FM's Press Conference - 5
May 17, 2020

This is (thankfully) the final installment!

The Steps

Again, nothing much on the “demand” side, no cash handouts. Just more announcement-ware. Whether they will be followed through or not, time will tell!

The main item in today’s presentation was about relaxing borrowing limits of states, even as FM made clear they are not even using existing limits! States are told to adhere to Central reform initiatives if they are to take advantage of these limits though.

Other than that it was a whole bunch of recycled announcements such as so-called “de-criminalisation” of offenses under Companies Act, which was announced in Budget too.

We should be getting a new PSU policy soon, demarcating areas where private companies cannot get in. In other words a negative list. Barring that, everything else is theoretically open. But in reality this has been the case for a long time already. So I am not sure what’s the big deal! After all, there are businesses like Railways where private sector simply does not want to get into, unless it is something that makes uses of tracks already laid. One can presume nuclear power and other dangerous businesses will anyway be banned.

The conclusion

Now that we have seen the last of the media appearances, one basic fact shines through - FM / PM have not announced any dole or cash grant. That was demanded and widely expected too. Not surprisingly this is drawing a lot of political flak. Given the “don’t care about spending” messages from otherwise conservative economists that has become regular, it would have been very easy, in fact, politically expedient for the PM to simply throw money about.

But he is NOT doing that and is prepared to face the music.

  • Is that because he believes in his power of persuasion?
  • Or public, including potential recipients of cash know Modi knows what’s best for them? And trusts him?
  • Or he cares nothing for those poor subaltern, as alleged by most opposition and their media servants?

The last explanation doesn’t really make much sense as we already pointed out. It was too easy for him to give it out. We ae left with the other two, unless there are other answers!

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