Are India's Leaders Uneducated? What is Modi's Education Level?

Bollywood star Kajol has said at a recent event that Indian political leaders are uneducated. Though she did not name anyone, she is facing vicious attacks by Modi Bhakts, a label embraced by the staunch supporters of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Here's what she said, "Change especially in a country like India is slow. It’s very very slow because for one we are steeped in our tradition, steeped in our thought process and, of course, it has to be with tradition. You have political leaders who do not have educational system background. I’m sorry I’m going to go out and say that.”   “We are being ruled by leaders, so many of them, who do not have that viewpoint which I think education gives you”, she added. 

Copies of Modi's Degrees. Source: BJP

There have long been questions about the educational qualifications of Mr. Modi who has talked about his humble origins as chaiwalla (tea seller) . These questions have been stoked by contradictory assertions by Mr. Modi and his closest lieutenants in the BJP party. First, Mr. Modi allegedly said in a 1990s interview, well before he ascended to the office of the prime  minister, that he did not have any formal education. In multiple video clips that circulated on social media, most of them before the 2014 general election, Modi mocked himself for being ‘uneducated’.  But in 2016, Amit Shah and Arun Jaitley showed copies certifying that Mr. Modi was awarded a BA (division III) from Delhi University in 1978 and Gujarat University gave him an MA (division I) in Entire Political Science in 1983 as an external candidate. In response to an RTI (right to information) query, seeking a list of students who had qualified for a BA degree in 1978, the SOL (School of Open Learning) said, "The data is not maintained in the branch in the order as desired by the applicant." It should be noted that there's no such discipline as "Entire Political Science" offered at Gujarat University.  

Attempts by Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Admi Party (AAP) Chief Arvind Kejriwal to get Gujarat University to confirm the BJP leaders' claim have so far failed. The AAP chief has now filed a review petition after the High Court set aside an order from the Central Information Commission (CIC) that had directed the university to "search for information" regarding PM Modi's degree, according to ANI reports

In an open letter,  Aam Aadmi Party leader Manish Sisodia has warned that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “lack of educational qualification” was dangerous for India. “Modi does not understand science…” Sisodia alleged. “He does not understand the importance of education. It is necessary to have an educated prime minister for the progress of India.”

The Indian Prime Minister's poor education is reflected in his lack of understanding of the complexity of the idea of Indian nationhood and its long contentious history. It also shows in his poor decision-making processes in demonetization and nation-wide covid lockdown.  

Modi's attempts to forge India's new Hindutva identity as a Hindu Rashtra are raising serious doubts about maintaining its unity. Hatred against religious minorities,  particularly Muslims, has reached new heights. In a recent Op Ed,  Mr. Shashi Tharoor summed it up in the following words:  "The BJP’s belligerent Hindutva nationalism – which promotes a narrow interpretation of history and demonizes India’s minorities, particularly Muslims – can be likened to a toxin injected into the veins of Indian society". 

Gopal Krishna Pillai, one of India’s most highly regarded former home secretaries, says “secular Hindus are uncomfortable, frustrated” adding “and don’t know what should we do in Modi’s India”. He told Karan Thapar in a recent interview that India could be 10 years away from danger point which he described as “civil disturbance” if the present treatment of Muslims is not checked and reversed,  At one point in the interview he even briefly accepted that India could face “civil war”.

In a recent interview to CNN, former US President Barack Obama has pointed out the consequences of BJP's anti-Muslim policies. “If the (US) President meets with Prime Minister Modi, then the protection of the Muslim minority in a Hindu majority India is worth mentioning. If I had a conversation with Prime Minister Modi, who I know well, part of my argument would be that if you don't protect the rights of ethnic minorities in India, there is a strong possibility that India would at some point start pulling apart,” Obama had said. “We have seen what happens when you start getting those kinds of large internal conflicts. So that would be contrary to the interests of not only the Muslim India but also the Hindu India. I think it is important to be able to talk about these things honestly,” said Mr. Obama.

The poor handling of demonetization and the Covid pandemic by the Modi government have caused untold suffering for the Indian people, particularly the poor. Modi's attempts to accelerate the documentation of the Indian economy have killed the informal sector which employs the bulk of India's workers, causing persistently high unemployment.  Nationwide COVID lockdown has further exacerbated the situation for India's poor. It has resulted in worsening inequality in the country.  A recent survey found that the income of the poorest 20% of the country declined by 53% over the last 5 years. The survey, conducted by the People's Research on India's Consumer Economy (PRICE), a Mumbai-based think tank, also shows that in contrast, the same period saw the annual household income of the richest 20% grow by 39%, according to a report The Indian Express

Modi's false claims of India's glorious Hindu past seems to have been accepted by his followers without question. These claims include the inventions of computers, rockets, spacecraft, the internet, plastic surgery and nuclear weapons in ancient India—long before Western science came on the scene. Here's an excerpt of a report on Indian Science Congress held in 2019: 

"The most widely discussed talk at the Indian Science Congress..... celebrated a story in the Hindu epic Mahabharata about a woman who gave birth to 100 children, citing it as evidence that India's ancient Hindu civilization had developed advanced reproductive technologies. Just as surprising as the claim was the distinguished pedigree of the scientist who made it: chemist G. Nageshwar Rao, vice-chancellor of Andhra University in Visakhapatnam. "Stem cell research was done in this country thousands of years ago," Rao said". 

Hindutva ideologues are now in charge of school textbooks. They are deleting references to India's long Muslim history, particularly the Mughal period that produced top tourist attractions like the Taj Mahal in Agra and the Red Fort in Delhi. 

India has also dropped Darwin's theory of evolution and the periodic table of elements from some school textbooks, part of a widening campaign by Modi's Hindu nationalist government that has prompted warnings from educators about the impact on teaching and the country's vital technology sector, according to media reports

Prime Minister Modi's poor education was obvious when he addressed the joint session of the US Congress during his recent state visit to Washington D.C. He had trouble reading his speech from a teleprompter. He said "investigate" instead of "invest" in girls. He incorrectly read "optical" fiber as "political" fiber. He pronounced "relationship" as "relasonsippi". It's amazing how wildly popular he is with the Indian diaspora, particularly in the United States where Indians are considered to be the best educated ethnic group. 


Riaz Haq said…
Narendra Modi’s lack of education qualification dangerous for India, says Manish Sisodia

In an open letter, the Aam Aadmi Party leader also accused the BJP of of shutting down 60,000 government schools across the country.

Jailed Aam Aadmi Party leader Manish Sisodia on Friday wrote in an open letter that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “lack of educational qualification” was dangerous for India.

In the letter which Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal posted on Twitter, his former deputy accused the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Central government of shutting down 60,000 government schools across the country.

“[Narendra] Modi does not understand science…” Sisodia alleged. “He does not understand the importance of education. It is necessary to have an educated prime minister for the progress of India.”

Sisodia, who also held the education ministry in the Delhi Cabinet, was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation on February 26 in a corruption case linked to Delhi’s now-scrapped liquor policy. He quit the Cabinet after his arrest and currently in judicial custody.

His letter comes a week after the Gujarat High Court quashed a 2016 order directing the Gujarat University to provide details about Modi’s educational qualifications to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. The court also imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on Kejriwal.

The BJP claims that Modi was awarded a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Delhi University in 1978 and a Master of Arts degree from Gujarat University in 1983. However, Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party has alleged that the degrees are fake.

In Friday’s letter, Sisodia criticised Modi saying that some of his remarks have been disheartening to listen to.

“The world is talking about artificial intelligence…Given this, when I hear the PM say that dirty gas funnelled from a drain can be used to make tea or food, my heart sinks,” Sisodia said. “He becomes the subject of jokes across the world and children in school and college make fun of him when he says that aircraft behind clouds cannot be detected by radar.”

Sisodia was referring to a Modi’s statement from 2018 where he claimed to have read about a tea seller who used gas emanating from a gutter as fuel to make the beverage. In an interview in 2019, Modi had said that he gave the Indian Air Force the green signal for its airstrike on a target in Pakistan’s Balakot despite bad weather because “the clouds could actually help our planes escape the radars”.

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party said Sisodia’s letter question the prime minister’s educational qualifications was regrettable.

“I want to tell Sisodia, a person cannot be judged on the basis of their degrees, but their maturity, wisdom, their thinking and their understanding of issues — all of which, unfortunately, you do not possess yourself,” Delhi BJP spokesperson Harish Khurana said, according to The Indian Express.

Khurana also questioned Sisodia’s educational qualifications.

“You yourself are just a diploma-holder and you are questioning a qualified MA?” Khuran asked. “You neither have the wisdom nor the required understanding of issues and you are questioning a PM whom the country is proud of and the world salutes India for? This amazes me.”
Riaz Haq said…
Md. Fujail Ahmed
“I have betrayed the entire countrymen, along with Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, I am an equal participant in many scams of BJP, I don't want to die carrying so much burden, I apologize to the people of India."

Don't know when this video statement surfaced, in which Supreme Court's Senior Advocate Shri Ram Jethmalani is heard repenting for helping BJP in many misdeeds and then apologizing to the countrymen.


When Jethmalani said sorry for supporting Modi: Jethmalani, who was the lead petitioner in the black money case during the previous UPA regime in the Supreme Court where he had argued for bringing back illegal money stashed in foreign banks, later regretted hailing PM Modi. "The one promise he (Modi) had made was that Rs 90 lakh crore of black money was concealed in foreign banks and that he will get back that money and give Rs 15 lakh to the family of every poor man....and then he appoints a party president (Amit Shah) who made a statement that it was an election jumla (gimmick)." Jethmalani addressed people with candour: "I am making a confession that I helped them to cheat you, I have come to seek your forgiveness." Even after his suspension from the BJP in 2012 over his criticism of corruption and certain key appointments, the lawyer had extended support to Modi in the 2014 elections. His quest to eradicate black money was evident with this statement: "It shocks me, a person who is fighting black money since April 2009, and I had referred to Modi as an 'avatar'".
Riaz Haq said…
Opinion | The Dangerous Reality of Modi’s India - The New York Times

By Maya Jasanoff, professor of history at Harvard.

Here is what Americans need to know about Mr. Modi’s India. Armed with a sharp-edged doctrine of Hindu nationalism, Mr. Modi has presided over the nation’s broadest assault on democracy, civil society and minority rights in at least 40 years. He has delivered prosperity and national pride to some, and authoritarianism and repression of many others that should disturb us all.


But let’s not kid ourselves. Mr. Modi — who before he became prime minister was denied a visa to the United States for allegedly condoning a massacre of Muslims in 2002 — has made himself the face of his nation, smiling benignly from billboards at every traffic circle, the sides of bus stops, the home pages of countless websites. We can be sure the photo-ops with Washington dignitaries will figure prominently in his re-election campaign next year. Far less certain is whether Mr. Modi will deliver the kind of strategic or economic partnership Washington is seeking.

Healthier ways to engage with India begin with understanding that Mr. Modi’s version of India is no less skewed than Donald Trump’s of the United States, even if Mr. Modi has been more successful at getting the media and global elite to buy into it. (The two leaders enthusiastically celebrated each other at stadium-filling rallies in Houston and Ahmedabad, India.) U.S. news organizations and research institutions must continue to support vital fact-finding and reporting, to counter Indian government propaganda and misinformation about everything from humanitarian abuses to Covid mortality figures. Companies seeking to do business in India should insist their partners uphold shared values and practices of nondiscrimination. Silicon Valley can do better at pushing back against India’s increasingly autocratic digital policy, to say nothing of standing up to censorship requests — which Twitter notoriously failed to do with respect to a recent BBC documentary critical of Mr. Modi.

U.S. legislators should pass bills to make caste a protected category and educate themselves enough to avoid the error made recently by the Illinois General Assembly when it set up an Indian American Advisory Council using terms that offensively marginalized Muslims. Employers should recognize that appeals to Hindu identity and “Hinduphobia” may themselves be rooted in anti-minority and casteist campaigns. Campus administrators should be prepared for efforts by Modi-aligned factions to censor the speech and research of faculty members, students and guests.

It’s also important to recognize the diversity in all senses of the Indian American diaspora — which encompasses progressives like Pramila Jayapal and Ro Khanna and conservatives like Nikki Haley and Vivek Ramaswamy — and to remember that Indian Americans are a disproportionately wealthy, well-educated subset of the broader South Asian diaspora, whose constituents have distinct needs and interests.

Majumdar said…
The leaders of Pakiland post Mushy have been very educated. What has been the outcome?
Riaz Haq said…
Majumdar: "The leaders of Pakiland post Mushy have been very educated. What has been the outcome?"

Education is necessary but not sufficient to lead. Let's not forget it was Oxbridge educated Manmohan Singh who initiated economic reforms that turned India around.
Riaz Haq said…
Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes: Ahead of 2024, BJP’s worry within

The only part on which the BJP has delivered is the institutionalisation of Hindutva. But it will, for the first time, have to project that in a context where there will be nothing else — no other economic narrative, no organisational distinctiveness, and no novel narrative

By Pratap Bhanu Mehta

The BJP is, by any measure, still in pole position as far as the 2024 general election is concerned. The Prime Minister is more popular than any other rival leader; the party’s organisational strength is impressive; its control over resources and the information order is massive; and the significant communal shift in Indian politics gives it a large, committed base. It is still an uphill battle to generate widespread excitement for the Opposition, despite modest momentum for Congress in a few states. But under the surface, you can see signs of a quiet worry setting in in the BJP. A year is a long time in world affairs these days. But there is little doubt that BJP will also go into the 2024 election facing an unprecedented set of political dilemmas.

The first challenge is crafting a narrative that has to now deal with the burden of actual performance rather than weaving fantasies about the future. To put the matter as dispassionately as possible, the BJP’s economic performance in political terms has not been incompetent enough to generate a massive economic backlash against the government; there is no deep crescendo of anger. But equally, there is a growing realisation, even amongst BJP supporters, that instead of a revolutionary transformation of the Indian state, governance, in the broadest sense, has more or less converged on the mean.

This is the most charitable characterisation of its performance; one can make the case that the performance is worse. Our economy is in the same structural dilemma over employment as it was a decade ago; our smart cities are no smarter; our ecology no more robust; our industrial policy is still more about policy than industry.

The BJP claims credit for welfare schemes and infrastructure. But this is part of a general expansion of state capacity in which even Opposition chief ministers have done as well, and have held onto power as a result. Our institutions and liberties are in worse shape. But there is great electoral diffidence on these issues, in part because people are not convinced that the Opposition can claim a huge moral high ground. But after Manipur, the handling of the wrestlers’ protest, the sense of a governance frisson is palpable.

The Prime Minister still displays enormous energy in electioneering. But the sense of imaginative exhaustion (from their own point of view) is palpable. The political consequences of this mood affiliation will not be easy for the PM to navigate; it is evident in the way his speeches are now, even from his own interests, out of joint. Too many claims, and his own delivery record mugs his dream making, in a way that is now more palpable — too few claims and there is nothing distinctive to offer. The slogans and abbreviations are fast running out. Anyone remember, “Minimum Government, Maximum Governance?” BJP is now having to harness a resigned pessimism and risk averseness, rather than optimism and boldness.
Riaz Haq said…
Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes: Ahead of 2024, BJP’s worry within

The imaginative exhaustion is also matched by the risk of mid-level organisational exhaustion. Political parties become vulnerable not entirely because of the desertion of foot soldiers, but sapping motivations of the mid- and second-tier leadership, whose ambitions have to be nurtured. This motivation can get sapped for two reasons. First, over-centralisation, where party work is day in and day out grind for one leader’s glory. Mid-level organisational leaders want to ride the leader’s coat tails, share the spoils of power, and many of them are capable of endless sycophancy. But it is hard to see a large number of politicians being able to sustain a sense of commitment and vocation, be cogs in a machine forever, subject to a forbidding hierarchy, and increasingly unclear about whose ambitions you are serving.

Congress had this problem, but most leaders compensated by running their own private shops at the expense of the party. Quietly, many BJP leaders will express this sense of exhaustion. This is also exacerbated by the fact that in key states, the BJP’s expansion strategy has been to seek defectors from other parties, leaving old timers stranded in the game of recognition and patronage. Leaders managing the party hierarchy require three things: Intrinsic or ideological motivation, a suitable outlet for ambition, or just sheer monetary patronage. In most states, the BJP is increasingly relying largely on the third, much to the detriment of the party. This made it vulnerable in Karnataka, and possibly in Haryana and Madhya Pradesh as well. It runs the same risk in Maharashtra. None of the mid-level leaders can challenge the BJP’s hierarchy, but what they can unconsciously project is a sense of ennui, a listlessness and loss of sincerity. The BJP may still overcome this challenge, but it is far more visible now than before.

The fascination of evil is its entertaining power, its sense of breaking norms that have been sapped of vitality, simply because people are bored. Much of the right-wing success capitalised on these base aesthetic impulses — contempt, humiliation, vicariousness, and demonisation. One should be extremely cautious about inferring anything about actual politics from mere discourse. But in a small way, it is telling that for the first time the BJP is beginning to lose that perverse narrative edge. The propaganda system it relies on is still as communally vile as ever. But its narrative tropes are much less effective in taking down its opponents. If anything this is an area where Congress is finally acquiring some seriously cutting-edge fire power.

In the last few years, harnessing the memes of production was an effective tool of casting doubt. But they relied on an asymmetry. All that BJP needed to win was cast doubt on its opponents. The aim was to destroy the truth — and pave the way for a kind of nihilism where anything goes. But what do you do after nihilism has been established as the governing truth and norm? It no longer has the power of critique, a sense of novelty, or even an opponent to target. It is now just another tiresome incantation evident in the ever-increasing self goals of the BJP’s IT cell.

The BJP is now facing a triple dilemma: It cannot run on promissory notes; its management of the ambitions of its mid-level leadership will put strains on its organisational identity; and its success in institutionalising nihilism now runs the risk of making the party an utter bore. The only part on which it has delivered is the institutionalisation of Hindutva, in all its vilest forms. But it will, for the first time, have to project that Hindutva in a context where there will be nothing else — no other economic narrative, no organisational distinctiveness, and no novel narrative power to support it.
Riaz Haq said…
In the absence of real data, India's stats are all being manufactured by BJP to win elections.

Postponing India’s census is terrible for the country

But it may suit Narendra Modi just fine

Narendra Modi often overstates his achievements. For example, the Hindu-nationalist prime minister’s claim that all Indian villages have been electrified on his watch glosses over the definition: only public buildings and 10% of households need a connection for the village to count as such. And three years after Mr Modi declared India “open-defecation free”, millions of villagers are still purging al fresco. An absence of up-to-date census information makes it harder to check such inflated claims. It is also a disaster for the vast array of policymaking reliant on solid population and development data.


Three years ago India’s government was scheduled to pose its citizens a long list of basic but important questions. How many people live in your house? What is it made of? Do you have a toilet? A car? An internet connection? The answers would refresh data from the country’s previous census in 2011, which, given India’s rapid development, were wildly out of date. Because of India’s covid-19 lockdown, however, the questions were never asked.

Almost three years later, and though India has officially left the pandemic behind, there has been no attempt to reschedule the decennial census. It may not happen until after parliamentary elections in 2024, or at all. Opposition politicians and development experts smell a rat.


For a while policymakers can tide themselves over with estimates, but eventually these need to be corrected with accurate numbers. “Right now we’re relying on data from the 2011 census, but we know our results will be off by a lot because things have changed so much since then,” says Pronab Sen, a former chairman of the National Statistical Commission who works on the household-consumption survey. And bad data lead to bad policy. A study in 2020 estimated that some 100m people may have missed out on food aid to which they were entitled because the distribution system uses decade-old numbers.

Similarly, it is important to know how many children live in an area before building schools and hiring teachers. The educational misfiring caused by the absence of such knowledge is particularly acute in fast-growing cities such as Delhi or Bangalore, says Narayanan Unni, who is advising the government on the census. “We basically don’t know how many people live in these places now, so proper planning for public services is really hard.”

The home ministry, which is in charge of the census, continues to blame its postponement on the pandemic, most recently in response to a parliamentary question on December 13th. It said the delay would continue “until further orders”, giving no time-frame for a resumption of data-gathering. Many statisticians and social scientists are mystified by this explanation: it is over a year since India resumed holding elections and other big political events.
Riaz Haq said…
Scientists yet to receive this year’s research funds


According to a ToI report, top research institutions of the country have not received any funds since April this year

As a result, purchases are on hold and project staff have not been paid for three months

A senior scientist, S C Lakhotia, said that he is paying his project staff from his own pocket

Why are Department of Science & Technology and Department of Biotechnology silent on the matter?

May be Government will coin a new slogan this week: minimum funds, maximum research
Riaz Haq said…
While We Watched film review — bleak glimpse into India’s changing media

Documentary follows an independent news journalist branded a traitor for refusing to fall in line with hawkish nationalists

Speaking truth to power has gone dangerously out of style. Such is the dark message of While We Watched, the kinetic and bleakly effective new documentary about media and democracy from Vinay Shukla. The location is modern India: too vast and particular to stand in for anything but itself, yet also, perhaps, a microcosm.

Shukla trains his camera on journalist Ravish Kumar, veteran mainstay of independent broadcaster NDTV. Kumar gives the film a compelling human centre, his mood forever readable on his face: frowning perfectionism at work on a story, a wry grin in moments of crisis.

What follows pushes his gallows humour close to despair. The year is 2019. A momentous national election beckons for India. In a film with not nearly enough time for all it wants to say, scene-setting is minimal. Then again, for Kumar too, there is a feeling of being taken by surprise.

The subject has long reported on economic inequality: hardly uncommon in Narendra Modi’s New India. “I haven’t changed,” Kumar smiles on-air. But the Indian media have — seismically, by Shukla’s telling. NDTV increasingly looks like a lonely outpost. Rival channels are filled with pro-Modi polemic in place of reportage, delivered by deafening hosts. Hawkish nationalism makes great product for government and cheerleaders alike.

Kumar, by contrast, will face interruptions of broadcast signal, and worse. But the deepest cut is the slow bleed of viewers towards the national good news story relentlessly told elsewhere. There, even to mention a mood-spoiler like joblessness is to risk being called unpatriotic. And to be unpatriotic is to become, in turn, precisely the kind of enemy within whose demonisation drives ratings. “Shrewd, isn’t it?” Kumar remarks.

Publicly called a traitor, his phone number left to circulate on social media, Kumar keeps arguing back. (Once or twice, with defiant mischief, in song.) But he also comes to seem the doomed hero of a fait accompli. If the news since requires a spoiler warning, the real ending comes after the credits. NDTV is now owned by Modi ally Gautam Adani. Kumar no longer works there. At four years’ remove, the film makes a stark history lesson.

Riaz Haq said…
#Indian #exports decline for the fourth month in a row to nearly $35 billion this May, down 10.3% from $39 billion in the same period last year, widening the #trade #deficit to a five month high of $22.1 billion. #economy #Modi #BJP

Riaz Haq said…
The Gray Zone of Diplomacy


There has been a huge shift from India’s quiet and mature diplomacy to snarls and threats and attacks. The wording of rebuttals has lost the diplomatic flavour, and hence the firmness associated with India. Counters sound more like desperate, angry utterings than considered policy. This approach might appease some at home, but the world is not taking kindly to it with the international media reports becoming increasingly hostile as a result. The reports sent back by the missions here to their headquarters on a regular basis will reflect the troll attack for instance on former President Barack Obama for speaking out on the human rights situation in India. He was trolled mercilessly for his comments in an interview to an American television channel, with those leading the attack here forgetting that one, he is very close to current President Joe Biden who was hosting Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the time, and the two have worked very closely together under the Barack Presidency.


In any other time, under another government perhaps, the side shows of diplomacy, hold sway. And worry mandarins in the Foreign Office, as they all know that often governments send out warning signals through the sidelines and expect the targeted country to understand and move towards a course correction. When they do not then relations falter. It was not so long ago that the Union Minister of External Affairs Jaishankar was the blue eyed boy of then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and spent valuable time and energy in calmly fire fighting diplomatic murmurs on issues such as the civilian nuclear deal with the Americans, Nepal, China of course, and even Russia that was smarting under a cut in defence deals with India. As a result Indian diplomacy was respected, with the capitals across the world engaging, arguing, and working out the fissures directly with New Delhi. Also Read - India Clashes With The Western ‘Establishment’ On Human Rights Even As Govts Appear To Woo It One remembers - after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee announced the Pokhran nuclear blasts to a stunned press at his residence - walking in for a briefing by the National Security Advisor Brajesh Mishra. The entire focus, in the wave of a global attack on India for going nuclear, was on Pakistan with MEA ‘sources’ admitting that if Pakistan followed suit it would help take some of the pressure off. Then diplomat and now Union Minister Hardeep Singh greeted informal questions about the same with a fingers crossed sign, even as he and all concerned diplomats went into high gear to assuage world sentiment. There was no trolling then of course, but even the briefings on were not jingoistic, and a ‘we stand by our decision’ stance was tempered continuously with a ‘we are sure the world will understand.’


the Biden Administration to read the riot act as it were to New Delhi. That he has not, and instead went out of his way to lay out the proverbial red carpet for PM Modi is significant, but then even the White House had to come out with a strong statement in support of a woman journalist who was also trolled ruthlessly in India for asking an inconvenient question to the Indian Prime Minister. This creates fissures and will make it difficult for President Biden to withstand the pressure at home with equanimity. Particularly if the liberal values that he is expected to uphold in office come under constant attack by those who partners with. ......
Riaz Haq said…
India’s goods exports dropped 22% to hit 8-month low in June - The Hindu

India's goods exports plummeted 22.02% year-over-year in June to hit an eight-month low of $32.97 billion, while imports fell 17.5% to $53.1 billion, as per data from the Commerce Ministry.

June marked the seventh time in nine months that India’s merchandise exports have declined, but the dip in outbound shipments was the sharpest in this period.

The goods trade deficit for June fell 8.8% from levels seen last June as well as this May, to $20.13 billion. This is the second month in a row that the deficit has been over $20 billion after a four-month streak of lower gaps between imports and exports, but economists aren’t too worried about the scale of the deficit yet relative to last year’s higher gaps.

Riaz Haq said…
India needs to grow at 7.6% a year for 25 yrs to be a developed nation -central bank bulletin

MUMBAI, July 17 (Reuters) - India will need to grow at a rate of 7.6% annually for the next 25 years to become a developed nation, according to a research paper published by the central bank in its monthly bulletin on Monday.

India's per capita income is currently estimated at $2,500, while it must be more than $21,664 by 2047, as per World Bank standards, to be classified as a high-income country.

"To achieve this target, the required real GDP compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) for India works out to be 7.6% during 2023-24 to 2047-48," according to the study by the Reserve Bank of India's economic research department.

In nominal terms, which includes the impact of inflation, the economy would need to clock a CAGR of 10.6%, said the study, which does not represent the RBI's official view.

"It may, however, be mentioned that the best (nominal growth) India achieved over a period of consecutive 25 years in the past is a CAGR of 8.1% during 1993-94 to 2017-18."

To reach that level of sustained growth, India requires investment in physical capital and reforms across sectors covering education, infrastructure, healthcare and technology, the study said.

The country's industrial and services sector would need to grow at over 13% annually for these 25 years for India to achieve developed economy status, it said.
Riaz Haq said…

Bhavika Kapoor ✋
- 5th largest economy 🚩
- 5 trillon economy 🐄

𝗜𝗻𝗱𝗶𝗮'𝘀 𝗦𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗼𝗿𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝗚𝗗𝗣 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗛𝗮𝘃𝗲 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗲𝗻𝘁𝗹𝘆 𝗣𝗲𝗿𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗺𝗲𝗱 𝗣𝗼𝗼𝗿𝗹𝘆 𝗦𝗶𝗻𝗰𝗲 𝟮𝟬𝟭𝟰:

𝗠𝗮𝗻𝘂𝗳𝗮𝗰𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴: The manufacturing sector has grown at an average rate of just 3.5% per year since 2014. This is well below the average growth rate of average 6% for the overall economy. The slow growth of the manufacturing sector is a major concern, as it is a key driver of job creation and economic growth. Poor performance of manufacturing in GDP is one of the major reasons of massive unemployment in India

𝗜𝗻𝗳𝗿𝗮𝘀𝘁𝗿𝘂𝗰𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲: The infrastructure sector has also performed poorly in recent years. The growth rate of the infrastructure sector has averaged just 2% per year since 2014. This is below the average growth rate of 6% for the overall economy. The slow growth of the infrastructure sector is a major constraint on economic growth, as it limits the ability of businesses to expand and create jobs.

𝗔𝗴𝗿𝗶𝗰𝘂𝗹𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲: The agriculture sector has also performed poorly in recent years. The growth rate of the agriculture sector has averaged just 2% per year since 2014. This is below the average growth rate of 6% for the overall economy. The slow growth of the agriculture sector is a major concern, as it is a key source of livelihood for millions of Indians.

The construction sector has grown at an average rate of just 2.5% per year since 2014. This is well below the average growth rate of 6% for the overall economy. The slow growth of the construction sector is a major concern, as it is a key driver of job creation (as it gives employment to unskilled workforce too) and economic growth.

𝗕𝗮𝗻𝗸𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗙𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗶𝗮𝗹 𝗦𝗲𝗿𝘃𝗶𝗰𝗲𝘀:
India's banking and financial services sector has faced a multitude of challenges, primarily in the form of non-performing assets (NPAs) and the resulting stress on bank balance sheets. The burden of NPAs, coupled with regulatory issues, limited credit availability, and risk-averse lending practices, has impacted the sector's ability to fuel economic growth. Additionally, the sector has witnessed instances of fraud and mismanagement, eroding investor confidence.

𝗣𝗼𝘄𝗲𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗘𝗻𝗲𝗿𝗴𝘆:
Despite efforts to improve power generation and distribution, India's power and energy sector has struggled to keep pace with the growing demand. Issues like inadequate infrastructure, transmission losses, fuel supply constraints, and pricing challenges have hampered the sector's progress. The heavy reliance on fossil fuels has also posed environmental challenges, requiring a shift towards cleaner and renewable energy sources.

In summary, addressing the above highlighted issues will require a comprehensive approach, involving policy reforms, infrastructure development, skill enhancement, and investment in research and development. However, I don't think Modi government has the talent, vision and political willingness to handle such complex issues.
Riaz Haq said…
Over 10,000 MSMEs shut during 2016-2022 period; 96% in past 3 years, shows govt data | The Financial Express

Ease of Doing Business for MSMEs: The government has come out with consolidated data on the number of MSMEs closed over the past six years including the Covid period in the country. According to the combined data from the Udyam registration portal and the erstwhile Udyog Aadhaar Memorandum (UAM), 10,067 MSMEs were shut from 2016 to 2022.

Sharing data in the Rajya Sabha on Monday in a written reply to a question on the closure of units, Minister of State for MSMEs Bhanu Pratap Singh Verma noted that 400 MSMEs (4 per cent of total closures) were shut during the 2016-2019 period as per the UAM data. On the other hand, the majority 96 per cent units — 9,667 were shut between 2019 and 2022, according to the UAM and Udyam portal data.

In reply to a separate question on the Covid impact on MSMEs, Verma shared that 2,870 MSMEs registered on the Udyam portal were shut between April 1, 2022, and July 20, 2022, along with employment loss for 19,862 people. Likewise, 6,222 Udyam-registered MSMEs were shut in FY22 with 42,662 people losing jobs. Between July 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021, 175 Udyam units were closed and 724 jobs were lost.

“Closure of MSMEs is certainly a concern for the government for which necessary steps and studies have been undertaken. The closure is one of the reasons cited by units for cancelling their MSME registrations, but the reason for closure is not always mentioned by them. Other reasons for cancelling registrations include stopping the manufacturing of goods or moving to other businesses or they just don’t need the registration anymore,” Ishita Ganguli Tripathy, Additional Development Commissioner, Ministry of MSME told Financial Express Online.

Citing studies by SIDBI, SBI, and others, Tripathy noted that while there have been closures, some of them have been temporary and due to schemes such as Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS), many MSMEs have been able to save employment as well.
Riaz Haq said…
Engineers Who Built Chandrayaan-3 Launch Pad Weren’t Paid Salaries for Over a Year: Report

Despite the issue of unpaid salaries, the firm delivered the mobile launching pad and other crucial and complex equipment ahead of schedule in December 2022.

New Delhi: As the world witnessed the historic Chandrayaan-3 lunar mission on July 14, the engineers who built the launch pad are reported to have not received their salaries for over a year now.

The engineers of Heavy Engineering Corporation (HEC) in Ranchi were not being paid for the past 17 months, news agency IANS reported.

Despite the issue of unpaid salaries, the firm delivered the mobile launching pad and other crucial and complex equipment ahead of schedule in December 2022, the report said.

The HEC is a public sector undertaking under the Ministry of Heavy Industries. The firm is located in Ranchi’s Dhurwa area.

Several news outlets have reported about the non-payment of salaries to the company staff for over a year.

Frontline reported in May that some 2,700 workmen and 450 executives had not got their salaries for the past 14 months or so.

In November 2022, IANS had reported that the officers of the company had not received their salary for an entire year and employees for eight-nine months.

It had said that despite having orders worth Rs 1,500 crore from the Indian Space Research Organisation, Ministry of Defence, Railways, Coal India and the steel sector, 80% of the work remains pending due to shortage of funds.

Subhash Chandra, an engineer who was among those who cheered the successful launch of Chandrayaan-3, told the news agency: “The HEC personnel held their heads once again with pride. We are happy that we are partners in such an important project of the country.”

IANS reported, citing sources, that the company requested the Ministry of Heavy Industries several times to provide working capital of Rs 1,000 crore. However, the ministry responded saying that the Union government cannot extend any help.

Moreover, for the last two and a half years, the HEC has not made any permanent appointment for the position of chief managing director, or CMD.

The Chandrayaan-3 was built with a budget of around Rs 600 crore.

Riaz Haq said…
72% of MSMEs stagnant since past 5 years: Survey | The Indian Express

Over three-fourth of the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are of the view that their business remained either stagnant or decreased or wound up during the last five years, a survey said. The survey by industry body Consortium of Indian Associations of 1,08,500 entrepreneurs also stated that 76 per cent of the respondents are not making profit and access to bank finance remains a big issue.

“During the last 5 years, the performance of 72% of the respondents is either stagnant or
decreasing or stopped or wound up. Only 28% of the respondents have confirmed that they are growing. This is a warning sign. 76% of the respondents have said they are not making a profit,” it said.


Jawhar Sircar
Modi’s economics —
where Demonetisation destroys MSMEs —
who provide 90% of jobs in India.
Corporates, esp Cronies make profit —
but no jobs are created.
Low tax helps corporate — obviously, nothing comes free —
which may explain BJP’s money power and godi media support
Riaz Haq said…
Sex scene with Cillian Murphy and Florence Pugh in ‘Oppenheimer’ becomes latest target of India’s Hindu nationalists

New Delhi

Christopher Nolan’s latest blockbuster movie “Oppenheimer” has sparked controversy among the Hindu-right in India, with some calling for a boycott and demanding the removal of a sex scene in which the titular character utters a famous line from the religion’s holy scripture.

The film tells the story of the atomic bomb through the lens of its creator, Robert Oppenheimer, and the scene in question depicts actor Cillian Murphy, who plays the lead role, having sex with Florence Pugh, who plays his lover Jean Tatlock.

Pugh stops during intercourse and picks up a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, one of Hinduism’s holiest scriptures, and asks Murphy to read from it.

“Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds,” Oppenheimer’s character says, as they resume intercourse.

The scene has caused outrage among some right-wing groups, with a politician from India’s Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) calling the film a “disturbing attack on Hinduism” and accusing it of being “part of a larger conspiracy by anti-Hindu forces.”

In a statement Saturday, India’s Information Commissioner, Uday Mahurkar, said the scene was “a direct assault on religious beliefs of a billion tolerant Hindus,” likening it to “waging a war on the Hindu community.”

He added: “We believe that if you remove this scene and do the needful to win hearts of Hindus, it will go a long way to establish your credentials as a sensitized human being and gift you friendship of billions of nice people.”

The film has been received well in most quarters in India, which conducted its first nuclear test in 1974, with critics giving it rave reviews and people flocking to cinemas to watch it.

Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie in "Barbie"
The 'Barbie' and 'Oppenheimer' double feature shouldn't be a one-off

“Oppenheimer” grossed more than $3 million in its opening weekend in the country, according to local reports, higher than filmmaker Greta Gerwig’s highly anticipated “Barbie,” which released on the same day and grossed just over $1 million.

India’s film board gave “Oppenheimer” a U/A rating, which is reserved for movies that contain moderate adult themes and can be watched by children under 12 with parental guidance. There are so far no bans on the film in any of the country’s states and union territories.

This isn’t the first time that the Hindu-right has taken offense to films, television shows or commercials for its portrayal of Hinduism. Some have been boycotted or even forced off air following outcry from conservative and radical groups.

In 2020, Netflix (NFLX) received significant backlash in India for a scene in the series “A Suitable Boy” that depicted a Hindu woman and Muslim man kissing at a Hindu temple. That same year, Indian jewelry brand Tanishq withdrew an advert featuring an interfaith couple following online criticism.

Meanwhile, analysts and film critics say there has been a shift in the tone of some Indian films, with nationalist and Islamophobic narratives gaining support from many within India, as well as the BJP.

Last year, filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri’s box office smash “The Kashmir Files,” based on the mass exodus of Kashmiri Hindus as they fled violent Islamic militants in the 1990s, polarized India, with some hailing the film as “gut-wrenching” and “truthful,” while others criticized it for being Islamophobic and inaccurate.

Similarly, the release this year of “The Kerala Story,” about a Hindu girl who is lured into joining ISIS, angered critics who called it a propaganda film that demonized Muslims.
Riaz Haq said…
India’s #Modi's Wild Vanity Project Already Has Eight Dead #Cheetahs. #Indian prime minister’s PR attempt to reintroduce big cats to #India was doomed from the start, scientists and conservationists say. #BJP #Hindutva

Twenty cheetahs were shipped to India from Southern Africa in a historic intercontinental translocation designed to restore the big cats to the country for the first time in 70 years.

The first delivery was timed to coincide with the Indian prime minister’s birthday last year. Amid huge fanfare leading up to the big day, enormous billboards across major cities in the country advertised this achievement of Narendra Modi and his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

Cheetahs—the agile big cats known for their remarkable speed and striking appearance—were declared extinct in India in 1952. Now Modi—the most powerful Indian leader in decades—seemed to be saying he could turn back time and bring these beautiful creatures home to a resurgent India.

The results, so far, of this grandiose plan have been tragic.

The first eight cheetahs arrived from Namibia last September, and another 12 cheetahs from South Africa were introduced to the Kuno National Park—located in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh—in February this year.

Hopes across the country were sky high, but even before they arrived, scientists and conservationists were raising major concerns about this unprecedented plan.

Kuno National Park emerged as the location for the reintroduction of cheetahs, beating out 10 surveyed sites in five central Indian states, according to the government’s action plan. Studies by conservation researchers, however, disagreed.

The action plan, devised by the Wildlife Institute of India, says that this decision was influenced by Kuno National Park’s “suitable habitat and abundant prey base.” Scientists, again, disagree.

While the ambitious plan to reintroduce cheetahs was being put into action, there were murmurs of concern among India’s wildlife community. They said the plan was “ecologically unsound” besides being costly and “may serve as a distraction rather than help global cheetah conservation efforts.”

Modi ignored their fears. In 2012, the Supreme Court of India had already intervened by putting a stay on the government’s plans to import cheetahs, and in 2013, the apex court reaffirmed its position, emphasizing the necessity for the government to present a comprehensive study before any consideration could be given to introducing cheetahs from Africa.

In 2017, the National Tiger Conservation Authority in India made an appeal to the apex court to reconsider its decision. Following the appeal, the Supreme Court granted permission in 2020 to introduce the cheetah on an “experimental basis.”

Many raised objections.

‘Flawed from the start’
As time passed, the fears of the wildlife community began to materialize as one by one, the big cats started losing their lives. Since March this year, a total of eight—including three cubs born to a Namibian cheetah named Jwala—have lost their lives at the park, adding to the growing toll of cheetah deaths.

Many argued the grand project—which cost $6 million so far—is on the brink of failure.

Dr. Arjun M. Gopalaswamy, a renowned big cat scientist in India told The Daily Beast: “The project was already flawed but now these unforeseen deaths, inexplicable deaths have made it far worse than what we thought.” He says the project is now at a “salvage point.”

India, despite the mounting demographic pressure, has lost only one large wild species of mammals since its independence from the British in 1947—the cheetah. And hence its reintroduction “has a very special significance for the national conservation ethic and ethos.” The Indian government believes that bringing back the cheetah will have “equally important conservation ramifications.”
Riaz Haq said…
How Manipur violence is challenging India’s politics

Modi and the BJP face a no-confidence motion due to brutal conflict.

By Ellen Ioanes

Interethnic violence has grown over the summer in India’s northeastern Manipur state , with reports on Thursday claiming three people had been killed and several homes set on fire. The clashes, between the majority Meitei ethnic group and the Kuki tribal groups risks spilling into neighboring states, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has thus far failed to seriously address the violence or the broader underlying issues of migration and ethnic tensions in the region.

Since May 3, Meitei and Kuki residents of communities in Manipur have engaged in horrific violence including reported rapes, burnings, and decapitations, apparently motivated by the state government’s efforts to extend benefits and jobs once exclusively reserved for Kuki to Meiteis. Over the past three months, the violence has become so extreme that it has triggered a no-confidence motion against Modi’s government this coming week.

Though the proposed motion won’t affect Modi and his Bharatiya Janta Party’s (BJP) grip on power, it will serve two main political purposes: to draw attention to the government’s inaction in containing the conflict as well as other failures and to galvanize the opposition under a new umbrella group.

Interethnic, sectarian, and insurgent violence is not new to India, and Modi’s Hindu nationalist ideology has contributed to the atmosphere of discord, if not outright fueled violence in some cases. The BJP governs Manipur state, and rather than attempting mediation between the largely Hindu Meiteis and Christian Kukis, the state government imposed an internet blackout that was only partially lifted last month.

The no-confidence motion won’t topple Modi’s government and may not even bring relief for the thousands who have fled violence in Manipur — or the many more still living in fear.

Violence in Manipur has become too extreme to ignore

India’s northeastern states — collectively called the “seven sisters” — are remote, often under resourced, and ethnically diverse. Some of these ethnic groups, called Scheduled Tribes, are transitory or share kinships across different states or even into neighboring countries; the Kuki, for example, have ties to ethnic groups in neighboring Myanmar and parts of Bangladesh as well as Mizoram and Assam states.

Because of its remoteness, porous international and state borders, migratory tribal groups, and the political and economic instability of neighboring countries like Bangladesh and Myanmar, northeastern India has seen many interethnic conflicts over the decades and under Modi’s government. In Assam, for example, tensions between ethnic Assamese and Bangladeshi migrants, including those whose families had lived in Assam for decades, have always had a political dimension — which was only exacerbated in 2019 when the federal government essentially declared about 1.9 million Bangladeshis in Assam stateless.

Manipur, like Assam, is poor and under-resourced; and inequality, real or perceived, exacerbates any tensions that already exist.

In Manipur, the Meitei people make up about half of the population, per CNN, and the Kuki make up 25 percent. As Scheduled Tribes, the Kuki have special access to land permits, jobs, and other benefits because they had historically been oppressed and denied access to education and livelihoods.

But a court ruling issued May 3 suggested the Meitei people also be designated as Scheduled Tribes, giving them access to the benefits — and, importantly, land in Mizoram’s hill country— that had previously been set aside for Scheduled Tribes. Kuki and other Scheduled Tribes rallied against the ruling, leading to the statewide suspension of mobile internet services, as well as a “shoot-at-sight” order issued by police governor Anusuiya Uikey to “maintain public order and tranquility,” CNN reported at the time.
Riaz Haq said…
#Modi's #Hindutva politics is pushing #India to the brink. World’s most populous country is degenerating into a conflict zone of sectarian violence. #BJP pumping out a steady stream of #Islamophobia & vile dog whistles. #Manipur #Haryana @Planet_Deb

Indian social media is a brutal place, a window on the everyday hatred and violence that has come to colonize the country in the nine years since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government came to power. But the images from the northeastern state of Manipur that began circulating in July were shocking even by those low standards.

A video clip showed two women being sexually assaulted as they were paraded, naked, by a crowd of men who later gang-raped one of them, according to a police complaint. The horrific scene was part of an explosion of ethnic violence since May that has turned the small state into a war zone, killing more than 150 people and displacing tens of thousands.

The state has a long history of ethnic animosities that predate Mr. Modi’s rise. But the fuse for the current unrest in Manipur was lit by the politics of Hindu supremacy, xenophobia and religious polarization championed by his Bharatiya Janata Party.

India is a diverse nation, crisscrossed by religious, ethnic, caste, regional and political fault lines. Since Mr. Modi took office in 2014, his ruling party has torn those asunder with dangerous exclusionary politics intended to charge up the party’s base and advance its goal of remaking India’s secular republic into a majoritarian Hindu state. The repugnant nature of this brand of politics has been clear for some time, but the situation in Manipur shows what’s ahead for India: The world’s most populous country is slowly degenerating into a conflict zone of sectarian violence.

Under Mr. Modi’s government, the state monopoly on violence is being surrendered to extremists and vigilantes. Those targeted by the kind of mob violence that we are seeing in India may conclude that equal rights are no longer guaranteed, that political differences can no longer be peacefully reconciled or fairly mediated and that violence is the only way for them to resist.

The targeting of minorities — particularly Muslims — by right-wing Hindu extremists is now a way of life in many states. Vigilante mobs, who often assemble provocatively in front of mosques, regularly assault Muslims as understaffed and underequipped police fail to intervene. Lynchings and open calls for genocide are common. India now ranks among the top 10 countries at the highest risk of mass killings, according to Early Warning Project, which assesses such risks around the world.

In Manipur, Christians are bearing the brunt as the state’s B.J.P. government stokes the insecurities of the majority ethnic Meitei, who are predominantly Hindu. State leaders have branded the Kuki tribes who populate the hill districts, and who are mostly Christian, as infiltrators from Myanmar, have blamed them for poppy cultivation intended for the drug trade and evicted some of them from their forest habitats. The specific trigger for the current violence was a court ruling in the state in favor of granting the Meitei affirmative action provisions and other benefits that have long been enjoyed by the Kuki and other tribes, which sparked a protest by tribal communities opposed to the ruling. The Manipur government this year also began a citizenship verification drive that infringes on the privacy of Kuki. A similar drive in neighboring Assam state targeting Muslims has already reportedly disenfranchised nearly two million people.
Riaz Haq said…
#Modi's #Hindutva politics is pushing #India to the brink. World’s most populous country is degenerating into a conflict zone of sectarian violence. #BJP pumping out a steady stream of #Islamophobia & vile dog whistles. #Manipur #Haryana @Planet_Deb

Emboldened by the state government’s rhetoric, Meitei militias in Manipur have gone on a rampage of raping, pillaging, looting police armories and burning villages. More than 250 churches have been burned down. Those were Meitei men in the horrific 26-second video, sexually assaulting two Kuki women. (The video was shot in early May but came to light only in July, possibly delayed by a government internet ban imposed in the state in response to the violence.) Many similar attacks on Kuki women have been reported. Mr. Modi has called the rape incident “shameful” but has otherwise said little about the chaos in Manipur.
The violent impact of his party’s polarizing politics is acutely felt in India’s heartland, too. The area near a tech and finance hub on the outskirts of New Delhi was rocked by violence last week as Hindu supremacists staging a religious procession clashed with Muslims. Mosques were attacked, an imam was killed, businesses were burned and looted, and hundreds of Muslims have fled.

In tandem with the B.J.P.’s demonizing of India’s nearly 200 million Muslims, television, cinema and social media are deployed to radicalize the Hindu majority, pumping out a steady stream of Islamophobia and vile dog whistles. Extremist groups, at least one of which appears to have received the public support of the prime minister, run amok. Muslims have been arrested for praying, had their livelihoods and businesses destroyed and their homes razed. Bulldozers, used to demolish homes, have become an anti-Muslim symbol, proudly paraded by B.J.P. supporters at political rallies.

As John Keane and I argue in our book “To Kill a Democracy: India’s Passage to Despotism,” it’s a signature tactic of modern-day despots: tightening their grip on power by redefining who belongs to the polity and ostracizing others. In the ultimate subversion of democracy, the government chooses the people, rather than the people choosing the government.

India is already a complex federation of regional identities, many of which consider themselves distinct from Hindi-speaking north India, the power base of Mr. Modi’s party. This federal structure is held together by delicate bonds of social and political accommodation. But they are fraying fast under Mr. Modi, who has no appetite for either, shrinking the space for nonviolent political contestation. Some regional political parties see the Bharatiya Janata Party’s centralizing and homogenizing Hindu-first thrust as a cultural imposition from outside and are assailing it with the same divisive us-versus-them vocabulary.
Riaz Haq said…

Ritesh Kumar Singh
Replacing a supplier from China with one in a friendly country would seem to make a supply chain more resilient to a potential China-US conflict; but it may create a false sense of security, considering that many friendly suppliers still rely on China for key inputs


Aug 18, 2023
Since the 2008 global financial crisis discredited the old liberal orthodoxy, the door has been open for simplistic policies, in part because most people tend to focus only on a policy’s first-order effects. Unfortunately, everyone will have to learn the hard way why such policies fell out of favor in the first place.

CHICAGO – Even in the best of times, policymakers find it difficult to explain complex issues to the public. But when they have the public’s trust, the ordinary citizen will say, “I know broadly what you are trying to do, so you don’t need to explain every last detail to me.” This was the case in many advanced economies before the global financial crisis, when there was a broad consensus on the direction of economic policy. While the United States placed greater emphasis on deregulation, openness, and expanding trade, the European Union was more concerned with market integration. In general, though, the liberal (in the classical British sense) orthodoxy prevailed.

So pervasive was this consensus that one of my younger colleagues at the International Monetary Fund found it hard to get a good job in academia, despite holding a PhD from MIT’s prestigious economics department, probably because her work showed that trade liberalization had slowed the rate of poverty reduction in rural India. While theoretical papers showing that freer trade could have such adverse effects were acceptable, studies that demonstrated the phenomenon empirically were met with skepticism.

The global financial crisis shattered both the prevailing consensus and the public’s trust. Clearly, the liberal orthodoxy had not worked for everyone in the US. Now-acceptable studies showed that middle-class manufacturing workers exposed to Chinese competition had been hit especially hard. “Obviously,” the accusation went, “the policymaking elites, whose friends and family were in protected service jobs, benefited from cheap imported goods and could not be trusted on trade.” In Europe, the free movement of goods, capital, services, and people within the single market were seen as serving the interests of the EU’s unelected bureaucrats in Brussels more than anyone else.

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