The Indian government and its reverse Midas touch

Sauvik thinks Kalmadi has improved India’s image. He’s not being sarcastic-

Suresh Kalmadi, who organized the CONgresswealth Games and has claimed responsibility for the mess, has IMPROVED Indyeah’s image. He has proved to the entire world that what works in Indyeah is The Market – look at the Sensex – and what does NOT work in India is our The State. First class citizens in a third-rate country. The people are the resource; the government is The Problem.

and I agree with the sentiment. As does Salil Tripathi

Once again, India has revealed its remarkable ability to score an own goal. The staging of the Commonwealth Games, due to start in New Delhi on October 3, was supposed to herald India’s emergence on the international stage. Instead, the appalling mess has become a public relations disaster of epic proportions.


It’s important to blame the right people, however. This is not a failure of the Indian people or Indian culture.* It is the Indian government—politicians and bureaucrats alike—who have failed so badly with the Commonwealth Games.


The Games episode brings into stark relief the fact that India succeeds—and the economy grows, lifting people out of poverty—when private-sector entrepreneurship flourishes. It descends into chaos whenever the government steps in.

Something I wrote in a comment a few years ago-

Indian governments have the reverse Midas touch. Anything they touch turns to ashes. That is why government should get out of the way. Only then will things improve.

[*Indian culture isn’t completely blameless though, as CP Surendran points out in a post from his series on “The Ugly Indian” with statements like “The Delhi Games is probably one of the most racist ever: it’s two civilizations looking at shit” and “Our idea of the sublime itself is ridiculous.”]

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  • Swarup  On September 27, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    Or you can call it Bhasmashura touch :)

    • Aristotle The Geek  On September 27, 2010 at 5:07 pm

      If I stick to ashes, yes. Can’t help thinking though, in the light of everything that has been revealed, that “Anything they touch turns to s**t” would have sounded better.

  • yet_another_hindu_infidel  On September 27, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    Does not interest me. The congress will find a way out. “Secularism” will make a guest entry in the CWG debate in the end. People will say, “we knew it from the beginning that the govt was corrupt. It’s their fault”.

    Kalmadi will take the bullets for everyone. The corrupt empire will defy reason, switch regional parties if necessary and will come out as a survivor.

    If their is someone left who can unleash hell on the politicians in delhi then it could only be those tribals in khaki outfits.

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