Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Opposition in Parliamentary Democracy.

It’s believed that Indian polity has been able to sustain its democratic nature because of the constant scrutinizing by  opposition parties. A party might not be able to form the government at the center because of the lack of majority, but that doesn’t take away the responsibility of acting as a watchdog of the ruling party. When it comes to questioning the government and preventing them from taking negative strides, parliament is the most suitable platform for the opposition to leverage.
  • Power is supposed to beget its own opposition. It is the soul of democracy. Healthy opposition is very necessary in a democracy. The Opposition’s main role is to question the government of the day and hold them accountable to the public.
  • Opposition is expected to express the will of defeated people, their anxieties, anguish and hopes, to speak for the poor, dis-empowered, minorities and the oppressed.
  • Any Government has to remain answerable to the public at all times, and a good Opposition can put the spotlight on serious issues and have them resolved quickly.
  • The way opposition parties work together can influence the outcomes. If they succeed in working together and in building the political numbers they increase their chances of toppling the government.
  • Opposition’s formal role in Parliament is to hold the government to account. That often means opposing what the government does. It always means questioning what the government is doing.
  • The other major role is proposing alternatives to what the government is doing so the public gets the benefit of political debate between different directions.
  • An active Opposition will also debate legislation vigorously in the House and during the Standing Committee process to ensure the legislation receives careful consideration.
  • Opposition is not just about opposing the Government. There are occasions when the Opposition agrees with the Government. These are where it is simply in the wider public interest that a problem is fixed, and the solution the government is proposing has wide support, and it is hard to disagree with it.
  • Opposition parties don’t have the same resources as the Government and the Executive, so they have to work twice as hard to get the same results. The Government has access to government departments and advisers to form their policies, where as the Opposition often has to go down different avenues to source the same information.
  • It’s also really important that the leader keeps a close eye and ear on what the public is saying, needs and wants. Because problems are often caused by the Government not delivering.
  • Leader of the Opposition has the additional job of working to present an alternative government, which of course involves other opposition parties, or potentially government parties that are part of government. He has to work with other parties to present an alternative government.
  • The Opposition’s role is only partly to “oppose, oppose, oppose”. The role more constructively as holding the government to account. In a positive way, opposition can cause government to adopt positive proposals.
  • Opposing the Government is most useful for an opposition in defining its own position. Oppositions get a hearing when giving a view on what the Government is doing.
  • There is a political risk to a party in loss of identity, subordinated to the common good whether in opposition or government.

My View:
In India, we have a large number of political parties. There are a few parties which have a definite socio-economic programme to work for. There are many parties which do not have any coherent programme or policy. Their purpose is simply to aspire to come to power by hook or crook. It is the duty of the opposition party to support the ruling party for the acts that are in national interest. There are unscrupulous politicians who buy the votes with money. They make false promises which they know they cannot fulfill. It is, therefore, essential that the role of money power should be entirely eliminated from the electoral process. The opposition should guide the countrymen to more desirable objectives of socio-economic achievement.

Naveen Patnaik, Mr.Clean

Naveen Patnaik,
Chief Minister of Odisha since 2000
  • Naveen Patnaik was born on Oct 16, 1946 in Cuttack from Biju Patnaik, former Chief Minister of Odisha. He was classmate of Sanjay Gandhi at Doon School, Dehradun. He lived in USA until 1997, away from politics. Patnaik's interest in art and culture drew him into the charmed circle of the rich and famous including Jacqueline Kennedy Onasis.
  • When his father passed away in 1997, the mantle of continuing his political legacy fell on Naveen Patnaik, then 50 years old. He formed the BJD and was elected an MP from his father's constituency in Aska. He said, "I had inherited my father's responsibilities, not privileges. One of the members of his family had to continue his legacy of social responsibility." 
  • In the 2000 Odisha assembly elections, the BJD trounced the ruling Congress and won 68 of the 147 seats, just five short of the majority. Patnaik resigned from the Union Ministry, formed an alliance with the BJP in Odisha and took over as Chief Minister. 
  • He moved into Naveen Niwas that his father built near the Odisha airport occupying the servant quarters instead of the main building which he converted into his residential office. He is a bachelor. He lives life of austerity wearing only simple white kurta-pyjamas.
  • He decided to break the alliance with the BJP in 2009, over Kandhamal communal riots 2008. The BJD contested the elections without any seat sharing arrangements and won a clear majority.
  • Now into his fourth consecutive term, Naveen Patnaik has completed 17 years in the saddle and has joined the list of the longest serving chief ministers of the country (The late Jyoti Basu holds the record of being 23 years at the helm in West Bengal).
  • In 2014, at the height of the Narendra Modi wave, the BJD won a whopping 117 of the 147 Assembly seats and made a clean sweep of the Lok Sabha seats winning 20 of the 21 seats.
  • He is the only chief minister of India who does not speak the regional language of the state. However, he possesses great mastery over the Hindi, French and English. At rallies, he delivers Odia speeches written in Roman alphabet.
  • When Patnaik took over in 2000, Odisha had the country's highest poverty level at 59%. By 2012, the poverty level was down to almost half - 32.5% - the highest reduction in poverty among all Indian states during that period.  Under him Odisha's GDP grew an average of 6.66% annually. Per capita income has grown six fold and touched Rs 66,890 last year. Odisha imported rice from Punjab and Haryana in 2000. It now produces surplus rice. Its anti-poverty programmes and welfare schemes for women have been emulated by the rest of India.
  • He uses a compact no frills Suzuki SX4 bought by the state government six years ago. He refused to have his office chair refurbished though the leather seat is fraying at the edges. Nor has he changed the floor tiling saying the money is better spent on development works for the people of the state. 
  • He bluntly tells his officers to observe 3T's: Team spirit, Transparency, effectively use Technology and put end to PC (percentage commission) culture.  He gave bureaucracy a free hand and encouraged them to come up with innovative solutions.
  • In his first meeting with ministers and bureaucrats of the state, he was repelled by their obsequious behavior, saying their only interest was to find out what was his price. He went about cleaning the Augean stables with political astuteness and ruthlessness that surprised all. He was a mild and incorruptible political leader, and his first tenure in office was marked by his attempts to establish a transparent and corruption-free administration. In the process, he had to act against a corrupt bureaucracy and also some senior leaders of the BJD. He focussed on appalling poverty that had beset the state. He would drop ministers even at the hint of a scandal not fearing political consequences.
  • Naveen Patnaik was felicitated by the United Nations (UN) for an effort to evacuate nearly a million people ahead of tropical storm, Cyclone Phailin, that made a landfall on coastal Odisha in October 2013.
  • Naveen Patnaik's attempts to bring in transparency in the system and his massive drive against corruption in high places, including his own BJD, has given him the epithet of "Mr Clean". An honest, clean and credible image has become more important than the record of economic performance as the key parameter in accounting for the popularity of chief ministers.
  • In 2004, Naveen Patnaik, 57, has grabbed the top slot as the best chief minister.  His impeccable credentials: caring and clean image, credibility, accessibility, and leadership qualities are the things that made him most popular Chief Minister.
  • Patnaik still remains by far the tallest leader of the state. He remains unwaveringly focussed on the development of the state and pursues it with relentless zeal. He has no ambitions to move to the centre. His frugal lifestyle ensures that he has a squeaky clean reputation though some of his ministers and MLAs are now dogged with charges of scandals and scams. 
  • Patnaik remain unfazed by criticism. He says the lessons of the office have taught him to be "attentive to the requirements of the people, to always keep your ears open to their problems and try to deal with them as effectively as he can. If Patnaik follows his simple but effective mantra and sets his party in order, a fifth term should come his way.
  • In the recent Panchayat elections, although the ruling BJD won two thirds of the seats, the BJP won a third of the seats saw its vote share shoot up from 16% to 32%. BJP displaced the Congress as the main Opposition party and can pose a threat to the BJD in the 2019 Assembly elections. 
  • Today, after 17 year, despite signs of anti incumbency and BJP emerging as a credible alternative, Naveen is still by far the tallest leader of the state remaining unwaveringly focused for development of the state pursuing with relentless zeal. He has no ambitions to move to Delhi. Despite his clean image, there are concerns about autocratic behavior, his reclusiveness, overreliance on coterie and lacking second line of leadership etc had its impact. But he remains nonchalant. If Naveen sets his party in order, a fifth term could be well within his reach in 2019.
Some excerpts from his interview

One must beware of ministers who can do nothing without money, 
and those who want to do everything with money ... Indira Gandhi

Start where you are, with what you have. 
Make something of it and never be satisfied ... George Washington Carver

My View:
Naveen Patnaik inherited shattered economy of Odisha, from Congress in 2000. Without much help from Central Government, he made significant progress since then, even though much more is yet to be done. A media & publicity shy person he is, yet he made impact on the people of Odisha which is a very much better place than he founded it. His presence in social media is very minimum. Modi should learn lots of lessons from him, who has the habit of talking too much and bombards publicity from all corners with selective truths and blatant lies and highlighting even his failures as grand successes. One of the poorest & backward states, Odisha even today with per-capita income (ranks 27 of 33) is significantly lower than national average and is only better than MP, Jharkhand, Assam, Manipur, UP & Bihar. Modi hasn't given any special assistance to Odisha during his 3 years, despite requests from Naveen Patnaik.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Why Modi opposed GST for 6 years as Gujarat CM?

Modi was opposed to the GST Bill for six years when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat. Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Orissa also opposed certain provisions of the then GST Bill. Congress's version of GST was a radically different which included petroleum products & alcoholic beverages as well. The present GST excludes petroleum products & alcoholic beverages. In addition, road tax and passenger tax, toll tax, stamp duty, electricity duty, tax collected by panchayat / muncipality won’t get subsumed in GST. VAT or sales tax on petroleum products contributes to nearly 33% of state revenues, and Centre also earns huge amounts as excise duty on sale of petroleum products. States don’t want to lose the significant revenue currently earned from state excise duty which is as much as 25% of total revenue. GST could have become a reality "at least" four or five years back and India by now could well have been on the path to prosperity had it not been for one Narendra Modi and his party who conspired to scuttle UPA's honest efforts in marshalling the reform. Then BJP-led opposition said Congress’s GST Bill push would weaken states, even called it unconstitutional. After 2014, Chief Minister Modi became PM Modi and his thoughts on GST changed. Between 2011 and 2014, UPA tried to pass the GST Bill with the support of the principal Opposition party BJP but failed. 

My View:
The GST ensures middle & lower class consumers doles higher amounts as GST while rich people doles out lower amounts. While centre ensures its revenues would significantly go up it doesn't care what states lose except giving guarantees of reimbursement for a period of five years. Modi & Jaitley's past three year record shows reimbursement process is saddled with numerous queries and actual reimbursement will be in bits & pieces with delays of few years. GST council decides on future GST rates etc, it is clear that no single or group of states will be able to force any decision as they want while centre could easily do that. This undermines basic constitutional structure of constitution granting fiscal autonomy to states. Worst is that GST bill was introduced as 'Money Bill' in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha can only advise Lok Sabha, where as in reality it is a constitution amendment bill to be passed by both the houses. GST laying foundations for economic prosperity is imaginary, prosperity must be within the framework of democratic principles and not at the expense of independence. India is large democracy with complexities and diversities and there is no single pill like GST which can overnight transform it from poverty to riches. Once the euphoria subsides, GST will be like VAT, 10 years ago.

Modi's Illusionary of reforms

Modi is a Hindu zealot disguised as an economic reformer, or the other way round? Modi has pandered to religious sentiment by appointing a rabble-rousing Hindu prelate as CM of UP. Modi’s government is the strongest in decades. The opposition is hopeless. The low oil price of late has been boosting growth by perhaps two percentage points a year. India is young. He has not come up with many big new ideas of his own (the GST and the bankruptcy reforms date back long before his time). Over a quarter of the people joining the world’s workforce between now and 2025 will be Indian. And there is enormous scope for catch-up growth: India is the poorest of the world’s 20 biggest economies. Modi, in short, is squandering a golden opportunity. 
  • But he has also pushed through reforms and these are deceiving. 
  • The GST, is unnecessarily complicated and mangled, greatly reducing its efficiency. Keeping petroleum products and liquor outside GST is unnecessary. A simple GST might have added two percentage points to GDP growth. The complicated version will probably yield less than half that and only after a painful transition.
  • The new bankruptcy law is a step in the right direction, but it will take much more to revive the financial system, which is dominated by state-owned banks weighed down by dud loans. The government has known about the problem for years but has done little to resolve it.`
  • When Modi was elected many business leaders winced him as a reformer promising “minimum government, maximum governance”. It was hoped that the state apparatus would be aimed away from trying to do everything and towards providing basic services, such as education, health care, a functioning market for land and labour, a working judiciary, and a stable and predictable regulatory environment in which the private sector could create jobs. Three years on, those hopes are fading. 
  • Corruption seems to have abated, at least at the highest levels of government. But he has demonstrated little appetite for the reforms which would bring sustained growth that could transform the lives of Indian citizens.
  • Analysts estimate that low oil prices alone has boosted GDP by 1-2%. Modi also benefited from the tenure of Raghuram Rajan, whose inflation-targeting regime has helped keep prices in check. (Mr Rajan was, in effect, sacked by Mr Modi in 2016.)
  • Growth of 7% or so is nothing to scoff at. But Modi’s ministers speak of an economy expanding by 8-10% a year is necessary to absorb the 1 million Indians who enter the labour market every month. Achieving this would require deep and broad reforms.
  • The central government’s response to the difficulty of buying land to the reform of rigid labour laws, has been to pass them to the states. 
  • One of the big reforms it has undertaken, demonetization of 86% of currency, in an effort to curb the black economy was counterproductive, hamstringing legitimate businesses without doing much harm to illicit ones. It was certainly brave but did not make it a sound policy. Lack of planning and unclear objectives mean the exercise has damaged the economy; its potential benefits remain hard to judge. It seems to have paid off politically. The BJP thumped opponents in UP elections in Feb 2017. People queued for days on to exchange old banknotes but were apparently consoled by claims that the rich were suffering far more (they were not).
  • He is no good at working systematically to sort out the underlying problems holding the economy back. Lending to industry, which once grew at 30% a year, is contracting, for the first time in 20 years.
  • Infrastructure projects are stalled for lack of cash and corporate India is in the doldrums. 
  • Modi should have recapitalized state-owned banks and sold them off, to get loans flowing again. 
  • Too often, he ducks essential reforms. When courting voters he talked tantalizingly “I believe that government has no business to be in business,” he proclaimed. But the much-discussed privatization of state-owned firms is yet to take place. The problem is that Modi is not that brave as he exhibits. 
  • Modi has proved the exception rather than rule. “We elected a radical, we got a tinkerer,” rues a banking boss.
  • He should be working to simplify the over-exacting labour law, property purchases are a forbidding quagmire; try to improve the quality of registers to reduce the scope for disputes. 
  • His government recently created havoc in the booming beef-export business with annual earnings around $4 billion (nearly a third of the country’s trade deficit) from exporting beef, and last year was the world’s biggest exporter of the product. But nearly all of it comes from buffalo, not cow.
  • Modi has kept the focus on smaller projects at the expense of broad reforms. The government has proved adept at dealing with the consequences of bad policy rather than recasting policy itself. One scheme put forward by Modi bailed out state-owned electricity-distribution firms at vast expense, because their weak financial position was hampering efforts to electrify rural India.
  • The “Make in India” campaign, designed to lure foreign manufacturers, has loudly proclaimed the country open for business, organizing conferences and photo-opportunities for Modi and foreign bosses. But little has been done to tackle the shortcomings that discourage foreigners from building factories in India.
  • Most economic activity takes place in the shadows. A round nine in ten workers toil in informal jobs. One of the aims of demonetization was to bring more of India into the open. If it has achieved that, it is only by clobbering the informal sector rather than helping the formal one.
  • Companies deemed to earn excessive profits are hounded: makers of stents, pharmaceuticals and seeds have been forced to cut prices recently.
  • A plan to improve the skills of 500 mn Indians by 2022 has been hastily dropped. A Rs. 400 bn public-private fund unveiled in Dec 2015 to finance infrastructure is reportedly yet to find a single investor or project. This government moves from decision to decision, without checking performance or compliance.
  • Senior ministers relegated to the edges of a policy making machine run by a tight group around him, few people know what Modi has in mind. But most conclude that his core beliefs are already in evidence. And with the economy ticking along nicely thanks to the oil dividend, overhauling it has not required, or received, much attention.
  • GDP growth faltered in the latest quarter. The sag seems to have begun before demonetization but has been aggravated by it. Creation of ever fewer jobs in the formal sector have added to a recent sense of economic malaise. Political attacks on the government’s job-creation record are common.
  • Rules issued in May to protect cows have put in jeopardy buffalo-meat export industry as well as dairy and leather producers. State governments are caving in to demands for farmers’ loans to be forgiven, that will bring short-term relief but make it harder for farmers to borrow in future. It could also add two percentage points to the fiscal deficit, nullifying the hard-won consolidation of recent years.
  • If the economy falters, Modi may will try to maintain his popularity by stirring up communal tensions. That is how his BJP first propelled itself to government in the 1990's. 
  • Modi himself was chief minister of Gujarat in 2002, when rioting for over 2 months, killed at least 1,000 people, most of them Muslims. To this day, he has never categorically condemned the massacre or apologized for failing to prevent it.
  • Hindu nationalist thugs intimidate those who chide the government for straying from India’s secular tradition, or who advocate a less repressive approach to protests in Kashmir, India’s only state with a Muslim majority. 
As prime minister, Modi has been just as careful to court militant Hindus as jet-setting businessmen. Modi himself has become the object of a sycophantic personality cult. The prime minister may intend all this as a way to keep winning elections. But it is not hard to imagine it going disastrously wrong. Modi’s admirers paint him as the man who at last unleashed India’s potential. In fact, he may go down in history for fluffing India’s best shot at rapid, sustained development. And the worries about a still darker outcome are growing. Modi’s backers fear more erratic decision-making would be an expensive way to conceal an absence of reform. If he continues in this vein, Modi will leave India a little better off but otherwise not much different from how he found it.

My View:
Any reform will create initial disturbance and after stabilizing the fruits will be seen with passage of time. Aggressive reforms are necessary only when economy is in distress. Otherwise step by step reforms eliminating ills of the existing system is most preferred. Last year our economy was doing reasonable good with GDP growth of 7-8% better than China. Modi's senseless demonetization was utterly unwarranted which almost destroyed informal sector and agriculture. Even before it has shown any signs of recovery, adventuring GST (in mangled format) now, without adequate transition time will only complicate matters and its devastating effects are beyond imagination or prediction. His hurried nature of financial reforms indicate that his objective is to please FII's and World Bank for ratings upgrade rather than any sincerity towards poor people of the country and his deep desire to go down in history as 'the greatest reformer of India'. It is design of God that deep desires will never get fulfilled. History is testimony that never results would be as predicted. Commonsense tells me that when goings are good, it makes sense to adopt slow and seamless changes and poor and vulnerable are never subjected to any discomfort. Alas, if Modi has that much of serenity of mind, he wouldn't have become PM at all.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Emergency 1975 Vs Gujarat pogrom 2002

1975 Emergency was preceded by problems like bad economic conditions due to 1971 Pakistan war and 1974 oil crisis. Strikes and protests were everywhere. On June 12, 1975 Allahabad High Court Justice Jagmohanlal Sinha while delivering judgement said that even though her violations were relatively minor, Indira Gandhi was guilty of corrupt practices in her election to the Lok Sabha in 1971, and the law allowed for only one punishment - declaring her unseated. The Times of India described it as "firing the Prime Minister for a traffic ticket." On her appeal for stay on June 24, 1975, Supreme Court Justice Krishna Iyer granted a conditional stay of the order and that Indira Gandhi could participate in the parliament proceedings as Prime Minister, but without a vote. “There will be no legal embargo on her holding the office of Prime Minister,” Justice Krishna Iyer added. The very next day, in the dead of night, Indira Gandhi imposed Emergency, imprisoned leaders of the Opposition and imposed press censorship.

My View:
None will dispute that Emergency 1975 was very bad undermining citizen rights and opposition leaders and any body opposing government was put in jail without following any process of law and constitution undermined. In contrast the Gujarat pogrom 2002 after Godhra train carnage, what happened in Gujarat was not a spontaneous uprising, it was a carefully orchestrated attack against Muslims, and the attacks were planned in advance and organized with extensive participation of the police and state government officials at the behest of Gujarat Chief Minister Modi. In the riots which lasted for over two months more than 2,000 people were killed out of which 250 were Hindus and rest Muslims. There was widespread destruction of property. 273 dargahs, 241 mosques, 19 temples, and 3 churches had been either destroyed or damaged. It is estimated that Muslim property losses were, 100,000 houses, 1,100 hotels, 15,000 businesses, 3,000 handcarts and 5,000 vehicles destroyed. This scale of violence, destruction & killings simply can't happen for over two months if there was governance. Now, our beloved PM Modi talks about democracy and wants us to forget 2002 and remember 1975!

Friday, 23 June 2017

Rajadharma: Ten duties of the King

King’s responsibilities are demanding, and the role of wise counsel is important. King’s main duties were to defend his realm, maintain peace, administer the law, and do justice. A king should take care not to punish the innocent while being alert to see that those who have to be punished do not go unpunished. An uncanny alertness alone can detect the sly enemy who masquerades as friend to overthrow the king. Loyalty and truth preserves the king, and he upholds his throne by righteousness. The king gives stability to the land by justice, but a man who takes bribes overthrows it.

Ten Duties of the King are:
  1. Liberality, generosity, charity.
    The ruler should not have craving and attachment for wealth and property, but should give it away for the welfare of the people.
  2. High and moral character.
    He should never destroy life, cheat, steal and exploit others, commit adultery, utter falsehood, or take intoxicating drinks. 
  3. Sacrificing everything for the good of the people.
    He must be prepared to give up all personal comfort, name and fame, and even his life, in the interest of the people.
  4. Honesty and integrity.
    He must be free from fear and favour in the discharge of his duties, must be sincere in his intentions, and must not deceive the public.
  5. Kindness and gentleness.  
    He must possess a genial temperament. 
  6. Austerity of habits.
    He must lead a simple life, and should not indulge in a life of luxury.  He must have self-control.
  7. Freedom from envy, ill-will, enmity.
    He should bear no grudge against anybody.
  8. Non-violence.
    Which means not only that he should harm nobody, but that he should try to promote peace by avoiding and preventing war, and everything which involves violence and destruction of life.
  9. Patience, forbearance, tolerance, understanding.
    He must be able to bear hardships, difficulties and insults without losing his temper.
  10. Non-opposition, non-obstruction.
    That is to say that he should not oppose the will of the people, should not obstruct any measures that are conducive to the welfare of the people. In other words he should rule in harmony with the people.
My View:
Modi doesn't have any of the aforementioned propensities of a ruler and hence unfit to rule the nation. He never walks the talk. Reminiscences of Gujarat riots 2002 when Modi was CM of Gujarat is a blot of his unfitness in public life. Doles out lies with ease and never answer parliament questions directly. Prefers to address public meetings and TV addresses where he need not answer any questions directly. A worst demagogue and brands who ever opposes him as anti national and unpatriotic. Never bothers to fulfill his election promises except when people takes it to streets. Worst is his unfulfilled promise (to double farmer's income in five years) to implement Swaminathan committee's report to alleviate agriculture to remunerative avocation with profits of at least 50% of expenses. After three years he is yet to take first step in this direction and farmer suicides continues unabated. His attitude towards extending support to AP as per AP Reorganization Act 2014 and not implementing promises made in parliament and during elections is worst of its kind. He  only takes money from people and spends on his fancy projects and personal glorification. GST bill, widely publicized as a single pill for economic prosperity by Modi & Jaitley today, while seemingly doing good, undermines the autonomy of states, strengthens centre and weakens states, and rolling it out without adequate preparation is likely to impact economy, higher inflation in short run and livelihoods of vast number of people in informal sector (90% of population and 45% of GDP) who operate on razor thin margins. Ironically, it was Modi who has consistently opposed the GST for seven years, when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat saying "GST kabhi safal nahi ho sakti". It was Congress led UPA which brought the GST issue but Modi and Jaitley opposed its implementation. Demonetization is the worst thing that happened and his audacity to publicize it as a success indicates his deep moral corruption. Alienating minorities and Muslims especially in Kashmir by deploying half of the army with economic and political activity reduced to zero is threatening integrity of nation like never before. Chasing the citizens for tax compliance is unheard in any democracy. Institutions reduced to virtually dormant state indicates his dictator attitudes. The funniest thing is that his public acceptance is still higher at 61% (down from 68% in first year) apart from winning elections (mainly due to weak alternatives) and it is matter of time people realize his true personality sooner or later but by which time damages inflicted would be huge. Above all our relationship with all neighbors have soured during the past three years and war with Pakistan is a possibility any time. 

Modi's Minimum Government, Maximum Governance

  • By definition "minimum government, maximum governance" is meddling with citizen's lives as less as possible and maintaining taxation at essential minimum levels while delivering citizen services effectively & efficiently. It is not just small size of cabinet and abolishing infructuos committees or institutions.
  • World Bank's perspective of good governance is “the manner in which power is exercised in the management of a country’s economic and social resources for development”.
  • In 2014, as most of the Indian elite supported the BJP during the Lok Sabha elections to its slogan: minimum government, maximum governance. Apart from this slogan, there seems to be little or no understanding for Modi & BJP what small government meant.
  • Two years after Modi was sworn in as prime minister, it’s more than obvious that minimum government, maximum governance was simply a slogan meant to woo a rather small – and ultimately politically useless – section of the Indian elite.
  • In recent months many have expressed their disappointment in the Modi government’s ability to live up to the promise of minimum government, particularly when it comes to running the economy. And in the bargain, we’ve ended up with more government in places we least expected—telling us what to eat and how best to be patriotic.
  • Modi government’s so far has largely focused on using technology to monitor bureaucrats and streamline business processes to ensure files are pushed faster and decisions taken with speed. Important as these reforms might be, they are neither substantive nor radical enough to achieve the goal of maximum governance.
  • The centralization has resulted in destroying the bureaucracy’s ability to take decisions as bureaucrats at the highest levels who simply wait for signals from PMO. 
  • From increased taxes to controlling what Indians will eat, watch or speak, the government seems to be getting more intrusive.
  • During Modi's 10-year stint as chief minister of Gujarat, there is no evidence of reduced spending or examples of unneeded government functions being jettisoned are provided.
  • Since 2014, size and function of the government has been decided by a number of political factors no different from how the Congress or any other state party would do it.
  • After the November 9, 2014, reshuffle, Modi’s government had 65 ministers which was 14 more than the last government with a majority in the Lok Sabha: Rajiv Gandhi’s 1984 ministry.
  • On taxes, the government introduced two new cesses since 2014. Eating out, to take one example, now means shelling out a fifth of your bill to the Union government.
  • Even worse, the Modi government isn’t even passing on this extra money to the state governments (who do the actual work of running development projects even as the prime minister organises yoga soirees). A transfer to the states of 6.3% of the GDP was budgeted for 2015-'16, the Union government only passed on 6.1%.
  • During his 2014 campaign Modi mentioned that government has no business to do business. But none of the PSU's were privatized or divested so far. The Indian tax payer under Modi still continues to subsidise the government’s efforts to run loss making airlines, hotels and banks.
  • Indian public sector banks are running crony capitalist dacoity, offering terrible loans to politically connected industrialists which were never paid back. In 2015, SBI wrote off a whopping Rs 21,313 crore in bad debts.
  • Modi said in an interview to the Wall Street Journal in May 2016. “You can’t suddenly get rid of the public sector, nor should you." It is clear that after becoming PM, Modi has made a U-turn on his “government has no business to do business” point-of-view.
  • Free market economies work best when the government makes a broad set of rules and lets private capital do the rest of the work. 
  • Modi government went to the trouble of laying down detailed rules for matrimonial sites. 
  • New aviation policy is attempting to directly control airfares, capping fare for flights of less than an hour duration at Rs 2,500. 
  • Government’s draft Geospatial Information Regulation Bill proposes near-draconian controls on business and individuals, making and using maps of India which was described as a return to the License Raj.
  • Trying to control what people see, eat and speak. BJP bringing in a stringent law outlawing the consumption of beef in Maharashtra. Modi’s government announced a new scheme to promote Hindi in areas such as North East and South India, another addition of responsibility.
  • Citizens surveyed on Modi Government's satisfactory performance after completion of three years stands at 61% is down from 64% that was last year and 68% at the end of first year of Modi Government.
  • The failure to deliver is a consequence of an obstructionist political opposition and an over-reliance on bureaucrats who constantly block new ideas. But this narrative will not take the Modi far. Voters want maximum action not maximum blame. 
My View:
Modi has no habit of walking the talking. His reluctance to appoint SC & HC judges as recommended by collegium, believed to be non-BJP loyalists resulted in 40% judge positions vacant for over two years greatly effected justice delivery system, which is contradictory to "minimum government, maximum governance" is one example. Modi suffers from worst possible type of corruption; an insatiable desire for personal glory at any cost; an extremely deep moral and spiritual corruption. Modi belongs to the line of autocratic ideologues rather than the western tradition of revolutionary neo liberalism, or marxist rationalism. He also represents the worst aspect of democracy: a demagogue who caters to an irrational populace’s cravings for self-identity and release from self-responsibility. He might not have taken any bribes in recent years but there is no way he could have risen to his position without having made massive and horrendous economic & moral compromises ... as described by Jayant Bhandari in