Govt's move to protect industry ignores both economic theory and history

Those who wish to blindly ape the Donald Trump-era United States' trade policy clearly have never bothered to think hard about the economic consequences of their actions in India

Mihir S Sharma
illustration:  Ajay Mohanty

illustration: Ajay Mohanty

When Narendra Modi won a historic landslide victory in 2014, many argued that he would take the process of economic reforms forward. Particularly excited were those exhausted by years of making the case for structural change in a political environment where multiple players appeared to possess veto powers on progress. It was considered likely that, given his mandate, Mr Modi would be able to take bigger and more influential steps than had hitherto been possible.
The sad twist is this: The occasions that Mr Modi has shifted policy clearly, the steps so taken have not been the sort that reformists hoped for or expected. Remember that the biggest policy innovation of his government has been demonetisation of the currency, a step that is — for good reason — not generally part of the economists’ arsenal, and therefore could hardly be sold as addressing the unfinished reform agenda.
We are now faced with another major shift, as the

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First Published: Feb 26 2018 | 4:51 AM IST

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