Skip to main content

Modi to "adopt" Thatcherite agenda, will rollback UPA's welfare schemes, privatise public sector cos

By Our Representative
With analysts predicting that Narendra Modi will become the next Prime Minister of India in the Lok Sabha polls, economists close to him have begun to declare that he is sure to bring an end to the welfare programmes initiated by the UPA government. Bibek Debroy, a prominent Indian economist, has been quoted as saying that “the Hindu nationalist leader shared his market-driven policy platform and opposed handouts.” He adds, "It is essentially a belief that people don't need doles, and don't need subsidies". Instead, Modi would focus on “building infrastructure to ease poverty”.
In an article released by the world's most prominent Reuters news agency, titled “Advisers to India's Modi dream of a Thatcherite revolution”, authors Frank Jack Daniel and Rajesh Kumar Singh recall, “When Indian opposition leader Narendra Modi gave a speech on the virtues of smaller government and privatization on April 8 last year, supporters called him an ideological heir to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who died that day.”
To prove its point, Reuters quotes Deepak Kanth, a London-based banker collecting funds for Modi, as saying, "If you define Thatcherism as less government, free enterprise, then there is no difference between Modi-nomics and Thatcherism." It adds, “Kanth, who says he is on the economic right, is one of several hundred volunteers with a similar philosophy working for Modi in campaign war-rooms across the country. Among them are alumni of Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan trading floors”.
"What Thatcher did with financial market reforms, you can expect a similar thing with infrastructure in India under Modi," Kanth predicts, referring to Thatcher's trademark "Big Bang" of sudden financial deregulation in 1986. Reuters adds, “Modi's inner circle also includes prominent economists and industrialists who share a desire to see his BJP draw a line under India's socialist past, cut welfare and reduce the role of government in business.
Already, Reuters has witnessed, the mere the possibility that “India may move to the right has brought free-market champions flocking home from high-flying careers abroad to join Modi's campaign.” Two advisers involved in policy discussions within the BJP's top leadership have been quoted as saying that there might be “partial or total privatizations of Air India and other failing public sector enterprises.”
However, according to the Reuters, “Mammoth Coal India, the source of much of the country's electricity generation, is not seen as an easy privatization target. Possible opposition by allies in government and India's strong labour laws mean that some of these policies will take time. Debroy as been quoted as commenting, "If you say is it going to happen in 2014-15, is the finance minister going to stand up and announce privatization, I'm inclined to think no, but will it figure eventually? The answer is yes."
Reuters says, “The battle of ideas between Modi and the ruling Congress party was mirrored in a public spat between two well-known economists of Indian origin, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen and Columbia University's Jagdish Bhagwati. Sen's belief that public spending on food subsidies and health was needed to end poverty was adopted by Gandhi. The result was a proliferation of welfare schemes, most notably a rural work programme and a giant subsidized food plan.”
  • Panagariya next Modi advisor
It adds, “Modi's economic thinking is closer to Bhagwati, who strongly advocates poverty reduction through deregulation-led growth. Bhagwati's colleague and writing partner, Arvind Panagariya, a former chief economist at the Asian Development Bank, is tipped by some in the BJP for a role in any Modi government.” Panagariya believes “the jobs it created - such as maintaining irrigation ponds and village roads - were unproductive.”

Comments

TRENDING

AMR: A gathering storm that threatens a century of progress in medicine

By Bobby Ramakant*  A strategic roundtable on “Charting a new path forward for global action against Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)” was organised at the 77th World Health Assembly or WHA (WHA is the apex decision-making body of the World Health Organization – WHO, which is attended by all countries that are part of the WHO – a United Nations health agency). AMR is among the top-10 global health threats “Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) is a growing and urgent crisis which is already a leading cause of untimely deaths globally. More than 2 people die of AMR every single minute,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the WHO. “AMR threatens to unwind centuries of progress in human health, animal health, and other sectors.”

New Odia CM's tribal heritage 'sets him apart' from Hindutva Brahminical norms

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  Mohan Charan Majhi took the oath as the new Chief Minister of Odisha following the electoral defeat of the BJD led by Naveen Patnaik, who served as Chief Minister for twenty-four years. The new Chief Minister is the son of a security guard and a four-time MLA who hails from the remote village of Raikala in the Keonjhar district. He belongs to the Santali tribe and comes from a working-class family. Such achievements and political mobilities are possible only in a democratic society. Majhi’s leadership even in the form of symbolic representation in a democracy deserves celebration.

What stops Kavach? Why no time to focus on common trains meant for common people?

By Atanu Roy  A goods train rammed into Kanchenjunga Express on 17th June morning in North Bengal. This could have been averted if the time tested anti-collision system (Kavach) was in place. 

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Saving farmers and consumers from GM crops and food: Philippines court shows the way

By Bharat Dogra*  At a time when there is increasing concern that powerful GM crop lobbyists backed by enormous resources of giant multinational companies may be able to bulldoze food safety and environmental concerns while pushing GM crops, a new hope has appeared in the form of a court decision from the Philippines. 

Top Punjab Maoist who failed to analyse caste question, promoted economism

By Harsh Thakor*  On June 15th we commemorated the 15th death anniversary of Harbhajan Singh Sohi or HBS, a well known Communist leader in Punjab. He expired of a heart attack in Bathinda in 2009.