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Narendra Modi was elected Indian prime minister in 2014 on an ambitious programme of promises to reform the world’s largest democracy and boost growth. Since then there have been a number of eye-catching initiatives, including his sweeping demonetisation programme and the introduction of a nationwide goods and sales tax.

Has it made a decisive difference to the country’s economic trajectory? Not yet, says Martin Wolf. But that does not mean it won’t. It his column this week Martin writes that the reforms Modi has introduced “might make a more noticeable difference in the years ahead.”

A crucial issue will be the rate of investment. After peaking at 40 per cent of gross domestic product in 2011, it has since slipped to 30 per cent. Reversing that slowdown will not be easy. The government will need to press on with structural reforms. It faces other challenges in the backlash against globalisation, climate change and the shortfalls in education. However, Martin says, on balance the potential for policy and institutional improvement should create confidence that rapid growth will continue.

Historical burdens: Poland’s president has now signed a controversial law that makes it illegal to suggest the country had any complicity in Nazi war crimes. Jan Gross says this is an attempt to falsify history. The historian argues that for a country already clashing with the EU over the “destruction of judicial independence” by the ruling Law and Justice party, the new law is also a foreign policy disaster.

Managed by data: Artificial intelligence presents new opportunities to manage by numbers, writes Sarah O’Connor. From performance management in call centres to recruitment in investment banks, the possibilities for being bossed around by algorithms are wide-ranging. Sarah says that companies are not wrong to explore these, but that they should not overlook the value of the human touch.

Deeds, not words: A hundred years ago British women (or at least some of them) won the right to vote. On Tuesday Theresa May celebrated their heroic achievement in a speech that called out the high levels of abuse online aimed at women. Pilita Clark says the UK prime minister chose the right topic, but failed to offer a credible remedy. Unlike the suffragettes, she opted for words not deeds.

Best of the rest

Has Trumphoria finally hit a wall? — Paul Krugman in The New York Times

Why I don’t think the suffragettes should receive a pardon — Caroline Criado-Perez in The New Statesman

The wrongness of “the right side of history” — Darran Anderson in Prospect

The elderly in India deserve the right to live with dignity — S Irudaya Rajan in The Hindustan Times

I miss the NHS every day. Trump is wrong to demonise British Healthcare — Arwa Mahdawi in The Guardian

What you’ve been saying

‘Protect our valuable NHS data from Big Tech’— letter from Lord Mitchell in response to ‘DeepMind and London hospital focus AI on spotting eye diseases from scans’

Google’s DeepMind is to be congratulated for the groundbreaking work it has initiated in the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning, to develop algorithms to predict critical medical conditions. It is a world leader, based in London, and we should take pride in its pioneering achievements. There is however a price to pay. Because the National Health Service has been in existence since 1948, it possesses tens of millions of patients’ lifetime records: no other country comes close to owning such a treasure trove of longitudinal data.

Experts have told me that access to these data assets could be worth tens of billions of pounds to Big Tech companies — sufficient at the very least to plug the hole in the NHS budget. The tech companies are highly skilled negotiators and can afford the most talented lawyers and advisers — experience and instinct tell me that it is an unequal contest. We would do well to remember that the data are ours and that their value belongs to our NHS: we cannot afford to let it slip through our fingers on the cheap.

Comment by jaded on ‘Algorithms at work signal a shift to management by numbers’

Algorithms may not be perfect but they don’t stop improving because information, including feedback, is stored. They don’t have a personal agenda or innate biases. Algorithms are fed and trained with data that should be objective. But they are just optimising tools and can’t decide the benefit/cost function that they target. The real problem (that can’t be fixed even with algorithms’ constant self-improvement) is the choice of this function. If it doesn’t factor in clients’ and employees’ satisfaction it will be ultimately be detrimental to employees and customers alike.

‘Hydroponics is the next wave in food production’— letter from Prof John A Mathews in response to ‘Urban farmers struggle to reap mass-market benefits’

Jonathan Margolis sets the bar for agriculture’s next revolution too low. The next wave of food production, including the Gotham Greens and Sundrop Farms cases he mentions, will not be based on Schumacher’s “small is beautiful”. Rather, the new wave will be based on green platforms, with IT enhancement, big data and artificial intelligence — rather like industrial versions of the “floating gardens” found in countries such as Myanmar. Hundreds of these “plant factories” have now been established in Japan, in Taiwan and increasingly in China; they are needed to feed a huge and growing urban population and are utilising controlled environment growing methods to do so, with technologies such as hydroponics. Capital is slow to join this next green shift and farming revolution.

Today’s opinion

FT View: The EU seeks to regain influence in the Balkans
Brussels must set tough conditions but offer a chance of accession

FT View: Remove the taint of cronyism in South Korea
Samsung scion tests Seoul’s commitment to anti-corruption drive

Instant Insight: East Coast rail franchise woes set the UK a tough choice
Companies must not profiteer, but privatisation depends on reasonable margins

Free Lunch: Keep calm and carry on
At least that is what the real economy is set to do

Poland’s death camp law is designed to falsify history
The rule barring debate of the country’s role in the Holocaust is a policy disaster

Opinion today: The war for digital data
In order to nudge the data economy in a different direction, a number of things have to happen

The Big Read: Korean reconciliation: Moon Jae-in’s Olympic gamble on unity
Seoul’s push for a thaw with Pyongyang has angered young people and threatens a rift with the US

Algorithms at work signal a shift to management by numbers
In the quest for more efficiency, companies should be wary of losing the human touch

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FT View

FT View: The EU seeks to regain influence in the Balkans
Brussels must set tough conditions but offer a chance of accession

FT View: Remove the taint of cronyism in South Korea
Samsung scion tests Seoul’s commitment to anti-corruption drive

The Big Read

The Big Read: Korean reconciliation: Moon Jae-in’s Olympic gamble on unity
Seoul’s push for a thaw with Pyongyang has angered young people and threatens a rift with the US

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