THE new Government is soon to put its money where its mouth is: July 22, Budget day, is eagerly awaited, by Indian decision-makers and other, more recent 'stakehol-ders' in the economy, namely multilaterals and foreign investors. India's disempowered, too, expect a better deal, however uninteresting this may be to the English language press.
All these expectations, but one, huge, constraint. The new Government has inherited a poisoned chalice. For all the claims made by Manmohan Singh, the public finances are insolvent. So is the trade account. We are indebted, at home and abroad, and have managed our domestic and international finances unwisely.
Hyperbole? Was not India on the fast track to becoming an Asian tiger, poised to leap into a high growth era? Let's look at the evidence. First the infamous budget deficit problem. This, allegedly, was Dr Singh's great success. Not so, unfortunately. Dr Singh had an uncanny ability to play down reality and broadcast projections as truth. This is now evident when we look at the record.