If India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is really interested in the development of the country, I expect him to be bold enough and make those promises which can be measured empirically.
By Rakesh Raman
India is a country of fanatics or fans. Here every Tom, Dick, and Harry is a fan to every other Tom, Dick, and Harry. Indians are fans to shady politicians, fly-by-night social activists, ugly Bollywood actresses, and physically deformed actors. Strange but true.
Fandom is basically an outcome of frustration. As India continues to be a poor, miserable nation, Indians become fans to others because they want an artificial solace that could help them forget their miseries.
These days, Narendra Modi – a newly appointed Prime Minister of India – is riding the wave of fandom and exploiting the people’s sentiment to his advantage. He is using every opportunity to give people a heavy dose of wordiness that lacks substance.
In the past three months of his rule in the country, Modi has been largely successful in befooling the educated illiterates as well as uneducated illiterates by giving meaningless political speeches even at those places where no speech is required. In fact, he has become a “word king” using words which are presumably written by others for him.
As he lacks administrative skills to manage a country of over a billion people, he is proving to be as slow and incompetent as his predecessors, such as the previous Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
In a recent article headlined “Narendra Modi’s Quiet Beginning Dims India’s Hopes for Swift Change,” The New York Times has discussed events that analyze Modi’s style of functioning, which may not be conducive to India’s growth.
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But what are the reasons that India has failed to produce even a single leader who could take the country to a growth path? Answer: As India’s election system is totally flawed, it allows even illiterates and incompetent people to contest and win the elections by fair means or foul. And after winning, they behave like dictators and take decisions which they are not competent to take.
This is the reason that in the past about seven decades of independent India, politicians of every political party have misused their powers and have ruined the country.
Narendra Modi is no different. Then what exactly should Modi do as a Prime Minister? I can’t say about Modi, but here’s what I expect from a wise Prime minister.
First of all, a Prime Minister is supposed to be competent with proven record in all contemporary fields of activity. And if they’re not competent themselves, they should appoint learned professionals as ministers in all departments of the government – even if they have not won the election. Winning an election doesn’t give you the knowledge to run a department that demands professional expertise.
But look what Modi has done. He has handpicked a slew of his sycophants who are totally incompetent and appointed them as ministers in different departments – such as education, finance, technology, defense… you name it.
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What can you expect from such a naïve bunch of leaders? They are taking ordinary decisions that even a donkey can take.
Take railway fares hike, for example. In June, Modi’s government decided to increase the railway fares to earn more revenues for the government. Even a fool knows that if you increase the price of an item, you will earn more money. But in today’s professionally driven world, you need to take professionally sound decisions even when you are running a government department.
A wise Prime Minister would have explored and debated all options for the railways case like it’s done in the corporate sector to achieve turnaround. Did Modi think of cost-cutting options for the railways? Did he know the productivity levels in the railways department which could be improved to save money? Did he consider the rightsizing options to cut costs? And did he make these options available for public debate before he hiked the railway fares? No. So, is he a wise Prime Minister?
In the corporate sector, price hike for the consumers is always the last option. First they discuss all the cost-cutting options believing that money saved is money earned. And a corporate executive who suggests a straight price increase is kicked out of the company. Did Modi kick out his minister? No. Because he and his cronies are playing with public money without any accountability. So, is Modi a wise Prime Minister?
Take another case of his and his ministers’ frequent foreign trips. Like school kids yearning for picnic everyday, Modi is always looking for foreign excursion opportunities and has already adopted a jet-set lifestyle. In the process, he is squandering millions of public money in the name of diplomatic visits.
Only God knows what Modi understands about the current geopolitical affairs and how competent he is to discuss about them. But he is hell-bent to visit every place on earth as if he has limited time with him. And there is a serious paradox in his rhetoric and reality.
Although Modi is clueless about technology applications, in almost every speech he promises technology adoption in the country – from superhighways to broadband to smart cities. If he actually knows the utility of these tech applications, why can’t he hold the discussions with his foreign counterparts through videoconferencing instead of wasting time and money on foreign trips?
He won’t because he is not a wise politician and has become the Prime Minister by accident and sheer luck rather than any worth. Now, he is using shallow words to hoodwink the public and hide his weaknesses.
You can hear him talking repeatedly about stamping out corruption from the country, increasing employment, reviving the economy, improving the education levels, and so on. But none of his speeches and promises is supported by any plan of action. He is simply talking in the air, to the air.
If Modi is really interested in the development of the country, I expect him to be bold enough and make those promises which can be measured empirically. I expect him to make a chart like I am suggesting below on which his performance could be measured.
He should clearly define all the parameters on which he will work and make this chart available in the public domain. This is an indicative model to measure the performance of the government.
*More Development Areas can be added.
If you’re serious Mr. Modi, create a matrix like the one above and update it regularly for public consumption and for experts to express their opinion on it.
If you can’t do it in this measurable format, you can continue to exist as a Prime Minister like your idle predecessors. But for heaven’s sake, don’t bamboozle the innocent people and your foolish fans with your shallow words. Okay?
This article is part of our editorial initiative called REAL VOTER that covers political developments in India. Click here to visit REAL VOTER.