Watch farmer incomes to see if Narendra Modi is really transforming India

March 16, 2016 0 Comments

New Delhi, Mar 5: Shortly after Prime Minister Narendra Modi swept to power in 2014, his first economic plan promised modern cities, manufacturing corridors and bullet trains to aspirational Indians yearning to join a ‘neo middle class.’

This week his latest budget struck a much different tone, listing a slew of moves to help villagers that make up about 70% of India’s population. Most ambitious was a goal to double the income of farmers by 2022.

The shift makes perfect political sense: Rural India is suffering after back-to-back droughts, and Modi is soon facing several key state elections. Whether he can raise farmer incomes quickly without stoking inflation, however, may determine if his economic vision is any different from the previous Congress-led governments that have ruled for most of India’s history.

Modi’s election win raised hopes that he would unshackle India’s private sector from