India's big bang Friday reforms may stick
In the space of 24 hours, Singh had dispelled the image of an elderly ditherer and demonstrated - two decades after he launched India 's transformative drive for economic liberalisation - that he remains a champion of reform.
People were very happy, one aide to the Oxford-educated economist told Reuters. There were no high fives, but people in the office were very satisfied.
So is this another nuclear moment for Singh, an echo of 2008 when he put his job on the line to push through a controversial civilian nuclear deal with the United States? Or is he still the wavering leader who backtracked on key economic policies three times in the past year to fend off protests?
Singh's government, already weakened by a string of corruption scandals, will inevitably face a political backlash over the reforms, perhaps enough to make him stop short of the difficult steps still needed to tackle a gaping fiscal hole.
But the signs are that this time the prime minister will stick to his guns, if for no other reason than because he may well have run out of alternatives.
It will take courage and some risks but it should be our endeavour to ensure that it succeeds, Singh told a group of government economists on Saturday. The country deserves no less.
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