Within an hour of landing in most Indian cities, visitors see what is holding back Asia’s third largest economy. They get a taste of the packed and potholed roads, and in some cities they might see an empty construction site that promises a new metro.
The business community has great faith in Narendra Modi, India’s new prime minister, and his ability to improve infrastructure thanks to his track record as chief minister of the state of Gujarat. But the question is: will Modi be able to improve infrastructure as quickly and efficiently at the national level?
It seems everyone is optimistic about India as Narendra Modi, the new prime minister, takes charge.
His track recored as chief minister of Gujarat suggested the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader will usher in a new era of economic growth in India – but also sparked fears that he would be reluctant to share power with high-profile senior ministers. His choice of cabinet sheds some light on his leadership style.
By Ajay Chhibber, Director General, Independent Evaluation, Government of India
The world’s largest exercise in electoral democracy has delivered a clear mandate for development. The aspiring voters want decent jobs and a growing India. They have pinned their hopes on a Modi-led government to deliver them the kind of India where real jobs are created and services are delivered cleanly and efficiently. They want better governance not bigger government. They want a hand up, not a handout. They want India to become a US$10tn global powerhouse.
The UPA government was given such a mandate in 2009, but misread the message and blew away five years into more handouts, large fiscal deficits, raging inflation and eventually a slumping economy. Instead of creating real jobs, it focused on make work through badly run schemes like MGNREGA (The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) which have cost the country over Rs 1tn so far. It saw expanded subsidy programs costing almost 4 per cent of GDP – but with not much of it going to the poor.
Who do India’s social media masses want to see in Narendra Modi’s new cabinet?
Simplify360º, a media monitoring organisation, analysed several thousands Tweets with the hashtag #DreamCabinet, posted from results day on May 16 through to May 19, to give a straw poll of internet users’ preferred cabinet line-up.
Modi, prime minister-elect following the landslide election victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is set to be sworn in with his cabinet in at an oath-taking ceremony on May 26 – putting considerable time pressure on Modi.
By Srivatsa Krishna
There is enormous speculation about the complexion of the economic regime of Narendra Modi now that he has been elected prime minister of India. His policies are an unknown-unknown. Separating signal from noise, one can change this, if not to a known-known at least to a known-unknown.
The clues can be found in two broad streams of evidence, namely Modi’s own record of 12 years in Gujarat and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) when it was in power nationally.
Modi’s biggest strength is that he is an economic pragmatist who has excelled in “getting things done”. He is known to bang heads together and de-bottleneck issues quickly, rather than wait for sequential decision-making, which is what most governments do.
By Sanjeev Prasad of Kotak Institutional Equities
In two words, development and governance! The results of the 2014 national elections have unequivocally shown that Indian citizens want economic development and better governance irrespective of their religion, region, language or caste. The voters have rejected the politics of entitlements and identity, which has plagued the Indian political system for decades. Citizens have expressed their desire for a better life, economically and socially.
By Derek Scissors, American Enterprise Institute
The Indian election is over. Does this mean Indian economic reform will restart?
There is no point expecting India to adopt an ideal economic reform program. The country is still full of quasi-socialists and has not made up its mind what it wants, much less how to achieve it. Nonetheless, the election offers a genuine opportunity to initiate high and sustained income growth.
It’s vote counting day in India’s election, the most hotly contested in decades and the world’s biggest festival of democracy.
We’re bringing you live updates through the day as the results come in. Narendra Modi of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party is celebrating what looks like a landslide victory, with the latest count putting the BJP ahead in 277 seats, beyond the 272 required for a majority in the lower house. Outgoing PM Manmohan Singh has congratulated Modi on his victory.
Updates by Avantika Chilkoti, Mumbai reporter, with the FT India team.
With one day to go before results day, we ask who will step forward as possible coalition partners for a government led by Narendra Modi – assuming he has not won enough seats to claim an outright majority on his own.
And Siddharth Mazumdar of Citizens for Accountable Governance, which campaigned for Modi and the BJP, says this year’s election was the first ever to be fought at a national rather than provincial level.
By Siddharth Mazumdar, Citizens for Accountable Governance (which campaigned for Modi)
It has long been assumed that Indian parliamentary elections are not national elections but rather an aggregation of 28 provincial polls. Given the country’s complexity, it has been argued, voters rarely vote on national topics and very few leaders can achieve a pan-Indian presence.
But campaigning for India’s 16th general election appears to show the underpinnings of a truly “national election”. Much of the credit for this should go to Narendra Modi, the opposition prime ministerial candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who in many ways set the agenda and the tone for the 2014 polls.
Just one day to go, and with the overall result seemingly a forgone conclusion after Monday’s exit polls, speculation turns to which regional party opposition leader Narendra Modi might pick as his main coalition partner, following tomorrow’s results.
Judging by those exit polls, of course, he will not need one: nearly all of those surveys suggested his hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party and its pre-election allies will stroll passed the 272 seat threshold needed to form a majority in the lower house of parliament. Modi himself is taking no chances, however, meeting with close advisers last night in Gujarat to discuss, among other things, possible alliances.
With Narendra Modi storming ahead according to Monday’s exit polls, Victor Mallet takes a look at the team behind his impressive election campaign.
Meanwhile, India is beginning to look forward to the post-election period and the troubled banking sector seems to be at the top of the agenda.
By Prasenjit Basu, REAL-economics.co
The OECD has cut its global growth forecast for 2014 because of the persistent sluggishness of emerging economies. With China on the brink of a financial crisis, the world needs a new global growth pole.
The world’s largest democracy is ready at last to step into the breach. Nine months ago, pundits were predicting a hung parliament, with a feeble Congress party facing a congeries of opponents unable to unite behind a theme or leader. In retrospect, the BJP’s choice of a Thatcherite leader at a time of 1970s-style stagflation now seems inspired.
A general election in India is a busy time for the media, it’s a busy time for the gambling industry – and it’s also a busy time for the private aviation market, as would-be leaders scurry across the vast nation hoping to win over voters.
This year, electioneering has focused on corruption and good governance but it seems this hasn’t stopped politicians from borrowing jets from friends to cover the campaign trail.
The rise of regional parties remains one of the great trends of modern Indian politics. This election was meant to be no different. Until relatively recently, most analysts thought opposition leader Narendra Modi would struggle to form a government without roping in a plethora of regional barons from smaller parties.
Monday’s exit polls now make such a scenario seem rather less likely, given most projections show that Modi may be able to form a government with only his pre-election allies for support. Yet the polls also reveal an oddly contradictory picture about the performance of India’s “others”, who appear to be winning and losing electoral ground at the same time.