UN headquarters in New York is not the only global entity experiencing a cash crunch. Those focusing on humanitarian aid delivery in conflict zones, providing care to refugees, and preventing starvation and disease to families displaced from their homes are all operating in an unforgiving environment. Wealthy donors in the European Union, North America, Asia and the Persian Gulf are simply tapped out, while others view financial contributions to UN emergency programs as ripe for abuse or mismanagement.
Without a substantial increase in diplomatic capacity, expanding India’s engagements is nearly impossible. The MEA needs higher budgetary allotments, specifically for investing in capacity building in two areas. One, for increasing the number of Missions and Post abroad by enlarging the size of India’s diplomatic corps. Two, for investing in creating specialists who can present India’s case on global issues such as nuclear no-first use, climate change, data protection etc. After all, an investment in diplomacy has the potential to deliver disproportionate benefits for the Indian national interest.
One of the least enviable jobs in the world at the moment has to be that of Indian finance minister. Arun Jaitley will present his fourth annual budget to India’s Parliament on Wednesday amid terrible headwinds — mostly caused by his government’s bewildering and disruptive decision to invalidate 86 percent of India’s currency last November.
Mr Modi’s government has proceeded in a manner exactly predictable from his claims and promises on the campaign trail. He will not change the bedrock of economic policy since 2004 — the reliance on private-public partnerships, for example. He will instead work towards quicker execution, lower taxes, and a less intrusive state.
India does not reconcile contradictions so much as inhabit them. Is there one god? Three? Gods? Without number? Yes, yes, and yes. Visitors are instructed to leave their Cartesian logic at passport control. This is contrary to my all-too-binary nature. But after two weeks in Delhi talking to people about the wrinkled, lumbering, battle-scarred pachyderm that is the Congress Party, I have begun to accept that it may be precisely Congress’s capacity to live blithely with contradiction that accounts for its astonishing persistence (that, and the Gandhi family name).
India’s government may curb spending growth in the budget tomorrow to pare the widest fiscal deficit in major emerging nations, seeking to boost the central bank’s scope to reduce interest rates as the economy falters. Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram will keep deficit goals set in October of 4.8 percent of gross domestic product for the year through March 2014 and 5.3 percent in 2012-2013, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Credit Suisse Group AG said.