Category: Bureaucracy Today

FDI in retail – a flawed idea

In the Union Budget for 2016-17, the Finance Minister had announced 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail food. This was subject to the retailer selling only food procured from farmers in India and processed locally. However, guidelines in this regard are yet to be notified. Meanwhile, the Government is reportedly considering a proposal to allow 100% FDI in all goods “manufactured domestically”. The policy will be applicable to both offline (brick-and-mortar retailers) and online (e-commerce companies). The idea is flawed. At the outset, a few words on the existing policy dispensation on the FDI in retail. For this purpose, retail is classified in two broad categories, viz, single-brand retail (SBR) and multi-brand retail (MBR). In the SBR, 100% FDI...
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Was Modi’s demonetisation a flop show?

When the demonetisation of Rs1,000 and Rs 500 notes was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 8, 2016, the expectation was that about Rs 350,000 – 400,000 lakh crore out of a total Rs 15,44,000 lakh crore (embedded in these notes) would not come to banks. This was taken to mean tremendous success of this policy decision. On the one hand this would tantamount to sternest punishment to hoarders of black money (via junking all of their illegal wealth – accumulated over the years – to a worthless piece of paper) and on the other this would give a bonanza to the Reserve Bank of India by way of extinguishing its liabilities to the extent of amount not...
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Modi’s New Year gift to the underprivileged

After a protracted wait, India has got a Prime Minister who has risen from the ranks and hails from the majority of the poor. The other redeeming feature is that PM Narendra Modi leads a party that has an absolute majority in the Lok Sabha. This makes a happy combination. It ensures that every policy decision taken by the present dispensation is guided by the overriding concerns of the poor and the common man of India and seeks to benefit them. At the same time, the absolute majority of the ruling party ensures that people-friendly legislations (for instance, the Bill giving statutory backing to the Aadhaar card) have a smooth passage in the House. Demonetisation, announced on November 8, 2016,...
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Viewpoint: Expedite subsidy reforms

By Uttam Gupta, New Delhi 05/01/2017 After protracted wrangling, members of the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreed on November 30, 2016 to reduce their combined output by 1.2 million barrels a day. Likewise, 11 non-OPEC countries led by Russia decided on December 10, 2016 to knock off over 550,000 barrels from their supplies. The agreement is effective from January 1, 2017. These developments need to be viewed in the backdrop of a steep drop in the price of crude from its peak of US$ 114 per barrel in mid-2014 to US$ 27 per barrel in February, 2016 and had recovered only marginally to US$ 40 per barrel by November-end. The price of LNG which follows the trend in...
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