P Chidambaram is former Finance minister of India.
The rest of India should imagine a lockdown without free speech and expression or access to newspapers, television, mobile telephones, Internet, hospitals, police stations, courts and elected representatives. That is the situation today.
Mr Pilot is not cut from the same cloth as the BJP is, or so we believed. He should have channelled all his energies to help the people fight the pandemic as well as get the state’s economy back on its feet.
The ‘no troops land’ (akin to a no man’s land) may lead to peace and tranquillity on the border, but it will not resolve the border question. It is obvious that some kind of buffer zone is being created.
The fallout for India is a diplomatic disaster, a military setback (at least temporarily) and a complete wipe-out of the gains since 1993.
It is depressing that the law concerning personal liberty remains one in theory and another in practice. Mercifully, things are changing.
If the Finance Ministry is so sanguine, why does it not predict positive GDP growth in 2020-21? The MoF dare not!
Mr Modi’s dream that the 21st century will be a China-India led Asian century is practically over. It is obvious that Mr Modi did not take a correct measure of Mr Xi.
Despite meeting several times in the last six years, Mr Modi has not been able to achieve any notable success in his interactions with Mr Xi.
My final submission to the Honourable Prime Minister: Axe your current economic advisers and bring in a new team that will give you sound advice.
P Chidambaram writes: Over the years, the Supreme Court, like any other institution and like in any other country, stumbled on occasion, but quickly lifted itself, dusted the sand, and strode like a colossus.
The model advocated by almost all economists is fiscal stimulus. That means only one thing: spend more.
On May 12, the Prime Minister grabbed the headline with the announcement of a Rs 20 lakh crore Economic Stimulus Package — but left the page blank! Beginning May 13, the Finance Minister started giving out the ‘details’ of the package. The people left fuming were the farmers; migrants; and workers.
In the last 47 days, more MSMEs have been pushed over the brink, more millions of poor people have been pushed into destitution, and more thousands of middle-class families have been pushed into indebtedness.
In a country where malnutrition is entrenched, especially among children, there is the danger of hunger becoming widespread too.
In a country where malnutrition is entrenched, especially among children, there is the danger of hunger becoming widespread too. TV, print and social media are full of anecdotal evidence that many families are going hungry and some are starving.
A talent-short government, if it is serious, will constitute a Task Force consisting of economists like Dr Raghuram Rajan, Dr Arvind Panagariya, Dr Esther Duflo, Dr Arvind Subramanian, Dr Isaac Thomas, Dr Himanshu, Dr Jean Dreze and Dr Sajjid Chinoy to recommend a hundred things that have to be done.
We must remonetise the poor — that is, put cash in their hands. The goal is to cover up to 50 per cent of the 26 crore families in India, roughly up to 13 crore families.
P Chidambaram writes: Will humanity ultimately triumph over the epidemic? The tallest living Tamil poet, Mr Vairamuthu, thinks so, and has penned a beautiful poem on coronavirus
Not only was the country not prepared for a nationwide lockdown, even the Central government was unprepared. How can one otherwise explain the fact that the Economic Task Force announced by the PM on March 19 has not been constituted so far?
Given that scale of expenditure, it is possible to find, say, Rs 5,00,000 crore towards mitigating COVID-19 over the next 6 months. This is a moral and economic imperative and we must find the money and spend it.
The people and Parliament must demand that the names of borrowers (especially the big defaulting ones) be published and the individuals or committees that approved the loans be asked to explain.
India has cause to worry. As the Prime Minister said a few days ago, we must prepare, not panic. Very true, but how prepared is the country? More pertinently, how prepared is each state of the country?
There is growing suspicion that the BJP is working to a plan. The BJP is emboldened to pursue its partisan agenda owing to the massive majority it enjoys in the Lok Sabha and the fact that Lok Sabha elections are four years away.
The magic words are ‘national interest’. They do not signal correctness, they signal finality. Because the PM has declared that the decisions were taken in national interest, he expects that all criticism should cease and all debate should end.
There is nothing unusual or inherently wrong about a right-wing ideology. It is only when right-wing leaders politicise their religion and attempt to divide people on the ground of religion that the Constitution is violated and social harmony is disrupted. The BJP has done just that.