Challenges before Modi govt. 2.0
Now that the nitty-gritty of formation of the government is over, the ecstasy has died down and the NDA under Modi has to come down to the nuts and bolts of running the affairs of the nation, as it is time to see the challenges they face. The huge build-up and the great expectations that the voters of the nation have placed on the NDA under Modi literally puts him under the scanner. The nay-sayers and Modi-baiters will lose no opportunity to haul him over the coals for any lapses. In this direction, the government seems to have taken the right direction ahead, but the days to come will show how Modi tackles the problems. The anti-corruption plank was the driving force of the entire campaign in the last campaign and this time too. This is one issue that Modi will have to take very seriously and deliver. Modi will have to ensure that his Ministers in the new Cabinet also do not succumb to lucre. Although it will be an uphill task to uproot corruption from the country, the Modi government will have to work hard to further enact anti-graft legislations and to ensure their effective implementation. The right direction has been taken on the foreign policy front with the invitation to the BIMSTEC members for the swearing in ceremony. Relation with our neighbours will have to be watched closely, and a fine balance will have to be maintained with Russia and the US. In spite of adoption of a hard stance towards China and Pakistan, Modi will also further leverage Indo-US relationship against the global war against terror, and will exert American pressure on Pakistan and ensure uprooting of terror safe havens there. Internal security too will be another challenge. The Naxals have carried out attacks during the elections. So, there will have to be a further shift in the policy of tackling internal strife; the improvement card in this regard will have to be played judiciously. Another worrying factor is the emergence of the home-grown terror havens. The Modi government will have to modernise and bring in reforms within the paramilitary, police and investigating agencies in order to help them deal better with terrorists, who are armed with sophisticated weapons. So, the modernisation of the armed forces, the Army, Air Force and Navy is imminent. India has to prepare itself to face challenges posed by Pakistan and China in the changing global scenario.
Furthermore, the plank of the bad state of the economy was used well during the election campaign by the Opposition parties, therefore, the Modi government will have to act quickly and efficiently bring around a turnaround in the economy. For Modi, the challenge to further revive the ‘India growth story’ will not be an easy task. Major infrastructure projects will have to be taken up in a big way to reinvigorate the economy. What is the most important task before him is employment generation for India’s youth, the promise that was doled out richly in the elections will have to be fulfilled. It cannot be gainsaid that the minorities, especially Muslims, are looking up to Modi to prove that his government’s agenda is not merely pro-Hindutva. Hence, he will have to take special care of minorities, and alleviate the fears that have been impressed upon them by the Congress and other parties. Against this backdrop, it is apt to say that Modi has selected his Cabinet as the most balanced one, as Rajnath Singh has his coolness in understanding the complexities of Defence Ministry. Amit Shah’s induction as Home Minister is timely and appreciative in view of Kashmir disturbances and militancy spread in elsewhere in the country. S. Jaishankar’s choice is excellent as External Affairs Minister, as he has rich experience as a diplomat. Nirmala Sitaraman as Finance Minister may explore new avenues for revenue and will try to reduce the deficit budgeting. Piyush Goel as Railway Minister is also a professional (CA). Hence, this team will be the main focus in guiding the Cabinet in right direction. Besides, Modi does neither believe in nor encourage power centre to hold him captive to the machinations of selected top few and cripple his functional efficiency. Each one will deliver to his/her best in the larger national interest with constant monitoring and evaluation by the Prime Minister.
By Deepak Kumar Rath