Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Oust Modi's chief economic adviser Subramanian: BJP hawk Subramaniam Swamy fires another missile

By Our Representative Prime Minister Narendra Modi's top hardline supporter Subramaniam Swamy, who has gone stronger after his “successful” mission of ensuring the ouster of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Raghuram Rajan, has now fired yet another missile – this time against Modi's chief economic advisor (CEA) Arvind Subramanian, wanting the latter to be “sacked” forthwith.
Swamy has tweeted, “Who said to US Congress on March 13, 2013, the US should act against India to defend US pharmaceuticals interests? Arvind Subramaniam! Sack him!!” In a series of tweets, Swamy said, Subramanian had “opposed” India's intellectual property rights (IPR), and that he “encouraged” Congress to “become rigid” on Goods and Services Tax (GST).
Swamy's attack immediately led his supporters to troll on Twitter. One of them, whom Swamy retweeted, said, “This joker CEA also wrote oped against Gujarat model and talked nonsense about beef ban” (@narsimharao10). Swamy also retweeted another tweet which said, “This is a long battle. The entrenched secularists fed by vested interests need to be dethroned by sustained efforts” (@shantichadha3).
A senior fellow at the prestigious Peterson Institute for International Economics and Center for Global Development, and rated among the 100 top world thinkers, it has long been known, had advised the US on how to do business with India. 
In the 2013 Congressional testimony which Swamy refers to, Subramanian had said, "American firms are increasingly facing implicit but substantial discrimination in India's large and growing market because of India signing (or on the verge of signing) free trade and economic partnership agreements with its largest trading partners that are all major competitors to the US: Europe, Japan, Singapore, ASEAN, and possibly ASEAN-plus 6.”
Modi's CEA had advised the US that it should “adopt” a “multi-pronged strategy for solving trade conflicts and maximizing the underlying potential”, which include US addressing “frictions especially where Indian policies are demonstrably protectionist... through multilateral (WTO) dispute settlement procedures. The US should not be reticent in this regard."
In fact, before he was made CEA on Jaitley's advise, Subramanian had believed India should not oppose the World Trade Organization's (WTO's) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), something the country did in 2014. By opposing TFA, he believes, India would be seen as an obstructionist. “A policy that has limited support in the WTO looks weak and lacks legitimacy, and, hence, is unlikely to succeed”, he had said.
Soon after his appointment, ex-finance minister P Chidambaram had said Subramanian was an excellent choice, calling him “pro-growth and pro-reform”. Subramanian has also won considerable praise from activists, who believe he has done the right thing by proposing to tax sugar sweetened beverages.
Quoting severval health activsts, Amit Shrivastava of the India Resource Centre said, “All of the evidence we have to date suggests that taxing sugary drinks would be far more powerful and effective for protecting public health than simple education measures.”
Meawhile, a report by Reuters suggests are allis not well between Modi-Swamy relations. The top news agency reports that during his meeting with “aides and the RSS earlier this year, Modi said that Swamy should be kept out of government, according to two people who attended”, adding, “The RSS suggested that Swamy be given a spot in the Rajya Sabha, said a senior RSS leader who attended the meeting, and Modi relented.”

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