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How Good Is Modi As A Reformer - An Analysis Of Modi's India

Modi As A Reformer

Before Prime Minister Modi's US visit and the first ever Modi-Trump meeting, several global media houses have analyzed the three years of Modi's government. They are doing their best to highlight the failure of the Modi government, downplaying all the achievements of India during three years. Of all those, the Economist magazine's analysis, I think, is the one that deserves good attention.

According to the Economist, prime minister Narendra Modi is not much as a big reformer as he seems. In the beginning, the article gives some credit to Modi for boosting the economic growth of India. It says, before the arrival of Modi, India was growing at a relatively slower rate of 6.4% than after the 2014 election. In 2015, India became the world's fastest growing economy with a growth rate of 7.9%. It also mentioned the economic reforms like GST and Bankruptcy law which have been successfully passed by the legislature.

But, then, it says "These facts are deceiving. The GST, although, was much needed to end the confusing array of taxes, the present government has unnecessarily complicated it by making it too bureaucratic in nature, which has greatly reduced its efficiency."

The article also blamed state-owned banks, immersed in debt, for delaying the financial reform. To curb the problem of declining loans and rising NPA, it suggests the government the option of privatization. it says, “the lending to the industry is contracting for the first time in 20 years; Mr Modi should recapitalize state-owned banks and sell them off.”

And, according to The Economist, demonetisation was counterproductive. It has only hamstrung legitimate business without doing much to the illegitimate ones and taken the growth rate of the Indian economy back to 6.1%, even worse than when Mr Modi came to power.

The article tries to project Modi as a right-wing Hindu zealot citing reasons like the appointment of a controversial man as chief minister of the most populous state of India, Uttar Pradesh. It tried to project the rise of Hindu nationalism in India with Yogi Adityanath becoming chief minister of UP who immediately pursued a full crackdown on illegal slaughtering houses after coming to power.

My assessment:

In a huge democracy like India, having remarkable pluralism, bringing a reform of any kind – political, economic or social – is an extremely cumbersome task. Sometimes, it becomes just impossible. For example, whenever the government will to bring a Uniform Civil Code(UCC), mentioned in the Directive Principles of State Policy, to further the equality principle, the Muslim community becomes agitated for no good reason. And, in the name of secularism, there is also widespread protest in different parts of the country against the UCC. The Muslims make it a religious issue, making the progress of UCC heading to nowhere.

It is only easy to bring reform in a dictatorial regime or by the means of violent revolution. In democracies, it will take its time as the leaders have to take care of the public sentiments. However, there is a scenario in which a democracy can be reformed. It is when both the ruling party government and opposition think and only think of the welfare of the people. This concept stems from idealism, practically it is very difficult, especially in India where being in opposition means opposing every movement of the government.

Mr Modi has brought down monetary governmental corruption to nil. This is quite a big achievement of Modi's government, especially if you remember the situation in India before the 2014 election. Certainly, the corruption has not been fully eradicated, but the government is hoping to achieve that too.

Yes, the state-owned banks is a burden on the economy. Banking is just like any other business and this business need not be carried out by the state; it just needs to be regulated. Banks were nationalized for building the trust of the people in banks. At that time, India was an economically unliberal country struggling with socialist ideology. The absence of competition among the public sector banks and a lack of professionalism can be easily noticed. Privatization of the banks is a very good option, it should be done as early as possible.

Nonetheless, I agree with most of the points of the article and consider it as a legitimate one, I have a serious disagreement with these:


Like any other western media analysis, the Economist article also seems to be biased. Others just blatantly try to ridicule India, in which they end up ridiculing themselves. The Economist, on the other hand, tried to do it by cleverly selling some intellectual facts. It has ignored all the achievements of Modi's India despite naming the cover of the magazine in capital letters as "MODI'S INDIA".

Still, I would say is really good, considering its opinion on various issues of India and giving attention to the real issues; it is of excellent quality if we compare it with other foreign media that cover India or, in particular, has covered the three years of Modi's India.

So, I think, it doesn't matter whether this article criticizes or praises Modi, the only thing I liked here is that it talked about India of the 21st century unlike other so-called global news brands still having the picture of India as a land of snake-charmers and superstitious believers, even when India is the only country that has successfully accomplished its Mars mission in its maiden attempt and launching hundreds of foreign satellites on a regular basis. They just can't digest the fact that India has moved on and is progressing at a rapid rate.


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