Legislative gridlock spells trouble for India Story

By Niranjan Sahoo
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, August 25, 2015
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Analysts believe the passage of GST alone can add 1.5 percent to India's current GDP. This law which has been more than eight years in making and has achieved near political consensus is now stymied by opposition parties refusing to let the government take any political credit.

It's a similar story on the land acquisition law. A bill that took tortuous 10 years to emerge in 2014, seems to be a unworkable piece of legislation. It neither serves the interests of millions of land owners who earlier used to get a pittance for parting with their land, nor businesses who say the proposed lengthening of normal land acquisition to 4-5 years is still far too short.

This effectively would keep investors away from the country's manufacturing (Made in India), something the country desperately needs to create millions of new jobs for its huge young population. However, political consensus is hard to come.

This has led to growing pessimism among vast majority of Indians, who feel that politicians are not in the least responsive to the country's needs and aspirations. In a recent poll by The Hindustan Times, a leading English Daily, more than 87 percent population felt betrayed by the political class and their tactics.

However, the popular angst against the continued legislative deadlock was best exemplified by an online petition from a mammoth 25,000 leading industrialists pleading for the political parties to end their narrow political vendettas to pass critical economic bills.

The opposition parties, however, refuse to reconsider their suicidal tactics and some believe agitation is the best way to regain political power.

It's hard to see how the ruling coalition under Narendra Modi can keep maintaining the growth momentum. Modi's government badly lacks the requisite numbers in the country's upper house to get key legislations passed.

India, with rare demographic advantages due to a huge youthful population, needs to create a mammoth 12 million jobs annually to engage youth in the productive process. Failure to do so will threaten social stability. Is the political class listening?

Niranjan Sahoo is Senior Fellow, Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi.

Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors, not necessarily those of China.org.cn.


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