Misreading the Global Economy
In April 2010, the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook offered an optimistic assessment of the global economy, describing a multi-speed recovery strong enough to support roughly 4.5% annual GDP growth for the foreseeable future – a higher pace than during the bubble years of 2000-2007. But, since then, the IMF has steadily pared its economic projections. Indeed, this year’s expected GDP growth rate of 3.3% – which was revised downward in the most recent WEO – will probably not be met.
Can we Feed the World?
In the 1960’s, the Green Revolution – which included the development of high-yielding crop varieties, the expansion of irrigation infrastructure, and the distribution of modern fertilizers and pesticides to developing-country farmers – bolstered agricultural production worldwide. But chronic hunger remains pervasive, particularly in developing countries, which are affected most by crop shortages and food-price volatility.
Drilling deep for success
This month, the possible start of production at the Johan Sverdrup oilfield off the Norwegian shore was cheered in the international press. In 2010, the Swedish Lundin Petroleum had announced that year’s biggest discovery here. Significantly enough, Lundin found oil less than three metres from where the French explorer Elf Aquitaine, now part of Total, had drilled but failed miserably in 1971. We recall something similar happening with Cairn in Barmer, Rajasthan some years ago.
Why India Slowed
For a country as poor as India, growth should be what Americans call a “no-brainer.” It is largely a matter of providing public goods: decent governance, security of life and property, and basic infrastructure like roads, bridges, ports, and power plants, as well as access to education and basic health care. Unlike many equally poor countries, India already has a strong entrepreneurial class, a reasonably large and well-educated middle class, and a number of world-class corporations that can be enlisted in the effort to provide these public goods.
Indo-Israel Relations and Iran’s Nuclear Question
In the last 20 years or so there has been a remarkable growth in India-Israel relationship, which is all to the good. Criticism that India wants to work on this relationship more behind the scenes rather than giving it full visibility, is not unjustified. This should change. More openness would consolidate the image of independence of our foreign policy.
Time to focus on exports
For some time, the Prime Minister and his economic advisors have shown much concern about the widening of the current account deficit (CAD). It reached an all-time high of 6.7 per cent of the GDP in the third quarter of this fiscal year. The CAD is the sum of the trade deficit (exports minus imports) and the net invisibles such as accruals from software exports.
Adrift without a Strategic culture
Does India have a strategic culture? If strategic culture is defined narrowly in the context of the nuclear age alone, then India, as a recent entrant to the nuclear club and still in the process of acquiring minimum nuclear deterrence, evidently lacks one. If the meaning of strategic culture is broadened to include a country’s approach to national security in general, then the question can be debated.
When 'safety' becomes a ghetto for women
Mumbai often enjoys the privilege of being called a city that is relatively safer for women. Women are able to stay out during night, take benefit of a good public transport system and have relative autonomy to dress the way they desire. While some of the above may be true in practice, it is definitely a myth to characterise the city as being 'safe for women' as a blanket reality for all women living in the city.
The road to Asian unity
NEW DELHI – Asia’s lack of institutions to ameliorate regional tensions is often lamented. But greater Asian unity may be arising by the backdoor, in the form of new and impressive infrastructure links.
Friends with Benefits
The back-to-back visits of the president of France, Francois Hollande, and the Prime Minister of Britain, David Cameron, last month have put the spotlight on India’s relationship with Europe. Some belittle the importance of this relationship as Europe is seen as economically crisis-ridden, lacking in dynamism, to be declining militarily and too prone to act as a super NGO in propagating its values.