My last blog entry - Caretakers of status quo - pertianed to the levels to which our babudom can stoop to stonewall an infrastructure project that doesn't happen to be their flavour of the month. When it comes to changing its mind our government appears to put in the shade even the most fickle-minded of the proverbial woman. Mr Kheny's expressway project has had its ups and downs (more downs than ups, Mr Kheny would say). And the pace of the project is stepped up or slowed down , depending on the stance of the ruling politics of the day.
Upshot of such push-pull pace of development isn't particularly fancied by business leaders, who believe that our politics is not conducive to attracting corporate investment in development projects. Compare FDI figures for China and India in recent years, and you get the drift of MNC mindset. Not long ago in Davos we took pride in putting out advertisements on public transport buses, conveying the message that India is the fastest-growing free-market democracy. It did little to alter anyone's perception that China grows faster; holds out more promise to foreign investers.
The World Economic Forum (W E F) is reported to have plans to hold regular summer summits in China. It is not as if India doesn't matter to them; it is just that China matters more. We are not the first choice for investors so long as China is in the race; we gain only if China slips. The thing, they say, that is wrong with us is our politics - " a messy democracy, producing shaky coalitions; five PMs in the last 15 years".
Accepting that we have no alternative to democracy, the question is: How do we make democracy work for our people, not just for politicians ?