Election season is here and many states are headed to the polls. If the Congress manifesto for Punjab is any indication, the political parties are ready to promise the voters the moon. Where the money for the populist measures will come from is not an issue.
Once upon a time, towards the end of the 18th Century, there was a king of France called Louis the XVI. His economic mismanagement resulted in the French Revolution which resulted in his overthrow and execution. His queen, Marie Antoinette was also executed. The queen was so removed from reality that when her maid told her that the people did not have bread to eat. She replied, "If there is no bread, give them cakes."
The last date for depositing demonetized notes has come and gone. The queues at the ATMs have started vanishing in some places. I came across a Vijaya Bank ATM in Chennai disbursing cash with just three in the line. Markets appear to be functioning at near normal levels of activity. All forms of media are reporting and debating the issue. The jury on deciding whether it is a success or failure is still out. I do not expect a reasoned verdict to be out for many months.
Article 370 of the Indian Constitution guarantees special autonomous status to J&K. It is a 'temporary provision' and comes under Part XXI of the Constitution of India, which deals with "Temporary, Transitional and Special provisions". However, in 2015, the J&K High Court has ruled that the provision is permanent.