Economic reforms: consensus the only way forward

March 7th, 2012

At around 1pm on Monday, large parts of north India experienced tremors as the earth underneath shook for around 10 to 15 seconds. Little did the people realise that is was just a precursor to the earthquake the country was to witness on Tuesday (election results). As the results were announced it was clear that the elephants (BSP’s poll symbol) had started to fall from Monday itself.

Well, let us not waste time and come to our topic of economic reforms. The general perception is that since the results have not given the desired leverage to the ruling UPA, the possibility of economic reforms being speeded up by the ruling coalition at the centre receeds. The fall in the Sensex post results is being attributed to this. Another general perception doing the rounds is that the voters have voted for a development agenda and have not been swayed by the equations of caste, creed, religion etc. The third general perception is that the voters have cast their vote in favour of a young leadership (read Sukhbir in Punjab and Akhilesh in UP).

Given the last two perceptions to be true, they directly contradict the first perception. The young leaders, who now have a decisive say in the policy matters of their party will surely realise the need to support the right kind of policies at all levels be it economic or otherwise. This should be utilised by the ruling UPA at the Centre to start a new set of consensus policy making involving all the political parties including the opposition. If the nation needs the reforms and the UPA is able to articulate and present its case in a strong manner, there appears no reason why the opposition parties will not accept them. Infact after the results, merely opposing a policy for the sake of it will not throw good light on the opposition parties. The newly coronated state leaders will realise that they have come to power on the promise delivering development and this is what the electorate will be evaluating them on.

The one thing that is needed, is for the UPA to shed its arrogant, know all attitude and include all stakeholders in the decision making process. A tough call for a party used to take decisions without consulting its own constituents but nonetheless a must call.

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