Editors Column

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership should be thanking its stars and its star campaigner prime minister Narendra Modi. The party will form its sixth government in Gujarat though with a wafer-thin majority. It has also snatched power from Congress in Himachal Pradesh with comfortable numbers.

Challenges galore for new Congress president Rahul Gandhi. It comes at a crucial time for it signals a generational shift after Sonia Gandhi held the party together for 19 long years, 10 of those in power as UPA chairperson.

The start of the winter session of Parliament should provide the occasion for sagacity and decorum to return to politics. The political acrimony that marked the 49-day long campaigning for the Gujarat polls must not be carried into Parliament. If Friday’s proceedings are any indication, the current session could mirror the deepening schism between ruling BJP-led NDA and Congress-led UPA.

Allowing as many high net-worth individuals and companies as possible to freely bid for stressed assets will prove to be beneficial in cleaning up non-performing assets (NPAs) of banks. The amended Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC)-related Ordinance promulgated by president Ram Nath Kovind would come up before Parliament in the Winter Session of Parliament.

Ignoring the politics, drama and electoral hoopla behind the seaplane that carried prime minister Narendra Modi to Dharoi dam, 180km away from Sabarmati riverfront, may be difficult. But Modi seems to have conveyed to staunch opponents in Congress that he’s not bereft of ideas for Gujarat by hopping on the US-made single engine seaplane.

Donald Trump administration has no business in subverting the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Doha development agenda. Having withdrawn from International Solar Alliance (ISA) and Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), Republican administration in the US seems to be making a case to pull out of the WTO.

After a couple of months of quiet time, the merchant discount rate (MDR) controversy is back to making headlines. This time it is RBI that has jumped into the fray by defining merchant discount rate. Instead of having rates based on value of transactions, RBI has decided to slot merchants into different categories and based on their previous year turnover they would be charged MDR.

In a landmark for cryptocurrency, bitcoin has, presumably, made its Wall Street debut at 2300 GMT on Sunday, creating consternations in some quarters and excitement in others. By the time you read this, the highly volatile digital currency based on the block chain technology would have opened trading on the Cboe Futures Exchange in Chicago.

Leaders like Mani Shankar Aiyar and Kapil Sibal appear to have become the nemesis for the opposition Congress in the Gujarat assembly elections. A campaign built up painstakingly by the Congress president-elect Rahul Gandhi in the western state seems to have lost momentum, crucially days before the voting.

Revenue mobilisation alone cannot be the criterion to levy taxes by governments at the Centre and states. Fairness, probity and principle of equity must guide finance ministers in deciding the tax rates.

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