i am not sure the criticism is fully merited, but statism and dirigisme are diseases endemic among left-leaning indian politicians.
It would be easy to dismiss Jairam Ramesh as a buffoon. The Indian minister for environment and forests likes to talk big, as when he recently declared that driving SUVs was "criminal" and called for "a penalty on the type of cars you don't want to see on the roads." This week he fulminated against the affluent American lifestyle and those Indians who aspire to it.
Considering the fondness of Indian politicians for cruising around in SUVs and partying in their villas, it's doubtful the government will act on these particular pronouncements anytime soon. But Mr. Ramesh continues to use his office to do serious economic damage. No industry can afford to be cavalier when the minister has them in his sights.
Mr. Ramesh's ministry, which awards and rescinds environmental clearances in an arbitrary manner reminiscent of the "license-permit raj," has held up dams in India's northeast as well as power plants and highways around the country. On Monday he finally withdrew his opposition to a new airport for Mumbai after raising objections for over a year. In the last month, panels appointed by Mr. Ramesh have recommended revoking permits for South Korean steel giant Posco's $12 billion project in the eastern state of Orissa, the largest ever overseas investment in India. This comes a full five years after the firm signed an agreement with the Orissa government to set up its plant.