Opinion DC Comment 25 Jan 2016 Davos musings

Davos musings

DECCAN CHRONICLE | DECCAN CHRONICLE
Published Jan 25, 2016, 1:12 am IST
Updated Jan 25, 2016, 1:13 am IST
Raghuram G. Rajan, Governor of the Reserve Bank of India during the session 'The Growth Illusion' at the Annual Meeting 2016 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. (Photo: AP)
 Raghuram G. Rajan, Governor of the Reserve Bank of India during the session 'The Growth Illusion' at the Annual Meeting 2016 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. (Photo: AP)

There were few sane voices heard at the just-concluded Davos 2016 meet, the annual gathering of the world’s rich and powerful; but among them was our RBI governor Raghuram Rajan, billionaire financier George Soros and financial columnist Felix Salmon.

The focus was how to respond to technological changes in the global economy, like startups, while Mr Soros warned the migration of over a million refugees from West Asia was putting Europe in jeopardy. Many held China responsible for the global crisis, but Dr Rajan warned stimulus programmes had led to the crisis as they created bubbles in commodities.

The most stinging comment, however, came from columnist Salmon, who claimed Davos itself was in denial, that the world failed to come together despite the “lofty grandiloquence”.

From India, most of the usual faces were seen: finance minister Arun Jaitley, along with the captains of Indian industry and some Congress figures like Kamal Nath. There was little said that was new or of consequence: all the old promises on GST and faster reforms were trotted out, as they are back home.

India has no greater ambassador than Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has single-handedly sold India as an attractive investment destination, and India has seen double the inflow of FDI  at $59 billion in 2015. It might be advisable for Mr Jaitley and his team to make the “ease of doing business” a reality at home, and change archaic laws and processes speedily.

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