Ideas for stealth reforms

85 consumer items to go off reserved list

The government has decided to remove several consumer items from the list of products reserved for the small-scale industry. The list includes sweetened cashew nut products, shoe polish, wheel chairs, sandalwood oil, hair pins, mechanical razors, gas lighters, adhesive insulating tapes and coffee percolators.

There was a McKinsey study which claimed that removing product market restrictions (i.e. removing the reservation of the 800 odd items for the small scale sector) was the most important next step the government could take, because it would give a 2 point boost to the GDP growth. So I suppose I am happy about this.

Incidentally, this gives me an idea about how to go about reforms free from the left’s interference. The government should propose “decoy reforms”, things which they are never going to do, but which will make the left come charging at you. For example, they should propose that you are going to privatise the DRDO or allow foreign political parties to contest elections in India, or something similarly outlandish. The left will do their usual stuff – organise strikes, carry out dharnas, etc. While they are thus distracted, the government can go on with the really important reforms.

3 thoughts on “Ideas for stealth reforms

  1. Reminds me of the common tactics used by the ruling party in Kerala (regardless of whether they are CPIM/Congress) when they have to increase bus fares.
    1) They first announce that they are going to increase it by some outlandish figure (like say 1 rupee increase on all fares).
    2) This is followed by strikes/dharnas/school shutdowns etc
    3) Govt “negotiates” with strikers.
    4) Govt reduces it to 50p increase (which is what they had in mind from the get-go)
    5) Both sides claim victory and go back to their non-agendas

    Long live democracy!

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