Deutsch Politik Geschichte Kunst Film Musik Lebensart Reisen
English Politics History Art Film Music Lifestyle Travel
Français Politique Histoire Arts Film Musique Artdevivre Voyages

Index  Advertise  Werbung  Links  Feedback
© Copyright www.cosmopolis.ch  Louis Gerber  All rights reserved.

Indian coalition breakup
Article added on September 20, 2012 at 12:49 Italian time
  
Mamata Banerjee, the chief minister of West Bengal, announced on September 18, 2012 that she would pull her party out of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) if the government would not reverse its decision on allowing 51% foreign direct investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail (such as for instance Walmart or Tesco) . India's Congress-led coalition relies on her 19 lawmakers. Without the members of Banerjee's Trinamool Congress (TMC), the UPA will only control 254 seats in the Lower House of Parliament (Lok Sabha), 18 votes short of a simple majority.

Mamata Banerjee came to power in West Bengal in a 2011-landslide victory. Her TMC is a 1997-split off from the Indian National Congress, which used to be a pretty socialist party, from which India's economy is suffering until today. Unfortunately, “Didi” (the elder sister) Banerjee not only ended decades of Communist rule in run-down West Bengal, but she is not much more open to economic reforms than the Communists and has been a reform obstacle within the UPA.

India desperately needs liberalization in many sectors. De-nationalization, more FDI, cutting of red-tape and other reforms should be on top of the economic agenda.

As mentioned regarding the 1999-elections as well as on the subject of the Uttar Pradesh elections of March 2012, the Congress party has ruled India for far too long. Its Gandhi-family leadership has proven incompetent time and again. Currently, the party has no credible leader. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has shown in the past that he was ready to modernize and liberalize India, but he was held back not only by Didi, but also by Congress's strong woman, the Italian-born Sonia Gandhi. She is the widow of Rajiv Gandhi, India's former prime minister, who was assassinated in 1991; his mother, longtime prime minister Indira Gandhi, was killed in 1984.

   Indian sheet music. India travel guide books from Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.
   Computers and accessories from Amazon.com, Amazon.de and Amazon.co.uk.

Manmohan Sing's years as prime minister have been overshadowed by scandals. Although he himself is considered one of India's rare politicians with clean hands, corruption within his United Progressive Alliance was and remains rampant. Keywords are the Commonwealth Games, the privatization of New Delhi's airport, irregularities in the telecommunication sector, housing scandals, bribes in the defense sector, coal scandal, etc.

Finally, in September 2012 the Indian government of Manmohan Singh announced a series of desperately needed economic reforms such as to allow the mentioned foreign direct investment (up to 51%) in multi-brand retail, cap subsidizing LPG cooking gas to six cylinders a year per consumer and increase diesel prices by 14% to curb the fiscal deficit, which is officially estimated to be around 5.1%, but in reality could reach well over 6%. In the second quarter of 2012, the Indian economy grew 5.5%, which remains far less than what China and other emerging markets are achieving.

India is subsidizing the prices of diesel, kerosene oil and cooking gas (officially) to help the poor and to curb inflation. Subsidized diesel prices only help the people with a car, including farmers and the transport business, but not the hundreds of millions of poor living around or below the poverty line. Even the three state-owned oil refiners are complaining about losses; they import some 80% of the oil they refine. Subsidies distort prices and resource allocation. They are a simple waste of money. In the current global economic climate, India has to get its deficit under control. Credible financial reform steps are needed. Anti-corruption, farming, banking,  insurance and pension reforms are overdue. Backtracking from the decisions already taken would be a major blow to the credibility of the government.

The September 21 deadline - when reforms should take effect and the 6 Trinamool ministers would resign, as announced on September 18 - may decide on the government's future. The Congress's leaders think that the government can survive a no-confidence motion even without the TMC members of parliament. They hope for outside help instead, maybe by even bringing another regional party into the coalition. At the same time, Ramgopal Yadav, the Samajwadi Party (SP) General Secretary, made already known that he could not say for how long the SP with its 22 lawmakers would continue to support the UPA. For now of course, he maintains his support for the ruling coalition, which is about to break apart.

If the UPA can't even push forward modest steps towards the free market such as the one's announced last week, the coalition is doomed. An Indian coalition breakup would not be a disaster. As long as India does not embrace liberal reforms, it will remain a backward society. The optimistic scenario is that Friday September 21, 2012 may become a watershed, although we cannot exclude a last-minute deal between Congress, SP and TMC. Some TMC members are tempted to cling on to power. The next elections are only scheduled for 2014.







Deutsch Politik Geschichte Kunst Film Musik Lebensart Reisen
English Politics History Art Film Music Lifestyle Travel
Français Politique Histoire Arts Film Musique Artdevivre Voyages

Index  Advertise  Werbung  Links  Feedback
© Copyright www.cosmopolis.ch  Louis Gerber  All rights reserved.