In far too many quarters, the reforms adopted during the 1991 economic calamity are regarded as the modern equivalent of the British East India Company, something imposed on the country by overwhelming external forces. Thus, no political leader of any note embraces reform as a concept and when it occurs nonetheless, it is usually the product of technocratic subterfuge. As business leader turned public intellectual Gurcharan Das noted the other week, India is bereft of “a liberal party that openly trusts markets and focuses on economic and institutional reform.”
This void accounts for a number of striking paradoxes. India has made a name for itself as a mainstay of the global technology sector, yet remains one of the world’s least globalized economies. A new study ranks it 123rd out of 139 countries – and 8th out of 12 in the South and Central Asia region – when it comes to various dimensions of global connectedness. Likewise, India ranks 100th out of 132 countries on the World Economic Forum’s global enabling trade index.
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