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Govt's choice - Business or Consumer?
Tue, 14 Oct Pre-Open

We have been hearing a lot about, the new government reforms and policies for development of the country and its people. Prime Minister Modi has been meeting various people and laying down various business plans, which can help India, going forward. The government seeks overall development and prosperity of the common man. However, are these business plans pro-consumer too?

Recently, an article on Mint, has thrown light on this aspect. As per this article, along with polices the government should also decide upon the yardstick. Against which it should evaluate economic policy alternatives. This means, what will be the net impact of putting in force a particular policy, will it help or impact businesses or consumers. The answer, one prefers will be a leading point for the distinct policies.

Most of you are aware about this fact. The government in most of the occasions is either "pro-business" or "pro-consumer" together. For instance, pro-business policies entail government intervention to promote firms. Here government will be expected to follow protectionism towards such firms, bringing restrictions on foreign investment, and special business privileges. On the other hand, a pro-consumer approach envisages a competitive market with a less disturbance from government. The consumers will look forward to pro-trade policies and consumer protection.

Before we go ahead, think a while what about the India's growth story so far. Most of us would agree, industries are heavily dependent on government assistance and concessions. Especially the PSUs. They have been bleeding for years. Consequently they have wasted billions of tax payer's money. Instead of spending thousand crores on such undertakings which would not really fetch any return, the same amount can be better utilized in other productive areas. The new government seems to be playing mixed role so far. While the proposed reductions in red tape are pro-consumer measures, there are also instances of a pro-business tilt.

The interests of the "small people" whom the government seeks to help, can be best served by healthy competition and consumer protection. However, the influence of business houses, might not serve the purpose. Thus the businesses that direct more towards securing government favors and lesser on pleasing customers are of course stigma as the outcome is often encouraging corruption.

In crux, it might not be necessary that a good business is also good for consumers. Hence, in such situations the government needs to take a right call.

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