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No Encores

No Encores THE principal staple the authorities in New Delhi subsist on these days is induced euphoria. The budget is of course a prime illustration, but it is easy to come across other equally excellent examples. Thus the recent visits of prime minister John Major and chancellor Helmut Kohl have been interpreted as precursors of a tidal flow of investible funds from the United Kingdom and Germany respectively, to be duly followed by a gush of exports to these European shores. The misconception, if it is that, is sadly of magnum proportions. Neither Great Britain's nor Germany's ruling politicians are having sleepless nights over the slow migration of capital funds into India, nor are they going to do something vigorous about it. The chancellor and the prime minister came in search of markets not for their capital, but for their manufactured products. The problem back home, for both of them, is not unemployed investible funds, but unemployed labour. The volume of unemployment in Britain has crossed three million (the same situation obtains in France too); if one were to include the down-and-outs in the 're-unified' extern regions, total joblessness in Germany has continued to hover, for most of the past couple of years, at around four million. For understandable reasons, the prime minister and the chancellor came as itinerant salesmen; they are keen to dump some merchandise on India so that home employment could pick up.

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