Saturday, May 16, 2009

Looking Ahead - Reforms 2009

17 May 2009

The results of the elections in India will once again convince the international community of the robustness of democracy and voting behavior, resulting in clear verdicts on what will be tolerated and what will not be tolerated any more. The ruling UPA government has now won against anti-incumbency factors and Congress (I) has emerged as the single largest party which requires only few members support to form the government. Congress which had been struggling with the era of coalition politics and wanting to strike on its own as a national party that wants to regain some of the territories it had lost to the communists and communalists. It has done remarkably well on both these areas. By winning half of the seats it contested in Tamil Nadu, it has proved that it is still a force to reckon with in this state. Despite some of the senior leaders losing, the party has scored a decisive win and with Chidambaram returning (though on a very narrow margin) one could expect more of the same in terms of economic and development policies and practices. On the Sri Lankan Tamil issue it may still face problems in Tamil Nadu, as Tamil groups will now begin working on some other strategies to advance the cause for Tamil Eelam or equal rights for Tamils in Sri Lanka.

The reforms specialists with the addition of Shashi Tharoor, are a formidable team and one can only expect that economic reforms will be fast-tracked, deepened and widened. By not having to depend on very "demanding" regional parties or the Leftists and being emboldened by the clear verdict it may now operationlize the reforms packages with much less hurdles. One new area that will receive much focus is the defense related industry. So far, this area did not have much private sector involvement. This is about to change and the military industrial complexes are something to watch out for.

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