Free Press Journal
  • editorial, R N Bhaskar, RBI, crucial chinks, Reserve Bank Of India, Demonetisation, digital payments

    The RBI points to very crucial chinks

    The latest annual report of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is quite candid about its assessment of demonetisation. More cash has come back into the system than had been envisaged earlier. The pace of increase in digital payments has slowed down. And while the RBI does not mention it, the absurdity of having e-commerce…

    Continue Reading ...
  • The actual employment potential

    The government is on the backfoot. It hasn’t created enough jobs. On the contrary, unemployment rates in India increased from 3.51 per cent in 2016 to 3.52 per cent in 2017. It averaged around 4.05 per cent from 1983 until 2017, reaching an all time high of 8.30 per cent in 1983 and a record…

    Continue Reading ...
  • Banker, scamster and hidden hand make merry

    There is a sense of disquiet among India’s policy-watchers. Such anxieties were confirmed when they saw the data presented before the Lok Sabha on 3 August 2018 (see chart).  The government pointed out that in 2017-18 alone, there were 5,897 instances of bank-fraud that had come to light and were being investigated. Together, they involve…

    Continue Reading ...
  • Rural incomes worse than previously imagined

    The latest Nabard survey on All India Rural Financial Inclusion Survey 2016-17 — https://www.nabard.org/auth/writereaddata/tender/1608180417NABARD-Repo-16_Web_P.pdf — points to a bigger farm crisis than had been imagined earlier. Just take a look at the figures alongside.  They suggest that the average income from cultivation was just Rs 3,140 per household per month. This is pathetically low. What…

    Continue Reading ...
  • A great vision for healthcare, if…

    The present government should soon announce (maybe on Independence Day)  the Ayushman Bharat—National Health Protection Mission (AB-NHPM) which could make India have the world’s largest health insurance programme.  The scheme could also have a multiplier impact on allied sectors like pharmaceutical, diagnostics and medical devices and the overall Indian economy by way of employment generation….

    Continue Reading ...
  • New name, new logo, same old drive and values – Garware Technical Fibres

    Newly-rebranded Garware Technical Fibres, former Garware Wall Ropes that was established in 1976, has come a long way. The company takes pride in the manner in which it was set up by Padmashree Abasaheb Garware, grandfather of the present chairman and managing director Vayu Garware.  “He (Padmashree Abasaheb Garware)set up this company to cater to local…

    Continue Reading ...
  • Promotion of corruption act is now in place

    Last week the government finally got the Parliament to clear the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Act (PCAA). It appears to make the right sounds. It aims to provide good deterrents to prevent corruption. But read between the lines, and the laws appear to be aimed at protecting criminals by ensuring that evidence against them never…

    Continue Reading ...
  • Votebank politics – Northeast on the boil

    The Nellie nightmare gripped India on February 2, 1983. Overnight, Assamese tribals surrounded three villages filled with Bangladeshi migrants. They slaughtered some 3,300 people – mostly women and children. Preliminary investigations suggest that the police knew of this in advance. But they did nothing. Investigations were never completed. Politicians promptly stepped in (with premeditated intent?)…

    Continue Reading ...
  • It is a spirited debate over ethanol

    Each time India faces a glut in sugar production, there is a chorus of voices touting the need for vehicles to use ethanol. The arguments put forth in defence of the use of ethanol for vehicles are many – all laudable. The excess sugarcane can be used for ethanol production. This way sugar prices will…

    Continue Reading ...
  • Maharashtra continues to slip, badly

    Maharashtra continues to stumble along. Vision has evidently given way to expedience. Basic accounting and book-keeping norms are being flouted. And the yardstick of what constitutes corruption is sought to be redefined. Nowhere does this become as apparent as in the ranking of states in CARE Ratings paper of 12 July 2018 on “Fiscal Prudence…

    Continue Reading ...
  • Can the US push oil to USD 250 a barrel?

    Last week, Artem Avinov, leading analyst with TeleTrade, predicted that oil prices could jump to $250 per barrel if the Strait of Hormuz is blocked by Iran. This was duly reported by www.rt.com (https://www.rt.com/business/432075-iran-strait-hormuz-oil-prices/). Iran threatens to block the Strait of Hormuz in case the US makes any attempt to prevent its export of oil….

    Continue Reading ...
  • India, Swiss banks and black money

    Last week, the political climate was charged with accusations that the government had actually begun encouraging the promotion of black money. Prima facie, the charges seemed to have some merit in them. Swiss bank deposits from India had swelled by 50%, one of the largest increases in recent times (see chart). But the accusation was…

    Continue Reading ...