2016 - The year that taught us much

Another year, another set of learnings. 2016 prepared us for 2017.

A comprehensive & useful resource for major events of 2016

 The year that taught us much

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Like all years, we started 2016 with so much hope and happiness. We worked hard to fulfill our aspirations. We succeeded, and sometimes we failed. But we surely learnt our lessons. Here we present a useful listing of lessons from 2016 under these heads - Politics (India / World / Regional), Economy (India / World), All Others and Positive Developments. Read, learn, grow!

Politics 2016

(click to read headings)

  • [accordion]
    • India – strong polarization in many states between BJP and local parties
      • Regional parties kept objecting to central projects with branding of the PM, claiming that in a federal setup like India’s (quasi-federal actually), it is neither desirable nor proper. The Prime Minister responded by ever more aggressive launch of newer schemes and ideas!

        Read more?
          [##fa-leaf##  Trends in Indian politics]
    • India – the 2015 debate over tolerance and intolerance
      • The liberal versus right-wing debate assumed great significance in 2015 but fizzled out in 2016. But both lobbies are strong, and the new forces are redefining the contours of power and influence, inviting a huge backlash. The BJP is unrelenting in its push to uproot the carefully nurtured “liberal” lobbies.

        Read more?
          [##fa-leaf##  Many shades of Secularism]
    • India – the Demonetisation move by PM Modi - unexpected and disruptive!
    • India – crucial state elections make things trickier for everyone
    • World politics – taking a turn to the Right
      • Worldwide, it was clearly felt that large sections of populations were up against the liberal order. Major events like Brexit, Europe’s anti-immigrant feelings, Trump’s victory and Italian referendum all point in that direction. Terror attacks in Europe further forced a cautious retreat of the liberals.

        Read more?
          [##fa-leaf##  Tectonic shifts in world politics]
    • World politics – An even sharper turn in the US
    • Regional – China and Pakistan in unison against India
      • It became clearer with each passing month that despite all efforts, the China-Pak unison against India will neither be diluted, nor modified. China protected Pakistan’s interest on all fora, including the BRICS meet, UN and NSG. India decided to up the ante, by naming more colleagues of Hafiz Saeed, to make it tough for the Chinese to play the game for long.

        Read more?
          [##fa-leaf##  India's defence preparedness]
    • Regional – Russia drawing closer to China
      • Chinese demand for raw materials and Russian need for revenues brought both the giants together. China in turn started leveraging the new found friendship against Indian interests, by bringing Russia a step closer to Pakistan. India reacted by reminding Russia of old friendship, and doling out huge defence contracts.

        Read more?
          [##fa-leaf##  Globalisation and world economy]
    • Regional – India building bridges with S.Asian & others
      • In order to create strong strategic footprints, India kept working on building new and stronger relations with many nations in South Asia, Indian Ocean Region, and Japan. Chinese responded by huge financial aid and military hardware sale to nations like Bangladesh. The game grows deadlier with every passing year.

        Read more?
          [##fa-leaf##  SAARC crushed by terrorism]
    • Regional – OBOR-CPEC, South China sea
      • China keeps pumping funds into projects designed to give it an Asian edge through the ultra-ambitious One Belt One Road project (brainchild of Xi Jinping) and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor passing through PoK. China’s claims over South China sea were rejected by an international tribunal, forcing China to harden its stand in the region by military hardware deployment. India drew closer to Vietnam and others in the region.

        Read more?
          [##fa-leaf##  Modi govt's half-time]

[Read this Bodhi in Hindi, here]

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Economy 2016

(click to read headings)

  • [accordion]
    • India – Unexpected monetary system transformation by Executive
    • India – Economy still struggling with investment momentum
      • The private sector investment quantum remained muted throughout the year. Public spending was not found wanting, but was not enough to pump-prime all sectors of our economy. The outlook 2017 remains mixed. Though India retained the “Fastest growing economy” tag by overtaking China, amid a failing global economy. India's GDP grew 7.5 % yoy between January and March, faster than the previous quarter's 7.3 %. It grew by 7.6% in June, and later by 7.1%. Demonetisation has brought some serious worries.

        Read more?
          [##fa-leaf##  Indian economy's outlook]
    • India – Biggest tax reform still in the works
      • The GST regime is to be rolled out, either by April or latest by July-August 2017. Demonetisation has thrown a spanner in the works, with some states not coming on board on the most crucial pending issues like dual control over taxpayers etc. Meanwhile, the rupee continues to plunge amid huge capital outflows from India (due to a strengthening dollar & capital flows into US after Fed rate hikes).

        Read more?
          [##fa-leaf##  GST in India]
    • India – Corporates unsure of 2017 and finer aspects of GST, but playing along
      • The corporate sector needs time to prepare itself for the GST regime by reengineering its internal processes and system. However, in case GST is rolled out in April 2017 itself, the corporate sector struggling with demand slump post-demonetisation may find the going very tough. And to top it all, India started witnessing an absolutely unexpected, and the biggest corporate battle so far when the Tatas and the Mistry camp entered into a no-holds barred fight.

        Read more?
          [##fa-leaf##  Tata Mistry battle!]
    • India – Cashless, Less Cash, No Cash
      • The strange and unexpected fallout of demonetization was a few big winners (PayTM and others), some government re-defining (less cash) and a lot of misery for large sections of population (no cash). Sensing the public’s inconvenience and internet-issues, on 30 Dec, the PM launched the BHIM app (BHarat Interface for Money) which promises to be the friendliest way of online payments through Aadhaar, enabled by NPCI and UPI.

        Read more?
          [##fa-leaf##  Demonetisation Bodhi 1]  [##fa-leaf##  Demonetisation Bodhi 2]
    • India – RBI in the news all the way – attack on NPAs, Rexit, MPC, Demonetisation
      • First, it was Raghuram Rajan who led a battle against the crony capitalism which had bled Indian banking system to near-death through Non-Performing Assets (NPAs). His friction with the top political executive over many issues was apparent, and he departed without a second term (called Rexit by some). Secondly, the Government constituted a broad-based Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of 6 members (3 from the government) to broadbase the process of rate setting. And finally, the new Governor Urjit Patel found himself in a rather tough spot when the entire weight of expectations from demonetization – and subsequent remonetisation – fell on his shoulders. So far, he has earned only criticism for his relative silence. He has reiterated the March 2017 deadline for NPA clean-up in PSU banks.

        Read more?
          [##fa-leaf##  Judiciary Executive tussle]
    • India – Attack of the Amazons!
      • While India continues to add internet users at a blistering pace, we seem to be handing over rich markets of the future to the Americans and Chinese on a platter, with huge investments coming in from companies like Amazon, Uber, Alibaba and others either directly or through invested companies (startups). Locals like Flipkart and Ola cried wolf and demanded government protection. Liberals cried wolf and castigated the call for protection.

        Read more?
          [##fa-leaf##  Digital Independence for India?]
    • India – Budget 2017 a big hope
      • Indians - citizens, corporates and everyone - are expecting a lot from the coming Budget after experiencing a tough time in the demonetization frenzy. It is unclear if the government will bring major tax reforms, or will tinker superficially. The economy may need a major push now, given the slowdown visible in many cash-dependent sectors. Breaking with the colonial tradition, the Union Budget is to be presented on 01 Feb, instead of Feb end. Millions who were expecting big-ticket announcements on 31st Dec evening from the PM, were pretty disappointed!

        Read more?
          [##fa-leaf##  GST - the biggest tax reform]
    • World – Trade growth tardy, WTO unsure
      • What was earlier expected to be an year of recovery for the world economy ended up being not quite so. The trade growth in the world (exports, imports, volumes) remained lackluster, and the Chinese struggled with more fiscal stimulus to local companies to avoid social unrest.

        Read more?
          [##fa-leaf##  World economy and globalisation]
    • World – Collapse of the Trans Pacific Partnership
      • Obama had crafted a strong vision of a non-China (and non-India) Trans Pacific Partnership of major economies. The Trump camp has denounced and rejected the trade grouping, calling it an attack on local American jobs. TPP has collapsed, and the 11 nations that joined it have no clue what to do next with it. China stands to gain.

        Read more?
          [##fa-leaf##  Tectonic shifts in world politics]

Defence, Military, Terrorism 2016

(click to read headings)

  • [accordion]
    • Terrorism – Pathankot Airforce Base attack, India
      • Terrorists reportedly from the Jaish-e-Mohammad group attacked the base on January 02, 2016. Some security-men were martyred before being neutralized. It brought to an abrupt end the bonhomie created by the energetic and unconventional diplomatic approach taken by PM Narendra Modi with Pakistan earlier (Modi-Sharif had met in London just a few days ago). The chill has persisted and put paid to all hopes of a rapprochement (harmony) between the two neighbours.

        Read more?
          [##fa-leaf##  Terrorism and its tentacles]
    • Terrorism – Indian military kills Burhan Wani
      • After the poster-boy for Pak Hizbul Mujahideen Burhan Wani was killed in military action on July 08, 2016, many disgruntled citizens thronged his funeral procession. To add fuel to fire, Pak PM Sharif announced July 19 as ‘black day’ to express ‘solidarity’ with Kashmiris. At the same time, massive protests continued inside “Azad Kashmir” against Pak military’s tactics, and in Gilgit-Baltistan against forced acquisition of lands by the Chinese-Pakistanis for CPEC!
    • Terrorism – Uri Base attack
      • Terrorists attacked the Army base at Uri near the LOC on September 18, 2016, and 17 Indian soldiers were martyred. This sealed the fate of the upcoming SAARC summit, and set the stage for increased hostility between the two neighbours.
    • Military – Surgical strikes against Pak terror camps
      • On Sept 28/29, 2016, Indian military carried out an across-the-border attack on terror camps located beyond the Line of Control (LoC) and inside “Azad Kashmir” to inflict heavy casualties. Pakistan rejected all claims, and opposition parties in India criticized the government for trying to gain political advantage out of the strikes. Congress claimed such strikes took place during its reign also.

        Read more?
          [##fa-leaf##  Terrorism and its tentacles]
    • Terrorism – SAARC feels the heat of terrorism
      • The existence of SAARC came under a cloud after India boycotted the scheduled November SAARC summit (Islamabad), and many other members pulled out too. India later brought BIMSTEC to the fore in the BRICS summit at Goa (15-16 October 2016), and suggested a non-Pakistan regional grouping.

        Read more?
          [##fa-leaf##  SAARC feels the heat of terrorism]
    • Defence – US announces India is a Major Defence Partner
      • The outgoing Obama administration brought the hard work and Modi-Obama harmony to near fruition in December 2016 by getting the Congress pass the legislation declaring India as the MDP, and making it tough for new administration to reverse any gains. Aid to Pakistan is also made conditional now.
    • Defence – India successfully tests Agni V missile
    • Terrorism – Europe feels the heat
      • Terror attacks continued in Europe fanning the fire of right-wing backlash against liberal order led by leaders like Angela Merkel of Germany. The latest truck attack in Berlin Germany (19 Dec) claimed 12 lives. A similar attack in Nice, France on 14 July claimed 86 lives. The 22 March attack at Brussels in Belgium claimed 35 lives. Minor attacks happened with a depressing frequency.
    • Defence – Indian Ocean is India’s
      • As the Chinese encirclement of Indian strategic presence continued to grow across south Asia, India significantly increased its presence across the Indian Ocean Region, building bridges with nations and increasing its naval presence.

The Positives 2016

(click to read headings)

  • [accordion]
    • Cleanliness Drive!
    • Political agreement over a Common Market
      • All parties supported the creation of a national market for goods and services in India, be lending support to GST legislation, and the GST Council.
    • Energetic Foreign Policy 
    • Indian startups in limelight
      • Many Indian startups joined the Unicorn club (companies with $ 1 billion or more in valuation), bringing weight to Indian entrepreneurship story
    • India remains net-neutral
      • The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) blocked attempts by corporations (including Facebook – Free Basics) to charge differentially for services over the net.
    • Make in India, Tesla
      • Elon Musk of Tesla Inc., US, wanted to open a Gigafactory in India to make lithium ion batteries required for electric cars.
    • Positive foreign policy, domestically
      • Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj continued to help citizens through Twitter, in most imaginative ways.
    • ISRO repeated its success, successfully
    • Women earned some more freedom
      • The Supreme Court ruled in favour of women’s entry into temples. Sabrimala temple in Kerala had traditionally banned women between 10 to 50 years from entry, due to menstruation taboos.
    • India’s internet users second largest
      • After China, it’s India in terms of number of internet users. The future markets belong to Asia, for sure!

Wishing you a splendid 2017 - here are two gifts for you!

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Bodhi Uphaar 2

Entire December current affairs compendium - from Bodhi News - [Download PDF now!]

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Bodhi Booster: 2016 - The year that taught us much
2016 - The year that taught us much
Another year, another set of learnings. 2016 prepared us for 2017.
Bodhi Booster
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