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BW Businessworld

Bye Bye 2011, Hello 2012!

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I don't think there will be too many people who will be unhappy to bid farewell to 2011. Issues related to corruption took centre stage for much of the year, and it saw a tumbling of reputations of the high and mighty in both politics and business. Inflation,  both overall as well as food inflation, remained out of control for much of the year. The central bank's solution was to hike rates steadily, which dampened the sentiments of industry and customers. The stock markets reeled under wave after wave of bad news and kept dropping for much of the year. The European crisis seemed poised to put the world economy in greater trouble than even the Lehman Brothers crash had.

The Indian government seemed particularly indecisive — and fumbled in almost every issue it tried to tackle. First, it tied itself up into knots in its handling of the Anna Hazare protests and the introduction of the Lokpal Bill. Then, it couldn't get its act right on the telecom front — either in its handling of the 2G licenses imbroglio or in its sudden move to put restrictions on 3G roaming agreements. On a host of other issues too — FDI in retail for instance — it made some announcements and then promptly backtracked on them.

Congress allies and  opposition parties did not cover themselves with glory either. The Parliament hardly functioned for much of the year and a whole host of important bills could not be debated, amended or passed. Many important policies and bills got held up because of Parliament being held ransom. The Lokpal Bill, which took up so much attention throughout the year, finally got stuck at the Rajya Sabha. At the time of writing this letter, it seems that the bill will now have to wait until the next session of Parliament for any sort of resolution.

To add to all the gloom and doom, there was a consumption slowdown — with manufacturers in a host of sectors ranging from automobiles to consumer electronics reporting sluggish sales.

Will 2012 be better? I am optimistic that it will be. Though there are plenty of problems spilling over from 2011 that need resolution, there are also enough signs of hope. BW asked experts in different fields to make predictions for their sectors for the coming year.

Enjoy the issue and here's wishing you a Very Happy New Year…

(This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 09-01-2012)