Milan Vaishnav

Modi’s Reform Agenda: Change You Can Believe In?

Asia Policy Brief 2015/04

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8 pages, PDF


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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi entered office with a historic political mandate. For the first time in thirty years, a single party won a majority of seats in the lower house of Parliament (Lok Sabha). However, Modi faced sky-high expectations to fulfill his campaign promises of getting India’s economy back on track. Eighteen months into his government’s term and in the wake of electoral defeats in Delhi and Bihar, questions are being raised about its economic performance.

In this issue of the Asia Policy Brief Milan Vaishnav, an associate in the South Asia program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC, analyzes the reform agenda of the Modi government. He argues that while Modi has stabilized India’s macroeconomy and announced a series of incremental economic reforms, more sweeping changes have fallen victim to India’s nettlesome domestic politics, including roadblocks within the ruling alliance. Given the array of external and internal constraints, the Modi government is unlikely to deviate from its gradualist path.

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