1st letter 405

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (IANS photo)

900 million eligible Indians will go to the poll on April 11, 2019 to elect 545 members of Parliament. The voting begins on April 11, and ends on May 19. The political party that gains the largest percent of the vote will be asked to form the government by the president of India. No single party is likely to get a majority. Therefore, the leading winner must seek a partnership with the other parties to form the new government. After India retaliated against Pakistan, it would appear now the BJP headed by Prime Minister Modi has good chances to lead, subject to what happens between now and the end of the elections during the campaign.

India prides itself calling it the largest democracy. Is India a successful political and economic democracy? It is a paradox that India is a net exporter of food while 300 million poor starve. It is more painful to know that India is wasting approximately 40% of its food valued at $40 billion due to lack of marketing management. The Food Corporation of India, a public sector corporation, is the villain responsible for lack of adequate modern silos, warehouses, refrigerated trucks, and retail outlets. The pricing is a key component of marketing. The farmers of India are the victims of poor pricing and they are agitating against the government. This is one of the major issues of the campaign.

I strongly recommend the parties discuss the following during the campaign. Unless India develops its great potential, the elections and her democracy will remain in the textbooks only.

  1. Capitalism has worked wonders in the USA, EU, Japan, Singapore, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea and even in Communist China. India experimented with a mixed economy and later socialism. So far it is a failure. Failure because India still does not have a modern infrastructure. No running water or electricity for 24/7 for all. There is no scientific system for removal and treatment of garbage and waste. There is no modern sewerage systems. India must embrace capitalism 100% and give up socialism once and for all.
  2. “India-USA Closest Ally” Partnership must be fully capitalized here and now; 72 years is a long time to wait. There is no need to invent a new wheel. Just translate Modi’s physical embrace of U.S. President Donald Trump into real actions that will set in motion the great potentials for enormous growth. Its GDP should grow at 12% for a decade or two. Invite President Trump to India and solidify the bilateral relationship. I am sure he will be happy to come with a huge delegation of CEOs of major U.S. corporations. Such a historical most friendly visit could result in major deals and investments. This is also excellent for foreign policy and defense strategy.
  3. India must create the most favorable climate for foreigners to do business. Right now, India ranks almost at the lowest amongst others. India has been blaming its democracy as the reason. I do not buy this. There is no political democracy without economic democracy. India should be ashamed to live with 300 million poor starving, when it is wasting 40% of food production costing $40 billion. Open up the economy fully so that it will bloom and flower as China did.
  4. India is the youngest in the world. 50% of India’s population is under 35 and 25% under 25. There is a large supply of all kinds of engineers and professional managers in India. This is a huge comparative advantage. Cite the example of IBM, the second largest private employer in India after Tatas employing 150,000, more than it employs anywhere including its h.q. in the U.S. India should liberalize its rules and regulations and make it easier for American corporations to manufacture in India.
  5. India can create the capacity to manufacture all drugs and pharma products for export to the U.S. by U.S. companies in a joint venture or as a subsidiary giving generous terms. This will lower the cost of drugs for American consumers. The U.S. can save huge and solve its health care problem. Will India cooperate with the U.S. as China did?
  6. The U.S. will help India build modern infrastructure in no time. Now India takes too many years to complete any major project, be it Bangalore railway or Delhi Metro. India should be able to take orders for 100 million pieces of variety of men’s and women’s clothing.
  7. Employment: India needs to create new jobs for 12 million per year. My recommendations will enable it to happen. If China can do it, why cannot India. India has more assets and advantages than China when it embraced the U.S. in 1979.

India is the largest English speaking country in the world. This is one of the reasons more CEOs of Indian origin are selected than any other national origin including China.

India must privatize all its public sector corporations, that will raise more than a trillion dollars for economic development. For India, funding is not a problem. India can float 50- or 100-year Treasury Bonds that will be bought by 30 million NRIs and the world investors. Because India’s credit is good, it can raise any amount of money from the financial markets, World Bank and other institutions if need be.

India must turn a new page to mobilize and reap the full potential of real India.

Ven Parameswaran

Via E-mail

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