Is the government serious about reforms?
12/5/2011 2:41 PM Monday
In my last edit, I had raised concerns on reforms not being undertaken by the government and the impact of this on the economy and the stock market. Then, out of the blue, the government sprang up a surprise by introducing FDI in retail, which we have been saying is very unpopular with the aam aadmi. This is probably why we thought that the government will not push the bill till the UP Assembly elections are over. But the UPA-II government seems to have developed a fancy for controversies, and this bill approved by the Cabinet resulted in more protests, not only from the opposition parties, but also from the government’s own allies and party members. Common sense suggests that this bill was bound to evoke protests, and I am sure that the Cabinet was aware of this. Then, why did it go ahead with the same? The proposal will impact the Congress’ vote share in the upcoming UP Assembly elections. I have a strong feeling that the government made this move intentionally to divert attention from other pressing issues like black money stashed outside the country, the opposition’s stand on not allowing P Chidambaram to speak in the Parliament and last, but not the least, the issue of inflation, which continues to remain above the comfort level. Will this gamble pay off for the government?
We are not sure whether the government has made the right decision, especially in view of the current scenario. It has anyway lost its popularity after the Anna Hazare-led mass movement, charges of corruption in the 2G and Commonwealth Games scams and inflation that continues to hurt the aam aadmi. With FDI in retail perceived to be anti aam aadmi, this government is committing one blunder after another, giving the impression that someone is working in the government to ensure that the Congress loses its appeal amongst the common people.
What comes as a surprise is that the Congress is not following the coalition dharma (especially in light of the fact that it does not have clear majority). Its allies keep complaining that they have not been taken into confidence while taking crucial decisions, resulting in protests and even rollbacks. Our sense is that the bill providing for FDI in retail will not go through in the present format. The government would either roll it back completely (which, we believe, is more likely to happen), or modify it in a sense that would attract no FDI in the sector, thus killing two birds with one stone.
This time, our Cover Story looks at the reforms that the government needs to initiate in order to take the country ahead. This is a very important issue that needs close attention from our politicians. Our thoughts on what action the government needs to take have been articulated by our deputy editor, Shailendra Lotlikar, and other members of the team, who have set a five-point agenda for the government. It is time for the government to launch into action immediately to send a message to the country that it is serious about pushing reforms.
I would request you, our readers, to share your thoughts and comments on our cover story and also your take on FDI in retail.
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