Sunil Jain

This author profile is in memoriam of Sunil Jain (1963-2021). Sunil Jain was Managing Editor at Financial Express. He was an acclaimed journalist and has written extensively on the regulatory environment and government policies. He has also written two books using NCAER’s annual household surveys of income and expenditure and is a co-author of the book Caste in a Different Mould. The Indian Express family misses him.

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Articles By Sunil Jain

651 Articles

Covid is the enemy, not the government

There may be valid reasons for hating Modi-Shah and their use of state power to investigate rivals, but this has led to a situation where each fresh death is almost welcomed as vindication of the evil they have wrought. Only

Modi government, coronavirus

Rational Expectations: Another pyrrhic telecom victory

The NCLAT verdict on spectrum is a big win for govt but it hits govt-owned banks, yet another example of poor policy

The dispute over what comprises AGR is decades old, so instead of letting it bounce from one court to another, the government needed to sit down with industry and settle the definition once and for all.

That little thing called economics!

Good call to free vaccine pricing. Price controls help one lot but, as supplies dwindle, this hurts those who don’t get access

Those who get both Covid-19 shots at a cost of Rs 500 are obviously better off as compared to a situation where they are asked to Rs 2,000 going by the free-market price Poonawala said he would like to charge. But, if the result of the price control is delaying supply to others, their loss can be huge since it could result in them requiring greater hospitalisation; indeed, till the country is fully vaccinated, parts of the economy will continue to face some kind of lockdown and, when that happens, even those who benefitted from the price caps may have to bear an additional cost due to job losses and higher inflation resulting from supply disruptions.

India can’t fight Covid with such planning

Whether it is the fiasco with vaccines or hospital beds, all suggest a last-minute approach rather than a long-term one

Modi’s vaccine plans may unravel if he doesn’t make up with manufacturers

If the vaccination effort was a one-time deal, perhaps it wouldn’t matter, even though it speaks poorly of the business environment in the country.

While Poonawalla spoke of finding alternative funding sources if need be, he seemed to indicate his preference for the government giving this amount as a grant.

Test-track-treat is good, vaccination is even better

PM Modi asking CMs to focus on conventional means to control Covid good, but vaccine supply is what is critical

covid 19 vaccines

Vaccinate the economy: Govt must fund vaccine output ramp up within days

Shocking that issue of vaccine shortage still not addressed

As it happens, data from ICMR analysed by the National Centre for Disease Control shows that 22% of those with Covid-19 are 21-30 years old, 22% are 31-40 and another 17% are 41-50.

Is it a wonder that Covid is surging?

From low/poor testing to a slow pace of vaccinations, both the centre and state governments continue to get it wrong

The West created monopolies, we democratised data: Nandan Nilekani, co-founder, Infosys

In areas like social media, search and e-commerce we don’t really have a great story. But in public digital infrastructure, we do have something which is world beating.

Nandan Nilekani, Non-executive Chairman & Co-founder, Infosys

Small savings rates can’t be driven by politics

The commitment to link them to market rates has never be honoured, so it is no surprise that this happened again


Rational Expectations: Can’t let PLI scheme go bust, nurture it

This includes carrying over FY21’s PLI due to force majeure, allowing Chinese players in & ensuring WTO compatibility

Since such localisation targets are also WTO-incompatible, it is not clear why such schemes are being planned; investors get wary if they feel the schemes can be challenged at WTO.

Rational Expectations: Vital to understand costs of ‘net-zero’

Electricity costs will rise as subsidies have to go; lakhs of jobs will go if aggressive moves not made on hydrogen to replace coal/oil.


Ashoka’s autonomy matters for all of us

If a private university with no funds crunch has to bow to pressure, imagine the signal to those in govt-run institutions

E-tail’s doing well, wrap it in red-tape!

The draft e-commerce guidelines make little sense & will end up giving bureaucrats more control over the sector

ecommerce in india

Modi govt must read the Cairn award before appealing it

The Cairn arbitration award demolishes almost all the arguments that the taxman has made, or can make

cairn energy

Rational Expectations: Bad laws will come back to haunt us

Just like the sedition law and that on retrospective tax, the new laws on digital media open up the possibility of abuse

As long as this law remains on the statute, as is evident from arrests made by governments headed by various political parties at the Centre and in the states, politicians will continue to abuse it.

Govt junks MTNL-BSNL merger, but what is its gameplan?

The merger was always a bad idea, but now that it has been junked, it is not clear what is in store

While MTNL is likely to become even more irrelevant – its share in the wireless market fell from 0.8% to 0.3% in the last decade – now that BSNL is to be allowed to provide cellular telephony in Delhi and Mumbai, it is not clear how BSNL is to be revived either.

Don’t control petrol prices: Free markets are an integral part of privatisation

Not allowing oil PSUs to hike petrol prices is not just a loss for them, it can derail the process of selling BPCL

The states can also lower the VAT they charge of around Rs 20 per litre, but the public narrative of high prices, like it or not, is focused around high central levies.

Rational Expectations: SC needs to look at data on reservation

Data doesn’t show universal backwardness for SC/ST/OBC as a group; so the days of blanket reservation are clearly over

Supreme Court of India

Tax raids, and not just on Tapsee Pannu, are a bad idea

In the past, tax raids add just a small fraction to the assessee’s income, and even those cases often fail

Taapsee Pannu Anurag Kashyap

Time to rethink regulators like Trai: Telecom spectrum auction fiasco not its only failure

Trai has repeatedly got it wrong, and not just on auctions, but govt continues to blindly follow its recommendations. Govt must relook its approach if the farce is to stop


BigTech vs BigState: Regulating Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and others

New laws on ‘intermediaries’ are open-ended and worrying

US capitol BigTech vs BigState

Narendra Modi’s talk of privatisation implies big reforms

Allowing a new buyer of a PSU to get rid of staff, or to shut subsidiaries, implies a whole new approach to business

The Ministry of External Affairs on Monday said the virtual summit will provide a blueprint for the future expansion and diversification of the India-Finland partnership.

Just berating babus is a waste of time

Bureaucrats may stymie what the ministers want, but the only way to fix that is to have sweeping reforms

Just berating babus is a waste of time

Rational Expectations: Risking seizure of assets is a bad idea

Govt chance of winning Vodafone/Cairn appeals poor & Cairn has already made the first move to attach India’s assets

In which case, the only hope India has of getting the ruling reversed in the review is if it can prove mala fide in the award, and that is not going to be easy.

Risking seizure of assets is a bad idea

Govt chance of winning Vodafone/Cairn appeals poor & Cairn has already made the first move to attach India’s assets

cairn energy case against india

Time to end the hypocrisy on retail

As Modi said about the private sector, appreciate what Amazon/Walmart have done & allow FDI in multi-brand retail

Perhaps it is time to extend this to the rapidly growing e-tail sector instead of, as the commerce and industry minister is threatening to do, further tighten the screws on foreign investors by issuing various ‘clarifications’ to the law.
Income Tax Calculator, Budget 2019, How to Calculate Income Tax


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