Now that Barack Obama has surged to a second term in the White House after overwhelming Republican Mitt Romney by 303 electoral votes to 206, his voters expect him to work harder for bipartisan support to reshape the welfare state and revive growth as they have given him an opportunity to redeem his promise to lift the US out of the economic mess it finds itself in. However, the US President faces challenges in his second administration that almost match those that he faced in his first and he knows that a second administration for a President can either be a time to build a legacy or a time of minimal accomplishment since there are huge challengeslike an ailing economy facing a major debt problem whose resolution cannot be postponed much further, a flat growth rate and unemployment with minimal job creation. Since the Republicans have retained control of the House of Representatives, they have the potential to block key legislation. Obama will need to find a way to work with a divided Congress and address the automatic spending cuts and tax increases that will come into force at the end of the year. For the Republicans, their divisive politics and regressive social agenda seem to have alarmed large sections of the working class, women and minorities. To survive, they need to adapt to the changing demographics in America and widen their political base.
Dilbag Rai, Chandigarh
Yields fall on IIP data; rate cut debate revives (FE, November 13). It was a big disappointment when RBI decided to keep interest rates on hold in the half-yearly monetary policy review. It appears the move stung the finance ministry. But RBI is watching what the government is doing to bring down inflation and reduce fiscal deficit. It is not good for the country if it turns to be a controversy of growth versus inflation. RBI and the finance ministry should join hands to increase growth at a lower inflation rate. The country is running on credit. The national debt and the interest burden are increasing. IMF has estimated that this year Indias overall deficit, including that of the states, will be higher than some of the troubled economies of Europe. We should take this seriously and take steps to raise our revenue.
Jacob Sahayam, Thiruvananthapuram
Keralas squandered chance
Keralas industrial scenario has been one of the missed opportunities of Indias time since Independence. Prolonged delays in the commissioning of the LNG terminal project in Kerala is an example of such a missed opportunity, which is costing the state dearly. This project has already been delayed by several years, which could have been avoided by pragmatic forward planning and an efficient approach by the government of Kerala and those involved in executing the project. One of the prime reasons for extraordinary growth in several sectors in Gujarat has been the successful operation of the LNG terminal at Dahej, which was commissioned in time and is being managed efficiently. The LNG terminal in Kerala was planned to bring about similar growth in South India. But that has not happened. The huge delay in commissioning the LNG project in Kochi is also affecting the image of the Kerala administration.
NS Venkataraman, Chennai