Daily Archives: December 7, 2011

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The Indian government announced the opening up of the retail sector to foreign direct investment late last month. This led to an intense and sharply polarised debate. Passionate editorials for and against the plan appeared in the Indian press. The Bharatiya Janata party, the major opposition party, said it would oppose the policy in the streets and in parliament.

The critics had their say – and, within a week, their way. The policy has been put on hold, perhaps indefinitely. It was striking how soon the government capitulated, abandoning a policy that Manmohan Singh, the prime minister, was himself deeply committed to. This move points to some deeper structural features of the Indian political system, which may mean that – at least in the near future – other major reforms proposed by the government will not be implemented. Continue reading »