The Sonia years: Is it welfare or farewell to India’s growth?

People have been blaming Sonia Gandhi for India’s decline.

Here is another column looking at Sonia’s role in decline of Indian economy.  Did she destroy the India story?

Am not too sure. We tend to  confuse economics with politics and believe good economics is good politics. But this is just an economist’s view of the ideal world.

The politicians simply believes in politics which helps them win elections. This is something which Public Choice theory (pioneered by Buchanan and Tullock) has so interestingly shown. If good economics comes in this way of winning elections citizens should consider themselves as blessed souls. How many governments think this way as econs often tell us? Even in US where most economic theories have come about, have been able to convince their political leaders to think economically? It is always politics first and not economics.

So Sonia Gandhi simply went by policies which help her win elections. And she has been pretty successful in her previous two attempts. Another attempt is being made by passing on Food Security Bill (and god knows what next) and time will show whether SG’s politics (or economics) will win again.

I think the real issue is why such poor-economics approach policies keep winning elections? Why despite many years of so-called economic reforms (which I think is a much abused and ambiguous term) , people continue to vote for populist policies. Some State governments have shown the way but are they sure of winning the next elections? How many politicians (yes there are exceptions but exceptions they are) have managed to win elections by using sound economic policies? The best example was NDA’s loss in 2004 which lost despite economy being in a much better shape. Yes there were other reasons for their loss as well but on economic grounds UPA won by showing their Indian Shining campaign was not a true story. As per UPA, India was actually faring poorly! And they did win the election surprising all the political experts..

So, no matter what people say on need to have sound economics politics, it  is something which neither politicians understand (or choose to ignore) nor does the public. And public only understands when we have a crisis on hand.

In India’s case though things are slightly different as they usually are. We not just had some sharp economists inkey advisory positions but a a Prime Minister who is an accomplished economist himself. Why did they not oppose these populist policies? Have we even seen any major dissents by any of the key advisers against the government policies? RBI officials tried but are shown the door. Now if these guys could not inculcate the economic logic  amidst their colleagues/politicians what do we really expect?

This crisis is not just about economic issues. It is a political one as well. We need to think collectively on role of governance and figure the populist policies from the sound economic ones.  India has been facing a political crisis and a vaccum on political leadership but was being sidelined because of the high growth we were getting. That time has gone and there is a need to rethink on many aspects of India story (if there is one).

Don’t get me wrong. I am not defending SG’s policies. Just that she is a politician who keeps winning elections and will not change her policies till she loses elections majorly.

So let’s see what 2014 has in order for us…

6 Responses to “The Sonia years: Is it welfare or farewell to India’s growth?”

  1. avinash2060 Says:

    Reblogged this on Current Affairs – News That Keeps You Intrested and commented:
    Must Read Why You cannot have Vitamin Doles at the expense of Vitamin Growth

  2. Mohan Says:

    People Vote on the basis of policies because of their poverty and ignorance expecting a turnaround of their plight, which stems from illiteracy. If not for ignorance, how could the Nehru family be ruling for so long? It may seem that they have won, but god would not keep mum for a long time. The time has come for ANTONIO MAINO, the person whom you call Sonia Gandhi and her family, to pack up and go back to their homeland and spend their last days peacefully with their ill-gotten money and then to be punished in HELL.

    • prekshajain291 Says:

      I want to ask a simple question that if everybody is so against the PM and Sonia then how the party came to power?(like it is shown in media)
      I mean party in power is chosen by us (as per our democratic rules) and we are against them, how can it be?
      you know how… because we The Janta is double faced, in front of those people (Sonia and party) we support them make them win the elections and behind their back we talk all shit about them.
      Wanna say vote who has the potential to lead the country and vote wisely that you yourself don’t regret for getting them into power.
      I don’t support any political party, I am in support of my country.

  3. Mohan Says:

    @ prekshajain291 Please read my previous comment, the answer to your question lies there. The problem lies in alliances and also most of the voters are illiterates. I have never voted to Congress or it’s allies. If you go into the history of Indian elections the percentage of voting is somewhere around 65%, and that revels everything. In the 65%, around 30-40% will be illiterate and will be selling their votes for a few hundred rupees and liquor. Most of the well-off people don’t go to the voting centre. This is what is happening in every election. In no way can we increase the voting to 100% because there are many citizens in foreign countries, but if we are able to bring it to around 90% which happens in developed countries then we can bring about a change in the way the country is run. people must avoid voting based on so called welfare schemes and to parties which try to divide people on the lines of religion and so on.
    Democracy is a very powerful system but it is being misused by some parties, as they have imbibed the British policy of divide and rule and changed it as divide and loot. Education is the best tool for transformation, so as educated people we must think before voting, which is good for long term gains. I think I’m being too preachy so i will stop with this.

    P.S. – Sorry but I think we cannot support our country without supporting any party in a democracy. Being educated it is our responsibility to use our right to vote in a wise manner. Thanks for reading.

    • prekshajain291 Says:

      you know i was trying to say somewhat the same thing. i didn’t mentioned the precise facts like of selling votes and not coming to vote… but by double faced i meant that only. that if, they are not coming to vote and afterwards they complain of having a nasty government, its wrong. many people do that.
      and in post script u said the same thing of using vote in wise manner. and (actually i haven’t voted till yet coz our parliament doesn’t allow people of age below 18)
      we just need to educate, aware the people and they’ll do the rest.


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