Narendra Damodardas Modi, an outsider to national politics, inspired a massive fan following to give BJP an absolute majority. The road to victory was paved with well-meaning promises to out-right hyperbole. What is undeniable is his single-minded pursuit to victory.

So, is Prime Ministership too big for Modi to handle? Does he have a plan to deliver on his promises? Is there a strategy in place? I think, as always, Modi has a single-minded strategy and it’s “Make in India“.

Make in India is a central piece of Modi’s strategy. Everything else either supports this or is mere lip service. Make in India is the meant to restart the economy, generate employment, reduce dependency on imports and bring “Achhe Din“. So Make in India is Modi’s single-minded pursuit. His actions make it crystal clear that it is all he cares about and has thought it through.

What does Make in India need? What does manufacturing need? Money, skilled people, land, energy, infrastructure, conducive environment, and a large market.

Therefore we see Modi waltzing the country and the world inviting capital, highlighting “Demography, Democracy and Demand”. Read that again, he’s highlighting skilled people, conducive environment and large market. In addition he’s working on the National Skill Development, reforming land and labour laws, building roads and ports and aiming at power surplus. He’s gone as far as avoiding signing a strict climate change policy commitment. He’s adopted the international scale of “Ease of doing business” to measure the improvements, and is making the states compete with each other. He’s literally dragging the states into falling into line or falling behind. He’s shuffling the babus until he’s happy.

The foreign policy, the environment policy, the fiscal policy, the energy policy everything is to support manufacturing. So, is it working? I think there are some green shoots. FDI has risen 100%. Electricity production is at growing at an all time high of 10%, and even surplus. But Land and Tax reform are stuck in Rajya Sabha.

Apart from Make In India, he’s done some work for the betterment of the lowest rung of society. The drive against open defecation, health and life insurance made accessible, direct debit of subsidy along with the massive drive to open bank accounts. I’m not sure if they are part of a strategy or not, but could be. Especially how Jan Dhan Yojana is linked to insurance and direct debit and all linked to Aadhar. So the strategy might unravel in days to come.

Everything else that in not supporting the goal is not getting any attention. So whether it is his pet schemes of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan or Namami Gange, or the black money bill – not much except lip service. Health, education (except to support manufacturing), safety and freedom/rights of citizens are overlooked subjects. By overlooked, I mean there is no change is status quo and the Modi government is happy to blame the previous one for all short comings in these areas. I hope not that issues like the women safety will gain attention only if it prevents Make in India.

The strategy Modi has embarked upon takes time. Building infrastructure and manufacturing capacity takes time and for their positive effects to reach the citizens takes even longer. Modi is playing to a two term game plan. However the average middle class Indian, the biggest Modi supporter is feeling left out. Nothing has been done for them. These people have now become vocal, thanks to social media. So the social media that elevated Modi to the top post, might result in his down fall too. There might not me a second term, because no one has the patience to wait for 7-8 years for achhe din to arrive, even if that’s the only realistic time frame.

Let’s see if Modi has a plan for this too.

When we see a person, like the one below, nothing seems out of the ordinary.

Me, Myself, and I by danielfoster437.

Even if we come across the person below, hardly ever an eyebrow is raised, but

Put a record on by StephenMcleod - artistic moobs

when we see him, something crosses our mind. Why is that? Because it’s some form of impairment?

Man With Hearing Aid by Arty Smokes

Then why don’t similar thought cross our minds when we see this form of impairment?

sexy girls, sexier glasses by .scarlet..

Maybe because visual disability is so common, we have gotten used to it? In which case, should these be replaced

hearing aid close-up by Photos by Mavis.

with something like this?

One thing to bear in mind, that hearing impairment will become common place as well, with everything around us getting louder, this is bound to happen. So get used to seeing more people with hearing aids on.

A few incidents in the last few weeks, made me think of this saying again and again. There is so much truth in it, which is simply glossed over. The biggest culprits are we (non-resident) Indians. Maybe what I say applies to other nationality as well, but I cannot talk on their behalf.

When we visit a new place, we take no time to dismiss their taste in food, clothing and lifestyle. Why do we yearn for a Indian food, abroad? Do people abroad not eat, or they have no taste for good food? Why not try local cuisine? It is not about imitating others or trying to blend in. It is about putting yourself in the other person’s shoes to understand and appreciate their culture and the generations of refinement that has gone into their way of life as well.

Food was an easy one to pick on, but I can go on about several other things. We never seem to stop and think why are things the way they are. Just because they are not the same as we are used to, they are bad or stupid.

On the flip side, when we visit India, we do not blend in there as well. We will criticize the traffic, the life style, the nosy neighbors etc. etc. We will not even drink the same water that others do. Are they so beneath us?

So instead of feeling at home, we are foreigner or might I say aliens, at home and abroad. What a cursed life to live.

Every once in a while, I have to stop and think about how much consumption driven we have become. Indian’s were, and still are, one of the highest savers in the world. But things are changing rapidly with the young. Saving is not very high on the list of priorities.

Being Green

Everyone talks about being green, buying green. We participate in new fads like the ‘Earth day’. Personally, I think that not buying at all is even better.  Do you really need to buy a new mobile phone each year? What about the music player, the laptop, the car?

Whether I look at children or young employed adults, I see a clear trend. Everyone wants the biggest; latest; best, gadgets; phones; bikes etc. This is one American cultural influence I am not very comfortable with. Americans are known for their massive debt powered consumption. But imagine, with India’s population and her growing appetite what could happen to this planet?

Continue reading

photo_verybig_110295[1]With Copenhagen behind us, it makes me wonder is there something we as individuals do to help the climate? On one such thought tangent I wondered if it possible to teach kids about climate using a simulation game like Civilisation? On cursory search I could not find anything that could entertain and educate kids.

What would it be?

An empire building game that needs to balance technology, way of life and climate to achieve sustainable conditions. The players will need to move from stone age to iron age to industrial age to knowledge age. All this is well covered by games in the Civilisation series. The difference is, to advance in the technology tree, they will need to consume resources and they need to understand that resources are limited and that consuming them is not without consequences.

Learning

A game that will show the interdependence of several factors like:

  • Exploitation of natural resources (wood, coal, oil, gold, diamonds, animals, fishes etc)  for technical progress and their costs in terms of environmental impact
  • The long term implication of the such impact
  • Investing in technology to achieve sustainable development
  • Also the flip side of not consuming natural resources and it impact on growth and empire building
  • The need to consume resources to ‘unlock’ next levels of technical innovation
  • Trading of resources amongst empires which have surplus of something
  • I would probably underplay the option of war and more of foreign trade as a means to acquire scarce resources.

What next?

I am not a game developer so wouldn’t know how to get about doing it. But may be some like minded people will come together and look at it. Maybe Freeciv can provide a starting point. Maybe it even becomes successful and makes some money for the creators.