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BW Businessworld

The Best Of Times, The Worst Of Times

As the Modi government battles the slowdown, with reliefs and reforms, BW Businessworld looks closely at the impact the measures are likely to have on the economy

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“Sometimes you learn, grow and give far more when your back’s against the wall.”   —  Rasheed Ogunlaru

The last few weeks have been challenging for the ruling dispensation at the Centre. After the unexpected demise of immensely popular BJP leader and former external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, former finance and defence minister and senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley passed away recently.

Everyone in Delhi has a Jaitley tale to tell — such was the popularity of the man. I too had an occasion or two to meet the supremely gifted BJP leader. He was a consensus-seeker and consensus-maker. As BJP general secretary Ram Madhav so aptly said in a newspaper column, he was truly in “Atal ji’s mould”.

Jaitley’s contributions to modern India are many. He gave rise to a new generation of consummate BJP spokespersons. He was a friend-in-need to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. He, however, would be remembered for his long-lasting contribution in the form of a GST regime to a fractious polity called India. The fact that he managed to convince and bring on board diverse shades of opinions on this speaks volumes about the man. We, in this issue, devote a section to Arun Jaitley — the man, his vision, and his legacy.

These are not the best of times for the economy. But, then, someone could argue, this is the case uniformly all over the world. India is then a victim of a global phenomenon. Or, is it? The latest growth numbers are enough to make one sit back and ponder — does India need a new economic paradigm?

The question has the Prime Minister, Finance Minister and policymakers exercised. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has been touring the length and breadth of the country holding consultations. She has, on two separate days, announced a series of measures. She has also said that more reforms are coming. This should enthuse India Inc.

Some long-term and long-standing issues need attention as well. GST is something that India needed, but its imperfections need to be ironed out.

We had the economic slowdown as the first cover in the previous issue. In this issue too we have the economy as the first cover as we await the next series of announcements from the FM.

We also have interviews with the Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister and the Chief Economic Advisor to the Government, as part of the package.

In the second cover, we have something that has rarely been discussed — the private sector’s contribution towards space exploration. It may be early days, but it’s time we understood that India Inc. too can truly complement ISRO’s efforts.

Vedanta promoter Anil Agarwal explains in Last Word why he remains eternally optimistic about India and how he got interested in Jet Airways.

This issue of BW Businessworld has all other regular features and columns.

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Happy reading!


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