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.