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India’s Modinomics

Posted May. 15, 2014 07:39,   


Robyn Meredith, an American journalist who has lots of knowledge and experience in Asia, compares China to a dragon and India as an elephant. Her book “The Elephant and the Dragon” was translated into Korean with a title “China that beat Mao and India that surpassed Gandhi.” Citing an Indian columnist, Meredith wrote, “India is an elephant that started to walk forward with a thumping sound.”

India is the world’s largest democratic country in terms of population. After it became an independent country in 1947, it had an economic policy focused on anti-industrialization and socialism. This was largely due to Mahatma Gandhi, the country’s teacher, and Jawaharlal Nehru, its first prime minister. India started an economic reform in 1991 when it was clearly revealed that left-leaning democracy, which influenced the country for a long time devastated the economy. It was 13 years later than that China reformed and opened its market, which had been ruined by Mao Zedong’s extreme leftist policy, under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping.

Exit polls found that the pro-business Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) beat the Indian National Congress Party, which took power for a decade in the recent general elections, by a large margin. Since 2001, Narendra Modi, who is highly likely to become India’s next prime minister, of the opposition BJP has led India’s strong growth as the governor of Gujarat. His economic policies that value businesses, growth, and the market created a new term “Modinomics.” After the elections, India’s stock prices and currency value soared reflecting Indians’ expectation for the new administration.

The prime minister candidate of the ruling party was the party’s Vice President Rahul Gandhi who is from the country’s most prestigious Nehru-Gandhi family. Jawaharlal Nehru, his only daughter Indira Gandi, and her son Rajiv Gandhi served as India’s prime minister. Rahul, the son of Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi (the ruling party’s leader), is called the “crown prince.” Meanwhile, Modi who is from the low class sold Indian black tea on the street when young. As voters turned their back to the Nehru-Gandi family due to the falling growth rate and corruption, the family lost to Modi who had a success story. If the Modi administration is launched, it will face some setbacks. The world is, however, focusing on India’s choice in 2014 which gave large votes to the rightist politician with a humble background who stressed growth and jobs instead of populism.

Editorial Writer Kwon Sun-hwal (shkwon@donga.com)