This is with reference to the editorial Logic of market reforms (FE, June 27). Given the hubbub over price hikes, withdrawal of subsidy in various sectors and the panic that the country is involved in, India appears to be undergoing a withdrawal effect. The blanket of subsidy that has been cloaking us for decades from the real-market scenario has reached a tipping point where it is no longer possible to support the dole-out economy. Successive governments had always deferred price hikes due to political reasons to a limit where our weak economic fundamentals had sent the rupee crashing to a lifetime low. Now the government has no other option but to hike prices along the entire supply chain, albeit in doses to get the country out of the subsidy mindset forever. As long it keeps deferring imminent price hikes, production will not increase, be it oil or electricity. The government needs to be tough on its stand of price hike and not roll back time and again. It has got to show some political muscle and must go ahead with market reforms. You rightly concluded that presumably thats what the Prime Minister had in mind when he said tough decisionsthat would turn people against the government in the short runneeded to be taken
Visualising an edifice
Apropos of the news report Thirty days in office, Narendra Modi-led NDA working to keep promises (FE, June 26), in just 30 days a massive edifice in construction cannot be defined to great detail, but it can certainly be visualised from its foundation that is now nearly laid. The new government is seen to being built on three huge pillars a powerful PM, an all-pervading PMO and a singularly-positioned BJP president. In the single-minded pursuit of growth and given such minimal three-centred load-bearing dispensation, we may see the role of ministers, bureaucrats and party functionaries perhaps becoming increasingly secondary to just doing as per direction. The design may well enable few specific macro objectives of the government being achieved but to use the current pet management jargon of last-mile delivery, the benefits of growth will ultimately need a host of animated delivery agents, be it the minister, the babu or the party cog, to reach it to the common man. Top-driven and a demanding nine-to-five regimen may assist in carrying out directives on few select objectives of the day, but may not germinate local-level imagination, innovation and job pride that are essential to complete the benefit chain. The UPA laden with generous load of inclusiveness was stranded on the high seas without adequate pilot tugs with expertise on local contours. It could not find a berth in Pier 2014, as the Congress had failed to nurture a vibrant party apparatus. The BJP has managed a strong set-up today but if its apex leadership does not factor in complementary bottoms-up participation under more open decision-making environs, the BJP though adequately laden with growth could well face a similar fate in respect of berthing in Pier 2019.
Vivian Fernandes, in his excellent analysis The business of manufacturing dissent (FE, June 24), has hit the nail on the head when some NGOs such as the Greenpeace appear to be indulging in what may be termed as paid dissent. However, while castigating it for its role in the infamous stand-off over the nuclear plant supplied by the Russians at Kudankulam (Tamil Nadu) on account of funding it received from some multi-national corporations (MNCs), Vivian Fernandes seems to find Greenpeaces role in opposing genetically-modified (GM) foods also suspect. Surely, the MNCs involved in the production of GM seeds could have also suitably funded the Greenpeace to refrain from such a negative approach. Perhaps the fact that such seeds ultimately end up getting the farmer totally dependent on the MNCs, as seeds of all new crops are not reusable, is what is bothering them. Whether the GM crops are safe or unsafe is an unending debate, while deliberate tweaking of GM seeds so that each new crop produces sterile ones is very much a real and present danger to the farmers financial well being!
Former Member, Railway Board