Reflections

Contending With India's Democracy

Jul 29, 2016 | 02:56 GMT
Contending With India's Democracy
India's numerous linguistic, ethnic, religious and cultural groups can slow down its legislative process, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi has found in his various attempts to implement economic reforms.
(INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images)

That India is diverse is a well-known fact; Indians speak a variety of languages, worship a variety of gods and espouse a variety of ideologies. One consequence of this diversity is that legislation often moves in fits and starts. Reforms pivot on the hope of progress, then buckle under the contradictions inherent in India's raucous federalist system. Yesterday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a step toward reform by introducing a new version of the Goods and Services Tax bill, which promises to remove the country's 1 percent interstate tax, guarantee state reimbursements for up to five years of lost tax revenue and unify the country's multiple overlapping tax regimens. The benefits of the proposed legislation are numerous, but passing it will be no small feat. ...

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