During his campaigning, Narendra Modi marketed himself as a reformer. Rather, the only reformer in the country. In my opinion, he comes across as a strong Hindutva-vadi in the guise of a social and economic reformer. The appointment of Yogi Adityanath as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh supports this fact. Modi is more of an administrator than a reformer. Growth acceleration, from 6.4% in 2013 to 7.9% in 2015, has no doubt brought him fame and admiration across India. Propelling reforms which were long-stalled in red-taping, such as the bankruptcy law and the pan-India sales tax (GST). India finally seems to be making process!
The GST, although extremely necessarily, is too complicated for commoners to comprehend. The very notion of it (GST) being too bureaucratic springs thoughts of inefficiency. The bankruptcy law alone will not cater to the problems of the state-owned banks, which are already burdened with bad loans. Even the historic step of demonetization proved to be counterproductive, slowing down the legal business, instead of the illicit ones. This is no surprise then as to why the Indian economy seems to be dragging.
So, is he the reformer he claims to be? This remains to be seen, even after entering the 3rd year of his Prime Ministership. He’s ventured into different areas of social development; from setting up manufacturing units to building toilets in the remotest of areas. Finding lands for factories, helping businesses rid their problems seems to be on priority. Solving the underlying problems would be a greater help. What India really needs at the moment is a healthy and educated labour force. Political conditions are as promising as they ever will be, having a majority in Lok Sabha and almost a majority in the Rajya Sabha. The BJP currently runs most of the big states and the opposition is rendered quite useless.
Compared to the developed western economies, India is still young. We have a labour force which will amount to over a quarter of the world’s work force by 2025. Still, India remains to be the poorest of the top economies. The Prime Minister still hasn’t prioritized economic reforms, thus losing out on opportunities in multiples. Then there is the strict implementation of ban on consumption of beef. It has hurt businesses as well. His choice of Chief Minister for Uttar Pradesh is under trail for encouraging religious hatred and blasphemy. The biggest worry amid all this is, should the economy fail in times to come, he and his party will ignite communalism, which is how the party rose to power in the first place. Till date, he hasn’t condemned the 2002 Godhra (Gujarat) riots, neither has he mentioned it in any of his speeches. But it something which all have to take notice of. One of the biggest media houses, who dared to oppose the government was raided by the police. Having developed a cult following for himself, he’s merely ensuring a win in the 2019 elections.
In the long run, proclaiming to unleash India’s true potential, he shouldn’t lose out on golden opportunities for India’s sustainable development, which, many fear is likely to happen. It’s indeed a slippery slope out there!
Author: Akshay Palande
Akshay Palande is a passionate teacher helping hundreds of students in their UPSC preparation. With a degree in Mechanical Engineering and double masters in Public Administration and Economics, he has experience of teaching UPSC aspirants for 5 years. His subject of expertise are Geography, Polity, Economics and Environment and Ecology.