Friday 28 September 2012

Politics above nation

Till now the government was accused of policy paralysis. Now that it’s pushing reforms, India’s main opposition party has virtually indicated to foreign retailers to come here at their own risk. Evidently, the BJP places no premium on policy continuity which is expected from a democratic and mature nation, in urgent need of private investment-led growth. What signal are they sending outside? Internal strife compels them to oppose the policies of the present government, and no guarantee of continuity of those policies if they come to power.

Inflation-hit aam admi will be harmed, not helped by BJP’s anti-retail reform stand. They are for the sake of opposition, blindly over-looking some of the benefits spelt out by the Chief economic advisor Raghuram Rajan – This includes promoting investment and capacity-building in key areas. High food prices are a serious headache, surely we need modern, technology-aided agriculture to overcome inflationary effects. Farmers shouldn’t just produce crops encouraged by minimum support prices but also fruits, vegetables and other perishables and diversifying into different kinds of agri-business.

Retail reforms will aid this process, boosting logistics and infrastructure. It’ll also give farmers easy access to buyers, lowering transaction costs. Rural incomes will rise, consumer will pay lower prices and more jobs will be created. BJP’s thinking and pronouncements give a feeling that they are happy to shield and would like to strengthen the middle-men who have exploited the illiterate farmers over the years. It also suggests it’s willing to sacrifice the nation’s economic interests by political brinkmanship. Ultimately the aam admi, whose interests they proclaim will suffer.

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