At British India Corporation’s textile factory in northern India, four men sit in a control room watching computerized gauges eight hours a day. When they are done, another group takes over, and then another, for 24 hours a day – much as they might at any major industrial plant.
The problem is, nothing is produced there. The strange tale of British India Corporation is an example of how political patronage and India’s strict labor laws keep publicly owned companies going long after they are insolvent.
Now Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who campaigned in this year’s general election on a promise of “minimum government, maximum governance”, is preparing to invest more taxpayer money in ailing state-owned factories in a bid to turn them around.
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