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A K Bhattacharya: Are these reforms?

To describe the diesel price increase or disinvestment of government equity in PSUs as reform is to misunderstand the idea of reform

Reform, according to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, is a “change that is made to a social system, an organisation, etc. in order to improve or correct it”. Going by this definition, much of what the Manmohan Singh government announced last week cannot really be called reform. Yes, they are decisions by a government that had long ceased to take decisions, which in itself brings some relief. But are they reforms? Take, for instance, the decision to raise the price of diesel by Rs 5 a litre. Before the price was raised, the under-recovery – or the difference ...