A+| A| A-

Business-Government Accommodation

Reciprocal consent characterises the mutual accommodation of government and big business today.

It might be an exaggeration, but nevertheless with a kernel of truth in it, to state that much of what the Indian state decides today in the realm of economic policy is strongly influenced by big business. It does not then come as a surprise that the crux of what the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) has to say in its Economic Outlook, 2011-12 comes from its “structured interaction” with a section of the representatives of big business. Predictably, delays in forest and environmental clearances, among other grievances, are stressed, but has not the cabinet reshuffle of 12 July – dismissed, in some circles, as a damp squib – taken care of that? On the very day that the PMEAC released its report, the union finance and commerce ministers met a section of the so-called captains of industry and asked each of them to submit the five most important proposals that they would like to include in the government’s policies.

Now, a number of the “captains” who had been invited are already either on the Prime Minister’s Council on Trade and Industry (PMCTI) or on the task forces on infrastructure, capital markets and financial sector initiatives, administrative and legal simplifications, service industries, knowledge-based industries, and so on. But, of course, at the meeting chaired by the union finance minister there were also the ones who are at the helm of the public-private partnerships in the airport and other infrastructure projects. We cannot help but be reminded of what Adam Smith – long canonised as the patron saint of laissez-faire capitalism– had to say about facilitating such meetings:

To read the full text Login

Get instant access

New 3 Month Subscription
to Digital Archives at

₹826for India

$50for overseas users


(-) Hide

EPW looks forward to your comments. Please note that comments are moderated as per our comments policy. They may take some time to appear. A comment, if suitable, may be selected for publication in the Letters pages of EPW.

Using ordinance to protect freedom of expression from foul speech may result in damaging decent communication.

Only an empowered regulator can help boost production and cut coal imports.

Biden’s policy of the “return to the normal” would be inadequate to decisively defeat Trumpism.

*/ */

Only a generous award by the Fifteenth Finance Commission can restore fiscal balance.

*/ */

The assessment of the new military alliance should be informed by its implications for Indian armed forces.

The fiscal stimulus is too little to have any major impact on the economy.

The new alliance is reconfigured around the prospect of democratic politics, but its realisation may face challenges.

A damning critique does not allow India to remain self-complacent on the economic and health fronts.


The dignity of public institutions depends on the practice of constitutional ideals.

The NDA government’s record in controlling hunger is dismal despite rising stocks of cereal.


Back to Top