Editors Column

Not going hawkish is out of fashion these days. But, when the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is not hawkish on growth, inflation and interest rates it is considered a positive for resilience in the economy that is going through major structural adjustments.

Finance secretary Hashmukh Adia may be largely right when he attributed the latest sell off in Indian stocks to spooking and volatility in global equity markets over the last two days.

In the run up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had emerged as a magnet attracting allies in all parts of the country. As prime minister Narendra Modi gears up to seek a fresh mandate for the second term in 2019, several NDA partners are exhibiting the traits of similar magnetic poles — in the sense that they are repelling the BJP.

When finance minister Arun Jaitley was reading his budget speech in Parliament, the ground was slipping under the feet of BJP candidates in the Rajasthan and West Bengal bypolls. The BJP’s defeat in West Bengal’s Noapara assembly segment and Uluberia Lok Sabha seat was a foregone conclusion as the ruling Trinamool Congress continues to dominate state politics.

As expected, finance minister Arun Jaitley has delivered a politically correct budget that  focuses — and rightly so — on agriculture and the tattered rural economy. Prime minister Narendra Modi seems to have learnt his lesson the hard way after a close finish in the Gujarat state assembly elections.

Expectations for relief and incentives on the taxes front seem to be huge ahead of budget presentation by finance minister Arun Jaitley. Competitive demands from industry to individual taxpayers, and exporters to farmers’ representatives seem to have inundated finance the minister’s inbox while the mood in North Block seems to be more poignant and measured.

Investments and savings are two major propellants for economic growth. This is particularly so in the Indian context where both private and public savings have had a lasting impact on economic growth rates.

Economic Surveys are supposed to provide details of what had happened in the economy during the last one year and based on those data points, they identify the likely path the economy could follow over next year.

The first phase of Parliament’s budget session that spreads over the next 10 days will have to send out a strong signal that lawmakers mean business. Unlike the winter session where the Rajya Sabha’s output did not cross 54.5 per cent and the Lok Sabha clocked 91.6 per cent, a significant improvement in functioning of the two Houses will have to be ensured.

It is one of those socmedia thingies, but it is bang on – a republic without public participation becomes a mere relic of its original self. Since socmedia at one level is a mirror of the nation’s contemporary discourse, those in authority and pre-eminent positions can ignore this at their own peril.

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