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.