Indian Ministers Need to Remember: Change Begins at Home

It seems like all of society’s leaders are distracted by opportunities to distract themselves while the masses struggle. Indeed we have all heard that “Nero fiddled while Rome burned.” In point of fact, Nero likely didn’t fiddle, as the violin had yet to be invented in his time. But, the historical anachronism should not distract us from the real takeaway here; every civilization has sensed that while they are struggling, their leaders are not paying attention to the problems at hand. This is certainly the case with the Indian cabinet right now – several members of which were off at a series of meetings with dignitaries.

There was a large ministerial delegation looking for investments for infrastructure development in India. It would be better if they came over after making things more attractive for investors e.g. governance issues that are currently sweeping India and can impact the return on investment, transparency that would level the playing field for all investors and not just a few chosen ones, opening up multi-platform retail to foreign investors, instituting land reform to make infrastructure investment consistent across different states in India.

India needs to begin competing as though they are in an economic playoff.  Continuing the status quo of delegations to other countries only ignores the issues that are best for India’s economy and its democracy.  Leaving the homeland to pursue short-term investment opportunities while the problems at home go ignored is negligent on behalf of the officials who did so.

Investors today have several choices to invest in growing economies and countries now have to compete for capital and capital will flow to places where there is a certainty of policies and a pathway for reforms. Most reforms in India have been stalled for several years. Indian entrepreneurs are world class and they can go head to head against the best if they are playing with a full deck of cards, but right now they are a frustrated lot especially ones who are facing global competition since they do not deal with consistent policies and are dealing with political paralysis.

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