Politics makes strange bed fellows. – Charles Dudley Warner.
In a country like India, where there is almost always a coalition rule, it’s always difficult to implement a policy proposed by the government or suggestions given by a committee. The majority party in the coalition proposes something, the opposition opposes it. That’s standard procedure in every country. But we go a step further. The parties forming the coalition oppose it too, either because they fear falling out of favour with the public, or they simply want political gains in exchange for their support.
It’s not that we have a shortage of ideas. No, the policies are in place, but the implementation mechanism is simply not there. Most of the times the problem is a week government, other times the lack of a strong, bold and decisive minister who would overlook political factors just for the betterment of the economy. Even if there is, there is always someone to bring him down.
In 2012, Union Railway minister Dinesh Trivedi, in his annual railway budget announced a fare hike for all kinds of rail travel, to revive a badly bleeding railways, almost on the verge of facing the same fate as Air India. Although the fare revision was the first in almost a decade, and well supported by the public and the railway workers union, still the new fares was not implemented. Instead, Dinesh Trivedi had to resign from the ministry, amidst massive pressure from his party, which did not want to lose the pro-poor image by hiking fares, even for Air Conditioned travel.
Global rating agency, FITCH, recently cut its outlook for India to negative from stable because of the absence of policy reforms. According to FITCH analyst Art Woo, “India’s patchy performance on policy implementation, and the approach of elections in 2014 could impede fiscal consolidation, suggesting political and implementation risk remain significant”. This fact is further reflected in the agency’s BBB- rating of India. And FITCH is not the only one. Standard & Poor's (S&P) maintained "negative" outlook on India's sovereign ratings, published in November, 2013, and said it may cut it below investment grade if "policy drift" continued under the new government after the 2014 general elections. While this means nothing to the so called “Aam-Aadmi”, it hugely affects an investor’s decision to invest in India.
Another example of politics in policy implementation is Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). The MGNREGA is India’s largest and well resourced social welfare programme along with being the world’s largest social security intervention in terms of household’s covered.
However the success of its implementation in the grassroots level’s still remain a big problem, mostly because of political hindrance and lethargic implementation methods. Most of the time there is no work for willing persons. The payment is not always according to what should have been. Disagreement amongst local political honcho’s on...