for the MPC to change course and lower rates is by being Keynesian at the June 7 meeting — the facts have changed, so we have changed our mind

The good, the ugly
Sat, Jun 03, 2017

Narendra Modi’s tenure thus far has brought about significant structural change in the economy. But the nation needs to be careful about false morality and cow vigilantism

No Proof Required: RBI, enough of elevator economics
Sat, Apr 29, 2017

The inflation forecast is the most important aspect of the most crucial economic decision that the RBI makes — it needs to be more in tune with reality.

Cow vigilantism — or minority hunting?
Wed, Apr 12, 2017

PM Modi has nothing to gain and everything to lose by pursuing a divisive social agenda. He has to worry both about the enemy within, and the one outside, his development tent.

No proof required: Case for an inter-meeting rate hike
Sat, Mar 18, 2017

A ‘rate hike in time is just fine’ is a wise RBI saying. With CPI inflation at near-historic lows, this must mean, according to the RBI law of mean reversion, that the future will bring high inflation. Hence, the urgent need for intervention

No proof required: Seeking redemption in UP 2017
Thu, Mar 09, 2017

Many expect the Uttar Pradesh election to go the Bihar way — a big loss for BJP. However, the same math suggests the BJP is likely to win a comfortable majority in the state

No proof required: Jaywalking at the RBI
Sat, Feb 25, 2017

RBI’s obstinate refusal to cut policy rates, and the moving of its policy stance from neutral to accommodative, is not based on economic logic. Both headline and core inflation data argue for a rate cut

No proof required: Not business as usual
Sat, Feb 04, 2017

Budget 2017-18 is probably the most brilliant economic and political document since the path-breaking budget of 1991

No proof required: Taxation — beware of the enemy within
Wed, Jan 25, 2017

A meaningful reduction in effective corporate tax rates to around 20 per cent is the correct follow-through to the logic, and pain, of demonetisation.

No proof required: Taxing your way to popularity
Thu, Jan 19, 2017

The finance minister can cut everyone’s tax burden, even pay the poor, and be revenue neutral by cutting sops

No proof required: Towards an Income Tax Revolution
Sat, Jan 14, 2017

The economy provides scope and demonetisation, the rationale for a flat income tax rate and a negative income tax for the poor and the needy.

No proof required: Financing basic income for the bottom 50 per cent
Sat, Jan 07, 2017

A political and economic masterstroke would be for the Union budget to contain a basic income scheme for the bottom 50 percent — the poor and lower middle class

No proof required: PLUs deafened by the Big Bang
Sat, Dec 31, 2016

Make no mistake — demonetisation is an important first step in what will be remembered as India’s biggest reform.

No proof required: Deliver us from ideologues
Sat, Dec 24, 2016

Conservative intellectual rightness is no different from classic liberal thought, a definition that excludes the Left intellectuals, but includes the Right liberals

No proof required: Demonetisation dispassionately demystified
Wed, Dec 14, 2016

Politicians shouting shrill about demonetisation augur well for the prospects of a new demonetised India. It indicates that the initiative is working

Black cash in India
Tue, Dec 06, 2016

Rumours of even a 1 percentage point decline in GDP growth for 2016/17 are vastly exaggerated, have no basis in logic or fact.