Modi’s India! – Hard Talk…
By : Hussein Shobokshi
Narendra Modi was recently elected as India’s next prime minister in a landslide victory for his party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), against the ruling Congress Party. He won this particular election on the great promise to make India’s ailing economy work and succeed. The poor performance of previous government is at the core of India’s disappointments and failure.
India is, without doubt, a very tough place to govern. Most of the power and the authority is given to the states, which basically translates into a series of deal making between the central government in Delhi and each state which adheres to some very peculiar set conditions based on regional issues and priorities, as well as caste-based political policies. At the same time while not ignoring the heavy weight of India’s complex mix of its colonial and socialist past leading to a legendary bureaucracy that basically seems impossible to change.
The numbers in India’s case are very telling and they do tell an alarming story. A story of what could have been. The story of a failed promised based on a great dream. India’s GDP per each citizen was identical to that of China 30 years ago. Today the story is drastically different unfortunately. It is simply and shockingly less than 25 percent of that size.
Modi has a very comfortable outright majority which should, in theory, technically give him the required margin to achieve the mandate he needs for drastic reforms to implement.
Modi comes with a solid reputation as professional governor and a pro-business mind. It is extremely important to note that while he heads a controversial extremists party with core supporters coming from extremist religious nationalist indulged in the symbolic past of the Hindus, he did manage to win big the many votes of young, educated and urban population; this group made him win the election.
The Indian economy is fragile and weak and it needs Important and desperate measures immediately. Modi will target and attempt to liberalize land laws, which should free the prices and create better supply and demand conditions.
The same is true with labor laws, which are very rigid and not economic friendly and belong to a socialist past. He needs to extend the right message to his neighbors in China and Pakistan so India can focus on reviving its critical economy.
He is required to curb the anti-Muslim tone of his party which has a very turbulent and negative past with India’s Muslim population. India’s infrastructure needs desperate investment, to pick up the economy every Indian businessman knows that this is exactly the Achilles heel of India’s economy today.
He does face many risks but the potential of India’s economic boom is something the whole world would like to see happen as its ripple effects will be felt all over.