Coalition Poltics Hurting National Interests.

By Nikhil Dawar.

With an employment level of 9.8%, a poor human development index ranking of 134 out of 187 which is even worse than torn Iraq as well as Philippines or our very own neighbor Sri Lanka, we lack behind in everything. We own the world’s 1/3 poor people or 37% according to UNDP’s 2010  report. The report also shares that 8 Indian States have poor more than 26 poorest African Nations Combined.

After reading the above statistics  one  would  expect that the leader’s  elected  by the world’s largest democracy  would be making honest  efforts  to make things on track  and  let  hope  afloat  for the extremely  patient  1.2  billion  people. But what is currently  happening  is bound  to  hurt India  both in long  as well  as  short  run . Is politics preventing   India    from   fulfilling  it’s  vast  economical  potential ? That  running  a coalition  govt. is  not  easy has  been  made  obvious  by  the experience  of  the UPA govt. The implied  logic  for the government’s  many  capitulations is that coalitions  by their  very  nature  require   a  spirit  of  compromise a  willingness to accommodate  the  other  side  when there is an disagreement    about  some  issues   which  has  eventually  lead  to  breakdown  of  all government  action . The  question arises is that are they  justified  at the cost  of national interest?

That  a routine  rail  hike  was  justified  after  nine  long  years  even the public  at large accepts  it  but Government’s  allies  don’t ,the  minister  who  brought the rail  hike was asked  to quietly  step down . The  roll back  in  fares  which  could  have  earned  the  cash  strapped  railways   7000 crores  which would  now  restrict  it to  3000  crores.  That there is an terrorist  attack   every  quarter  and  lack  of  coordination  between  security  agencies are  always blamed  and  India’s  internal    security  has  never  been  strong  so the central Govt.   bought the much  awaited  NCTC (National  Counter  terrorism centre)   for  better  coordination  which  was  opposed  by majority  of  the  states  citing  ‘state  interference  ‘ by center . Does state  interference  stand  above the  security  of  citizens .?

Though the decisions  such as voting  against  Sri  Lanka  in the UN was a justified  one  but  even that too had  to  be motivated  by the an UPA  ally after  threatening  to  pull out of the Government . So  is the Govt. just hanging  around   making  the  very  idea  of  being  in  power  redundant ? Isn’t  it  defying the  million  of  Indians  who  wish a  sparkling  future ?

The  country  which  once  pentagon  predicted  to  be a superpower in waiting and a democratic  counterweight  to  china is  struggling  with  a  fiscal Deficit  at about 5.9%  of  it’s  GDP.  From  telecom  to aviation(Air India the national carrier  has debt of over Rs 43000 crore (Rs 430 billion)     even   the power  sector  sees  a  difficult  time  ahead.   Growth  slowed  to 6.1 %  and it’s   difficult    it  will even  touch 7%. No wonder  business  is in a sulk and investment is  falling.Even the high savings  rate which once the Finance  Minister  flaunted  have  fallen from 36% to 33%.A slow growth  rate  would  make  public  debt  harder  to  bear  and less  of  foreign  capital that India  needs  to  fund it’s  current Account  deficit  and pay  for  imported  fuel ,and  whereas for a rich  country  failing  to  fulfill it’s  potential is a disappointment  for  India  so  full of  poor  people  & so badly  in need  of  jobs  it  is  a tragedy.
If  we  take  a look at Government’s  flagship  welfare  schemes  probably  the  biggest  of  them would  be MNREGA(Mahatama Gandhi  Rural  employment  Guarantee  Act  )  for  which  the  Government  pumps  in  close  to about  40,000 crores(US $7.98 billion) . The scheme provides a legal guarantee for one hundred days of employment in every financial year to adult members of any rural household willing to do public work-related unskilled manual work,the scheme has been attacked for many reasons – bloating rural wages, corruption, lack of asset creation for money spent, and making farming uneconomic — the real problem is that the scheme may be destroying the work ethic – and jobs in general.
Disappointing industrial  investment,high  inflation  rates  and interest    rates  ,excessive  public  borrowing  that  crowds  out  the  private  sector  and  investors  who have lost  faith  that  India’s  political honchos   can bring  the  required  economic  reforms  , growth of  6% is not  bad  but  given  how  big  and  poor India is it  may  prove  costly. Less investment  would  reduce  capacity  to  grow later. A lower  growth  trajectory  means  many  millions  struck  in  poverty  for  years longer  than  otherwise  .The  census shows  half  of  Indians  have no choice but  to  defecate in the open and  two thirds  still cook on open  fires. To make it even  worse  India’s  economy  failed  to  create  jobs .Low  paying casual  jobs  are  all that are  available  for four  fifths  of  urban  workers.
Has the  time  come  for the people  and the  governments  top  guns  to think seriously and  rise  above  coalition differences  for a better  India ? For  now  then it is up to the existing  lot  to  get  India  back  on track. One  motivation  could  be fear  . A slower growing  India  will be  more  financially  vulnerable  ,poorer  , full of  frustrated  young  people and taken  less seriously  by the rest  of the world .India’s  political  class   will not  enjoy  the consequences  .India is a place  that has  fallen out of love with  reforms  and it need them back . We  all need India to get the magic  back.


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