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Editor's Letter: Cowed Down

With the biggest reform since the 1991 economic reforms closer to reality, the Modi government has reasons to be gung-ho. It, however, needs to rein in the fringe elements that threaten to derail its economic agenda

By the time you read the latest issue of BW Businessworld, the GST Constitution (Amendment) Bill would have been passed by the Lok Sabha after its landmark clearance by the Rajya Sabha. Businessworld was the first to put it on its cover saying “GST on Course” (25 July edition).

While the story had talked about how most state governments — whether they belonged to the Congress or the Left — were all for the “one nation, one tax” regime, it also said that the Narendra Modi government was confident of pulling it through in the monsoon session. What’s more, the story had also told you that the AIADMK would walk out during the GST vote in the Rajya Sabha.

With the biggest reform since the 1991 economic reforms closer to reality, the Modi government has reasons to be gung-ho. It, however, needs to rein in the fringe elements that threaten to derail its economic agenda.

Recall how when the government was talking about its sound economics, its agenda was being hijacked by self-styled cow vigilantes across the country attacking the Dalits and others. The cover story this issue focuses on this. The opening essay by deputy editor Sutanu Guru highlights this anomaly. Be it GST, or Make in India, or ease of doing business, the sound economic gains so far have been overshadowed by the fringe elements that spin out of control every now and then.

The cover story also seeks to put into perspective the recent attacks on Dalits and how they impact the country’s onward economic march. Senior associate editor Suman K. Jha digs out data to show how there has been a loss of jobs in the leather industry ever since the Modi government has come to power. He tries to answer the question that arises then: Are Dalits leaving the industry or are they being made to leave the industry?

Jha also delves into the minds of Union social justice minister Thawar Chand Gehlot, Indian Institute of Dalit Studies’ Sanghmitra Acharya, public intellectual and Dalit scholar Chandrabhan Prasad and economist and Rajya Sabha MP Narendra Jadhav through interviews to bring to the reader what they make of the attacks.

The issue has many other stories that readers will find interesting. Deputy editor Raghu Mohan chronicles the story of India’s vintage forex brokerage firms and shows how they are caught in a time warp. SapientNitro’s senior vice president and chief technology officer Sheldon Monteiro in a conversation with marketing and advertising editor Noor Fathima Warsia talks about the importance of marketing technologists and why these hybrid specialists matter. Senior editor Mala Bhargava writes about the ‘botwagon’ that is now driving the world. India, she discovers, is as much bot country as anywhere else.

Uttar Pradesh is a state that’s often in news for wrong reasons. But senior editor Ashish Sinha’s story on the infrastructure projects shows the state in a refreshingly positive light. The state is busy building expressways and its Lucknow Metro Rail project is all set to be completed in a record time!

Also, read about the growing problem of infertility in the country and how it is spawning a burgeoning in vitro fertilisation treatment market by assistant editor Paramita Chatterjee; the imminent consolidation in the e-commerce space by associate editor Ayushman Baruah; and the government’s efforts to give shape to the National e-Health Authority by senior associate editor, C. H. Unnikrishnan. Enjoy your copy.


This article was published in BW Businessworld issue dated 'Aug. 22, 2016' with cover story titled 'Are Cows, Culture Wars And Dalits Atrocities Derailing Modi’s Economic Agenda?'



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