TN Ninan in Business Standard:
...Most of all, there is the bald truth that rapid growth by itself achieves quite a lot on the employment front. All of this could perhaps be short-handed to argue that there is precious little that is wrong with the reform programme, except that there hasn’t been enough of it.
This is certainly not to argue that there is no unemployment in India, but to suggest that the UPA’s understanding of this very important problem is defective and probably born out of the syndrome that makes people dislike good news.
The result is that it is barking up the wrong tree with its preferred solutions, when the old arguments of reformers probably hold more water: create a flexible labour market instead of trying to protect the high-wage islands, get rid of small-scale reservations so as to allow the growth of labour-intensive industries, reform agriculture and create the infrastructure to support rapid economic growth.
The reformers in the UPA government may have exactly these policies and objectives in mind, but they will be hamstrung by the assertions of the Common Minimum Programme. More’s the pity.
After 6 years (or atleast last 2-3 years) of good rule by the NDA where reform was better thought out, we are now going to see the UPA take a short term view and take us back by years. Thanks to all those who voted. You guys did a great job. Saturday, June 05, 2004