As India enters a phase of hectic political activity—starting with elections across four states this year, and general elections in 2014—the second edition of Network18’s Think India Dialogue focussed on a pertinent theme: ‘Good Economics = Good Politics?’
Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, who is hoping to win a fourth term in the state, was the keynote speaker. She shared her opinions in favour of the motion. However, she felt that opposition parties, both at the state and the Centre, need to behave more responsibly for economic reforms to gain political heft.
The evening also saw Network18 founder Raghav Bahl quiz two of the most seasoned economy and policy administrators in the country: Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, and C Rangarajan, chairman of the PM’s Economic Advisory Council. Has India’s economic policy become more left-of-centre since the UPA took over in 2004? And is that to blame for its current economic woes?
Both Ahluwalia and Rangarajan disagreed. They also downplayed the so-called “policy paralysis” which is holding back India’s economic growth. In fact, as Ahluwalia said, “95 percent of what we need to do to get back to 7 percent growth by next year doesn’t even need legislative reform”.