Narendra Modi Past, Present and Future
2014—The Crowning Year: It can rightly be called Modi’s year. He overcame opposition both from outside and inside to become Prime Minister of India. And the rise from a chaiwala to Pradhan Mantri, was something like a fairy tale of the West, but in the country intellectuals, media and the Nehru-Gandhis felt revolted. But Modi from the day he was sworn in seemed to do everything which brought more and more accolade. The people put him on a high pedestal and confident that the development and change he promised, was not a mirage but can become a reality.
2015–Modi vs Blood-tasted Opposition: Narendra Modi is brought down from the high perch he was put on by people in 2014. His invincibility was proved to be a myth and his connect with people seemed to be over.
2016-2017–Year of Reforms and Governance: Modi’s objective is to streamline administration and monitor projects himself. He has decided to go for reforms at any cost, whether the Congress cooperates or not. Modi is a very stubborn and determined person, he will not let others snatch power easily from him in 2019. He has told the Foreign Office not to arrange too many trips abroad as he wants to concentrate on country’s development.
The year 2015 was ’Annus Horriblis’ for Modi and Amit Shah Modi must have cheered the dawn of 2016, heaving a sigh of relief that the year of bad tidings was finally gone. Hopefully, he has realised that Shah might be good in organising campaigns and bringing voters to the booths, it is not fruitful for BJP. Modi is dealing with a country that has several languages, many gods to worship, festivals and beliefs. He would know smaller Gujarat very well, but how much does he understand the psyche of a Bihari or Avadhi. They need a state leader for each state. This is the mistake Congress made and paid for it heavily.
- India jumped from 142 position to 130 in the World Bank’s ranking of counties on the ease of doing business.
- India also jumped 16 places in the competitive index.
- The inflation is down to single digit. It has not hiked the MSP for farmers
- Over 12.34 crore people enrolled for the pension as well and health and life insurance schemes started by it.
- Over 17 crore ‘Jan dhan’ bank accounts were also opened for the poor.
- Launch of mobile apps for farmers to find out best prices for their produce and increased production of urea.
- A big skill development programme was launched and 1.73 lakh new seats were created .
- Over 80 lakh people given loans without any collateral under the MUDRA scheme to push self-employment.
- Manufacturing sector had grown by 6.9 per cent and capital goods by 21.8. The corresponding figures in the UPA were minus 1.1 and minus 10 per cent respectively.
India has become the “fastest” growing country in the world amid a global slowdown.
And indeed the beginning of the New Year has not been bad despite the Pathankot intrusion by Pak trained Commandos. Here too, big aircraft, guns and stock of ammunition were saved from a very determined enemy. This was providential because now we learn there could be informers both inside and outside of the Airbase.
It is widely known that at the year-end meeting with secretaries and officials, a very determined Modi told them to prepare blueprints for reforms and governance. He told them that he himself would monitor the progress of schemes that have been floated– about 25. Meeting with secretaries was aimed at kick-starting the process of change in official attitudes for better governance is a good initiative.
Sources said that within 2016, administration will be streamlined and toned up to stifle the chorus of non-performance led by Rahul Gandhi, which in fact was the major cause for BJP losing in Bihar. Modi has planned regular meetings with secretaries so as to exorcise them of Babudom which with red-tapism , not only delays completion of projects but also scares foreign investors.
The changes and achhe din he promised during his 2014 campaigning are not been very visible, although some schemes have been partially implemented. India is a big country with a population of over 1.25 billion. The Jan Dhan Yojana has had spectacular success, Swacch Bharat project has led to toilets being set-up by the government and and also villagers who paid the subsidised rate of Rs 2000 for each toilet. But due to lack of proper machinery to disseminate the news of all these, Rahul has got away crying hoarse that Modi has not kept his promises.
This is where Modi has lost out. He believes that Mann Ki Baat and his speeches would convey what he is doing and that is enough but he is woefully wrong.He has to set-up a special cell which can innovate ways to reach, and with effect, whatever Modi government has done and doing.
During a discussion on a TV Channel, a BJP spokesperson informed that 3000 villages were electrified last year. How many people know about it, though beinga journalist, this author too had no idea.
Bureaucracy in for major changes
Narendra Modi has seemingly recovered from the shocking defeats and signs of alienation from the people, who just a year earlier were eating out of his hands. Now he has designated 2016-2017 as the year of reform and governance. In this bureaucrats will be under scanner and reportedly the rules for postings and seniority will be radically changed.
For instance, competence, and not seniority, is proposed to be made important for career advancement. In particular, “younger officials in their late 40s or early 50s be placed in positions which formerly were the preserve of those just about to retire from service”. Such officials, being close to superannuation, “seldom have any interest other than serving out the remainder of their term without incident”, and are in many instances hostile to innovation and even to suggestions from their juniors “in a bureaucratic culture in which seniority is a fetish”.
Modi did choose to promote relatively younger officers to key slots of the Director of the SPG and the Scientific Advisor to the Raksha Mantri (Defence Minister).
The monopoly of the IAS for the top positions is being looked into. An effort is being made to discover talent from other services as well, so that the pool from which high-level recruitments get made is expanded to cover all the Central services. At present, the IAS has regarded top posts across the government as its right, with this IPS also run in the race for prize posts. Other Central services are, in effect, considered below the IAS, which itself is given precedence over the IPS, with state-level administrative services forming a still lower tier. Thus far, appointments have been made almost completely in accordance with this informal caste hierarchy.
Modi is changing this. As part of the change, “a Railways officer has been made CMD of Air India, while an IPS officer is now head of the Enforcement Directorate, with another being appointed envoy to Saudi Arabia”.
The focus will be on “talent that can deliver results and are not just good at drafting statements”. The pay structure is likely to be looked into as well This year a system of induction of outside talent into different levels of the administration may be introduced. As in developed countries, 25 per cent of posts are proposed to be blocked for those from the private sector, think-tanks and universities. Career bureaucrats might be given the option of three- or five-year stints in private entities as well as universities.
But it won’t be easy to implement these changes as they affect the IAS officers mainly. They have a powerful lobby, are in senior positions, and they would resist these changes which from their Brahaminical slot would bring them down to what they regard IPS and Civil Services the OBC class. How degrading? Many are sure to try sabotage and it won’t be easy to Modi who “places a high premium on competence and on delivery of results.”
An officer said, “The solution is the replacement of status quoists with change agents.” This year it is said, “a conscious embedding of competent officers within key ministries will take place”. Also, the decisions will be made quickly than let the files lie on various desks for weeks.
The reforms plan include decentralisation of the recruitment of personnel and manage their careers, something which has been the monopoly of the Department of Personnel and Training (DOPT). Such over-concentration of powers within the DOPT has made “appointments, promotions and other decisions slow and unimaginative”, thereby leading to frequent recourse to the courts by disgruntled officials. Some officials are of the view that “the time has come to give the ministries as well as the state governments the power to recruit and dismiss officials”, keeping in view local conditions, with the DOPT playing the ombudsman role.
It is also pointed out that when the President of India has a term of only five years and even Prime Minister Modi needs to go to the people after five years for renewal of his mandate, officials in favour of reform say that the colonial-era system of lifetime employment of civilian officials makes no sense. They say that the same system as present in the armed forces should get extended to the civilian side, with automatic promotions being abolished and laggards asked to quit.
How many have heard that Modi government is concerned beginning with a period of 21st century administration in place of the present colonial model, which dates back to the 19th century, and has not been replaced so far. He is said to be spending several hours each day studying the ways in which the all-India administrative machinery has been functioning and how it can be transformed and is now ready with a comprehensive road map for change.
BJP claimed its 20-month tenure was a story of promises fulfilled and results delivered and noted that government’s action and its results is visible. This is not exactly true. Admittedly some promises are being fulfilled, like Jan Dhan Yojana that has had spectacular success, Swacch Bharat has led to at least making some people conscious of keeping places they live or operate. Now many villages have got toilets, but these are not visible. It is utterly wrong to say everything is visible. Its like satisfying oneself by believing what is not true.
If it was true, that people had come to know that toilets were being set-up in many villages, Rahul would not have been able to make snide remarks about the scheme. It was only in Bangalore that the Convent girls contradicted him and said that Swacch Bharat yojana was being implemented. They counter-questioned him whether he was doing anything in Amethi.
India has become the “fastest” growing country in the world amid a global slowdown. Realising that with more reforms Modi will be able to move closer to better days he promised. Congress disrupted Parliament and blocked the GST bill which is crucial to our economy. Modi reached out to Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh, but to no avail. The Gandhis, for their own selfish reason are denying the people of improving their lives, once all reforms have been carried through, of which GST is the most crucial for India’s progress. It is said Sonia Gandhi is not averse to let it through but Rahul does not want anything done which will enhance Modi’s popularity. As far as the good of the people is concerned, he is least bothered. If some say he is betraying people, he does not care, in any case they didn’t vote for him.
One hears if Congress persists with stalemate, the government could resort to holding a joint session. Many chief ministers, including Nitish Kumar who stand to benefit from GST will support the government.
What one hears is that the Congress is looking at collaboration with different regional parties to fight in 2019. Modi too could be scouting for some alignment in a few states. Modi has to clear things he must do, one find a credible and honest leader at least some following for each state and two he must set-up a tech-savvy cell to propagate its achievements and plans. If it is not done he would suffer terribly. People must know what he has done or proposed to do for them. As a prime minister he has a lot of responsibilities, he won’t have time to rush around as he did in 2014, addressing 487 rallies and in total addressing thousands. He would do immense good to himself and India if he takes care of reforms and governance.
By Vijay Dutt