Whether NaMo is up to the mark?
In two years the Modi government has set the stage for growth by initiating the reforms process, but the next three years are highly important for Modi. He needs to focus on his promise of good governance, opines the writer A Jagan Mohan Reddy
“The great leaders in history were great not because of what they owned or earned but because of what they gave their lives to accomplish. They made a difference! “
-John C Maxwell
Modi government came into power promising to rein in inflation, bring back black money, eliminate obsolete laws, increase public spending on education to 6% and usher in economic revival by rationalising and simplifying tax regime etc.,Let’s look at the some of the accomplishments of Modi government :
Minimum government - maximum governance
Modi government has 65 Ministers compared to Dr Manmohan Singh's 2nd Ministry with 80. That's 20% less. The work obviously has been more - which we shall see later. The difference of 25 ministers would immediately relieve at least 375 government officials with a saving of Rs 25 crore every year compounding to Rs125 crore in five years. There are other benefits of having a "lean, mean and flexible" bunch of ministers who make decisions!
Dissolving committees and Planning Commission
Charles Kettering once accurately observed - “If you want to kill any idea in the world, get a committee working on it.”Modi abolished the Planning Commission - which was a vestige from the Soviet era which still was being dragged on. As anyone with any experience in corporate enterprise performance management area will tell you budgets are the legacy of a past when rationing was key.
Foreign trips = FDI bonanza
A ranking of the top destinations for greenfield investment (measured by estimated capital expenditure) in the first half of 2015 shows India at number one, having attracted roughly $3 billion more than China and $4 billion more than the US," the FT report said. For context, India was ranked #15 in 2013, #9 in 2014 and #1 in 2015. The trend is clear.
‘Setu Bharatam’ programme
This programme will make all national highways railway level crossing free by 2019. A total of 208 rail-over bridges and rail-under bridges will be built at a cost of Rs 20,800 crores in this programme. Besides 1,500 decade-old bridges will be reconstructed and revamped for Rs. 30,000 crore.In the latest Budget 2016-17, Rs. 19,000 crore have been earmarked under the Pradham Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), to connect all villages with roads .
Repealing the obsolete laws
Successive governments had repealed 1,301 such outdated laws in 64 years. But the present government has managed to weed out as many as 1,159 obsolete laws in less than two years.
Real Estate Bill passed
Real estate sector is largely unorganised. Buyers are at the whims and fancies of the developers - and some developers charge through the roof and keep changing the price goal post while the construction is on. The new real estate bill will help set up State-level Real Estate Regulatory Authorities (RERAs) which will regulate transactions related to both residential and commercial projects.It is said that this bill will bring the home prices down as well.
Rejig of air defense system
Minister of Defense Manohar Parrikar got the 15 year old plan reviewed and it resulted in a savings of almost 50,000 crores INR. Common sense steps to make sure programmes and actions aren't just useful but also cost effective are important. And this govern ment has ministers who can use a bit of common sense.
Minister of Home, Rajnath Singh started a programme that rescued kids who had gone missing and reuniting them with their families. As of September 2015, over 19,000 children, who had been pushed into prostitution and bonded labor to ill-treatment by parents, had been rescued! That’s 19,000 reasons to feel good about a government that has compassion and empathy with the poor and disadvantaged.
Breath-taking work by External Affairs Ministry
A simple request or appeal to the minister Smt Sushma Swaraj leads to action around the world. The entire machinery is activated and the people who are Indian citizens are taken care of immediately!
How he works?
According to one of the officers, who retired from service in Feb 2014 but was recalled along with 7 officers based on their excellent track record, even on Holi and Diwali days he and the entire team is with Modi. Every meeting they have, Modi runs through it for 30 mins and then always asks the same question to everyone in every meeting ' What more can we do to make India better' .There are reports that yet times PM hasn't slept for 36 hours! And this is when it is business as usual and not national emergency. We do not know whether Modi's health will survive this self inflicted tough schedule or if he will even win the next election.
The two years of the Modi government has set the stage for growth by initiating the reforms process such as bank clean-up, Aadhaar-linked direct benefit transfer for subsidy roll out, bankruptcy law. But the next three years are highly important for Modi and he needs to focus on his promise of good governance and make his government controversy-free to the extent possible as there is no time for distractions. Modi’s march has seen a minor blip and not a total breakdown. He is still on course to turn India around by 2019 no matter what may have happened in Bihar.
(The author is senior faculty (HR), Institute of Public Enterprises. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org)