MUMBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) - Narendra Modi faces a jobs problem. Early results on Thursday suggest the prime minister's Bharatiya Janata party has won a second term. Filled with nationalist sentiment following air strikes against Pakistan earlier this year, voters have looked past an employment crisis. The leader of this $3 trillion economy can’t afford to do the same.
MUMBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) - Indian voters just gave the country’s stock market some support. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party is coasting to a comfortable second term, based on exit polls released on Sunday. If the electorate has indeed looked past employment problems and rural economic distress, the prospect of political continuity will keep valuations stretched for the time being.
MUMBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) - The rare Asiatic lion is no match for India's democracy. In the 2009 general election, a polling station was set up for a single voter in a wildlife sanctuary where big cats roam free. Officials go to ever-greater extremes to ensure voters in the world's largest democracy can cast their ballots, erecting booths in snow-capped mountains and in Maoist rebel-affected areas. Unfortunately politicians, also known as netas, show no similar enthusiasm for stamping out corruption in the electoral system. In a nation thirsty for good governance, that’s ripe for change.
MUMBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) - For global technology giants looking for growth, India was supposed to be an easier hunting ground than China. But New Delhi’s plan to compel the likes of Facebook and Alphabet's Google to actively police user-generated content threatens free speech. Coming after edicts that limit foreign giants Amazon and Walmart in e-commerce, the rules suggest India may not be a much easier bet than the People's Republic.
MUMBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) - India’s anti-graft gains may fade with Narendra Modi. The prime minister has started to shift the consensus on corruption in his nearly five years in charge. Yet the leader once touted as certain to serve three terms faces a struggle to ensure his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party retains its grip in a general election due by May. If the strongman is weakened, bad habits could return.
MUMBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) - Online shopping baskets in India are about to get lighter. Amazon and Walmart will be limited to operating a marketplace and prevented from acting as retailers under stricter rules which came into effect on Friday, resulting in products disappearing from the virtual shelves. Their miscalculation on the direction of policy could be costly.
MUMBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) - Narendra Modi faces an airborne dilemma. To keep Jet Airways flying, the Indian prime minister may have to choose between relaxing foreign ownership rules for Abu Dhabi backer Etihad, and letting state lenders take a hit on a private carrier. Both options touch the country’s financial sore points – and represent a quandary for the ruling party ahead of an election due by May.
MUMBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) - Farmers hold the key to Narendra Modi’s second term. To stand a chance of winning a general election to be held by May, India’s prime minister is under pressure to appease those left desperate by crashing crop prices. Two-thirds of the country’s 1.3 billion people live in the countryside, and almost half of the workforce depends on agriculture. Their anger is one reason the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party was bruised in recent state polls. New Delhi may need to act fast.
MUMBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) - Indian unicorns will feast on richer pastures in 2019. Restaurant search firm Zomato, ride-hailing firm Ola and hotel-rooms aggregator Oyo are leading the charge overseas by the country’s largest tech companies. A complex home market, a big diaspora and deep-pocketed backers will ensure success rarely achieved by Asian startups in far-flung lands.
MUMBAI (Reuters Breakingviews) - Goldman Sachs may wind up paying twice for 1MDB. Abu Dhabi’s sovereign fund is suing the U.S. investment bank in New York for its role in the Malaysian fund scandal. The damages sought could exceed Goldman’s average annual net profit over three years of $5.4 billion. The longer the fight drags out, the worse the fallout looks.