Where there's a will, there's a way

The temporary FDI policy rollback by the government is another indicator of how the UPA has lost control over governance, and indeed the trust of the Opposition as well as the people of India. 

The Manmohan Singh-led UPA government, which knew that the FDI policy was a contentious one, did not involve the Opposition in the decision making, nor did it take into confidence its own coalition partners. Since two of its largest partners -- the DMK as well as the Trinamool Congress -- are opposed to the policy in its current form, the chaos in Parliament and the subsequent rollback was a fait accompli.

The UPA government, which came into power in 2009 with substantial if not overwhelming majority, could have done wonders to policy making given the mandate it has in Parliament. Instead, it has squandered every little opportunity for real reform. In fact, except for the Right to Education there has been no policy reform in the country. Not surprisingly, the economic indicators are discouraging, and the investment climate has endured several hard knocks.

The policy vacuum has also resulted in nationwide disenchantment; combined with low growth there is soaring inflation -- both food and otherwise. The biggest consequence of the lack in political as well as economic commitment could also result in big foreign investments being diverted to other countries. India, which saw a huge spurt in foreign investment in the previous decade, could see a slowdown there too. 

This can never be good news for an aspiring superpower. There is still scope for the government to win back the confidence of both the Opposition as well as its coalition partners. The next two months -- the time frame for which the FDI policy has been deferred -- gives Dr Singh and his council of ministers to present the case for comprehensive reform without harming any constituencies.



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