Must self review says Talmiz Ahmad on Suleimani murdering, Ramesh Venkataram
Secularism’s Brexit moment
Private equity investor and former McKinsey partner
The Indian Express
Venkataraman writes that’the constitutional commitment to secularism of India is under threat’, although because the BJP government’appears determined to undermine the secular ethos of India’ but in the past couple of years’ has grown because’ popular scepticism of secularism.
He writes that during his travels, he discovered that the’perceived anti-Muslim measures’ are seen’as a thing by Hindutva diehards but by the’moderate centre’.’
‘It is not a taboo correspondingly, and to raise questions that were formerly the preserve of the right-wing fringe about patriotism , private law, or Muslim privileges allege a neglect of Hindu concerns,’ he writes.
The’method of self-righteously throwing the Constitution at anybody who supports the Modi regime’s agenda and demonising them as’bhakts’,’Sanghis’, or’chaddiwallahs’ reminds’ him of how’Britain elite lost the Brexit battle’. Indian secularists’must wake up to the fact that the discourse on the ground has altered’.
He suggests that’preserving the country’s secular fabric’ will need’secularism’s advocates to respectfully and urgently engage with the’moderate centre’.’ Moreover,’hardline secularists will need to show some humility’. It’s not’anti-Muslim to take where secularism has been compromised in practise’, India’needs its secularists to participate in open and self-critical debate – rather’.
Ahmad states that the’assassination of Major General Qassim Suleimani’ has’exponentially escalated uncertainties and tensions in West Asia’. He argues that the’spoiler for Iran has been the United States’ as President Trump came to power’with a visceral anti-Iran platform that led him to confront Iranian influence across West Asia and even threaten the country with regime change’.
Suleimani’led the fight against the Islamic State and, through his control over the country’s formidable Shia militia, also assured that pro-Iran authorities came to power in Baghdad’. The US’came to view Suleimani because its principal’. Ahmad argues that Trump’certainly needed to remind his constituency that he is a strong and decisive leader who’s totally uncompromising and callous when it comes to protecting US interests’. Moreover, Iran’is unlikely to react peremptorily into the US provocation’. At exactly the exact same time,’it will exact retribution, but at a time and place of its own choosing and will pick a goal which will wound the US but still give Iran a level of deniability’.
Spotting an opportunity in changing fundamentals
Sujan R. Chinoy
Chinoy maintains that the”Stage One’ trade deal between the USA and China gives’either side a reprieve’.
He writes that China’continues to buy Iranian crude oil and is its largest buyer’ and argues that’in tensions with the U.S., Iran sees in China that a sympathiser’. ‘China’s interest in Saudi Aramco’s first public offering and interest in weakening the dollar in the world energy economy has grown, ” he writes, adding it is farther’forging closer ties with oil producers that are in the U.S.’s cross hairs on human rights and governance issues’. He says that’as U.S.-China worries drive supply chains from China, India could emerge as an alternative destination with the perfect policies’. Additionally,’China’s economic success has emboldened it such that it challenges the liberal democracy model and offers an alternative developmental model based on its own system’.
To conclude, Chinoy writes that’U.S.-China competition equates with an upward trajectory in India-U.S. relations’. This is’important for equilibrium and multi-polarity in Asia, even as India and China attempt to build much-needed trust and collaboration’.
Lifting growth, containing inflation
Gulati calls for’bold moves’ in grain management system and agriculture reform. If the government had a strategy for liquidating excess grain stocks, it may save Rs 50,000 crore annually that may help finance its new investment package for infrastructure of about Rs 102 lakh crore, he explains.
At the moment there’s’massive inefficiency in the grain direction system under the National Food Security Act (NFSA)’, writes Gulati. There is’massive accumulation of grain stocks’ and’disbursal of those stocks remains largely restricted to the public distribution system (PDS)’, he adds.
Gulati presents three alternatives to improving food management. First, while the poor get maximum food subsidy,’the issue price ought to be fixed at, say, 50 percent of the procurement price (as was done under Atal Bihari Vaypayee for the BPL category)’; instant,’limit subsidised grain supply under NFSA to 40 per cent of the populace rather than the current 67 percent’ and finally, reduce the procurement of rice especially in states like Punjab and Haryana where the’groundwater table is depleting fast’.
Five banking trends for the new year
Tamal Bandyopadhyay | Writer & senior advisor, Jana Small Finance Bank Ltd
Bandyopadhyay starts by stating the dominant trend in Indian banking in 2020 is that’the pile of bad loans will rise’ and what leads to this, is the growth in’divergence in banks’ estimate of bad assets and the regulator’s assessment’.
This tendency, however, has changed given NPA recovery and improved asset quality, he writes. Around December last year, at least three insolvency cases, such as Essar Steel’s, got resolved and together, the banks regained near Rs 50,000 crore, explains Bandyopadhyay.
‘The not-so-good news is the low credit offtake’ that has been aided by slowing economic growth, poor demand and bankers’ fears of being ‘grilled’ by investigative agencies, he writes.