Surjit S Bhalla

The writer is Contributing Editor at The Indian Express, and Consulting Editor at Network 18

Articles By Surjit S Bhalla

The making of history: Modi Econ 2.0 has started with a big bang

Modi Econ 2.0 has started with a big bang — the largest corporate tax cut in world history for new manufacturing firms. Surely this is just the beginning.

A politician and an optimist

Arun Jaitley will be missed for his friendships across political camps, and contribution to policymaking. Above all, he was a man of ideas

High real interest rates have hurt economic growth

Is India as different as claimed by “experts”? My own experience, and interpretation, is that India is very different because the experts (perhaps including those at the central bank) look at monetary policy very differently.

Borrow abroad and profit

Cross-country evidence supports the conclusion that the sooner India engages in foreign currency borrowing, the quicker it can profit from this market imperfection

It is time we recognised that survey data cannot be interpreted in the way it used to be

India was a pioneer in data collection some 70 years ago. It should be recalled that GDP data in the first 30- odd years was based on the consumption data collected by the NSSO. Poverty rates, and policies, were based on NSSO data.

Maximise revenue, minimise tax

India has just one policy option to advance private investment and become a $5 trillion economy — reduce corporate tax rate for all firms to 22 per cent, reduce misguided rates of personal income tax.

Finance Ministry could have been bolder. But budget is heavy on vision and inclusive growth

Nirmala Sitharaman’s budget speech was what budget speeches ought to be. A vision statement of what the government plans to do. She set the tone of her speech in an honest and direct manner.

Rethink poverty — and policy

Given the estimated poverty decline in India between 2011-12 and 2016-17, time has come to change our economic policies — concentrate on what causes growth, not what causes poverty to decline

The most off-track of them all

Arvind Subramanian’s method of estimating GDP suggests that Germany over-estimates and Brazil under-estimates it the most. India is only a mild outlier.

Is it possible that GDP was over-estimated and no one knew about it, including economists in govt?

Is it possible that growth was over-estimated by a large 250 bps a year for five years and no one knew about it, including economists in government?

Why chemistry trumps arithmetic

All indicators lead to the same conclusion: Modi’s BJP recorded a spectacular victory in 2019 due to its provision of inclusive growth — very close to the best in the world in 2014-18

This election was about past record of Modi government and expected performance

The stage has been well and truly set for the next generation of economic reforms. There is no going bacK and the people believe Modi and trust Modi to deliver. That is why this election was about the delivery, and promise, of the Modi government.

If exit polls are right, Election 2019 marks a structural change in Indian politics — the end of Congress’s dynastic rule

The most unfortunate event to befall the Congress was that the party won three states in December 2018. This lulled them into thinking that they had a good chance of making a come back in these states, and therefore, across India.

Like 2014, 2019 election is being contested around economy. Will the result be similar?

Scholars have derived the conclusion that Modi was a minority winner (only 31 per cent vote), that he did not win a popular mandate, that 2014 was a Black Swan (very unusual event) election and, therefore, unlikely to be repeated again.

After election results, India will be able to escape to realism from reality it is presently inhabiting

Well, Election 2019 is turning out to be Rashomonesque. Everybody is seeing the same “facts” yet each has a different description of the reality, and its effect on the election.

A statistical embarrassment

Data claiming 45-year peak in unemployment is misleading. Indian institutions are still operating with the technology and outlook of 70 years ago.

NYAY: Garibi bachao, not hatao

Congress’s programme of poverty elimination is so flawed that its advocacy before an election is akin to political suicide.

Congress’s concept of minimum income guarantee is intellectually embarrassing and deeply flawed

Very likely, and I am speculating, it was because of the opposition of Congress’s economic consultants that there were glaring and obvious contradictions in the Congress’s Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG) income, and the contradiction between survival and poverty line income.

Economic data: Fact vs fiction

Annual Survey of Industries data for 2016-17 shows that output growth, and industrial jobs growth, have sharply accelerated post 2013. This data has not been questioned by any expert

Misuse of economic data

Since the overwhelming Congress loss in the 2014 election, the misuse of statistics appears to be politically motivated.