India

Slum Pol Millionare

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It looks as if India has found the best cure for recession. Forget bailouts and stimuli, hold an election!

According to a survey by the Centre for Media Studies (CMS), the month-long general election beginning on April 16 will witness an outlay of something like 100 billion rupees (two billion dollars)…

For the two national parties …campaigning across India's 2.97 million square kilometre (1.84 million square mile) land mass means air transport bills that will run into hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Hi Flying Aviation, India's oldest air charter firm, said it had rented out its entire fleet of helicopters and executive jets to campaigners at prices of between 75,000 rupees and 150,000 rupees an hour.

Apart from expensive whistle stops and radio spots, Businessweek says the elections have a wide-ranging effect:

As a large number of party workers and prospective voters participate in campaigning, cash is spent in a way that keeps the morale high. "Sale of alcohol shoots up during elections. With increase in money supply, especially in rural areas, demand for personal care products are also likely to go up," said Edelweiss Securities in its report 'India Election Watch' .

Auto sales are also expected to improve as there will be more demand for vehicles, particularly special utility vehicles (SUVs), for election campaigns, personal transportation and security of politicians, said the report.

Ok, so there's concern that "India's democratic process is being hijacked by the sort of spending-power politics associated with US elections," a minor setback if it means an economic boast. There's also the fact that the election is short-term in nature.

The solution: India should take the lead as the world's largest democracy and throw an economy-reviving, hip-thrust-inducing, year-round election celebration: