Amrit Kaal, or is it? My Take on Budget This Year

It has been some days since the finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget for 2022-23. There was some hope that considering the upcoming elections there would be massive giveaways and the creation of narratives. Although, narratives were created, but not through giveaways. The budget remained quite “Thanda”, in the words of Vivek Kaul, or very “non-populistic”, in the words of Swaminathan Aiyar.

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Role of Indian Politics in Income Equality

The World Inequality Report 2022 categorizes India as a ‘poor and very unequal country, with an affluent elite.’ The report further shows that 57% of wealth is held by the top 10% of the population, while the bottom 50% hold just 13%. What are the reasons behind such inequality? What role do policies and politics play in it?

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Gandhi, and Group Polarisation

Kangana Ranaut’s statement has once again created a controversy. In an interview, she said that India got its real independence in 2014. “…what we got [in 1947] was not Independence but alms.”
Statements like these by a national awardee are a disgrace to our society. And it also teaches us a couple of things. But first, let’s talk about some statistics.

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What Can We Expect Out Of India’s Economy?

he recently published figure of India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) shows that it increased by 20.1% in the first quarter of year 2021-22. While the percentage figure looks splendid, it was because of the base-effect. The percentage rise in the GDP was as compared to the GDP of First quarter of year 2020-21. This was the time when India implemented a stringent lockdown because of the covid outbreak, which resulted in a massive 23.9% of contraction in India’s GDP. So the real way of looking at this number is that India’s GDP during this period is lower that what it was in April-June 2018.

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Fighting Hate Speech and The Grey Area

On 8th August 2021, at a rally in Jantar Mantar, inflammatory slogans calling for violence against Muslims were raised. Two days later, Bhartiya Janta Party leader Ashwini Upadhyay and five others were arrested. According to a report in Scroll, they have been charged with promoting religious enmity and breaking the Covid-19 protocol. But more than […]

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Of WhatsApp, Group Polarization, and Fake News

Last year, during the time of Delhi election, a message claiming that Arvind Kejriwal was accused of rape and was arrested in 1987 came in my family WhatsApp group. Well, it took me a single google search (nearly about 5 seconds) to find out that it was fake. Even when it was so easy to find out the truth, the fact is that someone shared it in our group and someone else in our group must have forwarded it to some other group. And that is how the instant messaging service has become one of the largest propagators of fake news. But how does it happen? What is the reason people believe in fake news?

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Why The Pegasus Project is a Much Bigger Issue than It Seems

Recently, Amnesty International, a human rights organization came up with a database of 50,000 phone numbers which were either infected or were potential targets of a spyware called Pegasus. NSO Group, an Israeli company, has made this spyware. It sells it only to governments and official agencies for security purposes, which is why this issue has become a lot more controversial. Various governments including India’s have been suspected to keep an eye on its citizens, especially the dissenters, using this dangerous weapon.

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Society is The Court of Ethics and Morals

Central Vista Redevelopment project has been surrounded by controversies ever since it was announced. Going with such a large project when the average economic growth of the country declined for the fourth consecutive year in FY 2019-20, that is, the pre-pandemic year, seemed irresponsible. As we entered the pandemic, we not only saw one of the biggest economic contractions in the post-independence history, but also the Indian healthcare system collapsing miserably. The floating dead bodies on the banks of river Ganga are an open testimony to that. Personally, I know dozens of people who have lost their lives in this pandemic. But, even this didn’t prevent the current dispensation from continuing the massive project, or as the critics call it “Modi Mahal”.

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On Partisanship, Education Levels, and Free Vaccines

In 2006, two political scientists, Charles Taber and Milton Lodge, conducted an experiment to examine the way Americans thought about two randomly chosen controversial political issues: gun control and affirmative action. The participants were given arguments from both the sides to assess the strength and weakness of each. One would have thought that being asked to review the pros and cons, people with opposing views might create a shared understanding amoung them. Instead, they tried to look through the points that backed their existing beliefs as much as they can. When invited to assess the opposing arguments, they would spend considerable time thinking up ways to shoot them. Why did this happen?

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FROM GANDHI TO GODSE: a tale of how the oppressed has become the oppressors

Note: This piece was originally written for a law university by Chaitanya Pandey, Kanishk Pandey, and me. Farmers’ Protest For understanding anything it is of utmost importance that we start inspecting it from where the problem began. Only then will we be able to find applicable solutions. A chain of events has prompted a circumstance […]

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Could Bad Banks Solve India’s Banking Crisis?

The Indian banking system is facing a crisis which triggered a fear among the people, especially after a limit was imposed on the depositors of YES Bank & PMC Bank in the last two years, and very recently, on the Lakshmi Vilas Bank. To encounter the bad loan problems in Indian banks, experts suggested the creation of “bad banks”. India’s finance minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, accepted the idea in the recent budget session. I will try and answer the following questions in this blog:

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The Stock Market Bubble

To conclude, the stock market is absolutely disconnected from India’s economy and even the RBI including its Governor has said this many times now. But, the fact is RBI has also played a major role in it whether or not they admit. And if you are looking for higher returns, sorry but it is not quite possible in today’s time.

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Farmer Protest and Possible Solutions

After the recent upsurge of farmers in the capital city Delhi, and the brutal repression by the government, the three farm laws have again made the headlines. I have already written a piece covering the legality and practicality of these laws. This time I am trying to offer some solutions, given that the government and farmer unions haven’t come to any settlement even after their 5th meeting today. Let’s look at it point wise.

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The Power of Emotions

Emotions are something which differentiates humans from other organisms. It is a necessary part of human behavior and also helps us to interact with others’ needs in mind rather than our own, which is the basis of society. But, sometimes it gets the better of us and overpowers rationality. We stop thinking, and go with the flow of emotions. Tim Harford, one of my favourite economists, recalls an interesting story from the past in his book ‘How to Make the World Add Up’, to explain it. So the story goes something like this:

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Decoding Farm Bills 2020

Last week the Parliament passed three bills referred to as the farm bills. These were Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill. Farmers and opposition parties have relentlessly opposed these bills and the former even announced a ‘Bharat Band’ a couple of days back. But, what was the reason behind this massive upheaval despite, the government saying it to be ‘historic’ for the farmers? It is a complicated topic so let’s break it down.

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