Shock Therapy for the Economy

“With great power comes great responsibility”. For those of us fond of Spiderman movies, the advice from Uncle Ben to Peter Parker is familiar. It’s also true in the context of India’s economy today.

We are a great country with great promises and the last decade has seen India as a country admired by all. It has proved it’s prowess in the field of IT and manufacturing companies, in the potential of our youth making us one of the highest growing economies in the world. So what’s the matter now? Why we are in a position of demand-led inflation , controversies over interest rate and a slow economic growth?

When a patient’s heart stops beating, doctors try to revive it using electric shocks, and here we have a new finance minister, an old experienced hand who is known to act decisively. So first our administrators need to get us out of our deep slumber. There’s a need to clear large infrastructure projects in power from the logjams. The power collapse in northern India, a couple of months back has shown how fragile our power situation is. We need incentives in the short run to support our industrial and agricultural investments. More people like Verghese Kurien are required to bring more revolutions akin to the one brought about by him. Industry and the corporate sector need to feel confident of committing investments and raising capacities. This will lead to better supply, may control inflation and increase economic growth. The funds will stimulate the process further and will ultimately go back down the chain through creation of jobs. Who needs foreign currency if the domestic investment is playing it’s part in a scintillating manner. With over half of our population below the age of 25, we need to focus more on employment than on consumption as we are blindly copying the high consumption policy of the west which is collapsing in front of our eyes.

Once the heart has started beating , we now need to revive the body. This means removing unnecessary subsidies and controlling expenses in order to reduce budget deficit. As government spending leads to crowding out of private investment and thus in its stead we need public private partnership in agriculture and industry to improve productivity and efficiency. With oil imports being a substantial part of imports, we need to brush up our search and use of alternate energy resources and believe it or not we need to the gird the loins towards environment conservation. Every time we bite into a hamburger, update our facebook profile or board a flight we leave behind a carbon imprint which can’t be erased for tons of decades. Our burgeoning population needs increasing access to education and healthcare.

Now in the process of building a strong body, the first step is to eliminate “Red Tapism”. History is filled with cases of failure of nations that did not demonstrate great responsibility with great power, British colonialism being one of them. We are a nation full of youth, entrepreneurship, intelligence and ability. This is our time under the sun; let us collectively step up to it.