It is sometimes said that not even God can predict the price of oil. As a humble mortal, that too a practising atheist, one must confess at the outset that the dip in the international prices of crude oil has taken me and many others completely by surprise. Iraq is in a turmoil, almost on the verge of imploding.
The more things change, the more they remain the same. The hypocrisy of the two largest political parties in the country, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Indian National Congress, stand thoroughly exposed because of the manner in which their representatives have been wrangling over the issue of increasing the cap on foreign investment in Indian insurance companies from 26 per cent at present to 49 per cent.
Besides controlling food inflation, the most challenging task before Narendra Modi is to create jobs for millions of young men and women, some of whom were responsible for his resounding victory in the elections. It is one thing to promise jobs and another to actually create them.
Lalu Prasad Yadav is in jail. As is Rasheed Masood. Both have been disqualified as legislators. But are elected representatives now likely to be less brazen while participating in acts of corruption, even if the long arm of the law remains rather lengthy and the wheels of justice continue to grind excruciatingly slowly?
The paradox is rather apparent. In the contemporary history of India, never have so many once-influential politicians had to spend time behind bars as they have in recent times. Yet the second UPA government, headed by a Prime Minister who was known as Mr Clean, is also being perceived as one of the country’s most corrupt regimes, packed by people with flexible ethics.