Monday, January 25, 2021

Editor's Space

Work in progress 



As Prime Minister Modi – and the BJP government – sets about getting the country’s debilitated economy and the niggardly inadequate infrastructure on track, the recently released statistical indicators of India’s performance through 2013-14   do not offer any cheer with the GDP growing at 4.7 per cent, short of the original estimate of 4.9 per cent but slightly above the 4.5 per cent growth registered in 2012-13. It is true that the spectacular victory carved out by Modi on the back of large public disenchantment with the former Congress led UPA government helped the stock market rally past the 25000 mark breaking the statistical jinx for the first time in 20 years. But these are largely reflections of industry sentiment propped up by perceptions of possible future action on the ground. They ignore ground realities of the present, which is of India stuck in an economic quagmire and infrastructure projects failing to take off.


Understandably therefore, the government which has ridden to power on the back a development agenda, would doubtless be under enormous pressure to reverse the situation both in the economy and also in terms of fast tracking of key projects which can put India Inc back on a growth trajectory. Ergo, it would be unfair to expect miracles of the new dispensation though it would be rather nice to have some affirmative action. It is a good augury that Modi and his team members have not vacillated and have got into action mode in right earnest quite early in the life of the new government, as seen from their reiteration of the poll manifestoes and public pronouncements: Some of these include award of Rs 13000 crore worth of roads and highways projects, parleys to activate the prime minister’s bullet train projects across India, the construction of 100 smart cities as part of the larger urban development initiative, emphasis on development of waterways, metro rail networks.


On the economic side too, where the challenges are enormous, the objective would be to restore the pace of growth, contain inflation and concentrate on fiscal consolidation, restoration of investor confidence, and quickening the pace of FDI. Very obviously the government will have to unleash animal spirits, work out of the box, to get the country back on the rails for India to realise its true potential.


Speaking of potential, the focus of our attention in this issue is the city of Pune, which has largely gone unrecognised for its outstanding contributions to the country. Our cover story is a tribute to the silent emergence of Pune as India’s biggest manufacturing hub and prospective metro – and the role played by various companies in its development, as also by its publicity shy and proud denizens.


It’s high time the city got due recognition without having to ask for it. That said, Pune, like India, has a long way to go to achieve greatness.


Both, in our view, are a work in progress.


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