We have entered the 13th consecutive quarter of economic slowdown in India. Gross Domestic Product, meaning the total value of services and goods produced in this country in the last 12 months, shrunk in 2020-2021 against 2019-2020. We made less than we did the previous year. To return to where we were in January 2020, it will take perhaps another year. Perhaps longer, we do not know.

The problem did not begin with Covid; it existed much before that. Growth began declining from January 2018 and has declined sequentially, meaning every quarter since then. The government has tried to tweak some of the numbers, something that Americans refer to as “putting lipstick on a pig” but to no avail. It is sequential decline over three years. The India growth story is over and has been over for a few years now. You can make all the speeches you want but you cannot argue against 39 straight months of slowing.

Speaking loudly of competing with China and America but then falling behind even Bangladesh’s per capita GDP does not inspire confidence. The fact is that even without the lockdown we were in crisis, a word that is used loosely but can be said to be accurate here. The government has no idea why the economy began to stall from January 2018. There are theories from the outside, but they are not discussed or debated in government — who will tell the King that his rule is incompetent? Nobody, unless they want to lose their head (or at least their job) and so we continue to bumble on, along the same path that has brought us to this disaster.

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