Shankkar Aiyar

The Third Eye

Author of Accidental India: A History of the Nation's Passage through Crisis and Change

Shankkar Aiyar
The promise of 100 new cities and messed opportunity 

This Sunday, the Modi Sarkar completes 1,091 days in office, and three years on May 26. This week, the government will be assessed for what it promised and what it has delivered as yet.

21 May 2017

Are jobs being created? Drive big data to derive answers

Are jobs being created in India? The answer varies with the basis—intuition, assumptions, estimations, surveys and forecasts.

14 May 2017

Niti Aayog action agenda: All agenda little action

The Niti Aayog has released, what it calls the three-year Action Agenda. The 208-page document, the Niti Aayog says, “charts an ambitious, transformational yet achievable Action Agenda for the governm

07 May 2017

Why stop at red beacon, review practices to dismantle VIP cult

It is an innocuous clause—Section 70 (f) in the Motor Vehicles Act 1939, and Rule 108 of the MV Act of 1988. It deals with the use of “signalling appliances, lamps and reflectors”. 

23 Apr 2017

Silly season and the stampede of mad hatter notions 

American artist Andy Warhol once remarked that “in the future everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes”. It would seem there is a race on for 15 minutes of fame. This has triggered a stampede of M

16 Apr 2017

Farm loan waivers: Sop politics and band aid economics

The Pandora’s Box has been split wide open.  

09 Apr 2017

Zero loss, zero tax and the contest of flawed narratives

The expertise of politicians over verbal calisthenics is no secret. This week, in Parliament, there was a display of calisthenics of the statistical kind.

02 Apr 2017

They the netas versus we the people

It was not an assault on one individual. It is an assault on the institution of democracy.  It is an assault on the idea that defines the Republic in the opening lines of the Constitution of India… It

26 Mar 2017

Blaming it on RaGa and Congress leaders in la-la land

Even Narendra Modi would have lost had he contested on a Congress ticket”. That succinct summation was by Congressman Sanjay Nirupam, post the 2014 polls.

19 Mar 2017

Too big to succeed, split up into smaller states

It is springtime—the metaphor for change. This week a new regime will take charge in Uttar Pradesh. Will poll promises get converted, will hope triumph over history? In governance, size does matter an

12 Mar 2017

Air pollution: two deaths per minute and politicos in denial 

This month, India was informed by two different studies that air pollution is causing pre-mature deaths across India. A study, by The Lancet, states that over a million Indians— or two Indians every m

26 Feb 2017

The return of the bad penny: merger of oil PSUs

There is a certain kind of predictability about some ideas. No matter how emphatic the rejection, they make a comeback—it is almost as if bad ideas have a homing device embedded in them. 

19 Feb 2017

Air India, political Maharajas and the royal mess

The trouble with socialism, it has been said, is that you run out of money.

12 Feb 2017

Budget 2017 presents the power of ideas; now, find champions for success

John Maynard Keynes once said that the difficultly lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping old ones.

05 Feb 2017

Budget needs to focus on visible deficits to create jobs, spur growth

The contest of ideas, ideologies and incremental hope is resonating across Echo chambers and the budget is around the corner.

29 Jan 2017

The sordid saga of Rs 92,651 crore post-harvest losses

It is that time of the political cycle when the political class sows slogans to harvest votes invoking the name of farmers and farmers’ interests.

22 Jan 2017

Create INDRA, a DARPA for tech solutions to national issues

t is no secret that India’s cities are being choked by rising vehicular population and spiraling pollution.

15 Jan 2017

GDP estimates, guesstimates, assumptions and the playbook of growth

The advance estimate is both counter-intuitive and challenges credulity in the face of anecdotal experiences following “demonetisation”.

08 Jan 2017

Dickensian 2016: The year of belief, the year of incredulity

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity…”

25 Dec 2016

Known unknowns and why it makes sense to move GST to 2018

Shankkar aiyAr Author of Accidental  India: A History of the Nation’s Passage through Crisis 
and Change

18 Dec 2016

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