Let’s hope that the specter of 1991 lingers around long enough to galvanize New Delhi elites – especially Congress Party leaders who are now in populist election mode – with the courage to implement game-changing reforms. Taking a cue from the ADB, they can start with dismantling the anarchic laws governing labor markets and the acquisition of land for industrial projects which have stifled the growth of labor-intensive manufacturing. This should be a huge comparative advantage though worrying signs are emerging of Indian manufacturers shifting to other countries. But until some hard measures are enacted, all of New Delhi’s talk about building the country into a global manufacturing hub will continue to ring hollow.
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