Two Years, Two Promises: ACHHE DIN, PAR KAHAAN?…

Sarkaritel
By Sarkaritel May 31, 2016 10:33

Two Years, Two Promises: ACHHE DIN, PAR KAHAAN?…


Two Years, Two Promises

ACHHE DIN, PAR KAHAAN?

By Poonam I Kaushish

Circa 26 May 2014: It was a billion bucks dream come true. A chaiwallah become India’s Prime Minister of a billion plus people. Riding the wings of glory with a mandate against corruption, the culture of entitlement and pledges for a nouvelle new order of Aache Din.

Circa 26 May 2016:  Two years down the line Prime Minister Modi is now experiencing the classical saying that uneasy lies the head that wears the crown! Running the country is rough life, forget all the mammoth celebrations, razzmatazz rallies and power-point pressers by his Ministerial brood, his Maan ki Baat to produce tangible results of minimum Government, maximum governance for the people. Sic

When one draws up the balance-sheet of the Government, can the Prime Minister brush under the carpet the fact that the situation sadly continues to remain stagnant —status quo ante? Has Modi mastered the art of tight rope walking, one who can handle the Opposition and outsmart them? Or, should one believe his detractors who see Modi as a filibuster of a “fundamentalist Party”?

Call him a narcissist, dictator or a Hindu zealot, yet Modi’s approval ratings continue to remain high. According to a recent survey NaMo has been given thumbs up by 70 per cent across the country, ranks fifth on Fortune’s annual list of “World’s Greatest Leaders”. Forbes describes him as the ninth most powerful person on Earth. He is also the second ‘most-followed’ person in the world with more than five million Twitter subscribers.

 

Perhaps, that explains his perceived arrogance running a one-man rock band albeit concentrating power in the PMO. A one-way street full of staccato monologue, no dialogue and questions are a strict no-no. He uses Modisque ‘direct marketing’ format and delivers a speech every 1.9 days (45.6 hours) and in 706 days has given 363 talks and counting.

Notwithstanding, the Opposition dubbing his two years as “disappointing”,it has been a roller coaster ride, a bag of mixed fortunes and misfortunes for the Government. At one end of the spectrum, he has made more than 40 foreign trips, earned respect for India globally, has the historic Land Boundary Agreement with Bangladesh under his beltand continues to engage with an unreliable Pakistan.

The Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna finds pride of a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. As many as 21.74 crore accounts have been opened with a deposit of Rs 37,445 crores till date, the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (life insurance for Rs 12), the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (accident insurance for Rs 330) and the Atal Pension Yojana (pension for the unorganised sector).

FDI flow marks an upward growth, the Aadhaar card has established norms to reduce corruption and over 71 million bank accounts have been opened in rural areas. Undoubtedly, sleaze at the top had declined dramatically, the e-auction of coal and telecom has done wonders for transparency. The Made in India, Skill India training scheme and Digital India are good initiatives.

Modi’s biggest failure has been his inability to take the Opposition along. The GST and Land Bills hang in limbo as the BJP lacks numbers in the Rajya Sabha. There is open war between him and the Congress as also JD(U) Nitish Kumar.

His Government has failed to bring down prices. Every visit I make to the market for vegetables, oil, sugar, wheat and dal-chawal, the prices have risen by a minimum of Rs 2-Rs 10. That it is the annual summer season does not cut ice; the Congress parroted the same dialogue.

Increasing unemployment, illiteracy, ill-health and suicides by farmers are the touchstone of the much-hyped and illusionary deal of roti, kapada aur makan. Look at the irony. Cellphones go abegging, yet people continue to beg for food.

Worse, the NDA has increased taxes. Service tax has gone up from 12.3% to 14%. Why? It makes accounting simpler, assert finance mandarins. Not for them the fact it has a cascading affect on family budgets. Think. A simple visit to buy soap, toothpaste etc will set you back by at least a couple of hundred bucks a month, resulting in a housewife’s budget going for a toss.

Add to this luxury tax of 2% on even daily necessities like getting a haircut. Realtors are crying foul. A buyer of an Rs 25 lakhs flat will have to shell out Rs 10,500 more. Resulting in a slowdown instead of propelling growth. Any wonder, Modi you are perceived as pro-rich?  Will ending the financial year with GDP growth of 7% alleviate the misery of the people?

On the twin issues of bringing back black money stashed abroad and tackling banks’ NPAs, the Government’s performance hasn’t been impressive enough. It twiddled its thumbs as economic defaulters fled the country.

His pet project of making Bharat Swacch by 2019 sans water and toilets seems a tall order. The corridors of Government offices stink to high heaven, forget the congested residential areas with garbage strewn all across roads. Less said the better of health care, Shamefully, 1 in 3 of the world’s malnourished children live in India with 1,500 dying every day and risking the future of another 6 million.

Moreover, there is political disquiet over Modi’s failure to curb his rabid Hindutva brigands who espouse communal polarization. This has corroded inter-community relations, to an extent where discrimination against the minority community seems to be par for the course. Less said the better about allegations of Saffronisation of education.

What next? Can Modi change India? Take India to superpower status? Certainly, he is no magician who can cure India of its over 60 years ills expediently, despite his brand of politics. Towards that end he needs to relive what he ad nauseum chants, “The real meaning of politics is not power but service.” He needs to invigorate the system and fortify democratic institutions.

There is no gainsaying that NaMo and his Hindutva cahoots can no longer afford to be complacent or traditional as the young voters do not have the patience for inane diatribe, they demand a better deal for their tomorrow

All in all, the task is cumbersome and steep. The clock continues to tick as shrewd Modi continues his promises juggernaut. He has to live up to huge expectations generated by his 3D media campaign on twitter, U tube and social networking sites.

Undeniably, Modi’s task is not enviable. The burden on him is enormous given our fickle and unforgiving voters. Much is expected of him. Of course, he can enhance his Government’s performance by addressing weak areas and threats can even be converted into opportunities.

With great power comes greater responsibility. He needs to rejig his persona and come down to earth. Rise from being an absolute ruler to a grassroots neta. It remains to be seen if Modi can and will reconstruct the language of democracy. Remember, leaders don’t build democracies; people do.

Will this ordinary-Indian-turned extraordinary neta be able to redefine politics and bring about a change? Can he deliver on his much promised Acche Din? When and how? NaMo still has three more years to deliver. Hope lives on. —- INFA

(Copyright, India News and Feature Alliance)

Sarkaritel
By Sarkaritel May 31, 2016 10:33