Monday, 22 January 2018

PM’s Modi’s Successes versus the “Yes But” Congress Naysayers

India is now less than 16 months away from the next general elections in 2019, unless it the Prime Minister decides to call elections earlier. Every election, be it at a panchayat election, a municipal election, a state election or a Lok Sabha by-election, the press makes this into an analysis of how the country will vote in the Lok Sabha elections. Every loss of the BJP is interpreted and talked about as a potential rout for the ruling party.

Were expectations of the electorate taken to such a high level in the 2014 elections that no achievement, however big or small, seems to satisfy some of the voters any longer? Or is it simply a group of politicians and journalists with high decibel vocal cords who have still not understood or accepted that the nation gave a clear mandate to the BJP in 2014 who elected Mr Modi as their leader?

Politicians and bureaucrats, who believe in their “entitlement” have not been able to accept the unconventional steps being taken by the Prime Minister in virtually every sphere. What galls them even more that he and his ministers are getting results. This Government does not believe in “this is how it was always done in the past”, though opposition politicians keep harping on the old ways. Corrupt politicians have been jailed while inefficient bureaucrats have been transferred or sent into retirement. The work ethic is coming back into Government offices and the common person is beginning to get their work done – something that was theirs by right and not as a favour.

The Prime Minister has changed the paradigm.

There is no holy grail any longer.

The opposition has not been able to find a single case of corruption in this Government and therefore they have no choice but to find a response to every decision taken. After all, they too have to survive and hopefully, thrive, in some future election.

It is easy to blame the Prime Minister for everything. From the price of onions to potholes in the roads, from relations with neighbouring countries to law and order in every city and from pollution in the capital to the response to Padmaavat and not reigning in the Kaarni Sena. Everyone blames the Prime Minister and expects him to answer for everything.

Instead of accepting the huge strides India has made in the past four years, we are busy castigating the leader and the party.

Even if the Congress leadership grudgingly wish to accept the accomplishments of the Modi Government, they have a “Yes But” answer to everything.

Let us look at some of these significant achievements and direction setting that has been done by this Government over the past few years as well as the completely irrelevant responses of our “Yes But” brigade. Results of some of these actions will be seen over the next few years.

·     Swachh Bharat is an initiative, a national movement, the Mr Modi announced from the ramparts of the Red Fort in his first speech and he was mocked by many in the opposition for raising this at an Independence Day speech. Today, there is a marked improvement in the consciousness of the people on cleanliness.

Yes But, I see trash in my locality is the standard comment of every opposition politician! They take exceptional pride in being able to take photographs of trash and posting it on social media.

·   Bank accounts for all were promised and implemented with zero balance for every citizen of the country. Such financial inclusion has not been experienced in seven decades post independence.

Yes But, where is the Rs 15 lakhs promised to everyone during the election rallies, say the naysayers, refusing to accept the success of the Jan Dhan scheme?

·     Surgical Strike launched by the Indian Army against Pakistan was a courageous and morale boosting decision that was taken. Never would have the Indian Army imagined that they too could become the subject of questions and in future needed to carry cameras into the battlefield to prove their claims.

Yes But, “show us evidence of the surgical strike” say the opposition politicians trying to cause uncertainty among the people. They are out only to score a political point.

·     Demonetisation came as a surprise to everyone. This was one of the harshest action taken against black money circulating in the economy. This move also wiped out the large quantum of fake notes that were being pushed into our economy from our Western neighbour. All political parties cried foul and businesspersons complained incessantly. Those sitting with large hoards of cash were hurt, not the common person.

Yes But, look at the challenges faced by the common person and look at Gujarat election results, which gave a fitting response against the demonetisation.

·    GST, possibly one of the most dramatic financial legislation undertaken in India since independence, has unified the country into a single tax zone. This has been lauded all over the world except by our opposition politicians and some businesspersons who have been used to concealing income to evade taxes. Everyone talks about the loss to the small businessperson but no one talks about the millions of truck drivers who have gained a more than 30% time advantage because they do not have to waste time waiting at state borders.

Even the upgrade by Moody’s after the implementation of GST has refused to get any plaudits or a grudging acknowledgement from the Congress despite the fact that the rating upgrade is for the nation and not for the ruling party or the Prime Minister.

Yes But, the implementation of the “Gabbar Singh Tax” has been poor says Rahul Gandhi not knowing what else to say to criticise which he must!

·     Make in India as an initiative cannot be questioned by anyone given its simplicity and intent. All that the Prime Minister has been asking for is to manufacture in India thus creating economic activity and jobs. In the process, he is inviting foreign investors to set up manufacturing facilities in India.

Yes But, what about the beef ban say our naysayers who cannot find anything else to question or criticise. When nothing else work, they criticise the metallic lion symbol of Make in India.

·    Ease of Doing Business rating by the World Economic Forum showed that India has climbed from 142nd rank to 100th rank in the World. The country has received record foreign investments and foreign reserves are at an all-time high.

Yes But, say our opposition leaders, the fringe is creating havoc and frightening away the investors.

·    GDP Growth hit a decade low of 5% in 2012/13, to 7.9% in 2015/16 and faced a drop subsequently due to the temporary impact of demonetisation. India is seen as the fastest growing economy for the near future and with more fundamental corrections being made to the economy, growth will become more robust.

Yes But, says the former Finance Minister, what about saffronisation of the country?

·  Triple Talaq is one of the most far-reaching legislations for the Muslim community affecting women. Millions of women who were at the mercy of their husbands have been given relief. Barring some interested men from the community, almost everyone has welcomed this.

Yes But, says the opposition without acknowledging the significant role played by the Government in getting this implemented, what about Love Jihad?

·       International Diplomacy of the Prime Minister has made India into a highly talked about subject in virtually every boardroom in the World. Our reforms and the political stability makes India a very attractive destination for potential investors. We can see the results with the records investments pouring into the country.

Yes But, says the opposition who have no way to counter this, “The Prime Minister travels too much and has become non resident”.

·       Aadhar Card, started by the UPA Government has been taken forward by leaps and bounds by the NDA Government. It is the poorer people of society who will benefit from the direct benefit transfer and all other associated reliefs. Linking bank accounts to Income Tax returns, gas cylinders, driving licences, passports, investments etc will make our nation more transparent and inclusive.

Yes But Aadhar is an invasion of my privacy and violates my fundamental rights say people who do not want transparency because what they have will now be visible to all.

The diversionary tactics of opposition members by questioning every move of this government are clear. They want to somehow create havoc with their comments and create some doubt in the minds of the electorate.

John F Kennedy famously remarked in his inauguration speech - “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”.

This is the time for each one of us to internalise these words carefully and make it a part of our own mindset. If we want to see India occupy its logical place in the comity of nations, we need to think of what we can do for our country.

The author is the founder Chairman of Guardian Pharmacies and the author of 5 best-selling books, Reboot. Reinvent. Rewire: Managing Retirement in the 21st Century; The Corner Office; An Eye for an Eye; The Buck Stops Here - Learnings of a #Startup Entrepreneur and The Buck Stops Here – My Journey from a Manager to an Entrepreneur.

Twitter: @gargashutosh
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