Interviews

Prabhat Patnaik, an economist and former economics professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, interviewed by Kaushal Shroff (The Caravan)Prabhat Patnaik, an economist and former economics professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, interviewed by Kaushal Shroff (The Caravan)

-CaravanMagazine.in In the budget unveiled in July, the finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman ambitiously claimed that India’s economy would hit $5 trillion by 2025. In the weeks that followed, the Central Statistics Office revealed that the gross domestic product growth rate for the April–June quarter fell to a six-year low of five percent; the Reserve Bank of India cleared a surplus transfer of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the union government; and the government announced the merger of ten public-sector banks into four combinations. These announcements came against the backdrop of the precarious state of the Indian economy. The country is witnessing an economic slowdown that has spread from the auto sector to other segments, the unemployment rate is at a 45-year high and the tax collections from the previous fiscal year presented an estimated shortfall of Rs 1.67 lakh crore from the revenue expected by the Bharatiya Janata Party government. The...

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Dr. Manmohan Singh, former Prime Minister of India, interviewed by Richa Mishra (The Hindu Business Line)Dr. Manmohan Singh, former Prime Minister of India, interviewed by Richa Mishra (The Hindu Business Line)

-The Hindu Business Line The government must simplify and rationalise GST, kickstart rural consumption, revive agriculture and tackle the lack of credit for capital creation, says former PM Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, an eminent economist himself, feels that the Narendra Modi-led government needs to come out of its habit of headline management and address the economic challenges which the country is facing today. “We cannot afford to deny that India is facing an economic crisis. Already, a lot of time has been lost. Instead of wasting its political capital by adopting a sector-wise piecemeal approach, or on monumental blunders like demonetisation, the time has now come for the government to carry out the next generation of structural reforms,” Singh told BusinessLine in an interview. Talking about the mandate which the Modi government has got, he said: “It is important to remember that this is a government with an overwhelming mandate, a full majority,...

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Professor Amiya Bagchi, Marxist economist, interviewed by Subhoranjan Dasgupta (The Telegraph)Professor Amiya Bagchi, Marxist economist, interviewed by Subhoranjan Dasgupta (The Telegraph)

-The Telegraph "The government has miserably failed to stimulate the domestic economy. It has spent less and less on public education, healthcare and infrastructure because of its erroneous policy" The Modi government has an ambitious plan to create a $5-trillion economy in the next five years — but all data points are heavily stacked against it. The economy is floundering and the Reserve Bank of India has already trimmed its growth forecast to 6.9 per cent this year. The decadal average for real GDP growth is 7 per cent. That isn’t good enough to reach what Professor Amiya Bagchi believes is a “pipedream”. In conversation with Subhoranjan Dasgupta, Dr Bagchi says the Modi government would do better to focus on the real issues: stimulate the economy, boost spending and deal with a ballooning wage and job crisis. * The BJP government is claiming that before 2025, India’s GDP will reach $5trillion. Is this...

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Manisha Verma, principal secretary, tribal development department, Maharashtra interviewed by Sugandha Indulkar (The Times of India)Manisha Verma, principal secretary, tribal development department, Maharashtra interviewed by Sugandha Indulkar (The Times of India)

-The Times of India Manisha Verma, principal secretary, tribal development department, Maharashtra talks to Sugandha Indulkar about The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 and related issues, with today being World Tribal Day. * What’s the precise positioning of the tribal welfare departments at the Centre and states on FRA? This is a seminal legislation. The preamble to the Act itself states that it aims to ‘undo the historical injustice’ to forest dwelling communities who were cultivating their land for generations but were deemed encroachers as their rights were not recorded. This legislation recognises, vests and provides for recording of rights of forest dwellers for self-cultivation up to four hectares, enabling security of tenure and livelihood to vulnerable communities. In addition, it confers on the communities the right to protect, regenerate and manage forest resources and provides for safeguards against arbitrary displacement. Union tribal affairs ministry...

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Social activist Aruna Roy speaks to Anindo Dey (The Times of India)Social activist Aruna Roy speaks to Anindo Dey (The Times of India)

-The Times of India blog Last week, NDA government succeeded in getting contentious amendments to RTI Act passed by Parliament. Social activist Aruna Roy, who was at the forefront of the movement to persuade Parliament to enact the original law, speaks to Anindo Dey about the development: * The government said the RTI Act amendments set right the anomaly of the Information Commissions, which are statutory bodies, being treated on a par with the Election Commission, a constitutional body. What is the problem with this? There is nothing legally which prevents the Information Commissions from being equated with the EC. In fact this was a positive provision passed unanimously by the Parliament, on the recommendation of the standing committee, where NDA members played an important part. Other statutory posts – CVC and Lokpal – have also been treated on a par with constitutional posts to ensure independent functioning. These amendments demonstrate that the...

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