One Year of Modi government!
What are the highlights?
Yes, there are some serious letups too!
We are a mature democracy, right? What does that mean? We have to be balanced, open-minded and also objective.
On these criteria there are some great moments in Modi’s one year and also serious drawbacks when it comes to applying these criteria.
By any account we can’t deny Modi’s one year in power that has stirred India! Stirred on all round, be it a change of government, an election victory that brought about an absolute majority to the BJP, after nearly three decades of political instability and much discomfort by the series of coalition governments. How can anyone say this is not a significant change and this is not owing to Mr.Modi’s remarkable political strategy and vision? Yes, let us be generous; let us give the devil the due. But for his strategy he could not have even shaken up the BJP itself. Yes, the seniors were sidelined and there was and let us imagine there is still certain unsettled feelings within the party.
But then politics is all about power, capturing power and in this case it capturing power through Constitutional and legitimate routes. Mr.Modi played his cards well and for what he achieved, seen from the larger and long-term point of view it is a great historic achievement.
Second comes what everyone again would conceded that he has lifted India to the world stage. This he had again done it with some panache and pardonable drama.
Here again we have to concede what the man is capable of. Given his modest background there is something we can pardon him for certain excesses and even let us say some artificiality. In the US and Australia we went overboard and made a huge show of his Indianness.
The migrant India community was pleased to reciprocate.That is all?
The point s that after a long time an Indian Prime Minister, perhaps after Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru an Indian Prime Minister was seen on a world stage.
Now, Modi is back from his refreshed China and South Korean visit.
This again is no ordinary visit. China looms large on the world stage and also on the Indian minds.
China has to be cultivated, tamed and also dealt with on a variety of topics and thus what Mr.Modi had done in China, what he had spoken he spoke like a honest leader, he spoke for the first time what is weighing on Indian minds, the troublesome border disputes and let us admit that our friendly neighbour, China is also known for its historic inscrutability! It is not easy fully master the Chinese ways. The Chinese are extremely sensitive people; they thought historically, that they are the centre of the world. That is the meaning of the word, the middle kingdom.
So, you can’t get away from these historic prejudices and predictions.
So, this is again a great achievement. Now, inside India?
Yes, there are problems, expectations running ahead of the actual ground level activities. Yet, there is immense confidence inside India.
There are huge credits, loans or grants from Japan, now from China and South Korea and there are the unique engineering skills from these Asian countries, in big infrastructural industries, be it road building, tunnelling or rail lines or even the airports and what have you, laying down big cities.
Now, Modi government is talking about smart cities, a bi secretariat complex in Delhi and the industrial corridors, the bullet trains and the rest of the big projects like the urban metros.
There are some really competent and experienced ministers in the Modi Cabinet. Mr.Gadkari speaks about Rs 3 lakh crore of road projects in 6 months. We feel we can believe a man like Mr.Gadkari.
So too other ministers, power and other rail and defence ministers, why the many others are all equally promising.
First one has to think big. This Mr.Modi has done. Yes, with all our optimism for this government there are certain concerns. Concerns over some perceptions and subtle practices.
There are the judicial independence, free freedoms and also delivering on the services the citizens waiting for. Appointments of high level officials, Chief Information Commissioner, Lokpal, Lok Ayukta and the very many others.
Certainly, Mr.Modi is going to hit a roadblock in his attempt to control the higher judiciary. We advise him to change his mind set.
NGOs, civil society and the elite and the intellectual classes need to be addressed to. Mr.Modi, if we can say so, can’t ride roughshod! India is a developed democracy in many ways. There are many pending issues like addressing to the Constitutional reforms, Parliamentary reforms, why even the electoral reforms.
There is somewhere some sort of mental block for Mr.Modi to fully grasp the nuances of a liberal, open society, the fine sensitivities of a mature society.
Rights and freedoms are certainly a precious asset. Mr.Modi better consults, meets a wide variety of public opinion. A Prime Minister in a democracy like India’s must be above any sort of narrow mindset, no prejudices, all open mind, right?