Modi is doing everything he can to get votes: Jim Rogers

I like India and always hope that there will be an opportunity to invest here, Rogers says

Terming the Budget 2017 proposals as populist, JIM ROGERS, chairman of Rogers Holdings and author of Street Smarts: Adventures on the Road and in the Markets tells Puneet Wadhwa that the Modi government has done a lot of mistakes in its tenure, including demonetisation, which was a move to give himself and his government more control. Edited excerpts:

What is your interpretation of the Budget proposals?

It was certainly a populist budget. Mr Narendra Modi knows that he has an election coming up. He certainly has heard from a lot of people and is trying to make those people feel better. The demonetisation move, even if it was a good, it was badly done. He has surely hurt a lot of people and is now trying to appeal to them. Mr Modi is doing everything he can to get votes.

Having said that, I am always in favour of tax cuts, but unfortunately in India’s case, tax cuts will make the debt situation much worse. India already has very high debt-to-GDP (gross domestic product) ratio. This is one reason that India hasn’t been able to do as well as it could have otherwise. So, yes everybody is in favour of infrastructure spending, and India desperately needs it, everyone is also in favour of tax cuts – including me, unfortunately the overall economic picture does not look good.

What more would you have liked to see in terms of policies for specific sectors?

Mr Modi will seek a re-election and a new term at the helm in two years from now. A big debt problem will not impact the outcome in 2019 too much. However, a big debt problem will be a problem for the Indian economy. I was very pleased to see that he is privatising the railroads more, which is a good move for the country and its economy – if it actually happens. Read more

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