Magical illusion of a developed India

Three years of Modi

Business & Politics

News - Biz@India

May 25, 2017

/ By / New Delhi



Modi has become the boldest prime minister India has ever known

Modi has become the boldest prime minister India has ever known

As farmers’ suicide continue unabated, jobless growth, fear of losing existing jobs and excessive Hindutva vigilante continue the Modi government is once again in celebratory mood to create a new vision of India everyone believes.

The National Media Centre in New Delhi these days are packed with press conferences addressed by one or the other minister from the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet. Their address to journalists are packed well with power point presentations, well documented glossy survey books with “facts, figures, data and statistics” to highlight three year achievements of government under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi in respective ministries.

This is followed by ministers’ claims in superlatives – the first or best effort undertaken since India became independent 70 years ago. The question and answers session too moves in same gusto!

Nationwide celebrations will be kicked off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a public rally in Guwahati on Friday while the party president Amit Shah is expected to hold a press conference in the national capital to talk about the various programmes of the government.

The ruling party has prepared a 20-day-long mega event titled ‘Making of Developed India (MODI) Fest’, a carnival to celebrate the Centre’s achievements and broadcast Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Garibon ke massiha” (Messiah of the poor) image. Over 450 BJP leaders, including the Union Ministers, Chief Ministers and Ministers of BJP-ruled States, top office-bearers of the party will visit 900 cities between May 26 and June 15.

It is not mere celebrations alone. It is an effort to strengthen political narrative that there is no alternative to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his grand vision of achieving an egalitarian society and making India a super power. Remember only two years are left for the next General Elections in 2019.

Three years ago, on May 16, 2014 the 810 million strong electorate had put their stamp of approval on Modi becoming the Prime Minister with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) winning 336 seats in Lok Sabha or the lower house of the Parliament.

This is the highest number of seats won by any party on its own since the 1984 Lok Sabha elections, when the Congress, led by then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi won in a landslide victory.

Since then Modi and his men have undertaken historical rectification by decimate Congress rule in states. Even in the recently concluded assembly elections in five states, Modi managed to win majority in four states.

Political observers believe, like Indira Gandhi, Modi too has become the boldest prime minister India has ever known. But there is a difference. Unlike his predecessors and their cabinet, Modi or his ministers have not been found tainted or involved in corruption so far.

These two achievements are in itself raison d’être for their celebrations as the UPA government under Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh was marked by scandals, scams, policy and administrative paralysis.

As people’s patriot, Modi has engaged with people directly through rallies or radio talks touching on sensitive issues that has won him many bouquets. Common people thoroughly believe his humble origins as ‘tea seller’. They believe the messiah despite the hardship they faced on account of his demonetisation decision on November 8, 2016. Modi successfully changed the narrative that the move was aimed against black-marketers and corrupt.

Remember when he entered Parliament for the first time, Modi knelt down and touched his forehead on the steps of Parliament.

The way he has addressed issues such as VIP culture, cleanliness and patriotism have touched the people’s hearts.

On the economic front India’s growth story on an average has been over 7 pc, beat down the inflation from 8.33 to 2.99 pc and attracted USD 149 billion (until December 2016) worth of investment from overseas companies.

India is soon set to implement the Goods and Service Tax (GST), the boldest economic reforms since India became independent.  It is set to dramatically reshape Asia’s third-largest economy and is likely to raise government revenues by widening the tax net in the country’s largely informal USD 2 trillion economy. That means India could spend more on desperately needed infrastructure and training programmes for a workforce that is growing by one million people each month, laying the groundwork for longer-term growth.

What has not gone in favour of the prime minister is his silence against the excessive vigilantism by Hindutva brigade on cattle smuggling, beef-eating or anti-Romeo squad.

Another case in point is India found itself three ranks lower in the latest World Press Freedom Index report released by media watchdog Reporters Sans Frontières released in April. “With Hindu nationalists trying to purge all manifestations of anti-national thought from the national debate, self-censorship is growing in the mainstream media. Journalists are increasingly the targets of online smear campaigns by the most radical nationalists, who vilify them and even threaten physical reprisals,” the report said.

In the absence of effective strategy by opposition parties Modi may once again ride high in 2019 General Elections.

No doubt perception-wise, the government has scored. It is seen as a government in action.

What we need to look at is how the government has performed. Were its achievements qualitative? Is it well on its way to fulfilling the BJP’s pre-election promises in the next two years?

The areas where its action has not been so effective include employment creation and entrepreneurship development.

Questions are being raised where are the twenty million new jobs the ruling party promised to generate every year as part of the Aacche Din (Good Times) package. On the other hand, thousands of people are losing their existing jobs.

Worse, even the government statistics acknowledge that over 12,000 farmers committed suicide every year since 2014 due to debt burden and the government’s anti-farmer policies. One wonders whether this is a celebration of failure.

No doubt no other politician in any democracy in the world or even dictators has displayed an uncanny knack of reinventing himself to adapt to emerging politics and create a magical illusion that people want to believe in.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Avatar Rachit says:

    I don’t know if India is “shinning”, cause growth is always relative, a 6 pc growth might be an amazing number in US, EU but is not good enough to tackle widespread problems in India, whatever be the case I believe BJP is the best option to lead India forward as there are no alternatives. The numbers may not be flattering but at least they have a plan unlike Congress who lacks clarity in policy making. How can one forget the policy paralysis the previous regime faced during its second term, or the dampening effect of growth due to corruption. The reality is that Congress is stuck in a status quo where the corrupt party leaders which forms a large part of party leadership, especially in states are source of impediment to the aspiration and development of the country and the party is too scared to take action against them fearing a loss of it’s base voters. As a result the Congress party in it’s current state is unable to woo the young voter or expand it’s base. And this is not the first time, in 1991 the year India opened it’s market, what many people forgets is that India was forced to open it’s market, India was unable to pay balance of it’s payments and so the the west swooped in and asked the govt to open it’s market as austerity measures for then bailout. My question is was Manmohan Singh not there with Congress to take these measures earlier, why did it wait for the IMF. This policy of waiting for the system to crash for the reboot is not something India could afford at this juncture of it’s nationhood.

    I agree that BJP promised 20 million jobs a year and failed to provide that but can we just blame Modi for all this, after all when BJP came to power the world economy was sluggish, EU was facing a debt crisis and the global economy was being driven by credit fuelled investment in China. Only until the third quarter of the financial year 16/17 there was an uptick in world economy and which was largely due to Obama’s economic reforms. Just like these so called “nationalists” credits a good monsoon to Modi same way I feel it’s unfair that “anti-nationalists” blame everything on Modi. It’s not Modi’s fault that the west is becoming more protectionist, it is not his fault that automation is eating up a large pie of manufacturing jobs. Critics say “But what about those massive reforms he promised”, India is a massive country with a very messy democratic system and it is often difficult to carry everyone along to bring those changes. It is not like BJP is not trying, GST was finally brought to conclusion, and we all know what happened to land reform bill when it was introduced in the upper house and we also know what will happen to the labor reform bill. So given the constraints the fiscal deficit was reduced, inflation was brought under control, NPA were finally tackled and FDI was increased with a little help from global oil prices. And although I disagree with flaring up of communal tensions as a policy for mobilising voters during elections, I also believe that such flare ups are the only roadblock to BJP’s March towards Delhi in 2019. In most of the democratic systems across the globe, it’s usually the left liberals who are the proponents of progressive economic reforms and the right wingers are just busy appeasing the majoritarian population, in India it’s the other way around where the right wing is placing itself as a bastion of development and the left a model of corruption. I hope the writer rebuts my critic of her critic.

    TL;DR : Can’t just blame the government for everything as oppositions space is being occupied by vacuum and the global environmental is too volatile for long term stable growth.

    1. Avatar Sudipto Roy says:

      Hi Rachit, I like the way you tried to give the right and left direction to your propositions and arguments; however, a holistic development means development from the root level. However, our government looks very keen to satiate the issues from the top thus enraging the already marginalised section more often. Try and look at this directional assessment neutrally.
      The upper middle class has mediums like these to vent out, the tribals or the religious minorities are still awaiting the so-called ‘Acchhe Din’…

      1. Avatar Rachit says:

        I understand your frustration but we need to understand that India is a very poor country(per capital figures matter) and size of the population makes the problem even harder. We don’t have enough resources to reach out to every marginalized person but through frugal innovation the country as a whole is trying to reach out to them. I believe the only option forward is to embrace economic progress as it is the only way we can lift the millions who are living below poverty line. For example take the case of farmer loan waiver, I understand that they are the weakest in the society ladder and must be taken care off but a loan waiver is a bad economic decision because you a pouring cash into an economically unviable project, the heavy dependent on monsoon stresses the prospect of of return on the loans, this on top of the various subsidy that are granted by the government is eating away the gdp. So a tribal can hog onto a piece of land obstruct development projects, live in darkness, have open sewage lines, unfiltered water, no healthcare facilities or they can pave way for development of their people. I consider myself a “left libtard” and hate the cheap divisive politics BJP plays. I wished the left liberal side was synonym of economic development, bastion of anti corruption​ movement and most importantly had a vision for the nation but it doesn’t. So don’t blame BJP blame the Congress for letting people down.

  2. Avatar chris ray says:

    Ache din?/ Well we all know what Ache in English means. Probably it was meant to be ache as in English and the people of India are after all getting what was promised.

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