By Vishal Sridhar
Edited by Nidhi Singh, Junior Editor, The Indian Economist
A bright opening stand in a cricket match augurs well for any team. Openers have played a crucial role in the success of a team. Be it the destructing combo of Gilly-Hayden for Australia or the classical pair of Dada-Sachin for India.A solid start instils confidence among the team members and promptly puts the opposition in desolation. Team NaMo has done just that. From inviting the SAARC leaders for his Oath taking ceremony to accepting Obama’s invitation to visit him in September and now shaking hands with his once ‘Shehzada’ at the parliament, Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi has indeed begun well.
Even before the start of the 16th Lok Sabha Parliamentary session, Modi has put the oppositions in despair. As he pointed out, for the first time, a coalition of parties is inevitable to form the leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha. Amma’s whitewash in Tamil Nadu and Mamata’s strong performance in Bengal have become insignificant. Amma and Mamata are facing an infuriating situation of holing a plenty of Jokers in their respective 13 pack of cards but still finding it tough to declare in a game of Indian Rummy.
With BJP’S remarkable 282, Amma’s 37 and Mamata’s 34 have become irrelevant. Modi is entirely independent of the allies. The arm-twisting and helplessness of Manmohan Singh by the Left on US policy, by Mamata Banerjee on FDI in Railways, the southern parties on the Srilankan and Cauvery issues, will not be repeated in his government.He has as much space in New Delhi today as he did in Gujarat to operate freelyand to hallmark himself on India’s glory. And he has asked for 10 years, not to be another Manmohan Singh or Jawaharlal Nehru, but Narendra Modi himself.
Narendra Modi flabbergasted his critics and astounded the highbrows of the Indian society including Ramachandra Guha and similar minds by inviting the SAARC leaders for his Oath taking ceremony. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is an economic and geopolitical collaboration among eight members in South Asia continent. It has been constituted to bring in better understanding among the member countries and development across the region. The grand ceremony was ornamented by the presence of Celebrities and veteran Politicians and Business livewires. Of course, the highlight of the entire event was his bilateral meeting with the Pakistan counterpart Nawas Sharif on May 27th. By initiating dialogues with our neighbours, Modi has acknowledged their significance, not just in the development of India but also in ensuring peace in the entire region. Probably, he has taken a leaf out of Vajpayee’s tome, who famously quoted “We can change our friends but not our neighbours”.
In foreign policy, Modi has begun briskly. As R Jagannathan of Firstpost pointed out, Modi has put Indianess back into India. By deciding to speak in Hindi with his foreign visitors, he has stood by his principle that there’s no need to feel contrite in being an Indian and her innumerable languages. Thought Sanskrit would have been apt, Hindi is not far away. He’s imitating the Chinese model by accentuating more importance on utilizing the quality and talent of the Indians than moulding her expertise in the English Language. And by finding ways in using Yoga to stimulate the Indian Tourism, Modi has made sure that he’s here to develop and not westernize the Indians.
His out of box thinking in the foreign policy has reaped appreciations both internally and externally. Though, the dialogues with Pakistan PM and Srilankan President drew mixed reactions, the sentiment across the country seemed to be positive. The outburst of Tamil leaders including Amma and MDMK’s Vaiko and the wrath of Senas didn’t stop Modi from shaking hands with Mahindra Rajapakshe and Nawas Sharif. By holding bilateral meeting with both of them, Modi has indeed put India before any of her states.
The releases of Indian fishermen by both the countries were indeed great gestures and have added butter to smoothen the already creamed foreign initiative by Modi. And only few days back, Nawas Sharif confirmed his satisfaction over his talks with Modi and expressed his desire to work closely with the Modi Government. He wrote in his letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, “I look forward to working with you in harmony on all unsettled matters for the benefit of both nations. Hope that our endeavours will lay the foundation of a much brighter future”. Also Modi has put India first by calling in the Srilankan and Pakistan leaders.
His principle of ‘Minimum Government & Maximum Governance’ reaped huge success in Gujarat and Modi seemed to have established the same at the Centre. He has already abolished all the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoMs) and the Group of Ministers (GoMs). The UPA Government had 68 GoMs and 14 EGoMs, which were constituted to consider issues ranging from spectrum and gas prices to disinvestment in Public Sector Undertakings and huge infrastructural projects. By toppling the UPA legacy, Modi has begun the process for better execution of projects and faster decision making. The elimination of such bodies will not only streamline the government machinery but also narrow the gap between the people and the government representatives. Also by doing away with these power houses, Modi has empowered the already exalted‘Super ministries’ and has ensured that the buck stops at the PMO office.
The striking mandate Modi manifested was largely powered on the fundamental anxiety of drought of leadership in the country. So far, Modi seemed to have led well. But the tough days are only ahead. As the Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley pointed out in his first speech at Raja Sabha; the UPA has left the country in a colossal mess. High Inflation, lack of confidence of the domestic and foreign investors, soaring fiscal deficit and low growth rates have established a bouncy and green wicket for Modi to bat on.
The hostile pitch will force Narendra Modi to do a Rahul Dravid in the coming year or two by showing patience in fixing the economy brick by brick. But once the foundation is laid strongly, the stage is set for a Maxwell in the economy.
An aspiring economist, Vishal Sridhar lives in Ashok Nagar, Chennai. He will be graduating from Loyola College in 2015. Apart from Economics, Indian Politics and History fascinate him. He’s thrilled to scrutinize the NaMo Government and her affiliation with Raghuram Rajan. An enthusiastic learner, he loves to pen down his thoughts on the various economics and political issues. He takes life as it comes and strongly believes that everything in life happens for a reason. He wishes to travel across India to experience her rich culture and traditions. He’s very keen on interacting with people and loves to exchange thoughts on various subjects. Don’t hesitate to connect with him at FB or to drop an email at [email protected]