Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s bold economic reforms have received more neutral praise a week after Chief strategist of CLSA, Christopher Wood said that India’s economic success story will survive only if PM Modi is re-elected. This time, the praise came from Changyong Rhee, Director of the Asia and Pacific Department at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), who said the Indian Prime Minister has done an exceptional job in the area of reforms.
Changyong, who oversees the work of the IMF in the Asia region including its lending operations and surveillance of economies ranging from China, Japan, and India to the Pacific Islands said that most investors he had spoken to have pointed out that ease of doing business in India has improved substantially after a major tax reform in the form of the GST was implemented. The senior IMF official further added that India was an example for its Asian counterparts as well as for other emerging economies when it comes to implementing bold policy reforms around the world to cope with the changing dynamics of the international economic system. While the reforms have definitely paid off, he stressed that the trend needs to continue, and hopes that the efforts made in the past 4 years under Narendra Modi are not derailed by the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, echoing the words of CLSA’s Chris Wood, who claimed that Modi’s re-election would be crucial in keeping the nation’s economic success story on track.
“What we are saying is that the coming election will be very important, but we believe and we hope that the Modi government would not slow down the reform effort and implementation (of reforms). Because that will determine India’s future,” he said.
“So, we really hope that this election would not derail the Modi government’s efforts to reform,” the senior IMF official said.
The praise comes from a place of high credibility, and is the much needed positive feedback the BJP government needed, during a time when opposition politics and mud slinging has reached a new low, with fake news and misinformation being used as the primary weapons to discredit the BJP and the monumental changes the party has made since it came to power in 2014. The nature of the huge reforms is such that it is difficult for laymen to comprehend, and easy for media and politicians to twist the narrative and make good work seem like an inconvenience to the ordinary man, just like back in the demonetisation days.
The reforms are also of the sort that can be judged better in the long run, and such bold moves usually have an immediate shock-impact on businesses as well as everyday life, making it easy for mainstream media along with the opposition to twist the narrative in their favour. It is very important for the common man to know the effectiveness of these reforms, which have simplified a complex system of tariffs and taxes, and made investing in India easier for foreign investors. Inter-state goods and freight transportation has been made smoother since those certain taxes that were previously levied by individual states have now been centralised.
It is clear that irrespective of how rampantly fake news is being peddled against the government and the ruling party, good work will not go unappreciated. Praise and good feedback coming from the Asia regions in-charge of the IMF certainly holds sway. We’d rather listen to an expert in the field than some left-leaning politicians who never had a basic understanding of economics to begin with.