ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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The Pressure Mounts

The Pressure Mounts WITH the political vacuum in the governance of the country and in the absence of effective opposition from political parties and the affected sections of the people, the bureaucracy is making plans to aggressively push ahead with the structural adjustment of the economy, unmindful of the social consequences. A number of recent developments have brought this out clearly. First, there was the Aid-India Consortium meeting in Paris in the third week of June which became, more so than in earlier years, an occasion for the multilateral organisations and the aid-givers to demand, and the government of India to promise, redoubling of efforts towards structural reform of the Indian economy. Second, the government has announced that it will begin later this month negotiations with the IMF for a three- year borrowing arrangement under the extended fund facility (EFF) involving substantially stiffer conditions than the standby arrangement just drawing to a close Simultaneously, negotiations are also being pursued with the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank on financial sector reform as well as sectoral adjustment programmes affecting the power, hydrocarbon, transport and telecommunications sectors. As the country gets deeper in debt to the international organisations, closer co-ordination among them, the IMF and the World Bank in particular, in prescribing tighter policy and performance conditionalities is only to be expected. The government, however, keeping up the pretence that the economic reforms are all a matter of its own volition, has come up with a 'discussion paper' on 'Economic Reforms: Two years After and the Task Ahead'. Finally, the country's earlier negotiating stance seeking modification of the Dunkel draft, particularly on intellectual property rights, has been abandoned and the concerned officials have gone public advocating wholesale acceptance of the Dunkel proposals.

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