State of the Nation – Part 2

I, like many others, believe that our economic policies are flawed. It is quite amazing how much damage these policies can do. For example, as Niranjan Rajadhyaksha explained in an article in Mint recently, NREGA has put Indian on an inflation treadmill. And the coming Food Security Bill is going to make the situation even worse. No one in the government seems to have an idea about what to do with inflation other than keep raising interest rates.

This situation is not new. We have been singularly unfortunate in our choice of leadership and the resulting economic policies since Independence. With most governments focused on extraction and exploitation of the economy and an electoral system which needs votes, it becomes quite clear that the maximum votes are with the poor. So, policies have generally been directed on short-term measures to give the poor some handouts so they vote and stay poor.

Talk to people in the know and they will tell you about the tens of thousands of crores amassed by our top politicians. Not surprisingly, that greed is insatiable. Politics intersects with many sectors of the economy given the deep government controls that still exist – and each control is an opportunity to extract rent and loot the economy.

For the most part, Middle India has not bothered. It doesn’t vote in large numbers, and it helps quite helpless in doing anything. And so, it is business as usual for those in the power ecosystem.

Continued tomorrow.