Economy : Governing For The People

Oh, to venture on the subject is like entering a mad house of ale on fire ! There are so many fathers, gods, experts, spirited advocates, authorities and suave exponents with papers and papers, books and references, miles of datasheets, and wise regulators at the top of the heap.

But I’ll keep it simple : there this whole environment of people at work across production, organisation, wholesale and retail through the seasons, delivering value to people — the economy, regulators, government, inspectors, businessmen, traders, suppliers, buyers and consumers, stockists and distributors, transporters, information disseminators… They all reduce to cost chains, profit chains, tax chains, interim price chains and, finally, the price people must pay for the delivered value.

We are of course deep in the midst of relatives : shifts from before, projected variations, increase, decrease, both in costs or price and in the values delivered along the respective chains. The price which people pay and the value they receive are of concern to every government worth its salt, whether for self-preservation or for truly democratic goals and promises made to people.

Governments alongwith their principal regulator and central bank monitor the Wholesale Price Index (WPI), an aggregate indicator built on weighted national sectoral measures, and the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which are calculated for several local centres and aggregated to yield the national figure. And here lies the rub and rot : it reduces to a routine, without serious attempt to obtain actionable systemic insights, sectoral and monetary on one hand and rigourous enforcement to prevent cheats who rob the people of fair value and creative malpractioners who distort the markets.

Economic governance in India is a fraction, perhaps one-tenth of what it should be. Whilst the monetary responses are just about fair, it is only now that sectoral problems have begun to be seriously studied and addressed. The present government has shown an intent to deal with malpractices but it will be a long, long time before the creative white-collared Indian will cede and desist.

The cheat industry in India however are unarrestable, operating locally with sleeping and corrupt government overseers appointed to keep them in check. The entire setup is deficient, being a responsibility left to respective states, which are politicised through and through and are very open to influence and money. There are value delivery areas, like local cable and internet providers, who are not even adequately monitored, much less regulated or punished.

These are inadequacies I expect the NDA govt to address over the next few years, hoping the state govts mature to seeing the merit in values-based governance. Or, should I say, over the next few terms, hoping this country never again returns the dumb, corrupt and non-performing UPA regime we lived through its ten unending years.


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