Expectations from new government
With barely days left for the results of General Election 2014 to elect the 16 Lok Sabha, indeed the laundry list of what to expect from the next government is out in the open. Although exit polls, riding a psephological tsunami, have predicted an NDA regime, with or without coalition partners propping up the alliance from outside, there are difficult political and economic realities which would be faced by any formation in the centre. Whatever be the makeup of the lower house of Parliament after 16 May, it cannot bypass the essential fiscal whirlpool in which our economy has been caught for a couple of years now, with the current account deficit still at an alarming 4.8 per cent. Even though markets are behaving bullishly and soaring now at the prospect of a Narendra Modi-led regime in New Delhi, the bubble would soon burst and once the jubilations die down, the new equations between the centre and state governments have be quickly chalked out. What would be the primary tasks of the new formation? First and foremost, it would be delivering a budget that contains the fiscal deficit, yet promotes the spending growth – a hard job after some fine attempts by P Chidambaram, whose team dealt with post-2008 global economic slump not all that badly. It is unfortunate, therefore, that the outgoing UPA government’s supposedly ‘pro-people, pro-poor’ policies such as MGNREGA, food security and land acquisition act, had sent a shiver down the selfish spine of corporate India, and, as a result, investor confidence in Indian economy had hit a low. Naturally, for the next union cabinet, the tightrope will be to retain the good and democratic legislations executed by the incumbent regime and improvise upon them to obtain maximum leverage and outreach.
Another front that needs to be tackled is the faceoff with the Reserve Bank of India and its governor Raghuram Rajan, who has acted with bold independence and without promoting partisan interests. In a different gear, the fluctuations of a changing weather pattern and the predicted El Nino effect on the monsoons this year are bound to create a formidable challenge before the next government. In this light, dealing with this potential ecological and agricultural catastrophe in the very first year of its existence could prove to be the litmus of the new regime. In addition, bolstering of state-run enterprises, whether banks or industrial organisations, and adopting a fair and impartial attitude towards private corporations, not compromising wider interests of the general public, is an important and necessary duty. In sum, strengthening the democratic ideals while also redrawing the economic roadmap is what is anticipated eagerly from the new crop of legislators.