Last Updated : 04 October 2012 at 23:00 IST
India reforms: Undoing the past or helping people forget the past?
Source :Commodity Online Editorial Desk
Author :Rakesh Neelakandan
I think this is the best time to usher in a set of reforms. Then you may ask whether the topic is relevant unless and until the merits and demerits of reforms have been completely been done with. Even as I expect the debates on merits and demerits to continue for another eternity, I do have an answer.
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After an eternity of inaction, scams and what not, the India government has ushered in a set of reforms. While the country has started debating the merits and demerits of the reforms, I will focus on the timing of reforms.
I think this is the best time to usher in a set of reforms. Then you may ask whether the topic is relevant unless and until the merits and demerits of reforms have been completely been done with.
Even as I expect the debates on merits and demerits to continue for another eternity, I do have an answer.
Here it is: India is a democracy, and don’t tell me that it is a cliche. We have earned that by the sweat of our brows. And the government is no fool. I have a different sense when I say that.
In roughly one and half years they have to face people and plead for votes and they will not dare to do something that may seriously undermine their own vote-worthiness. If this litmus test is something to go by, then I would say that the reforms, whether they are good or bad, may at least not harm the layman. The aam aadmi is not going to suffer due to reforms as the UPA II knows it too well that estranging the aama aadmi is the worst thing that they could do.
Now about the timing of reforms:
Look at the world. The developed world is stagnant. Emerging markets are slowing down, Asia is slowing down, and the world is lost between prospects of a greater depression and greater recession, not knowing what to do and what to choose.
At that time, if you get to do some or the other form of reforms, don’t you think that the world would sit up and take notice of it?
When darkness engulfs the mankind, island of lights would stand out. India currently is the island of light, if not for us, then at least for those who look it from outside. Reforms are happening, though we may not know yet as where these initiatives would take us. Investors get to don a feel good factor as FIIs would start to focus more on India. Equities would rev up and commodities would hoist the colours.
In some time we would slip into a kind of surreal euphoria and may think of ourselves as living in some form of utopia. Even one may feel India is shining and shining bright!
You may even see some colorful campaigns across the media. And then: some déjà vu.
And you soon realize that diesel, petrol prices are high, that inflation is climbing, onions are making you cry, and yes, life is getting miserable.
The question is if one and half years is enough time to get people forget the past or undo the past? If the reforms turn out to be good, if it has a heartfelt backing, then the UPA II would be successful in undoing its past, if not, then it would just provide a short-lived feel good factor for people as mentioned above.
After all, you make your future. And you mar it!
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