Satish Deshpande | Teaches Sociology at Delhi University
Deshpande compares the current situation in India with the book How to Lose a Country, which talks about President Erdogan’s systematic dismantling of checks and balances in Turkey. He cites the seven steps with which a country shifts “from democracy to dictatorship”. It begins with a movement that claims to be for the people, followed by an assault on rationality, then comes cooption of all institutions, the fifth step is the designing of new citizens, sixth is the reduction of all “secular and liberal thinkers” and the last step is the new nation that is built by the rulers.
Vinod Thomas | former senior vice president at World Bank
Thomas states that India is “ill-prepared” to deal with the new strain of coronavirus. He points out India’s low ranking in the WHO’s health security index and the examples of recent epidemics in India, including Nipah virus and H1N1 flu . He argues that the reason behind India’s poor preparedness is the lack of investment in public services, “Kerala’s experience in 2018 with the deadly Nipah virus showed the value of investing in education and health over the long term.”
Chandrajit Banerjee | Director general, Confederation of Indian Industry
Banerjee explores a different angle to the coronavirus outbreak — he say it impacts Indian companies in China as well as industries within India’s borders, namely, sectors like “shipping and aviation, pharmaceuticals, mobiles, electronics and solar power”. “Right-pricing of transport and energy will make Indian goods more competitive in global markets,” he suggests.
Pulapre Balakrishnan | Professor, Ashoka University
The Indian Express
Balakrishnan talks about the uniqueness of the AAP, a party which “lacks ideology” in the system where it is much needed. Balakrishnan argues that in the Westminster system, which we have adopted, “citizens expect political parties to not just have an ideology, a set of beliefs that they are committed to, but one that they actually articulate. Citizens choose among parties on the basis of their ideology.” He writes that AAP moves away from this system and proves that democracy needs to concern itself with improving the lives of people, aside from ideology.
Sudipto Mundle | Distinguished Fellow, National Council of Applied Economic Research
Mundle also focuses on the difference AAP has brought to politics: he asks if AAP’s “service delivery-based campaign” in the recent Delhi assembly elections “can have a transformative impact in a country so far dominated by the politics of identity”. He distinguishes AAP’s campaign and “track record” from Indira Gandhi’s ‘Garibi Hatao‘ campaign that was “more a promise for the future”.
Firoz Bakht Ahmed | Chancellor of Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad
The Indian Express
In an open letter to the women of Shaheen Bagh, Ahmed states that their protests are based on “gibberish propaganda by the Opposition that has lost its ground”. He assures the protesters that “nobody will be sent to detention camps.” and “nobody will be thrown out of the country or have his/her citizenship taken away”. He describes NPR as “just a census”, which is a “very safe survey”.
Dhaval Kulkarni | Journalist and author of ‘The Cousins Thackeray: Uddhav, Raj and the Shadow of their Senas’
Kulkarni describes the Ughadi government of the Shiva Sena, NCP and Congress in Maharashtra as an “uneasy alliance”. He argues that the foundation of the alliance is based on a difference in ideology and “this tension is now out in the open, with its clearest manifestation in the differing positions of the coalition partners on the Bhima-Koregaon and Elgar Parishad cases.”
Tanvi Madan | Senior fellow, Brookings Institution, and author of Fateful Triangle: How China Shaped US-India Relations During the Cold War
Madan draws parallels between US President Donald Trump’s upcoming visit to India and President Dwight Eisenhower’s visit 60 years ago. She describes Eisenhower’s visit as a move resulting from “strategic convergence” when tensions between India and China were rising. Given the trade tensions between India and the US, and India’s emerging geopolitical role in Asia, Madan states that Trump’s visit is “at a time of both strategic convergence and divergence”.
Manish Sabharwal | Chairman, TeamLease Services
The Economic Times
Sabharwal calls for the “pending” economic reforms with regard to labour law, PSBs, higher education, ease of doing business and addressing the large number of central ministries. India must act “boldly and quickly” as “the economic status quo is not only immoral or wrong, but also unsustainable”.
Gaurav Gupta | CEO, Adani Finserve
The Economic Times
Gupta suggests the “telecom story can be a precursor to other sectors, especially banking and financial services” that are struggling to “fill the gaps left by the NBFCs”. This can be avoided by reducing NBFCs’ dependence on banks with a “tighter” framework, making PSBs more competitive and having more banks in India, he writes.
Akhilesh Tilotia | Head, strategy and new initiative, Axis Bank
The Financial Express
Tilotia explains the “ladder of development” which refers to a citizen’s access to public goods. He argues that if there is progress in a country, in terms of economic growth and the “right” sectors, a “tax base” is created to fund development. “Greater access to development tools can lead many more citizens to join the ladder of progress,” he adds.
Satyendra Pandey | Former head of strategy, GoAir
The Financial Express
Pandey criticises the “economic regulatory model of Indian airports” which often places the burden on the consumer and leads to “perverse incentives for airports, towards spending more”. This is an example of how “Western models have been force-fit in the Indian context”, he adds.
The Times of India: In ‘Natural allies’, TOI comments on the importance of a security relationship between India and US despite not being on the same page trade wise. It says that the US and India have many points of strategic complementarity, especially when China is challenging the US in Indo-Pacific region. The two countries must coordinate their long term strategy, it suggests.
Hindustan Times: The assault of two Dalit men in Rajasthan’s Nagaur on 16 February highlights the continuous threats faced by Dalits even today. It also throws light on the trend of individuals taking the law into their hands. It is essential that the state sends a strong message that it will not tolerate such acts, notes HT.