India badly needs a move to Right of Centre in its economic policies, because it will usher in double digit growth, which alone can eliminate the grinding poverty faced by a third of the population.
Juxtaposed with the windfall benefits of what one BJP stalwart called ‘judicial activism’, things may just be looking up for this Government’s legislative agenda.
Welfarism, particularly when carried to excess and extremes, prevents us from building a robust economy that works to banish poverty once and for all. Entitlements and welfare measures may seem fair and welcome, but they are not productive.
Youth loans, R&D, clean energy, incentives for the local electronics industry, the laundry list is long and deep, but it has to said: This is a comprehensive Growth Budget.
Suresh Prabhu, with his emphasis on better management practices, faster decision-making, greater accountability is on his way to changing perceptions of Indian Railways.
This is not the time for either / or choices for Modi and his Government in the presentation of the Union Budget 2015. The politically correct stance now has, no doubt, been revised to both; and then some.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu wants to finance at least the start-ups from domestic resources. He has been publicly pleading with the Ministry of Finance (MoF) to let him access the over Rs. 6 lakh crore in public pension funds. But will the MoF agree?
The Government or private sector in India does not have the amount of money required for the scale of increase that is envisaged.
Big-bang reform therefore, must be the overwhelming flavour of Budgets 2015. It must be a landmark set of announcements, ushering in stage-two of India’s rapid development. It must be seen to be fulfilling Modi’s promises to the people of India, while also redeeming the pledges he has made to the Indian diaspora, and the international community at large.
Black Money draws the ire of Civil Society here because it is a compendium of many instances of ill-gotten gain through bribery and corruption, combined with blatant tax evasion.
It also presents a stark choice between two very different approaches. The Congress/AAP though ostensibly competing for the same prize here, are sisters under the skin. They both want to seize this electoral opportunity to return to the old socialist formula of welfarism, subsidies and populist freebies.
Market analysts still expect at least 100bps cut in the ‘repo rate’ through 2015, with some foreign analysts thinking it could be as much as 150 bps. Others still think it will be 200bps, but spread over till the end of 2016. This would represent a lowering of the policy rate to 6 per cent by then.