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Economics/Cabinet Ministers Portfolios.


Dear Prof Dr Raza

We all know how important every cabinet minister plays a important role for the development of the nation.

But still, I would like to get more inputs from your end regarding can u list me top 5 portfolios which could be the most important
for the economic reforms and nation progress ?.

Portfolios i mean are Finance, Home, Defense, Commerce, Science and Technology etc

Awaiting your reply,

Thanks & Regards,
Prashant S Akerkar

Hi Prashant,

Thank you for asking for inputs from my end on a topic that, unlike economics which is also an inexact science, hinges more on normative analysis than positive statements.

I have little knowledge of political science. However, with my grounding in political science at undergraduate level and exposure to a course on political choice given by a Yale-educated professor in Canada, I overcome my diffidence and believe I may offer my layman opinion on the points you trust to take from me.

I would rather lean to the view that the following portfolios play an inevitably strong inter-ministry role that may be propitious to the development of a nation from the angle of economic reforms and overall progress. This, especially as economics is inextricably intertwined with political science in matters of policy issues, applies as much to developed nations as to developing nations. To be sure, developing nations being in dire need for economic progress and overall development, this applies even more strongly to developing nations such as India.

1.   Finance
2.   Science and Technology
3.   Home
4.   Foreign
5.   Tourism and Cultural Affairs

By this I mean the ministry entrusted with fiscal policy and, in collaboration with the central bank, with monetary policy plus other policies impinging on trade and commerce.

This is the base on which the wheels of economic progress roll. The policies conceived and implanted go to lubricate the wheels of progress. First, fiscal policy is of utmost importance to fuel the engine of economic progress. Government expenditure, through a multiplier effect, generates employment and raises production. All the same, taxes and subsidies work in tandem to rein in excessive concentration of wealth among few and encourage capital formation for those struggling with resources. Secondly, monetary policy, by right controlling price level and interest rates, builds confidence in firms as well in households towards investment and development. The ministry’s adherence to, and implementation of, wage legislation, price ceilings and price floors, etc., go to keep the wheels of progress in alignment.

When the ministry of finance goes out of whack, the engine of progress and economic development goes out of tune. Hence, the ministry of finance stands out as of paramount importance for development of a nation.

Scientific development is necessary to harness the power of essential resources that are to be used for production of goods and services over a period of time and technology is to be taken up and adapted with a view to getting the most out of transformation of the available resources into goods and services. Put in other words, science and technology must work as catalyst in running of the economic engines. Technically speaking, science and technology not only defines the shape of the nation’s production-possibility curve but also determines both the curvature of and the shifts in the production-possibility curve.

Technology –or, the use of resources in particular combination of the factors of production –need be chosen properly is the wheels of economic development must move at good speed and not chug along. For example labor power is of prime importance in India’s garment industry as well as in its tea industry, while land, especially the rolling land with favorable precipitations such as in Darjeeling, is of next importance in the tea industry, though not in the garment industry. Relatively less capital is needed in both compared with the automobile industry. This applies to all other industries. With improper choice of technology, with the same resource utilization, production would fall far behind. The proper choice for the proper industry can only be maintained by well-thought-out and well-coordinated plans in an overall inter-industry matrix by the hands of the ministry of science and technology.

Home ministry in fact must work as the linchpin for the wheels of economic engine. Everything will go haywire if proper law and order is not maintained. Business will face closure due to hooliganism and extortion. On the contrary, monopoly will sprout in some industry to the disadvantage of consumers and also detrimental to efficient level of production in certain industries, though monopoly in some industries may be all to the good. Corruption may up the ante on costs and stymie progress. Malpractice, such as in medical profession as is evidenced in some cases in India, may seriously take a toll. That, in turn, would entail needless escalation of costs and retardation of progress. Without the proper surveillance of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the good work carried out by Finance Ministry and the Ministry of Science and Technology may be nullified to a very great extent.

Foreign Ministry comes next in importance. In today’s globalized world no nation can exist as an island unto itself. In the case of India, which is a large country in a democratic setup, the importance in economic development and overall progress comes a fortiori. We all know that international trade offers advantages even if a country has absolute disadvantages in production of all commodities, because there are “comparative advantages” which yield great fruits. Exports and imports are so much of importance. Also, India can reap benefits of export-led growth through many of its products, such as garments, jute, foodstuffs, etc. On the other hand, there is also need for imports not only for consumption but also for aiding production. All these come under the purview of Foreign Ministry.

This ministry also plays a big role. Tourism not only yields good revenues (such as more than 30 times a foreigner pays relative to a native Indian for visiting Taj Mahal, and it has an inelastic demand, mind it) but also introduces to the world the products of the country. Culture is also important. Tea is good beverage in Indian culture, such as also in Australia, but coffee is the beverage in North American culture. The Ministry of Cultural Affairs introduces products to foreigners, such as you can see in Mumbai.

All these ministries must work in unison. It may be mentioned in passing that other ministries may also come to the fore whenever necessary. For example, the Ministry of Defense is of no less importance when terrorism may threaten to pull the plug on economic progress and overall development.
I hope, Prashant, this view of mine may add to the inputs you wish from my end.


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Eklimur Raza


It appears some students in this website are confused about elasticity of demand and the slope of the demand curve when they are trying to figure out why rectangular hyperbola comes up in case of unitary demand curve. First, they don't know that RH can be depicted in a positive quadrant of price,quantity plane. Secondly, they make the mistake that the slope of RH is constant at -1. Two points could help them: first, e=1 at each and every point of the RH, because the tangent at any point shows lower segment=upper segment (another geometric definition of e); yet slopes at different points,dQ/dP, are different; second, e is not slope but [(Slope)(P/Q)]in absolute terms. Caveat: only if we measure (log P) along the horizontal axis and (log Q) up the vertical axis, can we then say slope equals elasticity --in which case RH on P,Q plane is transformed into a straight-line demand curve [with slope= -tan 45 deg] on (log Q),(logP) plane, and e= -d(log Q)/d(log P). [By the way, logs are not used in college textbooks --although that is helpful in econometric estimation of elasticity viewed as an exponent of P, when demand equation is transformed into log-linear form.] I have not found the geometrical explanation I have given in any textbook followed in undergraduate and college classes in Canada (including the book followed in a university where I taught for a short time and in the book followed in George Brown College, Toronto, where I teach.


About 11 years' teaching economics and business studies, and also English, history and elementary French.Practical experience in a development bank, working with international donor agencies like the World Bank and the ADB. Experience in free-lance journalism, including Canada's "National Post."

I teach micro- and macroeconomics at George Brown College (continuing education), Toronto, ON, Canada.

Many articles and editorials, on different subjects, in English newspapers. Recently an applied Major Research Paper, based on a synthesis of the Solow growth model and the Lewis two-sector model, has be accepted by Ryerson University, Toronto. Professors Thomas Barbiero and Eric Cam, Ryerson University, accepted the paper.

Master degree in Interantional Economics and Finance and diploma with honours in Business Administration from Canada.

Awards and Honors
Received First Prize in an inter-university Literary Contest.

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