India! I dare you to be rich

Category Archive: Public policy

A template/form for Indian RTI application in Word and PDF

I am preparing RTI applications to be lodged by Indian citizens to help secure information re: Ramdev’s empire from various government agencies. In this process I’ve found that prescribed forms are hardly present, and those that exist are insufficient. I’ve therefore created a draft RTI form in Word (and PDF) which can be downloaded below.  This is uploaded on the Sone Ki Chidiya Federation website.


In Word





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The nature, extent and magnitude of Hindu-Muslim riots in India and analysis of causes

Someone sent me information re: Hindu-Muslim riots. To keep track of such information, I’m creating this blog post as a placeholder. Please send me any relevant links/ sources that  you find.

My previous compilation

Further information received

Steven Wilkinson of Duke University, has authored a paper on Violence and Riots in India. [I found this on the internet]

Raw data has been published in the paper “Varshney-Wilkinson Dataset on Hindu-Muslim Violence in India, 1950-1995, Version 2.”

  • During NEHRU’s rule – 1950-1964, 263 riots occurred in 16 states .
  • During INDIRA GANDHI’s rule (1966-1977 and 1980-1984) 337 riots in 15 states have been recorded. (This is apart from the Khalistani violence).
  • During RAJIV GANDHI’s time 291 riots in 15 states have been documented incl. the Sikh massacres of 1984.


Communal Violence and the Denial of Justice

Violette Graff and Juliette Galonnier: Hindu-Muslim Communal Riots in India II (1986-2011)

Brass, P. R. 2005. The production of Hindu-Muslim violence in contemporary India, Univ of Washington Press

Rowena Robinson: Tremors of Violence: Muslim Survivors of Ethnic Strife in Western India

K S Subramanian: Political Violence and the Police in India

Subramanian, K. S. 2003. Socio-Political Violence and the Crisis of Governance in South Asia: A Preliminary Exploration ATWS Monograph, JMI.

Steven I. Wilkinson: Votes and Violence: Electoral Competition and Ethnic Riots in India

Martha C. Nussbaum: The Clash Within: Democracy, Religious Violence, and India’s Future


AGWANI, M.S., 1986, Islamic Fundamentalism in India, Chandigarh: Twenty-First Century India Society

AHMAD, Imtiaz, 1984, Political Economy of Communalism in Contemporary India, Economic and Political Weekly, vol. 19, n°22/23, June 2-9, 1984, pp 903-906

AKBAR, M.J., 1991a, Riot after Riot: Reports on Caste and Communal Violence in India, Delhi: Penguin Books

AKBAR, M.J., 1982, The Pune Riots: Revenge for Meenakshipuram, Sunday, March 14 1982, pp 20-25

AKBAR, M.J., 1978, Varanasi: How and Why Muslims and Hindu Kill Each Other, in SHARMA, Udayan (ed.), 1978, Violence Erupts, New Delhi: Radha Krishna, pp 47-58

BIDWAI, Praful, MUKHIA, Harbans, VANAIK, Achin (eds.), 1996, Religion, Religiosity and Communalism, New Delhi: Manohar

BHARTI, Indu, 1989, Bhagalpur Riots and the Bihar Government, Economic and Political Weekly, December 2, 1989, XXIV, (48): 2643-2644

BOSE, Narayan, PRASAD, H., 1973, Communal Riots in India, ICSSR Research Abstracts Quarterly, 2, (2): 118-141

BRASS, Paul, 2006, Forms of Collective Violence: Riots, Pogroms and Genocide in Modern India, Gurgaon: Three Essays Collective

BRASS, Paul, 2004, Development of an Institutionalized Riot System in Meerut City, 1961 to 1982, Economic and Political Weekly, October 30, 2004, pp 4839-4848

BRASS, Paul, 2003, The Production of Hindu-Muslim Violence in Contemporary India, Seattle, London: University of Washington Press

BRASS, Paul, 1974, Language, Religion and Politics in North India, New York and London: Cambridge University Press

BRASS, Paul, 1965, Factional Politics in an Indian State: The Congress Party in Uttar Pradesh, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press

CHANDRA, Sudhir, 1993, Of Communal Consciousness and Communal Violence, Impressions from Post-Riot Surat, Economic and Political Weekly, September 4, 1993, XXVIII, (36): 1883-1886

CHISHTI, Anees, 1982, Meerut: Anatomy of a Riot, Economic and Political Weekly, October 30, 1982, pp 1765-1769

DAS, Veena, 1990, Mirrors of Violence: Communities, Riots and Survivors in South Asia, Delhi: Oxford University Press

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 2011, Communal Riots, 2010, Secular Perspective, Bombay: Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, January 1-15, 2011,

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 2010, Communal Riots, 2009, Secular Perspective, Bombay: Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, January 1-15, 2010,

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 2009, Communal Riots, 2008, Secular Perspective, Bombay: Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, January 1-15, 2009

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 2008, Communal Riots, 2007, Secular Perspective, Bombay: Centre for Study of Society and Secularism, January 1-15, 2008,

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 2007, Communal Riots, 2006, Secular Perspective, Bombay: Centre for Study of Society and Secularism,

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 2006, Communal Riots, 2005, Secular Perspective, Bombay: Centre for Study of Society and Secularism,

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 2005, Communal Riots, 2004, Economic and Political Weekly, February 5, 2005, 40, (6): 517-520

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 2004, Communal Riots, 2003, Economic and Political Weekly, January 3, 2004, 39, (1): 21-24

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 2003a, One Year of Gujarat’s Shame, Secular Perspective, March 1-15, 2003, available at

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 2003b, Communal Riots in 2002, a Survey, Economic and Political Weekly, January 25, 2003, 38, (2): 280-282

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 2002, Communal Riots, Review of 2001, Economic and Political Weekly, January 12, 2002, 37, (2): 100-104

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 2001, Communal Riots, 2000, Economic and Political Weekly, January 27, 2001, 36, (4): 275-278

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 1998a, Communal Violence, 1998, Shifting Patterns, Economic and Political Weekly, December 26, 1998, XXXIII, (52): 3300-3303

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 1998b, Srikrishna Commission Report, Economic and Political Weekly, August 15-22, 1998, XXXIII, (33-34): 2215-2216

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 1998c, Communalism and Communal Violence, 1997, Economic and Political Weekly, January 10, 1998, XXXIII, (1-2): 11-13

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 1997, Communalism and Communal Violence, 1996, Economic and Political Weekly, February 15, 1997, XXXII, (7): 323-326

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 1995a, Communalism and Communal Violence 1995, Economic and Political Weekly, December 23, 1995, XXX, (51): 3267-3269

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 1995b, Bhagalpur Riot Inquiry Commission Report, Economic and Political Weekly, July 15, 1995, XXX, (28): 1729-1731

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 1995c, Aligarh Riots: Unplanned Outburst, Economic and Political Weekly, April 1, 1995, XXX, (13): 665-667

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 1995d, Communalism and Communal Violence 1994, Economic and Political Weekly, February 4, 1995, XXX, (5): 249-250

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 1994, Bangalore Violence: Linguistic or Communal, Economic and Political Weekly, October 29, 1994, XXIX, (44): 2854-2858

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 1993a, Bombay Riots: Second Phase, Economic and Political Weekly, March 20-27, 1993, XXVIII, (12-13): 505-508

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 1993b, Bombay Shames India, Economic and Political Weekly, January 16-23, 1993, XXVIII, (3-4): 81-85

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 1992a, Sitamarhi on Fire, Economic and Political Weekly, November 14, 1992, XXVII, (46): 2462-2464

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 1992b, Communal Conflict After 1950: A Perspective, Economic and Political Weekly, August 22, 1992, XXVII, (34): 1782-1785

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 1992c, Communal Riots in Ahmedabad, Economic and Political Weekly, August 1-8, 1992, XXVII, (31-32): 1641-1643

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 1992d, Genesis of Communal Violence, Economic and Political Weekly, February 1, 1992, XXVII, (5): 189-193

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 1991a, Communal Riots Before, During and After Lok Sabha Elections, Economic and Political Weekly, September 14, 1991, XXVI, (37): 2135-2138

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 1991b, Making of the Hyderabad Riots, Economic and Political Weekly, February 9, 1991, XXVI, (7) : 271-274

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 1991c, The Bloody Trail: Ramjanmabhoomi and Communal Violence in UP, Economic and Political Weekly, January 26, 1991, XXVI, (4): 155-159

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 1990a, Communal Riots in Recent Months, Economic and Political Weekly, October 6, 1990, XXV, (40): 2234-2236

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 1990b, Grim Tragedy of Bhagalpur Riots, Role of Police-Criminal Nexus, Economic and Political Weekly, February 10, 1990, XXV, (6): 305-307

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 1989a, Kota: Another Case of Planned Violence?, Economic and Political Weekly, December 9, 1989, XXIV, (49): 2703-2706

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 1989b, Communal Frenzy at Indore, Economic and Political Weekly, November 4-11, 1989, XXIV, (44-45): 2467-2469

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 1989c, Anti-Rushdie Disturbances in Bombay, Economic and Political Weekly, March 11, 1989, XXIV, (10): 492-494

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 1989d, Communal Riots in Muzaffarnagar, Khatauli and Aligarh, Economic and Political Weekly, January 7, 1989, XXIV, (1): 22-24

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 1988a, Aurangabad Riots: Part of Shiv Sena’s Political Strategy, Economic and Political Weekly, June 11, 1988, XXIII, (24): 1203-1206

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 1988b, Gian Prakash Committee Report on Meerut Riots, Economic and Political Weekly, January 2-9, 1988, XXIII, (1-2): 30-33

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 1987a, Old Delhi in Grip of Communal Frenzy, Economic and Political Weekly, June 27, 1987, XXII, (26): 1020-1021

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 1987b, Meerut: the Nation’s Shame, Economic and Political Weekly, June 20, 1987, XXII, (25): 969-973

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali (ed.), 1987c, Delhi-Meerut Riots: Analysis, Compilation and Documentation, Delhi: Ajanta Publications

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 1986, Gujarat Burns Again, Economic and Political Weekly, August 2, 1986, XXI, (31): 1343-1346

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 1985a, Communal Fire Engulfs Ahmedabad Once Again, Economic and Political Weekly, July 6, 1985, XX, (27): 1116-1120

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 1985b, Ahmedabad: From Caste to Communal Violence, Economic and Political Weekly, April 13, 1985, XX, (15): 628-630

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 1984a, Bombay-Bhiwandi Riots in National Political Perspective, Economic and Political Weekly, June 21, 1984, XIX, (29): 1134-1136

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali (ed.), 1984b, Communal Riots in Post-Independence India, Hyderabad: Sangam Books

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 1984c, Bhiwandi-Bombay Riots: Analysis and Documentation, Bombay: Institute of Islamic Studies

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 1983, Communal Killings in Hyderabad, Economic and Political Weekly, October 1, 1983, XVIII, (40): 1688-1690

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 1982, Baroda Riots, Wages of Political Corruption, Economic and Political Weekly, November 13-20 1982, XVII, (46-47): 1845-1947

ENGINEER, Asghar Ali, 1981, Biharsharif Carnage: A Field Report, Economic and Political Weekly, May 16, 1981, XVI, (20): 887-889

ERDMAN, H. L., 1963, India’s Swatantra Party, Public Affairs, 36 (4): 394-410

FELDMAN, Herbert, 1969, The Communal Problem in the Indo-Pakistan Sub-Continent: Some Current Implications, Pacific Affairs, Summer 1969, 42 (2): 145-163

FREITAG, Sandria, 1980, Religious Rites and Riots: From Community Identity to Communalism in North India 1870-1940, PhD Dissertation, University of California

GANDHI, Krishna, 1980, Anatomy of the Moradabad Riots, Economic and Political Weekly, September 6, 1980, XV, (36), pp 1505-1507

GHOSH, S.K., 1987, Communal Riots in India, Meet the Challenge Unitedly, New Delhi: Ashish Publishing House

GOPAL, Sarvepalli, 1991, Anatomy of a Confrontation: the Babri Masjid/Ramjanmabhumi issue, New Delhi: Penguin Books

GRAFF, Violette, GALONNIER, Juliette, 2012, Hindu-Muslim Communal Riots in India I (1947-1986), Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence, Paris, Sciences Po, CERI

GRAFF, Violette, GALONNIER, Juliette, 2012, Hindu-Muslim Communal Riots in India II (1986-2011), Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence, Paris, Sciences Po, CERI

GRAFF, Violette, 2011, Muslims and Politics, in JAFFRELOT, Christophe (ed.), India since 1950, 2011, Delhi: Yatra Books, pp 585-611

HASAN, Zoya, 1984, Communalism and Communal Violence in India, in ENGINEER, Ashgar Ali (ed.), 1984, Communal Riots in Post-Independence India, Hyderabad: Sangam Books, pp 68-87

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, 2002, We have no orders to save you: State Participation and Complicity in Communal Violence in Gujarat, April 2002, 14 (3), available at

HURTIG, Christiane, 1993, Le s6paratisme cachemiri. Du r6gionalisme à l’irr6dentisme , H6rodote, n°71, October-December 1993, pp 169-185

HURTIG, Christiane, 1988, Les Maharajahs et la politique dans l’Inde contemporaine, Paris : Presses de Sciences Po

HUSSAIN, S. Abid, 1965, The Destiny of Indian Muslims, Bombay: Asia Publishing House JAFFRELOT, Christophe, 2011, What Justice for the Muslim Victims of the 2002 Pogrom in Gujarat? A Minority at the Mercy of a New Form of Judicial Federalism, forthcoming

KAKAR, Sudhir, 1996, The Colors of Violence: Cultural Identities, Religion and Conflict, Chicago: University of Chicago Press

KHAN, Rafiq, MITTAL, Satyaprakash, 1984, The Hindu-Muslim Riot in Varanasi and the Role of the Police, in ENGINEER, Ashgar Ali (ed.), 1984, Communal Riots in Post-Independence India, Hyderabad: Sangam Books, pp 305-312

KOTHARI, Rajni, 1988, Communalism: the New Face of Indian Democracy, State of Indian Democracy, New Delhi: Ajanta, pp 240-253

KRISHNA, Gopal, 1985, Communal Violence in India: A Study of Communal Disturbance in Delhi, Economic and Political Weekly, published in two parts: Part 1 in vol. 20, n°2, January 12, 1985, pp 61-74 and Part 2 in vol. 20, n°3, January 19, 1985, pp 117-131

KUMAR, Atul, 1978, Violence at Hyderabad, in SHARMA, Udayan (ed.), 1978, Violence Erupts, New Delhi: Radha Krishna, pp 70-80

MASSELOS, Jim, 1994, The Bombay Riots of January 1993: the Politics of Urban Conflagration, South Asia, 17 (1), Special Issue After Ayodhya: the BJP and the Indian Political System, p. 79-95

MAYARAM, Shail, 1993, Communal Violence in Jaipur, Economic and Political Weekly, November 13-20, 1993, XXVIII, (46-47): 2524-2542

MEHTA, Jaya, TIWARI, Vineet, 2008, Communal Violence in Indore, Economic and Political Weekly, July 26, 2008, pp 10-13

PANIKKAR, K.N., 1991, Communalism in India: History, Politics and Culture, Delhi: Manohar

PATEL, Sujata, 1985, The Ahmedabad Riots, 1985: An Analysis, Reports-Papers, Surat: Centre for Social Studies

RAJESHWARI, B., 2004, Communal Riots in India. A Chronology (1947-2003), IPCS Research Paper, March, New Delhi: Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies

RIZVI, S. A. H., 1997, Bhagalpur Riots, Mismanagement by the State in ANSARI, Iqbal A. (ed.), 1997, Communal Riots: the State and Law in India, New Delhi: Institute of Objective Studies, pp 76-81

SAKSENA, N. S., 1990, Communal Riots in India, Noida: Trishul Publications

SAXENA, N. C., 1984, The Nature and Origin of Communal Riots, in ENGINEER, Ashgar Ali (ed.), 1984, Communal Riots in Post-Independence India, Hyderabad: Sangam Books, pp. 51-67

SAXENA, N.C., 1983, Public Employment and Educational Backwardness among Muslims in India, Political Science Review, April-September 1983, pp 130-133

SCHERMERHON, R. A., 1976, Communal Violence in India: A Case Study, Kalamazoo (Michigan): Consultative Committee of Indian Muslims, Syed Z. Abedin

SCHERMERHON, R. A., 1971, The Locale of Hindu-Muslim Riots, The Indian Journal of Politics, January-June 1971, 1 (1): 37-47

SHABAN, Abdul (ed.), 2012, Lives of Muslims in India: Politics, Exclusion and Violence, New Delhi: Routledge

SHAH, Ghanshyam, 1984, The 1969 Communal Riots in Ahmedabad: A Case Study, in ENGINEER, Ashgar Ali (ed.), 1984, Communal Riots in Post-Independence India, Hyderabad: Sangam Books, pp 175-208

SHAH, Ghanshyam, 1970, Communal Riots in Gujarat: Report of a Preliminary Investigation, Economic and Political Weekly, January 1970, Annual Issue, pp 187-200

SHAH, Kalpana, SHAH, Smita and SHAH, Neha, 1993, The Nightmare of Surat, Manushi, n° 74-74, January-February-March-April 1993,  0Surat.pdf

SHETH, Pravin, 1993, Degeneration of a City, Surat Riots, Economic and Political Weekly, January 30, 1993, XXVIII, (5): 151-154

THAPAR, Romila, 2010, The Verdict on Ayodhya: A Historian’s Perspective, The Hindu, October 2, 2010

THAPAR, Romila, MUKHIA, Harbans, CHANDRA, Bipan, 1987, Communalism and the Writings of Indian History, New Delhi: People’s Publishing House

UL-HUDA, Kashif, 2009, Communal Riots and Jamshedpur, Economic and Political Weekly, May 23, 2009, 44, (21): 19-21

VARSHNEY, Ashutosh, 2002, Ethnic Conflict and Civic Life: Hindus and Muslims in India, New Haven: Yale University Press

VERMA, Roop Rekha, KHAN, Nasiruddin Haider, 2005, Communal Riot in Mau: a Report, available at

WILKINSON, Steven, 2004, Votes and Violence: Electoral Competition and Ethnic Riots in India, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

CONCERNED CITIZENS’ TRIBUNAL, 2002, Crime Against Humanity: An Inquiry Into the Carnage in Gujarat, November 21, 2002, Mumbai: Anil Dharkar for Citizens for Justice and Peace, available at

DAYAL, Raghubar, 1968, Report of the Commission of Inquiry on Communal Disturbances, Ranchi-Hatia (August 22-29, 1967), Government of India

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, 2002, We have no orders to save you: State Participation and Complicity in Communal Violence in Gujarat, April 2002, 14 (3), available at

MADON, D. P., 1970, Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Communal Disturbances at Bhiwandi, Jalgaon and Mahad in May 1970.

Summary available at s participation.html

Extracts available at

NATIONAL MINORITIES’ COMMISSION, 1979, First Annual Report for the Year Ending 31st December 1978, Manager, Government of India Press, New Delhi

NARAIN, Jitendra, 2006, Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Communal Distrubances in and around Jamshedpur (Bihar) during April 1979, summary available at rss participation.html

NATIONAL INTEGRATION COUNCIL for the MINISTRY of HOME AFFAIRS, GOVERNMENT of INDIA, 2007, Report of Working Group of National Integration Council to Study Reports of the Commissions of Inquiry on Communal Riots,

PUCL (People’s Union for Civil Liberties), 1978, Report to the People’s Union for Civil Liberties and Democratic Rights (Delhi State) on Aligarh Riot (October r, 1978) by Mukundan C. Menon and Sumanta Banerjee, October 27, 1978, New Delhi

REDDY, P. Jaganmohan, 1971, Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Communal Disturbances at Ahmedabad and other places in Gujarat on and after 18th September 1969 Summary available at

SAMPRADAYIKTA VIRODHI COMMITTEE, 1978, Report of the Inquiry into the Circumstances Leading to Riots in Aligarh on 5th October 1978, October 23, 1978, New Delhi

SHRIKRISHNA, B. N., 1998, Report of the Commission of Inquiry into the Communal Disturbances in Mumbai during December 1992 and January 1993, available at

VARSHNEY, Ashutosh, WILKINSON, Steven, 2004, Varshney-Wilkinson dataset on Hindi-Muslim violence in India, 1950-1995, Version 2. [Computer file]. ICPSR04342-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2006-02-17. doi:10.3886/ICPSR04342. All the corresponding files, documents and press cuttings are available at the SciencesPo library (Fonds Violette Graff-Allier).

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A review of PV Indiresan’s book, Vision 2020. Definitely worth reading.

I’ve finished reading Prof. PV Indiresan’s 2003 book, Vision 2020 and commend it to everyone. I’d rate it 7 out of 10, i.e. definitely worth reading.  (Btw, you can read most of the book on google books.)

My earlier impression of PV Indiresan’s work has changed – for the better.

Overall I find that he has a broadly anti-socialist, anti-Keynesian perspective. That did not make him, however, into a classical liberal, for virtually at no place in his book does he base his ideas on liberty, and often settles into planning/ technocratic approaches. A lack of ideological foundation means that his ideas – often creative – are not always consistent, being also not tested on any fundamental policy framework. He was definitely one of the better policy thinkers India has produced, but I’d argue that his work left much to be desired. Had he incorporated elements of Chanakya’s Arthashatra and FA Hayek, he would have produced the best possible ideas.

This does not mean I have changed my mind about his proposal New Paradigm of Rural Development – to micro-manage rural development (refer to my blog post of 19 March 2014). While this paradigm doesn’t involve too much dabbling by the government, it cannot work without government subsidies. Having said that, there is much good in this proposal that needs to be used by urban/rural planners.

I’d argue that Vision 2020 displays a superior understanding of urbanisation than his (other) proposal on rural development. In the book, he notes that agriculture can’t drive India’s future prosperity, that cities need planning, and that capital-intensive heavy duty infrastructure is critical to kick-start growth. On these issues he makes a lot of sense.

As I showed earlier, he had arrived at state funding of elections as a way to reduce political corruption. And he was ambassador of CCS’s school choice program (although in Vision 2020 he has written almost nothing about the use of markets for procurement of government  services).

Overall, PV Indiresan was 80 per cent of the way towards classical liberalism. I wish he had spent time to form a better understanding of the price system, spontaneous order, self-regulation and competition. But he was an engineer (a brilliant one at that), and expecting engineers to understand economics is a bit of a stretch – the mindset needed for these two disciplines is entirely different. That said, he would definitely have supported the SKC reform agenda and distanced himself from most policies of AAP/Congress/BJP.

Most of his good ideas already form part of the SKC agenda. I’ll polish up a few areas (e.g. infrastructure) to reflect his thoughts.

With this, I’ve now published six blog posts on PV Indiresan, with the previous five of them being:

Below is my summary of his thoughts in Vision 2020. Do refer to the original work to understand better. My copy is fully ‘scratched’, as I have made notes all over the place, often in a moving bus.


General theory:

  • Democracy is not an end in itself (p.106)
  • Income inequality is the natural state of society (p.8)

Economics concepts

  • Supply, demand, marginal effects
  • Price discrimination (p.31)
  • Anti-Keynes (p.94-94, 132-133)


  • Infrastructure charities – that build public infrastructure (p.62);
  • How capital intensity creates jobs (p.20-21);
  • capital intensive public goods are better (p.26);
  • against appropriate technology (p.89)
  • How big infrastructure is needed to kickstart an economy (p22);
  • infrastructure to eliminate poverty and create jobs (p.27, 33);
  • how housing and construction can play a big role (p.81)


  • opposition to agriculture-led growth (p.84)
  • Need to shift from agriculture to industry and services (p.85)
  • Need for urbanisation (p.42)
  • urban density saves petrol;
  • Need for intense urban planning: (107,108)
  • Planned – Mauritius example (p.45);
  • Housing sector– will create jobs (p.17)

Business friendly:

  • Reduce red tape (p.55) and become more business friendly (p.77);
  • simplification of property transactions (p.76);
  • For small sector: no reservations (p.60) but liberalise credit including micro-credit (p.81)

Economic freedom:

  • Globalisation has benefits (p.58)
  • Labour market flexibility (p.81,82)

Basic governance:

  • Distorted incentives of the bureaucracy (p.136-137, 140)
  • Need to focus on administrative reforms (p.86)
  • Judicial reform (p.87)
  • Need for local governments to raise own taxes (p.147)
  • Need to simplify property transactions (p.76)
  • Administration must take a whole of Government perspective (p.50, 113)

Anti welfarism

  • Why subsidy is bad (and why cost recovery is important) (p.27, 28, 30); against unemployment benefits (p.61)
  • Why government doling out schemes will destroy wealth (97)


Misunderstanding about the effects of competition (p.58)

Insufficient understanding of economic liberalisation (p.69-71)

PURA/ ring road model: Satellite cities should definitely be supported by infrastructure, though.


Limited vision for India’s ultimate economic status: Believes the maximum India can achieve is equal to the per capita income of the world average in 2002. (p.106)

Theory of the state entirely unrelated to freedom (intellectuals/ politicians/ planners/ administrators) (p.5)

Poor understanding of costs: states that the cost of water/ waste disposal/ cooking gas connectivity, etc. is 10 times cheaper in rural areas than in urban areas. It is quite the reverse.

Poor understanding of salary structure and incentives of bureaucrats (p.80, 148)

Considers Sweden the best socio-economic system (p.6)

Has a communist/ universal subsidy model for 100 sq m land for each family, school, dispensary (p.13) [This contradicts his anti-subsidy stance elsewhere]

Asks the state to direct credit into consumer goods (p.95)

Thinks that the Planning Commission’s plans mean something (they don’t ) (p.113)

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Why India must move from agriculture to manufacturing and services: Indiresan was very pro-business

This section from Vision 2020 (pages 84-86) was another excellent section (I have a few points which I’ll note separately, below). He notes that AGRICULTURE CANNOT BE THE SOLUTION FOR INDIA’S PROBLEMS.

 It is the opinion in the Planning Commission that the Incremental Capital-Output Ratio (ICOR) is much lower in agriculture than in other sectors of the economy. That means, that for a given investment, agriculture is the best bet for maximizing growth. That has reinforced the view that agriculture, and craft industries alone can maximize both growth and employment.

These arguments are plausible; yet, they raise some uncomfortable questions. One: will this emphasis on agriculture support rapid growth let alone the eight per cent growth sought for the next Plan? Two: considering that we are already sitting on top of a grain mountain, can the country absorb further increase in agricultural production? Three: will agricultural employment satisfy the aspirations of modern day youth who are relatively better educated, and are dreaming of white-collar jobs? Four: is it really impossible for industry and commerce to increase employment? Five: does the assumed scenario truly address the real weaknesses of the Indian economy?

As matters stand, existing farmers are able to produce enough food for themselves and for all others too. Yet, a number of non-farmers are starving because their earnings are too little to afford the price at which the surplus grain of the farmers is being sold. Farmers have no incentive to lower prices because the government buys their surplus at relatively high prices. [Sanjeev: He should have opposed this MSP system, but that’s a different matter]

If the suggested solution of the Planning Commission is accepted, non-farmers will produce even more food for themselves – and for others too.

It is not clear where these new entrants to agriculture will find the land to cultivate. If they do succeed, the market for the existing farmers will shrink. In that case, either the government will have to spend more on subsidy, or let the existing farmers become poorer.

Alternatively, the additional produce may be exported. Unfortunately, grain prices in the world market are low. Even if 10-20 million tons of grain are exported, the realization will be much less than what Indian software industry is generating. Hence, if globalization has resulted in jobless growth, the suggested solution is likely to generate growthless jobs. It will be redistributing poverty rather than creating prosperity.

The logical solution in this case is for non-farmers to raise their productivity in sectors other than agriculture, to earn enough to absorb the agricultural surplus that exists already. Implausible as it may appear, the solution to India’s unemployment conundrum is to create well-paid jobs in industry and services, not more ill-paid ones in farming and handicrafts. World over, prosperity has increased only when employment in agriculture shrinks, not when it increases.

Lack of capital is not the problem why the formal sector is not generating jobs. Banks are flush with funds with no takers. The problem lies with entrepreneurs who are virtually on strike. Those few who like to expand, often prefer to do so in China and elsewhere rather than in India. Like talented professionals, industrialists too are voting with their feet and moving out of India. That is the true cause of tardy economic growth in India.

The accompanying Table summarizes the reasons why Indian industrialists find costs in India so high that it is worth their while to move out of the country.

As the table shows, the issue is not that there is little scope for industrial (and commercial) expansion, but that the prevailing political and administrative environment obstructs such expansion.

Table: Excess Costs of Doing Business in India

Cost Factor Nature of the Problem Cause
Materials High prices Poor infrastructure, over-valued currency, labour costs
Labour Low productivity, militancy Low skills, restrictive labour laws
Interest costs High rates Over invoicing, large scale defaults, poor bankruptcy laws, judicial impedance to recovery of bad loans
Depreciation Technology obsolescence Low investment in R&D
Pre-sale taxes Complex, irrational Conservatism, vested interests and corruption among tax administrators
Post-sale taxes Complex, irrational
Services Unreliable, expensive Artificial shortages, uneconomical service charges
Transaction costs Time delays Complex regulations, corruption
Regulations Multiple agencies, Nitpicking culture, corruption complex, irrational
Overheads Little scope for executives Low self confidence of top managers to innovate

It is clear that Prof. Indiresan was pro-business and not a Luddite.

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Two short videos explaining the political and bureaucratic reforms desperately needed in India

I’ve found time today to produce two more short videos While I can communicate in broken Hindi (as my first attempt, last week, surely confirmed), I’m better off explaining policy details in English, so I’ve switched to English.

I’m following a ‘pyramid’ structure. The first video (last weekend) was the overarching video (in Hindi) which condensed all reforms into two simple categories (1) governance system reform and (b) policy reform.

Each of these two categories conveniently splits into two more categories. motivating four high level videos. I’ve now produced the first two of these four: one each on political and bureaucratic reforms. Next will be two separate videos on the principles of (a) what a government should do, and (b) what it should not.

After that I’ll address the detailed policies (in around 10 odd videos). The result of all this should be around 15 videos in the next few weeks.

Please watch/ share/ comment on these next two:

1) Electoral/political reforms: 8 minutes:

2) Bureaucratic reforms: 5 minutes:

Do see the first one if you’ve not yet seen it (, to set things in context.

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Offshore banking/ financial secrecy, tax havens/ evasion, asset protection, tax efficient corporate structure, illegal reinvoicing, fraud concealment, black money

I’ve started reading Treasure Islands: Tax Havens and the Men who Stole the World by Nicholas Shaxson. This continues an interest developed through an FTI member’s analysis of Switzerland as a tax haven.

I intend to sporadically make notes on this topic till I understand it properly. This post will evolve and grow. Please send me your thoughts/ links in the comments section.

What is a tax haven?

From Nicholas Shaxson:

 It is a place that seeks to attract money by offering politically stable facilities to help people or entities get around the rules, laws, and regulations of jurisdictions elsewhere.
A number of features help us spot tax havens.
First, all tax havens offer secrecy, in various forms.
Another common marker for tax havens is very low or zero taxes. People and corporations use them to escape tax, legally or illegally. Secrecy jurisdictions also have very large financial services industries in comparison to the size of the local economy.
Tax havens usually deny what they are and strenuously assert that they are clean.
But there is one feature of a secrecy jurisdiction that stands out above all: that local politics is captured by financial interests from elsewhere (sometimes these financial interests are criminal interests). Meaningful opposition to the offshore business model will have been neutered in a serious tax haven, so that such irritants as local politics cannot interrupt the business of making money. These zones of ultra-freedom for financial interests are so often repressive places, viciously intolerant of criticism.
It is, at heart, about artificially manipulating paper trails of money across borders.

The sum total of this underground economy is estimated at around a quarter of world GDP. It is absolutely massive.

Re: Switzerland, some notes from an internal discussion:

 Swiss Bankers helped the Nazis to loot and illegally store the wealth of Jews appropriated in Germany, Poland and other East European countries. And, they actively refused to repatriate this wealth back to the surviving relations of the murdered Jews – and fought pitched legal battles with Israeli and American Jews on the provenance of this wealth secreted away in their lockers. And, then they became the bankers of choice for African despots, looting their impoverished citizens, drug smugglers, and assorted alleged terrorists – until more salubrious nations came up with their own banking secrecy laws – and the more recent American attack on the major Swiss Banks and their secrecy laws.

The latest scam of the Swiss to help tax scamsters and other hoarders of ill-gotten wealth is to build large “bonded” warehouses at the airports in Geneva and Zurich – these are apparently “jurisdiction free” and for a “small fee” will store all your hard assets – diamonds and precious stones, bullion, currency notes (Swiss franc, preferably), art and what have you.

With the secrecy laws that Switzerland has till date, diluted only recently under US pressure  –  the entire system is a bad apple. The stalwarts like CS and UBS are paying massive fines in the US for SYSTEMATICALLY helping US Citizens to evade taxes. And, this is nothing compared with the private banks, which have not yet completely come under the scanner – because each bank itself is small, but in aggregate dwarf the private banking practices of CS and UBS. How many have heard the names of Sarasin, Pictet, Lombard Odier, there are multitudes of others. Secret Banking is a cottage industry in Switzerland.

The banks of Switzerland have over US$3.0 trillion in assets (Source: Swiss national bank, 2011 stats). Most of these should be repatriated them to their source countries.

Switzerland is the prime beneficiary of this largesse – the 3-month LIBOR for CHF is 0.02%, while  the 10-year bond yield is 1.03% currently – so, Swiss industry benefits from all the stolen wealth that is deposited in Swiss Banks. (Indian companies have to borrow at 12%+, and the RBI 10-year bond yield is currently c. 9.0%). What if the Swiss Industry was to pay “true costs” for their borrowings?


Credit Suisse ‘helped US tax evaders

US senators rebuff Credit Suisse arguments over tax allegations

Switzerland pledges to lift the veil on secrecy

A Piketty Protégé’s Theory on Tax Havens   ["Mr. Zucman estimates — conservatively, in his view — that $7.6 trillion — 8 percent of the world’s personal financial wealth — is stashed in tax havens."]


Why Tax Havens Are A Force For Good by Daniel J. Mitchell


United States Virgin Islands


Citizens for Tax Justice


[W]hile I hate all forms of cheating, in my Inferno, tax evaders occupy a circle of their own. I see them not only as backsliders on their own civic responsibility but as stealing from their fellow citizens: The more successfully they escape what they owe, the more the rest of us have to pay. I take great satisfaction, therefore, in the fact that during my tenure as U.S. Attorney for the district of Massachusetts, every tax evader we prosecuted was convicted, and all of them went to jail. — Elliot L. Richardson

A tax return is an attested document. It is signed by the taxpayer and the preparer under penalties of perjury. It is not an opening offer. — Lee A. Sheppard

The distinction between evasion and avoidance is fine yet definite. Evasion involves deceit, subterfuge, camouflage, concealment, some attempt to color or obscure events, or making things seem other than what they are. — Internal Revenue Service

[T]he very wealthy, because they can afford tax lawyers and all kinds of loopholes, really don’t pay nearly as much as you think they do. — John McCain

The really rich people figure out how to dodge taxes anyway. — George W. Bush

In tax shelter transactions, an elaborate series of formal steps is contrived to lead to an unreasonably beneficial tax result, usually flowing from some defect or ambiguity in the tax law. — Peter C. Canellos

[T]ax shelters [involve] uncommon combinations of steps, the claimed tax consequence of which might be correct as a technical matter, but in totality producing a tax outcome which is absurd and unintended …. — George K. Yin

There is no moral argument for cheating on taxes, especially calculated cheating that requires the use of tax professionals and planning. If you do not like our tax system, then work to elect a different Congress. — David Cay Johnston

The rich, indeed, are different from the rest of us; they have shiftier tax lawyers.— Jim McTague

At the heart of every abusive tax shelter is a tax lawyer or accountant.— Charles Grassley

There is plenty of evidence to suggest that we are facing a rising tide of corporate and individual behavior that makes going to any lengths to not pay taxes an acceptable activity. — Larry R. Levitan

According to a Gallup Organization poll, 64% of the public think that at least half of all big-company executives cheat on their taxes. — The Wall Street Journal

Methods of escape or intended escape from tax liability are many. Some are instances of avoidance which appear to have the color of legality; others are on the borderline of legality; others are plainly contrary even to the letter of the law. All are alike in that they are definitely contrary to the spirit of the law. All are alike in that they represent a determined effort on the part of those who use them to dodge the payment of taxes which Congress based on ability to pay. All are alike in that failure to pay results in shifting the tax load to the shoulders of others less able to pay, and in mulcting the Treasury of the Government’s just due. — Franklin D. Roosevelt

Why would any U.S. citizen wish to go through the time and expense required to establish an offshore account unless it was for the evasion of taxes or the hiding of funds? — John Mathewson

It does not surprise anyone when I tell them that the most important tax haven in the world is an island. They are surprised, however, when I tell them that the name of the Island is Manhattan. Moreover, the second most important tax haven in the world is located on an island. It is a city called London in the United Kingdom. — Marshall J. Langer

Switzerland is a respectable developed European country that acts like a tropical island that feeds off tax evasion by U.S. citizens. Switzerland is a rich country because its currency is propped up by the conversion of tax evaders’ euros and dollars into Swiss francs. Tax evasion banking is the mainstay of the Swiss economy. — Lee A. Sheppard

There is a sizable and statistically robust association between being a tax haven and the presence of high-quality government institutions. — James Hines

Campione is an island measuring only one square mile in Lake Lugano (Italy). The Italian tax authorities do not enforce taxes on the worldwide income of foreigners establishing residence there. Residency is established by renting, buying, or acquiring a time-share in a property. — Ronen Palan

We cannot allow an environment to develop where wealthy individuals can go offshore and avoid tax without consequence. We cannot allow an environment where large corporations can pay hefty fees and salaries for top talent to engage in overly aggressive shifting of taxable activities to low tax jurisdictions. — Douglas Shulman

Everyone is entitled to conduct their financial affairs in privacy, but secrecy laws which facilitate tax evasion are completely unacceptable. — Dave Hartnett

The British government tolerates the offshore financial industry on the assumption that it brings more money into Britain by channeling more expatriate and foreign wealth into London than is taken out by people working tax dodges.— The Economist Magazine

There’s no question that it’s more fun to do business while relaxing on the beach of some Caribbean paradise than while cooped up in your office back home. But there’s more to the offshore world than the sunny climate. There’s freedom and privacy beyond your wildest imagination. Off come the shackles of government regulation and the handcuffs of excessive taxation. — Jerome Schneider

There is a deep anger against those who use offshore jurisdictions to evade U.S. taxes. — Carl Levin

Due to difficulties in establishing source income, residency has become the standard principle of worldwide taxation of corporations. The residency principle has proved to be a great boon to tax havens, since companies and banks find it beneficial to shift as much of their operations as possible to low- or zero-tax regimes. — Ronen Palan

In the United States we have observed that there are two Internal Revenue Codes — one for Wall Street and one for Main Street. Wall Street can afford and often needs the services of sophisticated tax lawyers. Main Street often can’t and doesn’t. — Sheldon I. Banoff

The history of Wall Street and tax accounting rules is that Wall Street always complains about new rules until its denizens figure out how to abuse them.— Lee A. Sheppard

Just as there is an underground economy of gardeners and handymen and petty merchants who get paid in cash and pay little or no tax, there is also an underground economy among the super rich that lets them understate their true income and overstate their tax deductions. — David Cay Johnston

Our entire tax system is threatened by the existence of tax avoidance techniques that are only available to the wealthy in our society. — Barbara Kennelly

[L]awyers of high standing at the bar are advising their clients to utilize devious tax avoidance devices, and they are actively using them themselves. — Henry E. Morgenthau Jr.

Every day well-trained, well-paid and highly motivated tax professionals have been launching vicious attacks on the tax base and they have had considerable success. — Calvin H. Johnson

Tax evasion often goes hand-in-hand with kick-backs and other crimes motivated by greed. — Mark Everson

Tax evasion is closely related to money laundering …. [T]ax evasion is a natural byproduct of crime, and so criminals are near-automatic tax evaders. — Martin A. Sullivan

Drug traffickers are also money launderers and tax evaders. It’s in their job description. You can’t really declare a few million pesos of unexplained income on your tax return and list “drug lord” as your occupation. Besides, the moral threshold that’s crossed by falsifying tax returns is nothing for people who regularly bribe police, kidnap judges, and slit the throats of informants. — Robert Goulder

Distinguishing tax shelters from real transactions is often a frustrating exercise because tax shelters are usually designed to mimic real transactions. In this respect, tax shelters and real transactions have a relationship analogous to the relationship between money laundering and banking. In both areas, rules designed to curb the abusive activity are a source of complexity in nonabusive cases. — Peter C. Canellos

Liberals claim to support affirmative action but don’t practice it. They support higher taxes but set up complicated tax shelters to avoid paying them. They claim to be ardent environmentalists but abandon their cause when it impinges on their own property rights. — Peter Schweizer

The argument that “if everyone cheated on their tax returns, we would all suffer,” understandably dissuades almost no one from cheating. On the contrary, tax evaders are quite certain that nearly everyone else is cheating, and it is precisely this fact that serves as their justification for doing the same. — Dennis Prager and Joseph Telushkin

A good lawyer with a briefcase can steal more than ten men with machine guns. — Al Capone

It is sinful to deceive the government regarding taxes and duties. — Talmud

We still have too many cases of what I might call moral fraud, that is, the defeat of taxes through doubtful legal devices which have no real business utility, and to which a downright honest man would not resort to reduce his taxes. — Henry E. Morgenthau Jr.

Tax evasion is not a form of conserving investment capital but a brazen abandonment of responsibility to the country. — Bill Moyers

Only little people pay taxes. — Leona Helmsley

To the extent that some people are dishonest in their dealings with the government, the majority is forced to carry a heavier tax burden. — John F. Kennedy

If we can’t make sure that everyone pays their fair share, then honest taxpayers get stuck making up the difference. — Paul H. O’Neill

What the low tax rate on capital gains does is spur a huge amount of unproductive tax sheltering. Wealthy individuals invest enormous sums in schemes to convert ordinary income into capital gains, often making investments that would make no sense absent the tax savings. Capital is drawn away from productive investments, hurting the economy. Similarly, the highly talented people who dream up tax shelters could, in a better world, do productive work. — Leonard E. Burman

Trying to control tax shelters is like stepping on Jell-O. It just squeezes out between your toes and the mess is worse than when you began. — Anonymous Congressional Staff Member

Let’s face it, there is no discernable business reason to try to locate a transaction in a place like the Cayman Islands … nothing that purports to be resident in the Caymans is managed and controlled there, even if the principals do occasionally visit to conduct scripted board meetings. — Lee A. Sheppard

If companies and individuals were required to completely relocate to tax havens, or if shipping companies had to relocate to flag of convenience states, then interest in taking advantage of tax havens or flags of convenience would have remained relatively insignificant …. What lawyers call “international tax planning” comes down to a plethora of accounting strategies aiming at exploiting legal loopholes that allow individuals and companies to shift residence without actually moving. — Ronen Palan

Tax evaders under-report the earnings of their legal enterprises, thereby paying less tax than they legally should. Criminals, by contrast, over-report the earnings of any legal enterprises they use for cover, therefore paying more tax than their legitimate front companies would normally be required. — United Nations Report

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