Prof. Devesh Kapur, director of the Center for the Advanced Study of India at the University of Pennsylvania, interviewed by Anuradha Raman (The Hindu)
The political scientist on the danger to India’s checks and balances, and the perils of the democratisation of mediocrity in universities
Professor of political science and a holder of the Madan Lal Sobti Chair, Devesh Kapur has been director of the Center for the Study of Contemporary India at University of Pennsylvania since 2006. Mr. Kapur, who recently co-edited Public Institutions in India: Performance and Design, says our public universities have failed in fostering a spirit of inquiry, curiosity, tolerance and excellence among students. Excerpts:
* You have said you could see the making of a perfect storm in India.
In the next few decades, we will see a youth bulge with a skewed sex ratio, one where people, the young people, have ostensible credentials but no real skills or knowledge because of how bad our education system is. So they have expectations and aspirations which are not going to be met....
Asim Dasgupta, former Finance Minister of West Bengal, interviewed by AM Jigeesh (The Hindu Business Line)
-The Hindu Business Line
Asim Dasgupta, who was Finance Minister of West Bengal for 24 years, was probably the only CPI(M) member who attended Saturday’s event at the Central Hall of Parliament, on the eve of the GST’s launch. In fact, Dasgupta was Chairman of the Empowered Group of State Finance Ministers which prepared the first formulation of GST laws in 2009.
He spoke to BusinessLine on the new indirect tax regime, and differed with his party on issues such as infringement of the right of States, and possible inflation. Excerpts:
* Are you happy about the GST laws?
When we [State Finance Ministers] had worked out the GST framework way back in 2009 with the help of (economist) Parthasarathi Shome, I happened to be the Chairman of the Empowered Group of State Finance Ministers. In that formulation, we mentioned that there has to be a Constitutional amendment that the States can get the...
Pronab Sen, former Planning Commission member and former Chairman of the National Statistical Commission, interviewed by TCA Sharad Raghavan (The Hindu)
It’s complex than elsewhere both in terms of number of rates and jurisdictions
The form of Goods and Services Tax being implemented from July 1 is uniquely Indian, according to former Planning Commission member and former Chairman of the National Statistical Commission Pronab Sen. In an interview to The Hindu, he says the indirect tax regime will make it easier to start a new company, but increases complexity for those engaged in buying and selling multiple goods and services. Excerpts:
* What are the benefits of the GST system being applied currently?
The benefit of the GST system is that essentially it subsumes all taxes into one. This means that whatever activity you are in, there is only one indirect tax that is applicable. You do not have to worry about the different forms of taxes that are applicable for your activity. That instils a degree of certainty in the system and...
Yogendra Yadav, convenor of Swaraj Party, interviewed by Archana Mishra (GovernanceNow.com)
As farmers protests take centre stage across the country, Swaraj Party convenor explains the ecological, economic and existential crisis behind this unrest.
* We have recently seen farmers from Tamil Nadu protesting in the national capital. Then Maharashtra farmers protested, deciding not to send their produce to cities. The agitation has now reached Madhya Pradesh, leading to killings. Why there is sudden farmers’ unrest in the country?
I think we tend to miss the real point behind these episodes of farmers unrest. Unfortunately, every time we tend to pay attention to the specifics of that episode. When farmers from Tamil Nadu come, the media gets excited about the skulls they are carrying or whatever unusual method of protest they adopt. When something happens in Mandsaur, everyone is interested in whether there is Congress hand behind it or not, the police fired or not. We get involved with it as if...
MS Swaminathan, father of Green Revolution, interviewed by Prabodh Krishna (BusinessWorld)
The recent past saw upsurge of farmers in Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu over demands of implementing Swaminathan Commission's recommendation and the protests are fast spreading their arms in other states as well
Keeping in mind that more than half of the Indian population depends on agriculture but the share of agriculture in GDP is nowhere near expectation, in 2002 the then National Democratic Alliance Government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee called upon MS Swaminathan, an agriculture expert, to file a report for the improvement of farmers' condition in India.
Swaminathan Commission had filed its report in 2006 to then United Progressive Alliance government. Swaminathan is now '92 years old' and is currently on a visit to his daughter in England. In an email interview with BW Businessworld's Prabodh Krishna, we got a chance to know his views on current issues of farmers in India:
* What are your views on the recent...