The forthcoming union budget assumes great significance since the economy is back in crisis - not like the crisis courted in 1991 but not much different either. The duo that shepherded the economy then (viz P Chidambaram and Manmohan Singh) are again at the helm. But can they deliver?
1991 was comparatively easier as there were enough low hanging fruits that could have been plucked, which they did with elan. But now, those are gone. The economy is in a structural mess. Political opportunism has ruined the economy and its finance. The decisions that are required to be taken now, has a much higher degree of difficulty of being implemented. Being a democracy, petty aspirations of various regional parties (which are quite often odds with each other) makes consensus driven policy making that much more difficult.
All these years, Indian politicians have been kicking the policy making can further down the road while continuing to wreck the finances. The can is getting bigger and bigger by the day while the force with which can be kicked down further is losing energy. Any further delay will only invite a crisis which will require even more painful restructuring.
Here's what I would really like to see in the budget. Hope that, for a change, economics triumphs over politics. Is it too much to hope? Maybe. But being an eternal optimist, keeping fingers crossed.