Puja Mehra | Delhi-based journalist and author of The Lost Decade (2008-18): How India’s Growth Story Devolved into Growth Without A Story
Mehra comments on the Yes Bank crisis, arguing that the “manner of its collapse raises questions on the central bank’s (RBI’s) role and the late action by the Enforcement Directorate”. NPAs were being built up and not declared and corruption was taking place through shell companies, but action is being taken only after the crisis,” she writes. She adds that had the restructuring scheme and moratorium been implemented earlier, they “would have made it less disruptive, the limit of ₹50,000 on withdrawals by depositors would not have been needed, and the RBI’s credibility would not have suffered as much”.
Prabhat Patnaik | Professor Emeritus, JNU
Prabhat Patnaik argues that the “twentieth-century India was fortunate in having several such iconic figures”, such as Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi, “whose social outlook was humane and whose moral integrity was unquestionable”. “The country continued to have such figures, to whom people could look up, until late into the century,” he writes. The absence of such leaders in contemporary India, he adds, is striking and “the absence of any such notable figures in the political arena, which is what gives the fascist elements an easy run”. He argues that AAP seems to have a moral integrity, but recent events such as allowing the chargesheet on Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid show that this party is no different from the others.
Madhurima Dhanuka & Deepan Kumar Sarkar | Human rights activists
The writers point to West Bengal’s low score in the ‘India Justice Report 2019’, which provides a succinct analysis of government data across the four pillars of justice — judiciary, police, prisons and legal aid. They say that the “analysis for Bengal highlights stark inconsistencies in policy-making and points towards the lack of importance the state has placed on evidence-based decision-making”. The writers state that “West Bengal has nearly 50 per cent vacancy in the judiciary and little more than 25 per cent vacancy in police staff” and argues that “further, Bengal’s budgetary allocation for police, prisons and judiciary has not been able to keep pace with the corresponding increases in general state expenditure between 2012 and 2016”.
Seema Paul | Managing Director, The Nature Conservancy’s India Program.
Times of India
Paul says that as India has only four per cent of the world’s freshwater supply but 12 per cent of the global population, the country is “severely water challenged”. She notes that “the Indian government’s Rs 100 lakh crore investment boost for infrastructure development in the next five years will translate into much-needed roads, metros, airports, sewage treatment plants and so on” but argues that India needs “green infrastructure”. Green infrastructure is “an approach that leverages the power of nature to provide service that people need, and includes, but goes beyond, harnessing the sun and wind to generate electricity”. She cites the example of water sheds and natural reservoirs used in ancient and medieval India and argues that such approaches must be used today.
Kenneth Rogoff | Professor of Economics & Public Policy, Harvard University
Rogoff predicts that the “next recession is likely to emanate from China” as its economy buckles under “sharply adverse demographics, narrowing scope for technological catch-up, and a huge glut of housing from recurrent stimulus programmes”. This global recession will be unlike the 2001 or 2008 one as it “implies a supply shock as well as a demand shock” as shown by the impact of COVID-19, he adds.
Ajay Shankar | Distinguished Fellow, TERI, and former Secretary, DIPP
Hindu Business Line
Shankar argues that India could seriously consider being one of the few economies that can become net carbon neutral. Renewable energy in storage is becoming cheaper than thermal power, he adds. The success of renewable energy is India is owed to technological innovation and competition, he writes.
S Murlidharan | Chennai-based chartered accountant
Hindu Business Line
Murlidharan explains the inconsistencies in the concept of a ‘One nation one ration card’ (ONORC). Not only does the process include fair price shops (FPS) that do not practice e-commerce, the whole ONORC regime “perpetuates and is woven round the age-old PDS”, he writes.
M.S. Santhanam | Professor, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Pune
New Indian Express
Santhanam argues that the rampant spread of coronavirus is due to today’s “modern networked societies”. This is unlike previous eras, “when the transport networks were not as efficient” and epidemics were not a global threat, he writes. He also suggests mathematical equations on disease spreading can be used to track the spread of fake news and rumours on social media.
The Hindu: The BSE Sensex suffered its worst fall Monday in terms of points plunging to an all-time low in 52 weeks. The global coronavirus threat and Yes Bank crisis are making things worse for the Indian economy. The Hindu suggests that the RBI and the Centre should ideally move in lockstep with measures to ensure adequate liquidity to help bolster sentiment at these times of market and economic fragility.
Times of India: On the completion of 100 days of the Maha Vikas Agadhi in Maharashtra, TOI says that the coalition government should get down to business and not pat themselves on the back just for having kept the ship afloat. The internal contradictions such as over the CAA-NRC and Elgar Parishad case has been there for everyone to see. But the farmers’ crisis and the issues or unemployment should be the real focus rather than the survival of the coalition government, TOI suggests.