Why he doesn’t speak out?
Silence is not good for a leader and that took a Prime Minister. Being himself an economic expert and that too as an ex-World Banker of great reputation, surely he must have his own understanding of the great issues of the day.
Economic growth slips to 7 per cent!
No, it is still below that at 6.9 per cent?
Yes, says the former chief statistician Pronob Sen. He was also former adviser to the Planning Commission.
Industrial growth has been crawling below five per cent for months now.
Prime Minister silent and not explaining things!
Surely also, the Prime Minister is a frequent traveler to the world capitals and India is counted in the world councils and perhaps the Indian Prime Minister’s counsel is sought after by other world leaders.
And yet, back at home and faced with such formidable opposition to the FDI, multi-brand, and having been forced to withdraw the same ,the Prime Minister whose coalition government doesn’t even enjoy a majority and the UPA-II is now limping from day to day.
Of course, the economic slowdown, or recession or call it by any other name, the Prime Minister even in his individual capacity as an economist, knows well is not just an Indian issue.
Economic slowdown now seems to be a global issue, with US and Euro zone in dumps, even the UK economy is at its worst(it is growing by just 0.7 %(The Economist December 3rd,2011) and yet no economic genius is in sight to speak on the big issues of the day.
China is growing fast, faster than India for sure. But then China is also caught up in its own internal troubles and is in turmoil over several issues.
It seems the world superpower tag sits uneasy now on any of the countries.
Even President Obama doesn’t have any clue as to how to revive the US economy and also has no clue to many of the critical issues like withdrawal from Iraq and also from Afghanistan.
So, the world is at a very critically uncertain stage as far as economic growth prospects are concerned.
Finance Minister alone is speaking and that too he is also seems weak in his exposition.
After all what a finance minister can speak. He can speak of the huge subsidy outgoes and the fiscal deficits.
As far as the need to stimulate growth, an economy of the size of India the Central government need too many things across a wide range of issues.
Industrial investment of a large scale is called for and India must be an attractive investment destination. Foreign direct investments is dictated by very complex forces, both economic as well as political and strategic. We need economists of great vision and great belief system and a great deal of commitment to come out in the open and talk about things.
In this context we can’t but recall the great contributions of great economists like Lord John Maynard Keynes and also such giants of thinkers and economists like Joseph Schumpeter, Fredrick von Hayek and in our own lifetime, we had had such American economists like John Galbraith and even recently we had men like Lawrence Summers.
Now, we don’t have such voices.
Yes, there are still many American economists who are also columnists and they really carry much weight and their views are sought after.
But unfortunately, only in India we have this peculiar culture of Indian economists who are really very good but who are very content to remain silent. Indian economists make good government servants! They rarely speak their minds out! They are, one supposes, good in the silence of the great conference rooms.
If we take even now there are very many economists on the government pay!
Yes, we are sorry to say so but how then we can express our disquiet, if not our disgust on the way our economy of going.
There are frequent reports that the Indian economy is fast growing, new billionaires and dillionaire emerging and at the same time there is also a great divide between the rich and the poor widening.
How to understand this phenomenon?
Someone has to explain.
But where are the great minds?
Where is Amartya Sen, Jagdish Bhagwathi and others?
What are our bureaucrat-turned politicians and advisers and experts? In various government bodies?
Why no one of stature has come out and explained why India needs a multi-brand FDI in such large scale? Will the multi-brand FDI help to lift the economic growth to the desired level?
Any economist came out and explained things? Even the much respected Yeshwant Sinha from the Opposition BJP took time off to speak at some length and explain his position. He was too partisan, as he took swipes at the government.
So too others, all party spokespersons who are left in the fray, so to say.
India needs a great deal more.
Our MPs and our Opposition parties to oust do more, they must study the issues at some depth. Even Parliamentary Studies Bureau(is there one by that name or by some other names?).Even our other independent research organisations, NGOs, like Election Watch and Legislative reforms or some such bodies must do much some in-depth studies. It may sound a bit laughable if we say that the AICC must have a research bureau to conduct such researches and issue pamphlets, as they do in the British Conservative and Labour parties.
All is not lost, we have to say now, as leaders of thought, not just as economists.
India is a big country, a big economy and also a big open society, a democracy and where periodic elections, over the last 65 years had brought India much praise. The same can’t be said of other democracies, the recent Russian Parliament elections saw widespread protests and even the arrests of Opposition leaders. A latest write-up on the two new books about the collapse of the Soviet Russia and its aftermath, indicates there is much war-like situations in Russia of today, many people are being killed there, one writer of 20 years on Russia Lawrence Scott Sheet, whose book, A 20 Year Long Journey Through the Soviet Collapse)shows the “that Russian empire could still fragment further”.
If this is the state of Russia, then what could befall China which country too is still a Communist state?
So, India’s economy, much more its economic growth prospects and also the context of such a growth prospects in an open society, in a multi-party democracy, a Parliamentary Democracy at best, there are much more chances of Indian economy winning the war against poverty, no less the global poverty, given Indians’ reach in the once Third World, as Asia and Africa are also emerging and also, if we can say so, learning much from India and its political and economic lessons of growth and equity.
There is an unspoken assumption across the entire political spectrum in India that as a dynastic democracy, our polity and economy might grow and there will be no problem with this assumption.
It is here, we insist this assumption is a fatal flaw.
The education is now creating a new middle class and a new generation also.
So, there would be much debate and much demand on the Indian political class.
We can’t carry forward this sort of large-scale corruption, corruption and criminality even in the ruling party.
The Congress party must reform itself. It should reform itself as a democratically constituted party. This is now not prevailing. So, who knows that the PM in his inner mind must have become exhausted about the whole thing.
He might have resigned himself to the existence for some more time till Rahul Gandhi is elevated. Elevated for whatever reasons and for whatever consequences.
There is no one in New Delhi who has the moral stature to talk out, plainly, the moral dilemmas facing the party and the government.
The Congress party can’t do things this way any longer.
There must be drastic reconstitution of the party, the very leadership, the CWC,AICC and the PCCs.
The Prime Minister too must be elected by some show of consensus.
So, too the next President.
As far as the economic reforms are concerned, I dare say, that the economy needs new perspectives and new directions.
Indians are now hard-working and this showed in out IT industry revolution.
Skills are needed and as far Indians are concerned Indians are as hard working as any. Of course, we read about the hard working South Korean people and Indians are also seen by outsiders, in the US and elsewhere, as hard working.
Even the internal migrations show, that the UP and Bihari migrants have showed their mettle, they are in great demand in the South and also in the North.
Over all, Indian economy is bound to grow competitively. Our FDI flow would need some incentives and this, as can be seen in the current multibrand FDI debate, Indians would realise the need for retail FDI.
Luckily, the Indian private sector has picked up steam and no one can stop this momentum.
We need soft skills, education, at all levels, even the tribal population, 70 m, needs assimilation, more schools, more skills needed.
So, Global economic slowdown, India’s and China’s relative fast growth are all knitted into a complex whole. Trade liberalisation, a more fair demand and distribution of world’s natural resources and a greater realisation of the futility of violence and wars, a more restrained consumer class in the US and elsewhere would all generate, optimistically an economic recovery.
In the meantime, India needs a robust democracy, a honest governance and an ethical political values imparting and impacting the new generation of Indians are all that we can hope for. Hope and commitment for such a political future is all that can drive for a more equitable growth of the economy and society.
N.B:visit our popular political blog:www.isvarmurti.com. This will be published as an editorial in our popular agriculture magazine, print edition, Agriculture and Industry Survey. Visit our website, the world’s largest agri portal:www.agricultureinformation.com.