Rupee performing badly in Gujarat too

Modi-helmed growth story debunked yet again

New Delhi/Gandhi Nagar: A financial and political expert has once again punctured the Gujarat growth story balloon with several of them pertinently pointing out that the Indian rupee, which has been receiving a hammering elsewhere, performing no better in Modi land.

‘It is no secret that the UPA is bungling big time on economy. But those expecting Modi to be some kind of monetary messiah need to sober down,’ wrote the well-known political and economic columnist Talil Sripathi.

Writing in a widely circulated but hardly read financial magazine, Sripathi said ‘statistics don’t lie. Only people using them do. The real point is that while the rupee is slipping very badly in the congested confines of New Delhi, the fact of the matter is it is enjoying no better fortune in the well laid out Gandhi Nagar, too.’

‘Right now, at the mid-afternoon hour when I write this, anyone striding into a forex counter in Ahmedabad is going to be as disappointed as anyone walking into a similar booth in Delhi or Mumbai or Kolkata. Because at this hour the counters will be closed for lunch. But when they open, anyone can find out for himself/herself that the much tom-tommed Gujarat growth story has hardly had any impact on the beleaguered rupee’.

Sripathi logically explained that Modi cannot wriggle himself out of the situation by claiming that rupee’s health, and all maters concerning foreign exchange, is not a State subject. ‘That excuse is not available to him now. As an aspirant to the Prime Ministerial chair, he has to show that he is ready to take charge. Also, forex may be a central subject, but isn’t rupee common to both the ruling party and the opposition? Isn’t common to those living in Gujarat and those living elsewhere in the country? If Modi and his team can go and rescue people in Uttarakhand, why can’t they extend the same courtesy to the even-more-slipped rupee? Why are we not seeing a news report titled  ‘Modi does a Mugambo, rescues the rupee for 15,000 Gujaratis’?

‘There are questions and questions and questions. As ever, no answers are forthcoming from the man or his minions,’ wrote Sripathi. ‘In the event, the nation should ask itself the question whether it should it be asking questions to a man who does not have the habit of seeing them as questions’.

Elsewhere, the rupee continued its slide, this time against itself as Rs 10 was hovering around Re 1. Economists and money market experts, however, played down the latest developments. ‘Rupee falling against rupee is only a technical correction.’ (Technical correction is the economic term that experts use to describe a market situation that they have no understanding of. In general, experts use it daily).

In the face of rupee’s slip, the Union government went into an overdrive to salvage the situation. While on the political front both the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi made an aerial survey of rupee trapped in the debris of Indian economy. ‘Rupee at around 60 to a dollar is totally unacceptable to us,’ the duo said, almost hoping that the money genie does something to improve the state of affairs.

On the economic flank, the Finance Ministry is said to be ready with a series of measures to help salvage the situation. The chief move may be in the direction of privatizing rupee totally. Also, FDI in rupee will be most actively encouraged.  And if everything else fails, India, in a bid to restore parity between rupee and dollar, may go in for the most logical step of announcing dollar as the nation’s currency.

If that doesn’t bring the dollar down, nobody knows what will.

(Disclaimer: Why is the Indian currency leaking? Because it’s Ru-pee)