Democracy redefined

I found this interesting passage in the midst of a piece on Raghuram Rajan’s exit (Emphasis mine):

It is not just that it is beyond the remit of a central bank governor to speak outside the narrow topic of monetary and financial economics, and that too only as it concerns RBI business—it is that Rajan more or less directly criticized the government for which he was working. No democratically elected government will stand for such criticism from a technocrat within the bastion, as it were, beyond a certain point.

The piece says that Rajan’s stewardship of the RBI has been able, and he therefore deserved an extension of tenure — thus reducing the entire argument to this one central fact: Rajan spoke up for his beliefs, and therefore he had to go.

I’ll leave you to ponder this question: How do you reconcile the notion of democracy with intolerance to criticism?

Just another U-turn

More, from his website from when he was CM:

The decision to allow Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in multi brand retail sector by the Congress-led UPA has been strongly opposed by Shri Narendra Modi. The Chief Minister has termed this move as anti-people.

Shri Modi said that allowing FDI in multi brand retail would mean immense harm to small shopkeepers, hit the domestic manufacturing sector and create joblessness. The Chief Minister added that this would also mean cheap good produced outside being dumped into our nation.

Since yesterday, Shri Modi has strongly opposed the diesel price hike and the decision to rationalize LPG cylinders per household. Infact, on the same day the UPA announced these regressive decisions, Shri Modi announced 100% relief on loans and 50% relief on electricity bills for farmers. This decision by Shri Modi has been hailed all over.

We all know how the diesel price thing is working out; here’s the latest on FDI.

PS: This is not to suggest that FDI is necessarily a bad thing, but merely to underline the point that so much of what the BJP opposed (even to the extent of disrupting Parliament and forcing a vote) is exactly what it stands for now. Makes you think a bit about propaganda, obstructionism, all of that…

Dear left hand, please meet right hand

As the NDA government heads to its second anniversary, she said work was being done, but it seemed that some numbers dominated over the others. “What dominates the mind of everyone is the export numbers, that these are falling for the 15 or 16 month. How about manufacturing and production numbers? They have been encouraging. I find the propaganda sometimes informed and 99% of the time uninformed, which is why we have been holding stakeholder meetings.”

Thus, Minister for Commerce Nirmala Sitharaman, in course of telling Raghuram Rajan to get a better grasp of the English language.

“As a share of our GDP, the manufacturing sector over the years has shrunk to around 15 percent. Our services sector is fairly robust — grows annually at around 9-10 percent and is expanding rapidly. It is not a sector that seriously worries us.”

Thus, Minister for Finance Arun Jaitley in New York at the same time. In both cases, emphasis mine.

Speaking of choosing the right words, how is shrinking manufacture “encouraging”?