ONCE THE ‘I’ of the BRICS apple, India has disillusioned its proponents by remaining a forever ‘emerging’ nation and led its economy to under-confidence. As we start 2013, there is less optimism and more doubt. There is also the misperception that because the stock markets have surged to new peaks and a tax anti-avoidance rule pushed back by a few years, India’s growth is back on track. In reality, the fundamentals of the economy have been hit by a series of setbacks, derailing the development agenda and the potential growth prospects.
India is not in need of any colossal change, nor is it desperate for any more immediate economic reform. Incremental and improved execution to allow functioning of all the restructuring laid out in the latter part of 2012 should be the Manmohan Singh government’s main aim.
Economist Haseeb Drabu puts India at the cusp of five key deficits — fiscal, raw material, energy, skill and governance. But a possibly populist Budget, widening fiscal gaps, slow clearance for big projects and the 2014 General Election countdown make for a chequered backdrop for the government and policymakers to operate in. Given this, what is the India prescription for 2013? Read More>
NOTED ECONOMIST and Columbia University Professor Jagdish Bhagwati’s pro-free trade stance is well-known. A friend of the prime minister and his batch mate from Cambridge University, Professor Bhagwati feels the UPA’s departure from the stagnation of the past few years is a welcome change, and lauds the decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail. In an interview to TEHELKA Business Editor Shaili Chopra, Bhagwati says more liberalisation is the way ahead for India, if it wants a high growth rate once again. A fragmented leadership, conflicting reforms and a lack of motivated administrators have pockmarked an economy that once seemed to be on a no-return path to 10 percent GDP growth. Corrective measures, says Bhagwati, are a must, and there is no alternative to that.
LIKE THE establishment he helmed for decades, Deepak Parekh, Chairman, HDFC, has become an institution in himself. On the board of many key government committees, he is the master troubleshooter for industry and the administration. The Indian government’s unofficial crisis consultant feels 2013 will be a better year than the last, but also flags issues that remain critical for India to break out of the slowest 12 months in a decade. Embedded in an environment of nepotism, scams and global economic stagnation, Parekh looks at the medium term to gauge where India can fix what’s broken. In an exclusive chat, Parekh shares his India prescription for 2013. Read More>