The markets likes Atal Behari Vajpayee

Vol 3, PW 19 (13 Oct 99) People & Policy

The money markets were swift to react to news of the BJP victory.

The Bombay Stock Exchange surged an unprecedented 5.64% on the day results were announced and the BSE continues its Bull Run, breaching the psychologically important 5,000 mark. More important has been an announcement by Moodys Investors Service.

Moodys moved quickly to upgrade Indias rating from stable to positive. It welcomes the prospect of future structural reform of the Indian economy - a point stressed by prime minister Vajpayee within hours of his victory.

"Tough decisions are needed to accelerate economic development", said Vajpayee, "Many of the old policies and programmes which served a certain purpose in the past have now become hurdles for faster economic growth. These have to be changed".

He added: "The voters are no longer tolerant of indifferent performance. They want their basic needs fulfilled".

Strong words from a man who makes no secret of his belief that government is best kept out of business. Vajpayee, aged 72, is getting the message out that he wants economic reforms to take centre stage in his new government.

Deregulation of the insurance sector and sorting out the mess in the telecoms sector are his first priority. The oil, gas and power sectors may have to wait their turn - but not for long.

So confident was Vajpayee of winning this election that before victory was announced he asked all his ministries - including the oil and gas and power ministries - to prepare a list of priorities in the first 100 days of his administration.