Asia Minute: India’s Parliament Passes Absolutely Nothing in Latest Session

Aug 14, 2015

Indian Parliament Building in New Delhi
Credit Wikipedia

Hawaii’s legislature won’t be back in session until January, and the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are both in recess until after Labor Day. India’s parliament just wrapped up its latest proceedings this week—but the headlines are about what did NOT happen. HPR’s Bill Dorman explains in today’s Asia Minute.

Legislative achievements are relative.

It’s true for lawmakers in any representative democracy--some sessions are just more productive than others.

India’s parliament ended its latest proceedings this week without accomplishing much of anything.

The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a whole series of economic reforms teed up for votes in both houses of parliament.

Members never even got to talk about most of them…and wound up passing no laws at all…not even one.

Economic debate got sidetracked by political sniping….allegations of wrongdoing among Modi’s party and allies—including charges the Foreign Minister improperly helped a disgraced former cricket star.

The starting point of Modi’s economic reforms was to be a national sales tax…a measure with bipartisan support.

Some state governments are moving ahead on their own to attract foreign investment.

Just last weekend, Taiwanese manufacturer FoxConn announced plans to invest 5-billion dollars to build a manufacturing facility in Maharashtra State…in the western part of the country.

On the national level, Prime Minister Modi may call parliament back for a special session to try and pass the sales tax—which the finance minister says could add two full percentage points to India’s GDP.