Since Narendra Modi took over as the Prime Minister of India, he has been making announcements of grand promises to make our country shinning . He took the reign of our country when our economy is at its worst showing the grouth rate of 5percent GDP and country is wrought with problems like rampant corruption at high places and in public life like, worsening law and order problem, spiraling inflation and growing rate of unemployment, people losing confidence in Government. People voted for a party, viable alternative to congress which ruled almost six decades after independence . Hence people watch with interest and high expectations regarding the performance of Modi Government . Perhaps it was the best period for Modi to start his governance, because he can claim credit for whatever he could achieve.
Modi appears to be sincere in making promises, as he proved to be what I call as ‘ Man of action’, as he proved to be architect of Gujarat , while being Chief Minister , that he might translate those policies into reality during his tenure as Prime Minister. Thus he might not be making grand talks which remain as rhetoric, as but as well meaning. This Author records the promises, programmes and policies, which he announces from time to time and follow them up, and would record the results achieved as assed by the public media. Thus it is a long term agenda for this author and hopes that he is able to complete the task with objectivity. The writings will appears in number of Parts, this being Part 1.
Narendra Damodar Modi who assumed office as Prime Minister of India in the 16th Lok sabha, who was chief Minister of Gujarat consecutively for four terms and who put Gujarat as the most developed state in the map of India is a visionary and man of high self-discipline .Born in a poor family, he worked up his way to highest position of Prime Minister of world’s largest democracy with thumbing majority with his devotion, perseverance and hard work for the welfare of people . His journey from a humble tea seller to his present position as one who determines the destiny of 125 billion people is a long and arduous one, ever . He leads a Spartan and regimentated life, which he lead as R.S.S Leader .As his promise during electioneering of ‘minimum Government, maximum governance and also as austerity measure in the face of failing economy, he constituted only a small cabinet. He is very practical and most efficiency conscious. He showcased his achievements in Gujarat and as his development model and promised that he would replicate Gujarat in other parts of our nation and he would make the whole nation prosperous and peaceful . He assures that he would improve health of Indian economy by cutting down fiscal deficit and current Account deficit, reclaim value of Indian Rupee, control prices, increase Agricultural and industrial productivity, improve infrastructure, raise standard of living of those who are now below poverty line, create more jobs for youths, promote girls’ education and empower women and make them equal partners with men in country’s development ,promote equality of people cutting across caste, Religion, sex and rekindle sagging enthusiasm of people especially youths. He has promised all round economic and social development of our country .His motto is to make our country as ‘Eeka Rastra. and shrestra Rastra, meaning united India and India of Greatness. He walks his talk .In other words, those are not slogans to catch votes, but committed plans. This is clear from the fact that he did not lose any time after he assumed office to initiate actions .All his actions indicated one way or other his determination to fullfil his promises .He invited heads of SARC countries , all our neighbours for the swearing in ceremony . He knew well that harmonious diplomatic relations and cooperation at the regional and international level are necessary for creating a prosperous and peaceful India and in turn for a prosperous and peaceful world . All of state heads attended with out exception. He also had discussions with them on bilateral Relations .These steps should improve the bilateral Relations on which depends progress of our country .He announced many programmes.
On the very first day of assuming office, Narendra Modi Government in its first decision after taking charge announced formation of high profile Investigation Team to probe black money stashed abroad and bring back to our country. Supreme Court had set dead line to set up such committee, during U.P.A governance,. Though Supreme Court back in July 4th, 2011 directed U.P.A Government to constitute a 10 member committee, then Prime minister dragged his feet. Rushing to meet the Supreme Court’s dead line, Modi Government set up the committee. In the first meeting chaired by Prime Minister, Modi, the Government picked up Revenue Secretary, Directors of C.B.I, , Enforcement Directorate, and R.B.I Deputy Governor to pack the high powered SI.T to unearth black money which made our economic ailing . enquire and bring back vast amount of unaccounted money invested in foreign banks , to our country, which is our nation’s wealth and to check the menace of black money , which shattered our economy . He sought the help of leaders of G20 countries in this matter. He announced plans to revamp our educational system make it highly skill- oriented according to the needs of our economy and create jobs for unemployed youths. The following are some of the programmes which should improve heath of our economy and pave the way for prosperity.
Modi formed a cabinet consisting of 42 members. On 9th Nov 2014, he expanded his cabinet by inducting 21 new members, who have track records in certain fields and made the total strength of 66 members ., including 27 with cabinet rank and the rest as Minister of States . He proclaimed that his Ministry will be of minimum size to control on public expenditure. Though he expanded his cabinet, still it is leaner than the one under UPA Government . and that formed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The U.P.A Government under Manmohan Singh had 78 Ministers.Vajpayee started with with 56 Ministers, but expanded to 88Ministers .Out of 66 Ministers under Modi ‘s cabinet, 27 have cabinet rank .He picked those who have either track record of performance in their fields or have potentials to tone up governance .His aim is to to serve the country and her people most effiently, with out the hurdles of redtapism, nepotism and corruption.
Modi is a staunch believer in prosperity through industrial and agricultural grouth of the economy. He says he does not want to distribute poverty among people He is not in favor of subsiding by Government for services, which is unproductive, makes people complacent, causes heavy toll on national exchequer. He wants growth –oriented economy though controlled industrialization and development in different sectors of the economy. He is for decentralization as opposed to ccentralization practiced by previous Congress Development. He invitied large scale foreign and domestic investment and private participation .He believed in minimum Government and maximum governance. He visualizes Government and private sectors as partners in the economic growth . He even says that the Government role is the role of facilitator of private industries participation in the economic grouth of the country and not as major Actor. He is dismantling license Raj system, which proved to deterrent to private investment. Under license Raj plethora of laws exists making entry of private sector rather difficult. It also promoted rampant corruption and siphoning of economic resources to vesred interests. He is in the process of weeding out outmoded and unnecessary laws, bringing about transparency in Governance and and making India attractive designation for foreign investments .He removed the cap in foreign investment in Railways and opened to 100 percent. Similarly in the area of defense production and other sectors. More and more sectors are being opened up for flow of private funds to stimulate economic growth . During his official visits to other country, he sought investments from the Governments of those countries and also from Indian business communities settle down there. He had one to one meeting with business tycoons and also met in groups Indian community. He proclaimed ‘make India ‘campaign. He told foreign companies to come to India, manufacture goods here and sell them anywhere ‘.This policy is just the opposite to the policy of encouraging foreign companies to see our country for market for their products on the false assumption that there is large chunk of people belonging to middle class( which is compared to inverted pyramid, ill conceived by late Prahlad, the so-called Management Guru) who can be made gullible to buy goods. In other words our country was turned into consumer market for foreign made goods, just like Britishers did during their colonial rule and to cater to their economy, which made our in perpetual poverty .Modi rightly wanted to reverse this position for accelerating our economic growth. He felt that India with its vast resources and highly skilled and disciplined labor should be the world hub for manufacturing activity and should not serve as inert consumer market. He dissuades people from being unduel attracted by foreign, alien types of luxurious living. Here we find he is following the Gandhian ideal of self-self-reliance.
In all his foreign tours, which he made recently to promote cordial relations with other nations, he made a point to meet Indian community and appealed to them to be active participants in the economic and social development of India, the country of their origin . He was very specific in his statement. In other words, he meant some concrete action. He told each one of them should adopt one village they come from for development. He promised all possible help from the Government side for their projects. Modi launched a project by name ‘Sansad Adharsh Gram’ meaning creation of ideal /model villiage’ under which each member of Rajyasabha and Lok sabha are given the responsibility of developing model villiages by 2016. Each of them to choose a village . By 2019, each of them would undertake development of another two villages across the country which would have demonstration effect. He walked the talk. He himself adopted a village Santhinagar in Banares one of his constituencies, from where he won in the election. He told the villagers at the inaugural function that it was not that they he adopted their villiage, but they adopted him to be their representative to the Parliament. This shows his humility while being in the highest office, the quality of which we find is rare. Gandhi said that only those who lead a simple/ poor life and have no desire to amass wealth can really serve poor. Infact he practiced it himself both while in South Africa and his rest of his public life in India fighting for freedom. He gave up even the use of slippers and walked barefooted, so also his costly dress. Modi, we find is following his ideal. With his humble background, Spartan life,, self-discipline and patriotism, he should be able to work for the common man and to change their fate.
Prior to British rule, economic fabric of Indian villages was such that each one was self-sufficient in production of goods and services needed for the local community, had healthy social life based on good neighborhood relations, felloowfeeling , mutually helpful attitude, spirit of co-operation and good will. Britishers dismantled it by introducing mono-cropping of cash crops and those which they wanted to transport to Britain such as cultivation of Indigo plant. To create demand for their products, people were persuaded to chase goods of luxuries in cut throat competition, live beyond their means and perpetually indebted to usurious money lenders .Modi has plans to revive the ancient glory of village economy as backbone of India. The one measure, he introduced was making easy access to banking services to the poorest of the poor in our country .,
With in short period of six months after becoming Prime Minister, he announced many promising policies and programmes,which should help to fight poverty which two third of our population is suffering.
He launched the campaign of ‘Suachh bharat’ or clean india . He called upon his senior colleagues –secretaries of various departments and urged them that it is their duty to see that cleanliness is maintained in their office premises. He made surprise visits to different Ministries, pulled up the indolent people and urged them to work hard or seek retirement. He started a national campaign on Clean India, to realize Gandhiji’s dream . He inaugurated the campaign by participating himself in cleaning .His R.S.S background has made him frugal in living, strong and well disciplined .He roped in celebrities to the cleanliness campaign. He set a target date for achieving cleanliness . He believed that cleanliness helps to maintain the health and vigor of people, apart from that being an Indian value.
He is trying to revamp current education system and to include in it skill generation which would throw up employment opportunities to the youths and help building character. He found that the Planning commission, unlike in the Nehruvian era of Planning is defunct. It was disband and its functions were given to the respective Ministries. Similarly, he felt that the present set up of University Grants Commission is not conducive for promoting education. It was divorced of its grant giving function and madeit to address the issue of improving the standard of higher education and research which would contribute to national development .. He felt our colleges and universities should be at par with best in the world. The standard of teaching and research should be considerably improved. The fellowships to researchers were hiked recently and made attractive. A researcher, who completes PhD could continue holding fellowship of Rs 45000 till he gets absorbed in a suitable position . Thus much incentive is given. He asked U.G.C to reorient its goal and develop policies and programmes in line with those goals .
He asked higher officers to restrict their foreign visits to attend meetings, go only when it is absolutely necessary and other wise manage with Video conferences, as austerity measure.
He introduced what is called ‘Jandhan yogana’, making opening of accounts in the bank s by everyone, especially those belonging to economically weaker sections. He felt access of the common man to banking will motivate them to undertake entrepreneurial activities and also would develop in them habits of thrift and savings, which are necessary to improve standard of living of common masses . Majority of the population did not have access to banking before, as the rules were hard. The Rules were relaxed and opening of the account was made possible with zero deposit and without the need for the account holders introduce those who want to open accounts . An life insurance cap of one lakh was also made as part of savings account scheme. It was reported to be great success . 70 million people opened the account during last six months and Rs 5000 were invested. Now any one with proper indentification say with Aadhar card can open and operate bank accounts. One Bank for 1000 to 1300 population covering 5000 villages is planned to be opened shortly, with a definite time frame. It should boost economic activity at the village level, apart from integrating villagers who were left out so far with the main stream of economic activity.
Modi gave a call to the industries to activate Apprentice system, which had lost its vitality and asked them to implement it right earnest to produce people with employable technical skills, which the economy would need for its development, apart from helping the youths to be gainfully employed. Though some of those reforms have been made during previous years, the difference is that Modi being man of action, he would implement them and he would be impatient till those programmes start reaping their benefits. In other words it will not be a case of initial enthusiasm. Modi is a person who means business.
Modi is a visionary .He introduces plans which help to achieve multiple goals . . In other words he is a versatile personality with sharp intellect, clear vision and endowed with native wisdom and far insight. He allotted 1800crores for cleaning up Mother Ganges. He pointed that it was not due because Ganga is a sacred river to Hindus and to evoke Hindu religious sentiments, but to boost socio-economic development of the cities which lie on its banks and also to check the phenomenon of global warming . Thus, though it supports resurgence of ancient cultural moorings, which unify people and makes Indians proud of their heritage, matirialistic reasons have also been pointed out. Another innovative idea which came from him is his exhortation to the people of India that every family should buy at least one dress made of ‘Khadi’, rough clothe hand spun and woven in Handlooms, which was the pet idea of Gandhiji. Most innocuous way to strain British economy and encouraging people to lead a Spartan life, which alone can solve poverty of common man. Though R.S.S misgivings reading Gandhiian ideals and though he joined R.S.S at the tender age of 7 years, we find he respects Gandhiji’s , life, ideals and his yeoman contributions in freedom struggle, he adopts his ideals, when he finds will suit the requirenments of the country . In that respect Modi has outgrown his R.S.S route which is expected of a leader at the helm of affairs. A person at the helm of affairs of a nation should not be wedded to any narrow ideology, but should embrace whatever ideas are good for the nation .Modi use to repeat often that others talk of big things, but he builds small things, when he introduced the idea to build toilets. Thus, the idea of Khadi may apparently look simple idea. It has deep and multiple meanings . First, Gandhi conceived it with his ingenuity that it is way to hit the market for clothes made in Britain in India, thus bringing pressure on their economy and forcing them to make our country free. It was a powerful weapon against our enimies to make them yield to our birth right, without causing any physical harm/ injury. In other words, it was a fight in a most peaceful way. Khadi clothe is hand woven compared to machine produced goods. Thus it stands for genuine human effort and self-reliance. It symbolizes village industries . It is coarse not fine or super fine. Thus it indicates love for simple and ostentatious living. Modi, like Gandhiji advocates people not to run away after the so-called modern things of comfort , but to lead a life of frugality and contentment, which is the only way to be free from poverty and be happy with life .This is especially true for a such a vast country like hours with three fourth of its population is reeling under poverty. Again, our ancient scriptures advocate the value of ‘Thyaga’ or renunciation as fundamental value of life. Thus, the above approach is aptly suited to our country . Originally, popularization of Khadi was the brain child of Gandhiji .It was Gandhiji who gave call to the nation to boycott Power loom clothes made especially in Britian and in its place accept locally made handspun and hadloom made course clothe called ‘Khadi ‘ to weaken British economy and thus induce them to hand over freedom, apart from encouraging a prudent life and grouth of villiage industries and self-reliance.
Khadi is a symbol of our struggle for freedom. It should bring to our mind the sacrifices made by our martyrs of freedom and make to make their dreams of creating a self-sufficient nation, where everyone enjoys freedom and freedom come true .Infact dress made of Khadi should be made as our National Dress’, just like tri-color national flag made only in Khadi clothe is symbol of our nation. The uniforms in in Schools, colleges, Government department should be made in Khadi. so also on occasions of national celebrations such as independent day, Republic Day, Gandhi Jayanti and others , people should be attired in Khadi. Now Khadi dress is attributed to membership in congress. It is believed that only congress leaders wear Khadi dress and Gandhi cap., which is not true. In other words, Khadi is not given its due place. Gandhiji is not only for Congress, but he is father of our nation and an icon respected the world over . Similarly, Khadi clothe should not be seen as extension of congress ideology, but as a national symbol.
Modi believes that every citizen has to participate and contribute his mite to improve socio-economic conditions of our country. He says even Pravasis or overseas Indians should contribute to the development of their mother land .He urged them when he addressed them during his overseas visits abroad. He assured them that he would see that certain necessary changes are made in the Rules of immigration that the two schemes People of Indian Origin and Overseas Citizens of India would be combined , remove bureaucratic hurdles and simplify procedure to obtain this card , make it life time validity instead of five years applicable now and thus enable people of Indian origin to visit , stay and start entrepreneurial activities without difficulty .This is strong incentive for people of Indian origin to continue their relations with their mother land and contribute to her economic growth . Indians where ever they are in the globe and how many years back they left India and became citizens of other countries, still retain their cultural link with India . . I happened to meet few seniors in a meet in Ann Arbor, U.S arranged a day prior to Indian day of Independence . , including those who left India several years back and settled in U.S They were nostalgic. They recalled with a touch of emotion and sentiment the happy days they lived in India and pledged their allegiance to the country of their birth . We find several Associations of Indians by various names functioning overseas which nurture , promote and showcase Indian culture . The same Indian festivals such as Onam and Deepavali are not celebrated not just on the day of those festivals, but over n many days and months .The Author could participate in some of the festivals during his visits as Guest of Honor, could address them and could ghet first hand feel of their sentiments. It appeared to me that Indian culture and traditions are not only for Indians with in India but to all the people in the world contributing etrnally a healthy world order.
Modi is the votary of girls education and the rights of women and children . The admission rates in schools and colleges of girls are abysmally low. He makes special efforts to promote education of girl child. He made a trust for the money from auctioning the gifts he received to finance girls’ education.He believes Gandhiji’s dictum that’ we educate a person, if we educate a boy, we educate a whole family , if we educate a girl’. He goes a step further saying that if a girl is educated, two families Viz her maternal family and her in-laws family are educated. I would go even further that the whole nation is educated, if a girl is educated, the reason being in our traditional family culture, women have unseen hands in shaping up the culture of the family, which they carry out in a non-directive or diplomatic way, even with out making men aware of their influence.
This concludes the essay on Modi, Part 1. It covers the developments for say 6 months, since Modi sworn in as Prime Minister of our country, when a new chapter in the political life of our country, opened up after more 6 decades of Congress rule, after India became a free sovereign Republic. In other words, people of India, being impatient with pace of development that took place after independence voted a new political party –B.J.P , to power. People have lot of hope in the present Government. Modi sensing pulse of large sections of citizens of India and also due to his personal conviction for a turn round of the economy has made several promises and initiated programmes, which are discussed above, which every one irrespective of party affiliations would endorse. There is a saying that’ the success of pudding is in eating’. Thus, how far Modi is able to translates his ideas , policies and programmers into actions and what are the results would decide peoples’ credibility in the new political regime. The Author will follow the developments that take place in different areas such, economic growth and prosperity, social equity and so on and would write about those in subsequent parts in time to come. Mean while, let us be optimistic that Modi, known as ‘Vikas purusha’ will to measure up to the our people and better days are ahead .