Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

Slippery slope

Narendra Modi govt's coronary stents policy is Indira Gandhi-style statist meddling

Here is how a handbook of bad policy would read. First impose price controls. Then watch goods disappear from the market. And finally, threaten producers with punishment for the shortages that your price controls have created.

This is exactly what is happening in India right now. The Narendra Modi government first imposed price caps on coronary stents. Shortages began to develop as companies cut supplies since production costs are higher than revenues. The government has now thrown the oversized regulatory book at stent manufacturers. They have been directed to maintain domestic production as well as imports of coronary stents. And— hold your breath—to submit a weekly report on production and distribution of coronary stents, as well as a weekly production plan.

Welcome to India, 2017. Welcome to an India ruled by a regime that promised minimum government. Welcome to an India where officials swear they are working hard to make it easier for companies to do business. If the coronary stents policy is not Indira Gandhi-style statist meddling, what is?