Modi tinkering at the edges of trade policy

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi poses with supporters on 11 April 2015 after his visit at the WWI Indian Memorial of Neuve-Chapelle-Richebourg, northern France. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Rajiv Kumar, Centre for Policy Research, India

The Foreign Trade Policy of the Modi government, announced by trade minister Nirmala Sitharaman in early April, represents business as usual. It aims at only incremental change rather than the bold new beginning that is needed if India is to ‘assume a position of leadership in the international trade discourse’. Read more…

Why India needs to ‘act’ East

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during the 12th ASEAN-India summit in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, 12 November 2014. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Tridivesh Singh Maini, Jindal School of International Affairs

Ever since former prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao reshaped India’s foreign policy in the 1990s under the so-called ‘Look East’ policy India has strengthened ties with Southeast Asia. The current government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has unequivocally said that it is keen to progress from the ‘Look East’ policy to ‘Act East.’ Read more…

Land policy vital for Modi’s manufacturing dream

Indian farmers form a human chain on the shore of Bay of Bengal to protest against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s Land Acquisition Bill in Chennai, India, 1 April 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Geethanjali Nataraj and Richa Sekhani, ORF

Land acquisition is becoming risky and uncertain in India. Delays, protests and resistance on the part of the displaced — as have been observed in Bengal and Odisha — have curtailed investment in India’s infrastructure sector. Read more…

Why the RCEP is the opportunity India needs

Indian fruit vendors wait for customers as they sell bananas on the roadside in Amritsar on 1 April 2015. (Photo: AAP)

Authors: Bipul Chatterjee and Kyle Robert Cote, CUTS International

As two mega-regional preferential trade agreements — the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) — loom closer to completion, India must move towards higher trade standards. Trade diversion from non-member countries of these mega-regional trade agreements is likely to occur and could be detrimental. This is a serious concern for developing countries cut out of the talks. Read more…

Modi changes the state of play for Indian federalism

Indian Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national president Amit Shah (L), Prime Minister Narendra Modi (C) and Finance Minister Arun Jaitely look on during a BJP office bearers' meeting held on the eve of the party's National Executive committee meeting in Bangalore on April 2, 2015. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Pravakar Sahoo, IEG

India’s 14th Finance Commission has made some fairly revolutionary statutory recommendations.

The commission proposed increasing the share of the ‘divisible pool’ — the pot of tax revenue that is allocated between the federal and state governments — that goes to states without any strings attached from the 32 per cent recommended by the last commission to 42 per cent. This would represent a historic increase. Read more…

Overcoming gender discrimination in India

A woman tends a stall at the Pushkar Fair in the city of Pushkar in Rajasthan, India. (Photo: xile, flickr).

Author: Rajiv Kumar, Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi

It is a bitter irony that International Women’s Day came right on the heels of the controversy about the government ban on a BBC documentary about the fatal 2012 gang rape of a young Indian woman known by the pseudonym ‘Nirbhaya’. Read more…

A new era for India–Sri Lanka relations?

Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena inspects a guard of honor during his welcome reception at the Indian Presidential Palace, New Delhi. (Photo: AAP).

Authors: Geethanjali Nataraj and Richa Sekhani, Observer Research Foundation

After tense ties during the Rajapaksa administration, newly elected Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision to visit India on his first overseas trip signifies a renewal in the India–Sri Lanka relationship.

Sirisena and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed four significant agreements, all of which are expected to play an important role in further strengthening India–Sri Lankan relations. Read more…