Consider now the distance we've travelled since 1998, the year RIBs came into being amidst a global frown on India's nuclear status and US browbeating. Practically every week, close to 800 million greenbacks drift into the forex chest, touching $90 billion now. Foreign funds have put in Rs 3,000 crore in September, four times what they did in calendar 2002. Exports are up, moderated only by the strong rupee. Capital goods imports are zooming and manufacturing industries are reaping the benefit of hard work. The buzzing bpo sector, expected to earn $3.6 billion this fiscal, is rekindling urban job hopes. If Jalan and Jaswant harp on the sea change in the economy in the past five years, sweeping the soaring fiscal deficit under the carpet, can we honestly blame them?
In fact, the ruling party's run of luck with the economy hasn't ended. In the run-up to a possible bumper harvest, with the forecast of a long and hard winter buoying rabi prospects, GDP forecasts are going through the roof. Ahead of a mid-term review, chief economic advisor Ashok Lahiri predicts GDP growth to cross 7 per cent, even touch 8 per cent. A couple of weeks ago, Jalan himself told Outlook that he'd bet on eight per cent.