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Desperate to move fast and break things, Modi acts first and thinks later

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The Narendra Modi government announces a policy for transition to electric vehicles and then realises it is unrealistic. It extends the deadline, which will no doubt be extended again.

In a huff, the government says single-use plastic will be banned across the country in a matter of weeks, only to realise it is just impractical to do so.

If you think these are isolated examples, just look at the first budget of the second Modi government, most of its big bad ideas have been rolled back. In the budget, the government said it would super tax the super-rich. Under pressure from India Inc a few weeks later, it had to cut corporate tax. Soon it will realise that this is not what it needed to do since the main problem is lack of demand. Then, it will do something else.

Until now, the Modi government has only been accused of implementation paralysis, but the days of policy paralysis may not be far. Policy paralysis occurs when the government is too afraid to make any new policy move, fearing it will backfire. The Modi government has already slowed down a thriving economy with its compulsive need for disruption, and can’t afford to impose any more disruption (or so one hopes).

Also read: Bharat Petroleum sale will make Modi India’s No. 1 reformer. But reform by stealth won’t do

The root of the problem lies in making policy without evidence or a causal link. Sometimes there’s a political motive or a vested interest in doing so, sometimes it’s not even that.

Having dismantled the state of Jammu & Kashmir without any due process, using the Governor’s stamp after keeping the J&K assembly under suspension, the government........

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