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Failing to deliver?

Posted in Featured, View Point

Published on September 04, 2015 with No Comments

Eighteen months back he was hailed as the greatest thing to have happened for India. An opinion that was created by public relations companies deployed to create an unmatched stature for the Prime Minister designate for India in a run up to the election, and the efforts to develop that image did deliver results. The same agencies continued doing so, and the “first big act” for Narendra Modi was conceived as the “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan”, and that brought Narendra Modi and his cabinet colleagues, members of ruling Bhartiya Janta Party and a set of celebrities out on the road holding a broom in their hand and doing a great act of cleaning up. His visits abroad were presented as a visit by an Indian Rock Star and not the head of the government. The “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan” gained momentum and at the same pace lost it too. Fourteen months down the line, the “Abhiyan” stands exposed nothing more than a photo opportunity created for the government with no results what so ever at the ground level. A failure for Narendra Modi to keep a social drive afoot, a moment if rightly channelized could have changed the very face of India and would have made Narendra Modi a messiah of a kind. A condition for attainment of goal, an opportunity lost as it was designed not to change India but to add to the image of Narendra Modi.

ORAP Indian government2 FIIT farmers land bill

Narendra Modi entered the 7 Race Course Road coupled with expectations that he would accelerate an economic transformation that began in the 1990s, but his government is struggling to build support for reforms in parliament, where his party is in the minority in the upper house. One of the reforms on Land acquisition set in by the former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was personalized to appear more of an act by the Modi government and diluted to tilt in favor of the builders. As expected it found appropriate opposition. Not to be outdone, Modi has had to issue temporary executive orders in the past seven months that allow the government to forcibly purchase farmland for industrial development. He has failed to secure the votes in parliament needed to make the changes permanent. His government has been projecting that the land reform bill in its modified form is crucial to build new roads, homes and factories and if stalled would put a strain to his vision of 100 new “smart” cities across India linked by Industrial corridors and high speed rail routes, however it has completely and deliberately overlooked the interest of the farmers bound to lose their land. Now, the ruling party has decided to go back to the act so proposed by the previous government of Manmohan Singh. A clear case that policies are being formulated to cater to few capitalist and the rights and interests of poor are being ignored. Not something the Indians voted for.

Another area that has caused much discomfiture not only for Modi but also for India is the issues of veterans sitting on hunger strike for over 75 days demanding one rank one pension and the government has shown no concern whatsoever to break the deadlock despite the very fact that the same was promised by Modi and it formed part of the election manifesto of the BJP too. From farmers to soldiers, the party has a totally different yard stick- the stick of indifference.

From farmers to soldiers to students, the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) at Pune, which is the premier institute for learning film making and allied matters in Asia, has lately been on a slide. Filmmaking has taken a back stage and best of theatrics is being carried out by the agitating students and the leaders of various political parties on various TV channels. Trouble started with the appointment of a lesser known actor Gajendra Chauhan as Chairman of the Institute. Students have been agitating against the appointment calling Chauhan a candidate lacking “vision and artistic credentials”. Many bollywood celebrities have echoed similar views. His selection is being attributed to his perceived proclivity to the RSS ideology and alleged proximity to the BJP leadership at the Centre. Deadlock continues with neither party willing to budge from its stand. In an attempt to dump an incompetent as a chairperson of FTII, the Modi government has made mockery of the selection processes for premier institutions.

Voice of the people is another area where dissent of any kind is not tolerated by the government that came to power on the slogan of “Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas” (Together we all move for development of all). Among various cases the standout case is that of IIT-Madras. In a controversial move, IIT Madras banned a discussion forum for students following an anonymous complaint that it tried to spread “hatred” against Prime Minister Modi for mobilizing SC/ST students to question government policies on the use of Hindi and the ban on cow slaughter, apparently the Ministry of Human Resource had a role to play in getting the group banned and later in getting the ban lifted too.

Analysts in India have attributed that the propensity of Narendra Modi to act alone, appear more of a supremo and continue to bask in the glory of his achievements as the Chief Minister of Gujarat has undone some of the good work that could be easily attributed to him and his government. It’s the need of the hour that the individual ministers are assigned responsibilities and the desired independence to come out with time-bound policies and solutions to problems; and not just toe Modi’s line blindly. Ministers need to be made accountable for implementing schemes. Modi’s approach of handling everything himself is not delivering results for the masses that too despite the PR agencies going on full throttle.


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