Thoughts on economics and liberty

India is lurching into a grim future – with its current political leadership incapable of rescuing it

It has personally been a very sorry situation for me. After six months of working with Swami Ramdev and with hope that we will actually CHANGE India's future, I find there was no willingness to genuinely reform India's governance. Swami Ramdev might have compulsions about which I'm not aware. But he seems to have effectively set back India's future by not taking the actions he had committed to taking.

In the meanwhile, Swarna Bharat Party has been established (and is in the process of registration with the Election Commission) but currently there is simply no momentum, no funding, not many leaders. The resources needed for a major political effort need to come together if any genuine change is to be effected.

India is lurching badly into a grim future. Black clouds have entirely taken over the horizon. There is no silver lining. More than one year ago Chetan Bhagat had the foresight to write:

The government is behaving like a drunken husband who borrows to buy liquor.

In simple terms, imagine a middle-class man who earns Rs 10,000 per month. His house needs urgent repairs. He also has past debts to clear.

Thus, every month he has to pay Rs 3,000 as interest.

He lives well and spends Rs 12,000 as living costs. He spends Rs 2,000 on urgent repairs, but needs a lot more to fix the house.

Thus, his overall spend is Rs 17,000 compared to his income of Rs 10,000. To fill the gap, he borrows Rs 7,000 every month (thus increasing his total debt and the next month's interest).

He doesn't have the money to educate his kids or fix the house anytime soon.

…What would you call such a man? An economic powerhouse? …will you call him irresponsible, unaccountable and deluded?

Well, the above example is that of our government finances. …

What is the government doing? It is splurging money to please voters..

It isn't corruption technically, but it is ruining the nation's accounts. …

Sadly, few Indians care.

Many of us actually believe all this somehow doesn't affect our own lives.

Government finances are too complicated and distant to bother us.

And yet, we are entering the danger zone. Interest rates and borrowing costs have zoomed up.

Most private businesses today are unable to borrow below 15% per annum. They are not making big growth plans anymore. Inflation is well above 10%. The rupee has collapsed 20% in the last two years. …

What does all this mean? Our GDP growth has slowed down, from the 8% zone to the 5% zone. And that will have a dramatic effect on new jobs. …

In the next five years, we might witness a full-blown job crisis. That will mean tremendous pain for unemployed but talented people, and cause a lot of instability in the country.

Unemployment, after all, is the biggest cause of revolutions." [Source]

What Bhagat didn't mention but must now be taken into account is that robotics has now become such a big thing (from this year) that it is going to suck out jobs from India and put them back into the West (that too, very few) in the coming five years. There is a serious crisis brewing, and I'm not sure whether India has any leadership capability to avert it. Modi, to the best of my knowledge, is just not up to the task.

In the meanwhile, clouds over Modi's future as possible PM are getting darker as well. There is a huge risk now that his pet police officers (whom he had been forced to punish in order to protect his skin?) are now rebelling.

"As the government has miserably failed in protecting its encounter police" [What – does Vanzara expect any government to protect those who kill people in fake 'encounters'?

"he, in the hurry of marching towards Delhi, may kindly not forget to repay the debt which he owes to jailed police officers who endowed him with the halo of Brave Chief Minister among the galaxy of other Chief Ministers who do not bear the same adjective before their names." [This is serious stuff – indicates there was a deliberate effort – at least through words – to promote extra-judicial killings]

"this spineless government of Gujarat which is valiant only in words otherwise coward in deeds and impotent in actions" [Vanzara too deserves a speedy trial – that much I agree. If there are deliberate attempts to slow down the trial – then questions must be asked] [Source]

Modi's election as PM is looking increasingly difficult because if he was actually involved in wrong doing, then something might come along in the next few months to derail his campaign. BJP has no other leader of any standing across India.

On the policy front, BJP has nothing remarkable to offer. I haven't seen any policies from the BJP policy think tank yet, but I'm not sure we'll see policies which can fix India's humongous problems. The origin of BJP is in an socialist, inward looking approach. Not sure whether it can over come such a long history of socialism.

I would like to appeal to Indians who are capable of seeing the writing on the wall to immediately group together and join Swarna Bharat Party. This is a CLASSICAL LIBERAL platform which CAN not only save India from severe disaster but help make it succeed like no one else can.

I may have become less sceptical about Modi (at least since yesterday) but that is not the same as having confidence in him or in BJP. Policy wise and governance capability wise, BJP simply doesn't have the right credentials. And its link with VHP are simply too blatant.

Sanjeev Sabhlok

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17 thoughts on “India is lurching into a grim future – with its current political leadership incapable of rescuing it
  1. Murthy

    congress is a bigger evil, BJP is lesser evil. Swami Ramdev forming a political party would eat into the votes of BJP and would end up congress winning the election.

  2. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    I don’t think there was any intention to be a third force, but to be the in-between classical liberal party that would align with BJP for 2014. SBP is still designed as that kind of a party. 

  3. Kishan Sharma

    I have observed that when talking BJP vs Congress you deliberately ignore the tremendous performance of the NDA 1998-2004. On most aspects of development NDA was far, far better than UPA. One example : UPA Govt just a month or two back gave figures of Urban & Rural roads added in the last 65 years.It admitted that the length of roads added during 6 years of NDA was half of the total during 65 years. I have traveled on village roads constructed during both NDA & UPA time. Those constructed during NDA time are still in much better shape while roads constructed during UPA crumble every monsoon. All areas, infrastructure (roads,telecom,electricity),health,education etc etc got a boost during NDA period. I’ll send you a link to or you can google the recent article which I think was titled: Was Vajpayee wrongly punished in 2004? That gives all details of the progress that India really made during NDA years. Modi has so far given an indication that Vajpayee is his role model.
    Regarding encounter killings, thousands of such killings happen all over India.(Paid)Media has a vested interest in highlighting only Gujarat.
    If one takes into account the totally decrepit justice system in India, its no wonder that police all over India has to resort to such methods to get rid of known anti-social criminals/terrorists. Not the ideal situation, but in which area India is ideal? It is a crumbling society.

  4. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Kishan, I am 100 per cent clear on this since many years: that BJP is PART of the “crumbling, decript system/society” that you refer to. It has 100 per cent socialist policies and has no interest in reforming governance.

    I was hoping for something better from Modi but he shows no sign of speaking up about reforms. The NDA was a total failure. I was in service at that time and very close to key officers during the time it was in power, and I can say it was a total failure. Not one redeeming feature. It was a reform opportunity squandered. God knows how many papers I circulated within the government and planning commission at that time. All were rejected saying there is no political will for reform.

    It was during the NDA regime that I finally decided to resign.


  5. Kishan Sharma

    I think you are an absolutist. Either ideal or nothing ! As I wrote earlier the world is all shades of gray, very rarely white or black.
    Anyway, here is the link to the article, for whatever it is worth in your eyes.
    Read it if you wish.
    Many times you are a part of history but can’t see it. The vision is much clearer from a distance.

  6. Shravan

    Mr. Sabhlok your disappointment is not entirely valid/invalid. Vajpayee even though a man of BJP was still a Delhi Insider. Whether you believe it or not, Modi does mean business when he says government has no business to be in business. He may not be making the kind of noise you would like him to make but please remember he is a smart politician, he will time his words like one.

  7. Shravan

    Don’t judge Modi by the performance of the NDA, Vajpayee was leader of NDA government not Modi. Modi is way better than Vajpayee and Advani both are cosy with other party leaders, Modi is not, he is rough even rude maybe, he is like an open book nothing secret about him.

    About reforms I would like to give an example, he has said private companies must be allowed to run their own train services. What Modi has done to address water problems in Gujarat is quiet good. As long as he is a state leader there is not much Modi can do. Listen to his speeches at various forums and you will know that he is very reform minded maybe not a pure capitalist but much much better than current crop of leaders.

  8. Sanjeev Sabhlok


    I need to see the words that BJP stands for (policies) in writing and I need to see VHP asked publicly to behave. We are talking about the PM of 1.25 billion people. If the PM can’t articulate what he stands for (rule of law, good policy) and DESCRIBE and DEFEND himself and his policies, then he will be a failure for India. We can’t afford half-baked people any longer. We have such people for 65 years and we can do better.



  9. allwyn

    I have posted this link before too but you don’t simply accept it that ABV govt had followed reforms which later brought the country to the 8% growth rate:

    its difficult to understand why that govt was voted out in 2004 . . I would like to hear what you think about that? The govt had contained inflation and also kept the deficit in check what then made the ppl vote congress!

    just to quote a bit:

    ” The Vajpayee government was keen on privatization as a policy, especially after it won a clearer mandate in the October 1999 elections. In January 2000, it carried out the first “strategic sale” by selling Modern Food Industries Limited to Hindustan Lever. Beyond some worker protests, the sale went smoothly. This emboldened the government, and Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha formally announced the adoption of a new privatization policy in the 2000-01 budget speech to the Parliament on February 29 2000.

    He then says:

    The government also gave charge of the Department of Disinvestment to State Minister Arun Shourie, who was firmly committed to the cause of privatization (as opposed to the sale of minority shares for raising revenue). On September 1 2001, the government upgraded the Department of Disinvestment to the Ministry of Disinvestment to strengthen Shourie’s hand vis-a-vis ministers in charge of enterprises, who invariably opposed the sales.

    It’s also well documented that Disinvestment Minister Arun Shourie nearly succeeded in selling off, lock stock and barrel BPCL and HPCL, two of the major oil public sector units. Unfortunately, the sale was blocked by the Supreme Court and NDA lost power shortly after. Here’s an old Indian Express article on the topic. It notes that:

    The Government had on January 26 decided to sell its 34.01 per cent stake in HPCL to a strategic partner and offload its 35.02 per cent stake in BPCL through public offering in domestic and overseas capital markets.

    After the proposed disinvestment and offer of five per cent stake at concessional rates to employees, government’s shareholding in HPCL was to come down to 12 per cent and that in BPCL to 26 per cent.

    Disinvestment Minister Arun Shourie has maintained that the privatisation of the two oil PSUs, which were nationalised through an Act of Parliament in 1970s, did not need Parliament approval.

    Shourie’s argument was, however, countered by the Opposition parties and trade unions which said privatisation of HPCL and BPCL, which together have 40 per cent share in the 15 billion dollars oil retail market, should be ratified by Parliament.”

  10. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    I know precisely what NDA did, Allwyn. It did not, unforutnately, have any fundamental policy position in favour of liberal governance, including reform of the entire machinery of government. I know since I kept going to senior officers in PMO, Planning Commission and Finance Ministry – proposing a range of reforms with comprehensive supporting arugments and proposals, but the view was clear: there were political issues preventing any major reform.

    Even today, I’m in touch with BJP’s think tank at a senior level but haven’t seen any policy yet. And I’ve been told that political factors will prevent good policies from being proposed. I’m waiting to see what comes out. I’ve sent the SKCF agenda and many other relevant material, but I’m not hopeful.

    The goal seems to be very narrow, not nationalistic.

  11. Kishan

    Sir, it is very surprising that you are not willing to see the ground realities in India.The poison of socialism sown for 60 years has proven very profitable for a majority of the political class.It cannot be cleansed in one term or even two/three terms.Reforms have always happened under absolute compulsion when there was really no other choice before the plundering class.Still, BJP/NDA did a lot of work that could be done without annoying the powerful vested interests.
    The intention was there but coalition compulsions prevented fundamental reforms that you mention.

  12. Amarbir Singh Toor

    Sir please don’t be so negative.
    India has very few intellectual people like you.
    We need people like you to be positive..
    M sure in 20 years from now we will see a third front emerging in india and an honest 1.
    India will fight back this corrupt system all we need is one leader like saheed bhagat singh or mahatma Gandhi.
    We have produced such leaders before and we will do it again.
    Society is so fed up that the day such a man comes you will see each and every indian rich poor or whoever will follow this leader to death if needed.
    we Indians have a culture to respect and talk about people who are extremely dedicated or honest or highly talented(obsession with Sachin Tendulkar for instance). this happens in every family .. you can see in your family only that children who are good in studies are praised and discussed by whole family..
    All we need is a leader who can make indian public into one big united family..
    I have faith in our motherland and il keep it up till my last breath..

  13. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Let’s not worry about what’s past. Let’s look at the kinds of policies BJP will now propose. BJP’s DNA is socialst so I’m very sceptical. But Modi seems better than other alternatives. Let’s wait for policies.

  14. allwyn

    Equating BJP with Congress is disingenuous!

    Another analysis you should read. When debating “liberal economics” between congress and bjp im sure the bjp wins parties are far from best liberal policy use which you would prefer and I agree with that but this is a comparision between cong and bjp and the country would do much better with NDA.

    What I object to is your claim that both the parties are exactly similar and in one of you previous posts you have outright said that only the congress has supported major economic reforms and bjp has always opposed reforms.

    “On the other hand, the difference between BJP and Congress, on the economic policy front has widened significantly in the last 9 years of UPA rule. The failure of the “fence sitters” to recognize this difference is causing immense damage to the country depriving / delaying millions to emerge out of abject poverty.”

  15. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    I will continue to say what I see to be the facts of the case. Let BJP put out its economic and governance policies. Note that I’m NOT interested only in economic policy. I think that is not India’s major problem today. It is governance.

  16. arunnayagarh

    Everyone must take an initiative to change the current image of India!!

    Arun Kumar Sahoo working for equal rights of all people in our society and Being influenced by Biju Pattnaik he joined as an Odisha BJD leader and work into the main stream of politics.

    Odisha BJD leader




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