Have you noticed how the Dynasty, its camp followers, its TV and newspaper mouthpieces, its online footmat websites, have suddenly taken a “maun vrat” over economic data? They can’t talk about IIP, because that’s at a high of 8.4%. They can’t talk about bank credit growth because that is growing in double digits. They can’t complain about the official GDP number because it’s already at 6.3% and only going higher according to all accounts.
After some initial complaining against rosy economic forecasts from the World Bank and IMF, a rise in Ease of Doing Business rankings and upgrades from international rating agencies, the Congress is no longer into challenging them. It was always a fool’s errand anyway to suggest that everyone from IMF to World Bank to Moody’s might be a secret Modi agent.
The writing is on the wall. After a mere 6 month disruption owing to the biggest tax reform since independence, the Modi government has managed to shepherd the Indian economy on a sharp upward swing, gunning right for the top. By all accounts, India will regain the status of fastest growing (major) economy in the world in the Fiscal 2018-19.
Assuming this now well accepted prediction and for easy reference of liberal friends, I have prepared a simple chart of how many years each Prime Minister managed to keep India as the world’s fastest growing economy.
Oh, in case you were wondering which was that one year when Dr. Singh made India the world’s fastest growing economy, it would be 2009-10. That was right after the recession, when the government had to pump in a huge stimulus package. The stimulus sent our economy rocketing upwards for exactly one year, followed by a swift collapse. They must teach this at Oxford.
And Narendra Modi has managed to achieve this without giving out extravagant loans to top business houses. In fact, he has been battling throughout his tenure against the ballooning NPAs created by the loans given by the two UPA governments. All this while keeping inflation lower than UPA years, despite deregulating fuel prices and also giving away crores of new LPG connections. Low fiscal deficit despite implementing new GST regime with lower taxes. Don’t forget the FDI growing like gangbusters.
Did I mention that the first three years of Modi added $63 billion to our forex reserves? Compare to the $52 billion added in the last five years of Dr. Singh.
Accept it, dear ‘intellectuals’, Modi government has completed the gargantuan GST task within six months, brought the economy back into the fast lane, all this while carrying the Indian public along, managing to win six state elections in 2017. On the other hand, projections by intellectuals such as $100 billion of investment leaving the country along with Raghuram Rajan have proven to be the ultimate joke.
So, where does the Congress go from here? They had a party of sorts in later half of 2017, while the Indian economy was on “pause” trying to absorb the biggest tax reform since independence. But what next?
Simple! The Congress knows exactly what it wants and how to get it. Now that Modi has implemented a formalized, rule based economy based on fiscal discipline and the rewards are rolling in, the Congress is salivating. A few caste movements, a little bit of lingering effect of GST and a pinch of anti-incumbency, and with 100 seats or so, the Congress is preparing to come into power in 2019, just in time to harvest the ripe fruits of Modi’s hard work.
This is exactly what happened in 2003-04 and this is exactly what the Congress is hoping for again. Back then the Vajpayee government inherited a basket case economy. At the same time, Vajpayee went for the daredevil move of holding nuclear tests, which brought punishing economic sanctions upon us. But through amazing fiscal discipline and hard nosed diplomacy, Vajpayee managed to get most of the sanctions rolled back and got the economy speeding up. When the BJP quit office in 2004, the economy was growing at 8%.
Enter Madamji and the National Advisory Council, just in time for the harvest. Jacking public sector banks to extend massive loans to corporates that we all knew would never be paid back. India’s national wealth given away at throwaway prices to rich friends, resulting in lakh crore scams. The travels of Pratibha Patil, from Delhi to Mumbai via Brazil or wherever.
By the time the UPA’s sins caught up with the Indian economy, voting for 2009 Lok Sabha polls had already ended. They stayed another term in office to milk the exchequer for every last penny.
After the election results came out on May 16 2014, but before Narendra Modi was formally sworn into office, the government of Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh issued one final order. What was in that order? For the rest of his life, Dr. Singh’s household bills for electricity and water would be paid by the taxpayer.
Seems rather small, yes? I guess they realized that the Indian people had nothing left. They had taken us for every last penny.
Green shoots have emerged since that day. India is now the world’s fastest growing economy. We again have stuff on the table. And they are getting hungry, they are salivating.
They have one trick and they use it every single time because it always works. They know our weakness. Vote your caste first and they will back in a flash. And they will empty our pockets in no time at all.
Abhishek Banerjee is a math lover who may or not be an Assistant Professor at IISc Bangalore.