Once foreigners begin to look long and hard at subsidies and deficits, we find we can raise petrol and diesel prices every month (till now, once a year was a heroic achievement). And runaway growth in government expenditure – a feature of the last so many years – can be squeezed back into the genie bottle. In the Parliament session that starts next week, we may even witness the unthinkable – some laws actually get passed.
All of this was said to be politically touch-me-not. Till now, the accepted wisdom was that economic reforms didn’t help the poor, that they could not be sold to voters, and that there would be a heavy political price to pay if anti-people steps were taken, like doubling cooking gas prices. But a government that paralysed itself by believing such claptrap, and which now faces the certain prospect of being thrown out of office next year, has discovered that, hello, reforms are the way to win back the voter’s favour. Go figure. Read More