Free Press Journal
  • 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….

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  • 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…

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  • 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…

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  • 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?)…

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  • 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…

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  • 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…

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  • 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….

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  • 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…

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  • India uses AIIB to diversify its funding sources

    India has already begun diversifying its funding sources by looking for more financial support from the three year old Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), headquartered in Beijing. Hitherto, it had sought financial aid from bodies like Japan’s ODA, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank and the IFC besides other commercial bands and…

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  • Bad loans: Advantage NBFCs & private banks

    Last week, in his annual letter to shareholders of Kotak Mahindra Bank, Uday Kotak, the managing director, stated that private sector banks could increase their market share to as much as 50%. Till a few years ago, private sector banks were expected to carve out a market share of around 32% by 2025. All of…

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  • Bankruptcy law will be learning experience for at least 2-3 years: Bahram Vakil, founding partner, AZB & Partners

    Bahram Vakil, the founding partner of leading law firm AZB & Partners, is reckoned among the country’s foremost infrastructure and project finance attorneys. He has worked on several committees that introduced major policy changes in the country. Among them are the U K Sinha Committee— working group on foreign investment in India; SEBI sub-group on regulatory guidelines…

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  • Tokenism will not make Mumbai smart

    McKinsey Global Institute has just come out with its paper on Smart Cities: Digital Solutions for a more liveable future (https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/mckinsey/industries/capital%20projects%20and%20infrastructure/our%20insights/smart%20cities%20digital%20solutions%20for%20a%20more%20livable%20future/mgi-smart-cities-full-report.ashx). It explains how “after a decade of experimentation, smart cities are entering a new phase. Although they are only one part of the full tool kit for making a city great, digital solutions are…

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