After a thumping re-election in May, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently marked 100 days of his second term, his personal popularity intact but countenancing a growing murmur of misgivings over his economic management. It is not difficult to see why. While Mr Modi captured headlines worldwide with the dramatic move to consolidate New Delhi's hold over the restive region of Jammu and Kashmir, India's growth story appears to have come unstuck.
GDP growth in the April-to-June quarter was a feeble 5 per cent, the lowest in 25 quarters, slipping from 8 per cent a year earlier and lagging behind China's 6.2 per cent - a neon-lit sign that the crown of being the world's fastest-growing major economy is slipping from India's grasp. Domestic consumption, making up nearly 60 per cent of the country's economy, slumped to an 18-quarter low, hit harder than it had been after the global financial crisis of 2008-09. Job losses have been mounting. Unemployment stands at a 45-year-high and is especially rampant among the young, the demographic seen to be the most promising aspect of the Indian economy. A sharp crimp has been felt across the corporate sector, reflected in the pallid sales of cars and trucks, homes, shampoos and biscuits. Consumer loans are also down.