Thursday, 27 January, 2022
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Modi in denial about economy is worrisome. He must first admit a problem before tackling it

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It’s a bit rich for PM Modi to say that his government has saved and stabilised the economy that was heading towards disaster under UPA rule. The PM being in denial mode about the debilitating slowdown is worrisome. Admitting there is a problem is the first step to tackling it.

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  1. The boss is tired. He needs to go on a holiday just like Scott Morrison of Australia. The situation is no different; both countries are burning even if in different ways.

  2. 4. If the exit polls from Jharkhand are accurate, that would represent a third strike, after Haryana and Maharashtra. The ruling party has zero momentum going into Delhi. So the economy is coming home to roost, electorally. Whether one is guided by national interest or party loyalty, we are on an unsustainable path. When GST dues are not paid to states on time, that is a quasi sovereign default. Four and a half years remain. Good use should be made of the time and the mandate.

  3. 2. India has to be restored to near 8% growth. That is possible in the medium term, with a new team and a reform oriented approach. There are a million edits / columns, possibly even some good books, on the subject. It is not necessary to fish out Dr Rajan from Chicago to get the job done. 3. The real constraint is ideology, not economic orthodoxy. Hindutva will only yield the Hindu rate of growth. It is creating social fissures at home, messing up our foreign policy, which EAM is too much of a gentleman to point out to the government. A progressively hard Hindutva agenda is leading us astray. See what is happening to both Kashmir and the north east, our traditional soft spots. The national protests against CAC represent a fight back, not so much by the Opposition as the Muslim community, students, civil society, citizens of good conscience.

  4. It is politically infeasible for the government / ruling party to acknowledge the severity of the economic slowdown that has enfolded India. Partly because of the aura of infallibility / invincibility that the 2014 campaign was built around and which continues to be reiterated despite the actual performance since then on all parameters. Partly because that would mean taking responsibility for such a dismal economy when there is no plausible explanation, other than its own management and decision making. Six years later, to blame UPA for the way things are is sounding hollow even to the most devout followers.

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