Chirag Desai

Indian optimism vs Western pessimism


Daniel Twining, writing for Foreign Policy:

Americans suffering a crisis of confidence about the future of their country’s democratic institutions under President Donald Trump could use a dose of Indian-style optimism.
India’s experience offers a useful antidote to Western pessimism — and a reminder that democracy can offer solutions to the growth and governance dilemmas that afflict the United States and Europe.

Twining takes a view on the ‘feeling’ side of the political debate, crediting Modi with ‘doing something’ with his strong political mandate which, in the context of the thumping victory in Uttar Pradesh, seems to be creating an undercurrent of optimism in India. He highlights FDI reform, overall growth cross 7% per year, the upcoming Goods & Services Tax, bankruptcy bill, demonetisation, Jan-Dhan Accounts and Direct Benefit Transfer, and the Modi Government’s foreign policy.

He also makes an interesting point regarding India’s constant election situation:

At the same time, aspirational Indian voters increasingly manifest a tendency to reward governments that deliver growth and toss out politicians who do not meet performance tests. Strong anti-incumbency instincts keep politicians on their toes.

I think that the cost and constant election cycle are more detrimental than good, but perhaps the corollary to India constantly analysing everything from an election perspective is that politicians also have to be ‘on their toes’.

It’s an interesting take overall, correctly grasping the optimism among Indians since 2014, against the overall pessimism in the US since their last election.