Weekend reads

  1. The Centre has to work closely with states, as it does in the GST council to achieve higher growth. The massive mandate of the new government will help such coordination. “The announcement of reduction in corporate tax rates announced on Friday may help in reviving the sentiments of the private sector but the tax revenue may also decline and put pressure on fiscal deficit,” writes Mahendra Dev in Indian Express. 
  2. A Parliament Budget Office can help drive smarter, more focused debate in the media and with the electorate. “Even in a majority government, besides the few Ministers privy to expertise from the civil service, most parliamentarians do not benefit from timely access to good quality analysis on economic, fiscal or financial matters,” says Varun Srivatsan in The Hindu. 
  3. A revival of the Inter-State Council could ensure revenues are shared in a way that preserves the fiscal autonomy of states. “The council should be supported by a secretariat of experts to design programmes and lay out the principles for their allocation among the states,” opines Sudipto Mundle in Mint. 
  4. Despite their integrity, hard work and competence, Indian Administrative Service officers, who occupy almost all senior administrative positions in the states and at the Centre, have not been able to improve development outcomes for citizens, writes NC Saxena in Hindustan Times.
  5. At this point — not unlike a 1971 moment for Pakistan — if India wishes to salvage something of its own credibility as the world’s largest democracy, it should first first roll back all the restrictions imposed in J&K, free all political prisoners, restore communications and other rights of people, says Nirupama Subramanian in Indian Express. 
  6. Benjamin Netanyahu might have taken a hit in the Israeli elections. But whether or not he forms the next government, Israel’s occupation will continue — and Palestinians will have their democratic rights snuffed out, argues Seraj Assi in Jacobin. 
  7. “The dogs became ambassadors, tail-wagging proof of what’s possible through rescue and rehabilitation. In doing so, they changed how the public — and some prominent rescue organisations — view dogs freed from fighting rings.” Emily Giambalvo in Washington Post tracks down 47 dogs who were rehabilitated from a ring fighting cartel. 
  8. In this essay in Longreads, Devorah Heitner reflects on the ways she is reclaiming her relationship to her own body while grappling with the legacy of her mother’s poor body image and early death.  
  9. Canadian president Trudeau has only two modes: empathising and grovelling. Irrespective of his mystifying youthful makeup choices, neither mode has proved an effective weapon against the blandly malignant siren call of Tory rival Andrew Sheer’s populism, writes Leah Mclaren in Guardian. 
  10. The Indian American gathering in Houston for “Howdy Modi” will be an unlikely reminder of the futility of the claims of ultra-nationalism, says Varghese George in The Hindu.