P Chidambaram

Engaging with Mr Imran Khan

Engaging with Mr Imran Khan

Mr Imran Khan has said that if India will take one step forward, he will be prepared to take two steps forward. That may simply be posturing on the eve of being sworn in as Prime Minister, but nothing will be lost if we take Mr Khan at his word and appeal to him to deliver on his words

Mr Imran Khan, former captain of Pakistan’s cricket team, will take guard as the next Prime Minister of Pakistan on August 11, 2018. His victory was not foretold, though there were strong and persistent rumours that he was the favourite candidate of the army and therefore his win was assured. Mr Imran Khan’s party, Pakistan […]

 P Chidambaram

Debate, questions, but no answers

Debate, questions, but no answers

The no-confidence motion was lost, so was an opportunity to answer the questions of the people.

On Friday, July 20, the government reluctantly agreed to a debate on a motion of no-confidence, the first such motion in the four years and two months of the Narendra Modi government. Numerous questions were raised by the members. Like you, I waited for the answers, especially on questions concerning the economy. What the country […]

 P Chidambaram

Su-raj (good governance) and Ms Swaraj

Su-raj (good governance) and Ms Swaraj

During the last four years, mobs of both kinds — the one, on the ground, and the other, in the virtual world, have grown in number and size.

There are two kinds of mobs — one, on the ground, and the other, in the virtual world. Both share the same characteristics. The members of the crowd take cover under anonymity. They pretend to be offended or injured. They singularly lack the courage to own their actions or words. They believe they are citizens […]

 P Chidambaram

The remains of the day

The remains of the day

When the political parties demanded a ceasefire for the Ramzan month, the Chief of Army Staff had taken upon himself the responsibility of answering the demand and had said, “Azaadi is not going to happen, never... if you want to fight us, then we will fight you with all our force.” Following the imposition of Governor’s rule, he repeated the cliched phrase that “anti-terror operations will continue” and added “we don’t have any kind of political interference”.

Only a few weeks ago I had poured out my anguish in an essay titled ‘India is failing the test on J&K’ (May 13, 2018). I had no hesitation in blaming the BJP-led Central government’s policy for the rapidly deteriorating situation in Jammu and Kashmir, especially in the Kashmir valley. The bottom of the policy […]

 P Chidambaram

Who will save the Constitution?

Who will save the Constitution?

The question that remains is, will the legislators elected on their respective party symbols remain faithful to the party, to the voters who supported them, to the unwritten rules of a democracy, and to the Constitution of India?

Let me remind myself — before others remind me — of what I wrote on March 19, 2017. Elections had been concluded in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur. The BJP won in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, the Congress won in Punjab. Referring to the other two states, I wrote: “In Goa and Manipur, […]

 P Chidambaram

India is failing the test on J-K

India is failing the test on J-K

There was no animosity between the stone-pelting youth of Kashmir Valley and Thirumani’s family. His death was, what is heartlessly called, collateral damage.

Mr Ram Madhav is the pointsman of the RSS and the BJP-led Central government for India’s foreign relations and Jammu & Kashmir. (Is there an irony in that?) On the government’s J&K policy, he once said: “The government will stand firm, eruption or no eruption.” Mr Madhav is safe and secure at his residence and […]

 P Chidambaram

State election, nation-wide effect

State election, nation-wide effect

Mr Siddaramaiah must prove that his decision to contest from two seats did not prevent him from campaigning vigorously for the maximum number of Congress candidates. Above all, he must keep the focus on 2 Reddys + 1 Yeddy — a slogan gifted by Mr Modi!

Thanks to the media, ‘Karnataka goes to polls’ sounds or reads like ‘India goes to war’. Characteristically, Mr Narendra Modi will address 15 rallies in five days. No Prime Minister before has pushed himself/herself to the frontline of election battles in states as Mr Modi has done. It is the strategy of a high-stakes gambler. […]

 P Chidambaram

Southern flames may scald the nation

Southern flames may scald the nation

Post-1991, every state could take advantage of a more open economy, less control and state-specific strategies. States that were once regarded as having low potential now claim to have achieved high growth rates.

The Constitution of India obliges the President (i.e. the central government) to appoint, every five years, a Finance Commission (Article 280). Its foremost duty is “to make recommendations to the President as to the distribution between the Union and the states of the net proceeds of taxes which are to be… divided between them… and […]

 P Chidambaram

Change begins with words and ideas

Change begins with words and ideas

Measuring growth is a problem. It is a bigger problem if you change the rules in the middle of the game.

GDP is the gross domestic product. Keeping aside the nuances, it is the gross value of the country’s output of goods and services in a financial year. The output is valued in current prices as well as in constant prices (the latter are prices adjusted for inflation). In order to value the output at constant […]