Modi government has been all about talk and no action, says the commodities trading guru and hedge fund manager Jim Rogers.
Rogers said that he had sold his holdings in Indian companies and exited India because ‘the National Democratic Alliance government has failed to live up to investors’ expectations.”
He said, “I am sure Modi is a smart guy, he enjoys good press, and he makes a lot of friends for India. But I, as an investor, after almost a year-and-a-half, have decided to move on to other places, partly also because stock markets are not going to be particularly good for the next year or two,” he was quoted by Livemint.
He said that despite Narendra Modi securing the biggest majority in 30 years, he had not been able to kickstart the economic reforms.
He added, “Modi had the largest mandate in modern history—no recent politician had what he got. But if he can’t implement reforms, then who can? Is anything ever going to be done? I think it is an accurate statement that no recent Indian government had this kind of mandate. Yet, very little reforms has happened..”
On being asked to comment on the economic prospects of India, Rogers said that India’s growth was unlikely because of its significantly high ‘debt-to-GDP’ ratio adding that the Reserve Bank of India governor, Raghuram Rajan was the ‘best’ India had.
He explained, “India has very high debt-to-GDP (gross domestic product) ratio—it is higher than many countries. Studies have shown that when countries have a high debt-to-GDP ratio, it is difficult to grow at a reasonable rate. I don’t really see much going for India right now except Modi, who is not doing anything, when he should be or could be doing a lot. Your central bank governor is probably the best in the world.”
Expressing his frustrations on the ‘inefficiency’ of bureaucracy, Rogers said that ‘too many restrictions’ meant that it was impossible for anyone to do business in India.
He added, “India is held back by too many restrictions and regulations. Go around the world, and you see smart successful Indians everywhere—this means you don’t have enough opportunities for these people back in India. You have saved your farmers by making it illegal for foreigners to own more than five hectares—how on earth can an Indian farmer compete with an Australian farmer with 50,000 hectares? In history, India has been one of the great agricultural nations of the world—you have the land, the people, weather—God gave you everything. And then, he also gave you Delhi to mess it all up.”
Jim Rogers said he may return to India at some stage if Narendra Modi starts doing things, or if the markets go down a lot.