Indian Government Faces a Test of Strength

I am John P.Matthew, a writer from India and I will be writing a regular column for Johntext from today. I thank Hans-Jurgen John for inviting me to be a part of Johntext.

Well, to be frank,  India is as yet a poor country where millions of its citizens live below the poverty level. Only recently the economy has improved because of the influx of funds into the business outsourcing and software development industries. Even then the country has a problem maintaining a growth rate of 8 per cent it needs to keep up with its neighbour China. This year the growth rate is much below the 8 per cent target and is lagging behind at 6. So the government has unleashed a number of reforms among which are: raising the price of diesel (which is already very high), increasing the price of cooking gas, allowing foreign direct investment in multi-brand malls and shopping chains. People here feel this will further drive up the inflation rate.

However, these reforms haven’t been accepted by all Indians. Trinamool Congress, a party supporting the coalition that rules the country withdrew its support and the country erupted into strikes and bandhs (bandh means a stopping of all work) by the leading opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The beleagured government is adamant about its resolve to go ahead with the reforms which should see a considerable improvement in growth rate, almost up to 8 per cent.

Now what remains to be seen is what the corruption-tainted government will do to pacify the opposition parties. Already there is talk of early elections by the opposition since a poll now will favour them. The ruling party of Manmohan Singh is reeling and a blow could bring the government down. So all eyes are watching what this taciturn former bureaucrat would do to save the economy and, at the same time, keep the government’s allies happy.

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