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As the ratio of
nonperforming assets in India’s banking sector rises, there have been loud
calls for reform. The condition of loan portfolios at state-controlled banks is
now so parlous that it is choking off the availability of new credit and
forcing the government into ever more ambitious recapitalization schemes. But
for all the smoke and noise, substantive change has been elusive.
South & Southeast Asia
Barun S. Mitra
India’s food output has nearly quadrupled over the past 50 years, but farm households – more than half the country’s population – are in some ways worse off. Rural distress is weighing on the country’s politics and eroding the government’s political base. If India wants to follow the path of the Asian tigers, it should start where they did: agricultural reform.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power under the slogan “the business of
government is not business,” but his administration has been slow in
privatizing or “disinvesting” from the hundreds of inefficient companies owned
by the state. In fact, it has moved actively to maximize the revenue the
government can squeeze out of these firms to plug gaps in the state budget.
Those who hoped for reform are likely to be disappointed.
The liberal democratic order has been losing its appeal for years as politics has come to depend more on loyalty to a leader than adherence to ideology. As opposing sides coalesce around increasing the power of the state, they focus on attacking personalities rather than policies. This has led to polarization, a loss of democratic ideals and the rise of populism.
years after Independence, Bangladesh stands at the edge of the precipice.
Restoration of democracy in 1991 has spurred economic and social development,
but these gains are being undone by violent religious fundamentalism. Two
formidable women, the leaders of Bangladesh’s main political parties, are using
these radicals in a proxy war that could cost the country its “democratic
A low tax base, poor tax compliance and ineffective, often abusive tax administration not only have constrained Indian governments’ revenue, but also hampered growth and Indian society’s capacity to hold the government accountable. The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has chosen to focus on the Goods and Services Tax with the aim of simplifying indirect taxes rather than to tackle the direct tax structure.
Poor property records have proven a major obstacle to economic development in India. Their slipshod quality leads to property disputes, corruption and social problems. Numerous Indian government initiatives to digitize these records have had mixed results. But authorities will have to look beyond IT solutions – empowering citizens and eliminating high transaction costs will be necessary.
In May 2016, Narendra Modi will complete the second year of his five-year term as India’s prime minister. In the past, this milestone marked the beginning of rapid decline for several of his predecessors. While Mr. Modi’s political stature remains tall and the country’s economy has been expanding at a rate of more than 7 percent, a sense of unease is setting in ove...
After his first 18 months in office, during which India’s economic prospects have brightened considerably, 2016 gives Prime Minister Narendra Modi a last window of opportunity for radical new policy initiatives. If he decides on a bold course, it would depart from the incremental approach that has characterized Mr. Modi’s term thus far. ...
The cow, a docile and useful animal in itself, in India has always been something of a political beast. It has emerged in the forefront of the country’s political agenda again, after a series of gruesome acts of violence across the land – all in its name. This alarming trend weakens the international standing of India’s prime minister, who was slow to speak up. It ...