Editors Column

The country’s oil and gas sector has once again been engulfed in the inconsistencies that marked policy directions given during the licence-permit raj. The recent development where the government has decided to change the terms of oil and gas contracts mid-way by seeking higher earnings for itself clearly shows that the sector still largely remains controlled.

Is India by any stretch of imagination a currency manipulator? By placing India on its currency watch list, the US Treasury has taken action that can only be described as ‘unwarranted’. The US has a history of ‘strong arm tactics’ in managing its economic and trade relations with the best of its partners.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assertion on protecting citizens and ensuring the territorial integrity of India was jingoistic for some. For his core ‘ultra-nationalist’ political constituency, these assertions are seen as bravado. Modi’s speech at the Indian Defence Expo at Mahabalipuram near Chennai, was a significant departure from such events in the past.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a point when he pushed for ‘responsible, reasonable pricing’ of energy products to make the resources affordable and accessible for consumers.

Five years ago when Nirbhaya was brutally raped and thrown out of a moving bus in the national capital, the savagery of the act that led to her death shook the conscience of society. The uproar and anguish seems to have settled down as many more heart-rending tales of rape victims emerged in the following months. The latest in the long line of cases are the ones in Kathua to Unnao.

Zero tolerance to corruption and inefficiency should be the calling card of any bank, whether it is state-run, private or a foreign entity. For that matter, commercial operations of organisations must be above board. News reports suggest that not everything is above board at Axis Bank and ICICI Bank, the country’s top private banks.

As reported by this paper on Monday, the divestment of Air India has hit a roadblock. Some of the conditions for the proposed divestment are making it tough for perspective bidders to decide on whether they should enter the fray.

Perception is king, and it would be worthwhile to ask whether consumers are confident that the National Democratic Front (NDA) is competent to manage the economy — because it is important to gauge the mood of consumers across the country. Views are sharply divided on the prospects for ‘achhe din’ (good days) under the tutelage of the the Narendra Modi government.

After 20 years, the law seems to have finally caught up with actor Salman Khan. A local court in Jodhpur sentenced the Bollywood icon to five years in prison after finding him guilty of killing two blackbucks in 1998 – he is also accused of killing three chinkaras.

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) headed by RBI governor Urjit Patel seems to have played safe while dealing with key rates notwithstanding its projections about softening inflation expectations during this fiscal. The big question is why the RBI governor restrained himself from taking the lead in slashing lending rates.

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