Opinion

Trump tantrums!

| Updated on July 08, 2018 Published on July 08, 2018

 

The world economy is entering troubled times, thanks to Trump’s tantrums. This observation came from none other than NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar who, after briefing the media about the achievements of the policy think-tank in the last four year, also gave an overview of the global economy and its impact on India. While the Indian economy suffered mainly because of troubles in the world economy in the first two years of the NDA government, things started looking up of late, he said.

According to him, since 2017, there has been a wonderful synchronised recovery in North America, the Euro Zone and Japan and this continued till early 2018. “Now we are facing a different time again. For various reasons, the US economy is pulling right ahead, but the EU and Japan are going to struggle with below 3 per cent, or even 2 per cent growth resulting in a de-synchronised recovery again,” he said.

“We are in troubled times, thanks to Trump tantrums,” Kumar quipped.

Keeping them at bay

Indian bankers have in recent times developed a tendency to avoid media attention. The reasons are not far to seek — given their poor track record in managing their affairs. This came out in the open last week when the interim Finance Minister Piyush Goyal went to address bank chiefs at a plush hotel in the capital. The bankers did not want media attention, but word went around among the media fraternity that a closed-door meeting with the Finance Minister was on the cards.

So as journos started trooping into the venue, SBI officials gave directions to their boys that the media be kept out of the scene. One of the hacks, who is seen to be an eager beaver, managed to get close to the conference room only to be politely told by a top SBI official that “your presence here will be counterproductive” to the agenda of the afternoon!

But media persistence paid off as they were finally briefed about the proceedings of the meeting after a three-hour wait.

Oil purchase — on our terms

A much-talked-about issue today is whether India will fall to US pressure and cut crude imports from Iran. Yes, there are challenges — shipping, insurance of ships, and payment for purchase — if India still wants to continue buying from Iran despite the US sanctions. Also, Iran is not exactly helping in offering India the goodies.

“But, in diplomacy what you say is different from what you do…In fact, informally India has been going slow on its crude oil purchases from Iran. Not because of the US, but for other negotiations with Iran,” a birdie whispered.

After all there is no ‘one-way ticket’ and of course ‘India’s bargaining powers are better now’, chirped another one.

Powering through

At the recent State Power Minister’s Conference in Shimla, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power and Renewable Energy, RK Singh, did some tough talking. Singh told State Ministers that he had written confirmations about their commitments for ensuring 24x7 power and eliminating cross-subsidy. During the press conference later in the day, Singh reprimanded local journalists cross-questioning him over the delay in hydro projects, by asking them to listen to him before asking further questions.

On farm management

Noted agricultural economist Ashok Gulati, who tracked policies in the field of agriculture for decades, had some interesting insights to offer. Addressing a function in the capital, where a report that reviewed agricultural policies in India was released, Gulati said the government was driving the sector like an automobile, keeping each foot on brake and accelerator. “Both pedals are pressed in equal measure, making sure that the vehicle (agri sector) is going nowhere,” Gulati said, drawing cheers from those gathered, including government functionaries.

Our Delhi Bureau

 

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Published on July 08, 2018
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