Friday, February 10, 2006

descent from 'commanding heights"

a fine article by nandan nilekani on how the successful decision to privatise the Delhi and Mumbai airports, despite the hoo-haa by the Left-led unions, could be a pivotal moment in determining how much control the state exercises over markets.

nilekani himself was involved in a similar endeavour through the bangalore action task force (batf), a few years ago. until the comatose combo of dharam and deve gowda dismantled the task force. i believe it is much more beneficial when the government hands over infrastructure development to those who can do the job. for one, as in the case of batf, there's greater accountability, which results in greater benefits for you and me.

secondly, the man on the street no longer cares whether it's the state or a private company in charge of the job.

and that's probably because markets and consumer attitudes have changed over the past few years. take air travel, for example. unlike a few years ago, when it was considered elitist, now low cost carriers have introduced air travel to a new category of customers- the middle class. always a dangerous bunch of customers to rub the wrong way! and when such mostly middle class travellers are caught in the cross fires between the left-led unions and the government, they need an ass to kick. which, more often than not, belongs to the dillusional prakash karat.

while the go-ahead to privatise the mumbai and delhi airports is definitely a positive signal for the reforms process, it's only the beginning. i think manmohan and co. would do well to ignore the comrades on such issues and accelerate the reforms process. or join the comrades waving the red flag in front of the bull of public ire, which before long, will run them over.

the copy drinkers