Much has been said about the fallacies in India’s energy policy-a lack of coherent planning, endemic ills of cross-subsidies, inefficiencies of state-owned companies, and so on-to argue the impossibility of India’s ability to meet the energy demands of a growing economy. Although true in past, this argument is weakening. Amidst excessive criticism of every single government action, the real, but subtle, face of Indian energy policy has not attracted mass attention yet. And understandably so:
The primary purpose of physical infrastructure, even by a narrow economic viewpoint, is to support economic activity, while that of social infrastructure, such as education and healthcare, is to build and maintain human capital. Sadly, the infrastructure policy of the Indian government, both past and present, seems to be concerned with reducing fiscal costs, to the detriment of those two core objectives.
In the national budget for 2008-2009, India’s Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram has proposed that the federal government will waive loans to farmers, with the total waiver amount capped at Rs 60,000 crore ($15 billion).
Lord Meghnad Desai put a dampener on India's global aspirations when he recently prophesied that "China will be a great power, but India will just be a great democracy." Indians will chafe at this prognostication. But one key question is this: suppose, as Indians will no doubt hope, that the future is unkind to the Desai prophecy. How then should India prepare itself for being an important and influential player in current and new global economic policies and institutions?