Financial Times

Unity at midnight beckons with India’s tax reform

This defines a visionary moment as the country chooses 'pooled sovereignty'

The tax reform is expected to transform the business landscape but will test India's weak administrative capacity © AP There are rare moments when a nation will do the sensible thing despite itself. Such a moment will come this weekend when India introduces the most far-reaching tax reform in its history.

Beyond the control of scions in India’s family businesses

Indians have a saying that captures the tendency of family businesses to decline over generations: “The life of a business house is 60 years.” This phenomenon was portrayed by the German writer Thomas Mann in Buddenbrooks, his novel about a wealthy merchant family in the city of Lübeck whose business disintegrates as the children lose an appetite for making money. Until now, the 148-year-old Tata Group has defied this rule.

The $74m Mars mission benefits India every bit as much as clean water

Last week India sent a satellite into orbit around Mars,with a low-cost, nimble mission that has stunned the world. At $74m over three years, the cost was roughly one-ninth that of the latest (also successful) US mission, which took six years. And in reaching the red planet on its first attempt, India’s space agency succeeded where many other leading powers – including the US, Russia,China and Japan– failed.

Modi needs to give India its Thatcher moment

The country’s new leader must now initiate institutional reforms, says Gurcharan Das

Aam Aadmi is not the reforming party India needs

The leadership is trapped in the ideas of the old left, writes Gurcharan Das

Delhi needs to sell the idea of the market


Indians say their country ‘grows at night while the government sleeps’, writes Gurcharan Das

When the Indian government presented its budget last month, the people were expecting giveaways, subsidies and bribes for votes. But it turned out to be a surprisingly responsible settlement that capped the fiscal deficit at 4.8 per cent of economic output. It was a sensible budget, but it will not get India growing again.

Permit for progress

Government must do more than get out of the way if India's rise is to continue

India Grows at Night: A Liberal Case for a Strong State, by Gurcharan Das, Allen Lane, RRP£19.99/Penguin Global, RRP$25, 320 pages

The Difficulty of Being Good

The Difficulty of Being Good: On the Subtle Art of Dharma, by Gurcharan Das, Allen Lane, RRP£20, 488 pages

Where society has triumphed over the state

India's mystifying economic rise bewilders Indians and baffles economists. No one quite understands why this noisy and chaotic democracy of a billion people has become one of the world's fastest growing economies. It is looking at a fourth year of consistent real growth of around 8% a year, following upon 22 years of very respectable 6% average annual growth. What puzzles economists is that India is not following any of the proven paths to success. Compared to the classic Asian strategy—exporting labour-intensive, low-priced manufactured goods to the West—India's economy is driven more by consumption rather than investment, its domestic market rather than exports, services more than industry, and high-tech rather than low-skilled manufacturing.

India's law and China's order

The Chinese premier's recent visit to India was a good thing because it took our minds off Pakistan, even for a fleeting weekend. We really must learn to ignore Pakistan and heed China. If Pakistan pulls us down into an abyss of terrorism and identity politics, China will lift us up, I think, firing our ambition for better roads, schools and health centres. I used to either admire or fear China, but now I am more relaxed. Both our economies are among the world's fastest, and both are on the verge of solving their age-old economic problem. China's success is induced by the state, however, whereas India's is due to its private economy. Although slower, India's path may, in fact, be more suited to its temperament.