Wasting the sweetness of reforms on desert air

The economist Bibek Debroy has an interesting piece on reforms in the first 100 days of the next government, in the Indian Express:

“Conceptually, there can be the following configurations: (1) Congress government; (2) BJP government; (3) Congress-led government; (4) BJP-led government; (5) Third Front, supported by the Congress from outside; (6) Third Front, supported by BJP from outside; and (7) Third Front government.

“One doesn’t need psephology to figure out Congress + BJP will add up to 280 seats or thereabouts. And clearly, neither Congress nor BJP is going to wither away. (1), (2) and (7) are therefore out. We are left with (3), (4), (5) and (6).

“Definitions of UPA and NDA are fungible. All one knows is (3) and (5) are a bit more likely than (4) and (6).

“However, there is greater certainty in the economic domain.  With (3), (5) or (6), incremental allies will stonewall enough to jettison all reforms. The first 100 days won’t shake India, except with (3), we might have a Right to Food Bill.

“With (3), (5) and (6), we are unlikely to get privatisation of PSUs too, not just on efficiency grounds, but also to bridge deficits. Privatisation is more likely with (4).

“One would like to think those reforms are more likely under (3) or (4), except that the last five years of (3) don’t inspire confidence.”

Read the full article: The next 100 days