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A new rail line would provide fast and reliable train service. But five years later, with Mr. Modi seeking re-election, villagers look down the bluff at the old tracks with a mix of disgust and resignation. I want him to see how we live here.
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I will not be casting a vote, and I will break the legs of anyone who does. Modi is confronting anger over his failure to deliver on the promise that brought him to office — economic revitalization. He has altered perceptions that his country was hostile to business. But he has failed to spur significant economic growth, in part because of his disappointing record in reviving stalled infrastructure projects.
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The prime minister has championed rail, road and electrical links as a means of furthering development across this country of 1. Although road-building has proceeded aggressively, infrastructure over all has fallen short. During the last three months of , investments in new projects slumped to their lowest level during Mr. Slowing growth has reduced government tax revenues, forcing Mr. Modi to slash spending on public works. Private toll roads and power plants have stalled as banks have withheld financing after losses on previous ventures.
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The prime minister inherited a troubling condition that has plagued India for decades: What economic growth the country generates does not produce enough jobs. He vowed to create 10 million jobs a year. The unemployment rate climbed to a year high of 6. Nonetheless, Mr. He is widely expected to claim re-election after voting ends on Sunday.
Here in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh, the prime minister enjoys special rapport owing to his days overseeing the region for his Hindu nationalist political organization, the Bharatiya Janata Party, or B. From the city of Dharamshala — best known as the headquarters of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama — to the villages of the Kangra Valley, people lament the state of the economy while still praising Mr.
Singh says later.
The economy has expanded by a robust 7. But many economists accuse the administration of doctoring the data. Modi has presided as the American central bank, the Federal Reserve, has lifted interest rates, making the dollar relatively more rewarding for investors and prompting an exodus of money from emerging markets.
Oil prices have soared, lifting fuel prices. The government failed to have new notes ready, creating a crippling shortage in an economy dominated by cash. It was a huge crime on the Indian population. Anek Kumar, 42, has worked at the Dharmsala Tea company for more than a dozen years.
He travels 90 minutes from his village to get to work, walking four kilometers about 2. There are no full-time jobs closer to home, he says. The crisis of joblessness is especially acute among younger people. Between and , the unemployment rate for young men ages 15 to 29 soared from 8. Until last weekend, the Coalition had been promising much more than Labor. Announcements on Sunday changed all that. Victoria now stands as the key battleground for transport promises. Read more: East-West Link shows miserable failure of planning process. Labor is also writing bigger cheques than the Coalition in Queensland, where it hopes to make big gains.
Despite their different ideologies and at-risk electorates, there is still much common ground between the parties.
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The parties are more likely to agree on big projects than small. Read more: Congestion-busting infrastructure plays catch-up on long-neglected needs. But are the projects of national significance and therefore worthy of Commonwealth attention? And can they be relied on to return a benefit larger than their cost? For too many projects, the answers are no and no. The Commonwealth should stick to projects that are important to more than one state or are particularly important to the national economy. When federal parties get involved, it starts to smell like pork-barrelling.
Read more: Missing evidence base for big calls on infrastructure costs us all. Throwing taxpayer money at boondoggles is poor governance. The Coalition promised this project even though IA determined that it would return only eight cents of value for every dollar spent. Three years on, lessons still need to be learnt.