The Sinister Edge Behind Notebandi

By Imlifactory A Delhi businessman negotiated over many tense months to sell a large residential plot in West Delhi. Finally, the deal was struck. As is the norm in many parts of India, part of the proceeds was to be delivered in cash. So, the buyer deposited Rs 10 crore ($1.5m) to a house in … Continue reading The Sinister Edge Behind Notebandi

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Don’t map the economy by business award nights 

India Inc's answer to Royal Ascot is the big business awards night. Fronted by the country's largest-selling pink paper, the Economic Times, it is our business icons' Oscar moment. As page after page of cloying coverage in the ET today reveal, it's an impressive gathering of big business and politicians. But do these much-vaunted awards … Continue reading Don’t map the economy by business award nights 

Beyond Doklam, it’s really Digital India vs China

In the Fall of 2008, bang in the middle of those crazy days that are now dubbed as the global economic crisis, I interviewed British historian Niall Ferguson. When I asked him whether the global economic crisis marked the end of the "American Century", the counter-factual historian was dismissive. "I wouldn’t really believe in the … Continue reading Beyond Doklam, it’s really Digital India vs China

NITI Aayog new chief’s smooth U-turn on IMF

Rajiv Kumar, Vice-Chair Niti Aayog. Pic: Livemint The new boss at NITI Aayog Rajiv Kumar has set the swadeshi cats among the pigeons. Days after taking charge after the choreographed exit of economist Arvind Panagariya, Kumar hit out at the proverbial "foreign hand". He said the days of foreign-trained economists driving Indian policy were numbered, … Continue reading NITI Aayog new chief’s smooth U-turn on IMF

Sun, sea, and rail

Most visitors to Galle reach the city by means of an expressway from Colombo. It's a short journey -- 120 km -- but the expressway is like any other expressway: boring. A much better option is to catch the express train to Galle. Soon after landing in Colombo, we reached the Fort train station to … Continue reading Sun, sea, and rail

Galle Fort is not a ‘real’ city! So, why is it so much fun?

I have an issue with cities (or enclaves within cities) that exist solely for the purpose of tourism. Like Venice. For many, it's a once-in-a-lifetime place to visit, but I found Venice empty and boring (not so if you like sipping wine next to a smelly nalla.). There are no "normal" people, going to work … Continue reading Galle Fort is not a ‘real’ city! So, why is it so much fun?

Innocent Dangers of a post-Aadhaar World

It's heartening that we are having a roll-up-the-sleeves debate on Aadhaar, with views, counter-views being shared in the courts, media and elsewhere. For, whichever way this goes, history will record that India's civil society made a spirited attempt to tackle disturbing issues that affect us all -- the government's open defiance of the highest court of … Continue reading Innocent Dangers of a post-Aadhaar World

Why India’s middle class feels the domestic maid has “literally bought us”

India's middle class is quick to stand up for the national anthem, rail against the "lal batti", cry along with the families of martyred soldiers. But ask about their domestic help -- maid, servant, ayah, bai, guard, bhaiyya, didi -- and a stony response is all you will get. None of your business. We take good … Continue reading Why India’s middle class feels the domestic maid has “literally bought us”