The misplaced optimism that India would pursue a path of economic growth, good governance and development after the 2009 elections has evaporated. It is now clear that we are not just heading in the opposite direction, but doing so rapidly. Politics is, once again, hurting India’s economic and aspirational future.
Just in the past couple weeks, we have seen a theatre of the absurd. The Railway Budget increased passenger fares after many years. This was actually welcomed by most people who want to see a safe and efficient Railways. Mamata Banerjee disagreed, and so we had a rollback. The Union Budget amends an Act retrospectively since – hold your breath – 1962, so it can go after corporates and taxes. The CAG draft report talks of a coal scam that is incredible in its magnitude. Growth, once projected to be at 10%, has now dropped to 6.1%.
When the country needs leadership most, we are getting a vacuum. When the country needs reforms most, we are getting more state control, more freebies and more subsidies. When the country needs forward-looking decisions, we are getting disasters of our own making.
Is this the bright future that we had anticipated?