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Wednesday, August 12, 2020
Bibek Debroy

Bibek Debroy

The writer is chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the PM. Views are personal.

India’s trade agreement with China was one-sided to begin with
Thu, Jul 09, 2020

If you scrutinise the schedules, you will find non-manufacturing items in China’s miscellaneous list, but many manufactured items in India’s miscellaneous list (light engineering, plastic manufactures, cement, agricultural implements, paper). By any yardstick, the 1954 agreement was one-sided.

Imagine COVID-19 information being disseminated through the beating of drums rather than Aarogya Setu
Fri, Jun 05, 2020

In 2020, farmers have beaten drums and utensils, used DJ-s and burst firecrackers to ward off locusts — in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. But that’s not the same as disseminating information about locust invasions through the beating of drums.

The public policy dilemma: There is indeed tension between lives and livelihoods
Sat, Apr 25, 2020

No country has done universal testing for a proper random sample either. The ICMR has told us more than 75 per cent of Indian patients will be asymptomatic. Who do we test? Those who show symptoms, those who have been in contact with confirmed patients and those who suffer from severe respiratory diseases. Most countries do something similar.

Predators and the prey: Will our relationship with insects change?
Thu, Mar 12, 2020

We may need to overturn normalised spectres that govern our relationship with insects. With global population headed towards nine billion, humans will perforce seek out other sources of food. Food habits aren’t constant over time.

Several measures to simplify tax structure, but no magic wands
Sun, Feb 02, 2020

Let’s not forget that one of the successes of the government, since 2014, has been containment of inflation, dramatically stated in Economic Survey using thaalis.

Silos in railway services have to be broken, though it’s a complicated task
Thu, Jan 16, 2020

Unification has been recommended by several committees. The Prakash Tandon Committee recommended a single service. The Gupta-Narain Committee (1994), set up to examine feasibility of implementing this single service idea, questioned whether this could be done.

Indian Railways needs restructuring and modernisation, efforts since 2014 are bearing fruit
Thu, Jan 02, 2020

Departmentalism is worse than it was in the 1950s. And much worse than it was in 1905, when the Railway Board was formed. However, the Railway Board went through a major change in 1951. It was time for another change in 2019 and HR reform feeds into that.

There is nothing ‘fast’ about fast track courts
Thu, Nov 14, 2019

The performance of fast-track courts was mixed. The new special courts should take that record into account.

The Boilers Act needs to be done away with
Thu, Oct 10, 2019

It is this perception that has changed. That’s the reason we no longer need amendments to the Boilers Act. We no longer need that specific legislation and the specific entry in Seventh Schedule. Boilers are only an example. The entire Seventh Schedule needs a relook.

Constitution’s Seventh Schedule, which differentiates between spending by the Centre and states, needs a re-look
Thu, Sep 12, 2019

Why should then there be CSSs for items in the State List (such as health)? If the Union government should contribute for health because it is nationally important, why should states not contribute for defence?

The river must flow
Thu, Aug 15, 2019

Ascribing legal rights to rivers helps counter pollution, may revive water bodies.

On writing: The fountain-pen has survived time, trade and technology
Thu, Jul 18, 2019

Many people will probably give up writing by hand and either type, or dictate to their favourite form of technology. However, for those limited few who still prefer to write by hand, I am happy the fountain-pen still survives. I don’t mean the high-end pens alone, there are several brands that are relatively cheap.

The middle income illusion
Tue, Jun 11, 2019

There is no economic evidence to support the notion of middle-income trap.

Why are there so many plumbers from Kendrapara?
Thu, May 16, 2019

The Kendrapara model worked as it provided access to placement networks, even though those were informal. Formal training institutes are now challenging such on-the-job teaching avenues.

Kings and moustaches
Thu, Apr 11, 2019

Is there a correlation between popularity of Chulbul Pandey or ‘Singham’ and absence, or presence, of moustache allowances in states?

Instead of disrupting Indian Standard Time, Northeast can tweak its office hours
Thu, Mar 14, 2019

What is sacrosanct about the office timing of 9 am to 5.30 pm? Without disrupting the IST, surely it is possible to have working hours, and office-hours in the Northeast from 8 am to 4.30 pm?

Begging the question
Thu, Feb 14, 2019

Defining and counting beggars, vagrants and religious mendicants remains a conundrum

Middle class, redefined
Tue, Jan 22, 2019

It needs an enabling ecosystem. The present regime has attempted to provide just that.

Swachh Bharat has initiated a behavioural change that seems irreversible
Thu, Jan 10, 2019

Latest data shows that the Swachh Bharat Mission has initiated a behavioural change in most parts of the country. It seems irreversible.

Upside Of Scaling Down
Thu, Dec 13, 2018

India must offer unique services, not just depend on low-cost production

The purpose of a public library
Fri, Nov 16, 2018

Archaic laws, more recent state legislation do not address the most important issue: What should their role be?

Perjury upon the soul
Fri, Oct 26, 2018

Many give false evidence under oath, but complex laws and reluctance to initiate proceedings make prosecution a rarity.

A law of its time
Sat, Sep 08, 2018

When it was enacted, Section 377 was lenient compared to its predecessors

To bee or not to bee
Thu, Aug 09, 2018

There is little data in India on the number of bee colonies and bee-keepers, or the honey produced.

Pets and peeves
Thu, Jul 19, 2018

Bengaluru municipality’s new pet licensing laws are beset by the familiar failing of public policy — confusion and multiplicity of objectives