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Wednesday 21 November 2018
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Editorial

Modi Sarkar: Thousands Wishes and 100 days.

V.N.Jha

New Delhi :-Traditionally, Time has been measured in India in cyclical way of yugas (era), Kalpa etc. In that sense time is eternal. But the calendar of Days, Months and Years are the benchmark against which human activities, development goals and achievements are planned and Tasks are measured. Of late, the successive central Governments in India have been doing self Assessments of 100 days in office and presenting the report card of the govt. for public purposes. This itching of presenting 100 day`s performance was more pronounced in the case of Modi sarkar due to its landslide victory in 2014 election and also  its big bang announcements. No less was the need to address a huge mound of expectations and hopes on which this govt is riding. Naturally in the case of Modi sarkar 100days of Report card was awaited even more keenly as the country wanted the proof of a sprinting govt. lining up big bang and popular reforms and decisions.

So, looking at the streaming report card from the various ministries of the govt. how the 100 days have been for the govt?  Well, the record is a mixed one;- both speedy and slow policy decisions, some big pronouncements, injection of Discipline, sense of urgency and businesslike approach in the official machinery, deft political and floor management as in the case of passing of National judicial appointment commission (NJAC) bill, an Union Budget with a few bold economic steps and relief to middle class income tax payers, enforcing of ministerial accountability, a proactive, energetic and bold Prime Minister`s office (PMO) in complete control.

PM Modi`s bold Foreign Policy moves like his visits to Bhutan and Nepal culminating in resettling the focus on neighborhood and Asia, his highly successful visit to Japan paving the way for a very fruitful Indo-Japanese economic and strategic cooperation and Japan`s active partnership in India`s Infrastructural Development. In all, Perception of a strong and Decisive Prime Minister and a strong PMO is continuing in the public space with continued support for its PM on the Social Media and also impacting the bull run on the STOCK market.

However, The 100 days report card is not without shortcomings, blemishes and neglect of crucial policy matters. Even the Anecdotal stories of rumblings inside the government (in the case of Home Minister Rajnath Singh episode) and whispers of constant surveillance on ministers have surfaced during this period. There are reports of hundreds of important files lying in the central ministries waiting for minister`s approval. The ministers have not been able to attend to the important business in their offices as they have not been able to appoint their personal staffs in many cases. The Govt. has rather been slow in announcing reforms in the Insurance, Finance, Banking and Labour Sectors, thus belying the expectations of corporate world for swift delivery mechanism of the govt. Even while Govt`s emphasis on punctuality has earned a brownie point for the PM and his govt, the fact remains that it has not translated in to desired miraculous outcomes and swift deliveries. Worst, it has been tried to be implemented in a ridiculous manner by overjealous ministers creating and adding to the suspicions existing in the Political and Administrative air in the capital.

The Modi Sarkar`s decision to keep an arm’s length from the media and instructions to individual ministers and even the BJP MPs to keep aloof from the media ‘toli’ have led to the spread of all kinds of gossips, anecdotes and half truths. The PM`s and PMO`s reliance on social media is so complete, that other medium of communication do not seem to useful for mass communication. Here is a PM who believes in having direct dialogue with his people rather than using the intermediaries like Media. Even, if it is to be used, it may be done as one way affair, the thinking goes.

Another area of concern and lacklustre performance of the govt. in 100 days have been in the area of tackling inflation, price rise and fiscal deficit. Prices are rising in both COMMODITIES and Perishable items like vegetables and fruits. Despite fighting the situation with tough talks and taking strong measures under Essential Commodities Act, the govt. has not been able to do much. As far as turnaround in the infrastructure, manufacturing and reality sector goes, the latest growth figure of 5.7% in last Quarter has given a boost to the report card of the govt. But the fact remains, that it can be considered as signals only not a durable trend as yet. Also, the govt. has not been able to trim its subsidy burden and other wasteful expenditures. Hence Fiscal deficit remains a concern.

The Namo saga continues unabated since its campaign days dividing the analysts and observes into ardent supporters and nay sayers. The acrimony of Political Debate Continue unabated dividing friends and foes alike. The PM Modi has not yet attracted negative media narrative. The Media Surveys in 7 metropolitan cities show continuing support for Modi still floating hopes about his charismatic ability to deliver. But it also shows that a vast section of population is less enthusiastic about this story and also prices are pinching. All talks of smart cities, Bullet trains,24*7 power lighting the homes, creation of jobs in manufacturing sector may prove to be prospective protest cards very soon if Modi Sarkar does not deliver on the Marathon Track it as promised by it. So far so good. It has displayed a tendency of touching scores of things at the same time. What is needed is more focused and nuanced approach of delivering in crucial areas within a short span of time. Because ultimately the Brand Modi is all about speed  and skill.