The image and realities of holding and exercising power

As we write, it is the Indian Prime Minister’s 66th birthday! We join the millions of Indians to greet the Prime Minister for a happy return.

modi-kj8c-621x414livemintThe Prime Minister’s office under the Indian Constitution is a heavily-placed job. And in that sense Mr.Narendra Modi has a tough task indeed. Politics, for anyone who has given some though, is both a philosophy and action. To think one’s responsibility, in all its dimensions, doesn’t come easy to all. India has had many Prime Ministers now and all of them have done their roles in ways that are as dissimilar as one can imagine. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was both a philosopher and a man of great accomplishments. Nehru would often as himself. He was given to great introspection often. When it came to action, he was faced with the task of creating a new India. His actual achievements are there for all to see. He created many institutions and also had great vision for the country as well for the outside world.

One of his visions was the creation of the Non-Alignment Movement(NAM).Mr.Modi, the much travelled Prime Minister as he is, chose to give a miss to the just happening 17th NAM Summit in the South American nation, Venezuela. That has come for notice inside India.

Did Mr.Modi send out a message by showing that he departs from Nehru’s vision for a non-aligned India and similarly placed ex-colonial nations?

Anyway, such questions would linger on.As for Mr.Modi’s two and half year rule there are now more positive developments both inside and in the outside world. As a politician who wants to carve out a new role Modi has cultivated the USA assiduously though the term of the incumbent US President is nearing a close. What would be the shape of India-US relations under a new American President is too early to say.

As for other major powers, Modi’s relations with Chinese President is not yet fully clear. There are any number of old and new problems here, from the border dispute to the South China Sea(SCS) issues. The latest International Tribunal ruling on the SCS gives new challenges to India. Of course also the coming closer of the Russia and China in recent times, as shown by their joint naval exercises in SCS also another issue.

As for other issues arising out of the Brexit, Paris climate deal, the NSG and other contentious issues like India’s role to take up the Pakistan issue there doesn’t seem to be an easy way out for Modi, it seems.

So, Mr.Modi’s government’s ability to earn goodwill and thus enhance India’s image at the international level is multi-hued and calls for wider perceptions and debates. As for the internal scene, there can be any number of comments, both positive and negative.

As for the positive developments, many of Mr.Modi’s initiatives the economic growth scene is fairly successful. Some of the major developments are in the infrastructure, roads, railways, ports and civil aviation, we see new momentum likely to usher in a culture of optimism on a wider front.As for ideological issues there are rough edges, as far as to induce us to say that it is a mixed game.

One new book narrates how al the old ills, pervasive corruption, crony capitalism and an enhanced bureaucratisation of the polity is holding on.
The consequence is the never-ending or ever increasing problems faced by the common man.

Be it healthcare or education, more so in the higher level there are serious issues. One glaring development seen by wider sections is that Modi government faces a severe talent crisis.

Some key ministries, we needn’t name them, are manned by plain incompleteness!
In health, the New Delhi government scenario, calls for some energetic action(by whom is a key question!) is called for. People won’t tolerate the scenes repeated flashed by the news channels, people queuing up to get an entry into the many hospitals. How can the central government claim to have delivered results when everyday news is to count the number of deaths from mosquito related deaths! What sort of clean Bharat the government is touting about? Mr.Modi’s image as a doer and not talker can be reclaimed?

Health sector under the new government of Modi and more so under the much-over-rated Kejriwal is really shocking to say the least. The role of the LG is also to be examined.Of course there are other equally weighty sectors.

Not the least is the judicial reforms that can’t wait for further delay. No excuses can be acceptable. How can the government see that the common man, the poor and the weak, the helpless are groaning under the heavy weight of pending court cases.

Plus, the many ironies! Smart cities, digital initiatives, the minister’s on the twitters and other high-sounding slogans!

People would start reading the many other ulterior motives. Is there a hidden agenda for this government? The air needs to be cleared. Better at the highest level!

Otherwise why so much violence-inducing activities by the more radical fringe elements?

India is a very big country,1.3 billion souls!

India has big challenges. India needs to cultivate all nations, the more friendly and more hostile ones also. So, we need to realise that to win in the modern world of rising terrorism and wars and violence, all sorts of relationships are needed. So, India has to engage with the wider world.

India can’t be a member of any league of big power alone. We need friends everywhere. India has to be non-aligned, not aligned in more than formal ways. NAM still makes sense. Let the foreign ministry realise and work harder!

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