• News
  • Columns
  • Interviews
  • BW Communities
  • Events
  • BW TV
  • Subscribe to Print
  • Editorial Calendar 19-20
BW Businessworld

Moving In The Right Direction

Photo Credit :

One year on from the election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, there are signs that India is moving in the right direction. India’s image on the international stage is brighter and stronger, and Mr Modi has rightly welcomed the development of India’s relationship with the BRIC countries to build a strong economic bloc with the potential to compete with the West. However, with Brazil embroiled in a corruption scandal, sanctions hurting Russia's economic growth and China’s output slowing down, India under Mr Modi has become the star performer and is an emerging market perfectly positioned for growth.
Of course, Mr Modi’s economic record has also benefitted from the recent drop in global oil and gold prices, which, making up 45 per cent of India’s imports, is driving down the country’s debt. Nevertheless, the Modi administration has taken significant steps to reducing debt and must be praised for this. Notably, Mr Modi has been cutting diesel subsidies by 50 percent, increased taxes on diesel and petrol, and marketed its stakes in Coal India and the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation – these actions will not only help drive efficiency through the energy sector but will also play a part in reducing India’s large proportion of the world’s carbon emissions.
Whilst Mr Modi has repealed a vast amount of bureaucratic laws, ‘inspector Raj’, which is the remnants of the old British colonial rule, remains a significant problem for Indian society and its business community.
Sarosh Zaiwalla
In the next four years, the focus for Mr Modi should be on making government activities more transparent, which will improve relations between citizens and authorities whilst bringing greater efficiency to the government machine. For the two pending bills addressing corruption, the Prevention of Corruption Amendment Bill and the Prevention of Bribery of Foreign Public Officials, common definitions of offences and powers for authorities must be in cohort to ensure the legal framework is clear and concise.
However, in my view, Mr Modi should reinforce the need to make the Indian ruling class and bureaucracy more in tune with the common man and do away with the VIP egoistic culture which India had inherited from the British, It must be remembered that when the British were ruling India there were only 4000 white British officers ruling 400 million Indians. For the small British team to rule over millions of Indians it was necessary for the colonial British Government to have the VIP culture in order to maintain a dignified distance between the Indians and the British governing class, which was not maintained in the same way in the UK. The Prime Minister would do well to bring hope for the need to gradually change the general VIP culture in India and send a message to the whole of India that in an Indian democracy all Indians are to be respected equally.
The author, Sarosh Zaiwalla, is Founder & Senior Partner, Zaiwalla & Co Solicitors

Tags assigned to this article:
economy sarosh zaiwalla one year of modi