The week that went by

My last blog post was on Jan. 19. That evening,  I left for Kolkata – my first trip to that city in my 53 years of living on Planet Earth! I was on the panel on Bengal and Asia at the Bengal Global Business Summit. My presentation – which argued against giving special concessions and treatment to foreign investors but which argued for getting the basics right in governance, administration and infrastructure (hard and soft) – surprisingly went down well. Visited the Bandhan office and also ITC Victoria House to meet with friends.

A day trip to Hyderabad to meet with Dr. Y.V. Reddy and Vijay Mahajan of BASIX was sandwiched between Kolkata and Delhi. Both were very good meetings. Vijay Mahajan had just returned from a two and half day workshop cum seminar on sustainable development practices at the Xavier Institute of Management in Bhubaneswar. He was very impressed with the content of it. Gave an interview to the ‘Andhrajyoti’ newspaper. Met with the founders of Manthan – a great initiative. You can check them out here and here.

On Monday in Delhi, Carnegie India formally launched the hardcopy version of my book, ‘Can India grow?’. It is not priced. If you are in India and if you want a copy of it, you can write to them. They may send it to you.

On Tuesday, I made a presentation on China Macro outlook at a think-tank and was back in Singapore last morning. To a large extent, this Tuesday column in MINT on the beginning of a China reset by America captures the presentation.

The weather in Delhi was pleasant and the smog was not asphyxiating. Watched a bit of the Republic Day Parade rehearsals. Nice.

Read an interesting news-story of Francois Fillon – French Centre-Right candidate for the Presidential election due this year – advising Germany to improve relations with Russia and to get tough on immigration. Coincidentally or not, this morning, I noticed that the French authorities have opened an investigation into whether Fillon made payments to his wife, appointing her as his Parliamentary aide, without doing any work. H…mmm

This letter in FT by a former economist at the World Bank calling Germany the China of Europe was also a different one and was well worth a read.

Also, read this lovely interview of Harsha Bhogle (my batchmate) with ET Panache, aboard the Singapore Airlines flight to Singapore from Delhi. His advice to Rahul Dravid not to marry a fan can be very broadly extended to many categories – to advisors for leaders, for example. One needs devil’s advocate/fearless advisors for all types of decision-makers.

Lastly, the UK Supreme Court asking the British PM to seek approval of the Parliament for initiating the Brexit process is a non-event. I wrote to a British journalist to confirm or rebut my assessment that it is a non-event, attaching this link. This is what he wrote to me:

I think it is probably fair in the details but ‘rebellion’ makes it sound bigger than it is. Yes there is opposition but I feel it is contained – at least for now – within a small minority. When push comes to shove, the Tory and labour politicians know that with the exception of London and Scottish constituencies the country voted Brexit, and they need to follow the people’s will.
I think one of the key points he makes is that outside of London and Scotland, the vote in favour of Brexit was overwhelming. Similarly,  much is made of Ms. Clinton’s 3-million extra popular votes. Take away few counties in California and the mandate is clearly for Trump.
A separate blog post on Trump’s political and economic strategy follows. Much of the media despite its abysmally low to non-existent credibility with the public is still not getting the message. There is a surfeit of media hubris.
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