Incautious Thoughts

Cautious optimism- The phrase keeps echoing back endlessly. Where is the confidence and faith in Modi government now?

If ever there is a competition for overused cliches in business and financial writing, I am fairly certain the phrase cautious optimism will take the crown. It is one phrase which is plugged anywhere and everywhere, wherever we are unable to take a decisive call. This phrase perhaps happily sums up many amorphous situations or business-as-always scenarios. And one of them recently is the state of the economy in the age of great political certainty.

For decades, political economy observers bemoaned the inability of the political executive to take decisive action. Yet what do the first ten months of political certainty in 30 years deliver? Cautious optimism. The phrase keeps echoing back endlessly.

When CFO India had done a poll in December 2013 on whether Narendra Modi would augur well for the Indian economy, I remember, a near unanimity in the opinion that he will be good for the economy. A whopping 96 percent held the UPA accountable for economic mismanagement but were also apprehensive that Modi will have no magic wand. In March 2015, another survey reveals that the confidence and faith in the Modi sarkar is somewhat qualified now. And unsurprisingly, the dent has been for reasons other than economic. No wonder then the beige and vague sentiment of cautious optimism dominated the panel discussions at CFO100 event in March in Mumbai. Get more of this mood in our cover story this April.

In a separate article, finance veteran, Rajendra Prasad writes on the how the rise of the surfeit of controls may well be a blessing in disguise. Another article which might interest many readers is about artificial intelligence, machines and managers.

And to inject a little cheeky humor, we have a selection of tweets from one of the most widely followed Twitter handles in the world of finance and banking. The true identity of the owner of @GSElevator was revealed last year and it has done nothing to wane the popularity of the Twitter handle. The acidic tongue continues to drip mostly on the Wall Street fraternity. In a month which begins with All Fools’ Day, it is perhaps a good way to bring in a brand new financial year–with a generous dose of wit and sardonic humour–to counter the colourlessness of cautious optimism.

May it never desert us, but may we all aspire to live more and be more. On that note, good wishes to you all.

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