By universal consensus, India is the worst performer among the emerging economies and is led by the most inefficient and self-serving political leaders. But are we really that bad? How do we compare against the other big emerging economies – China, Brazil, Russia, South Africa and Indonesia? By Shivshanker Verma
There will not be a single domestic or international news publication that has not mourned the death of the India growth story in recent weeks. By universal consensus, India has the worst economy among emerging countries, has the riskiest fiscal profile, most pessimistic growth outlook, and the most inefficient, inept, and corrupt politicians. While admitting that these allegations are valid, considering what we have seen over the last couple of years, it is only reasonable to ask if India has attracted more than its fair share of criticism.
Are these negatives really unique to India? Are the other major emerging economies, specifically China, Brazil, South Africa, Brazil, and Indonesia, far ahead of India in these aspects? Do they all have robust economic models that will ensure high long term growth? Are they all led by efficient and incorruptible politicians, and are unaffected by the ongoing global slowdown?
Let us first look at the political environment in other emerging countries. China is preparing for the once in a decade revamp of the country's top leadership. The world doesn't know much about the incoming leaders and the recent ouster of Bo Xilai, an aspirant for Politburo membership, following a scandal has added to the intrigue. In Russia, after the return of Putin as president, the government has launched more assaults on political and personal freedoms. The crowds that attended the protest rallies against the government in Moscow this week were several times larger, and visibly more agitated, than anything Team Anna has managed to attract so far in Delhi.
The South African mining sector has been severely affected by strikes for more than a year now, and there have been widespread protests by left wing labour unions, which are part of the government coalition, in Johannesburg and other cities. Oblivious to all these, South African president Jacob Zuma is most interested in improving his record as the most married world leader, taking his sixth wife in April this year.
Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff is widely considered to be ineffective, encouraging her predecessor Lula da Silva to suggest that he may return to the presidency in 2014.
In Indonesia, President Yudhoyono's last term has come under the cloud of corruption scandals, though they are no match for the allegations against our Andimuthu Raja.