Manmohan: Will he or willn’t he?

Manmohan has taken over the task of putting the country’s economy back on track. He expressed his wish by a call to revive the animal spirits in the country’s economy. Naturally the nation wishes him to live up to his credentials. Will he or will he not?
Many doubt. I too doubt sometimes, though I will like to be wrong.

I will like to be correct in doubting, if it goes in favour of his master. But there is another reason too for doubting. In second run and that too if you are not looking after the responsibility exclusively, it becomes difficult to repeat the grand performance of the past. At least, this is my experience of professional career.

Manmohan has many things against and for in this stupendous task. The first is naturally the time gap of twelve years that changes many things. The second is the overall global situation that is one of gloom. The third is his own image of the last eight years that has made him perceived as ineffective. The fourth and the most important one: will he be able to free himself from the halo-effect of his real employer? Will the Queen Bee also love country’s economy to be on track or will she insist on the doles and subsidies for winning the next election and take the advantages of being in power?

Let us look at some of the good signals that have been coming recently that make us cheerful with hope. Some foreign investors have started announcing investment in India.

Ikea has finally decided to enter India and invest15 billion euros in stores. Huawei, the Chinese giant in networking announced its plan to invest 2-billion in India to set-up global R& D centre. The Coca-Cola Co. and its bottlers plan to invest an additional $3 billion in India. Toyota Kirloskar Auto Parts announced the setting up its third manufacturing plant for automotive components at Bidadi near Bangaluru, and is investing Rs 500 crore for the plant. There are some more small and medium or big ones.

Even the rating agencies are changing the balance in India’s favour. Crisil Research has forecast that the Rupee will appreciate to around 50 to the dollar by March 2013 end.

Even the domestic companies have come forward to announce the intentions of investment that will help in removing the gloom. Godrej companies announced its investment plans.

Manmohan and his cabinet ministers will also act to create a positive picture of the country’s attractiveness for investment. Kamalnath has already declared the launch of the second phase of urban development plan with an investment $40 billion. All these add to reinvigorate the India story.

Some results also are better. Indian factories in June stepped up production and hired workers at the fastest rate in more than two years, though sagging demand abroad took a toll on growth in new export orders. I wish Manmohan could take some unpleasant but necessary decisions to discourage low priority items from imports. The HSBC manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 55.0 in June, a four-month high, from 54.8 in May.

However, Manmohan will have to lead from the front and take his ministers along his route. Sibals or even an insignificant one such as Beni must not create controversies and damage the image of the India Story.

And it’s doable, but to make it happen, the prime minister and his team will have to work with the animal spirits that his party men demonstrate at the time of election, reaching to all nooks and corners of the country, campaigning and appealing. For making the country’s economy move ahead with double digit growth, Manmohan will have to make the administration exhibit that animal spirits for taking and speeding up the country in development mode, for removing all the blockades in implementation. It will require hard work and fortunately the young people of the country are ready for it if someone may be Manmohan, sincerely demands that. It’s the destiny that has again given him the opportunity by taking Pranab babu out.

Manmohan can make it happen. Let me wish this for the last time. Let Manmohan at least ensure the proper shaping of NHAI and power related issues.

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