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Tie up loose ends

Tie up loose ends
Highlights

Tie up loose ends. When Narendra Modi’s government took office last summer, the nation was like a milk pot on boil. A mix of excitement and expectations kept the pot full to the brim.

Several merits aside, there is some alarm at home and abroad

When Narendra Modi’s government took office last summer, the nation was like a milk pot on boil. A mix of excitement and expectations kept the pot full to the brim. A year on, it has settled well below, still boiling. Malai, the thick layer of cream, comprising hyped-high, even excessive expectations, has largely dissolved. Without doubt, the most high profile government India has had in many years, a stable one with a towering personality at the helm, completing one year in office is certainly an event.

Not just at home, it is being noted in many world capitals where governments and investors are weighing their options. And that, by itself, is a good augury. The government has a positive report card on the economy, despite last year’s bad monsoon showing all signs of repeating. And despite that, the economy may be ready to “change gears” as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley says. It has earned investment promises, but we shall have to wait for them to materialise.

It has won friends abroad, or bonded old ties with greater firmness. In sum, India is being watched with interest. But there is also alarm, at home and outside, at the constant targeting of minorities and smaller groups, at the emergence of a loud majoritarian culture – all thanks to utterances of the leading lights of bodies of which Modi is part or is beholden to. And his silence is deafening.

The debate now is whether the “achhe din” that Modi promised have come and if not, will come at all. The debate should be over promises and performance. But somewhere along the line, the ‘ayes’ are booming loud, not necessarily because they are right. And naysayers, true to the way political discourse is conducted in India, are criticising for form’s sake, even on policies they initiated when in office. They are coming across less convincing.

The blitz, especially on the social network, for last many days, trumpeting its ‘achievements,’ shows that the government and its acolytes feel the need for it. That many voices, particularly from India Inc. are counseling patience, urging that the government be allowed to complete its tenure before being given a report card betrays their own impatience and a measure of disenchantment.

This being the first year, we have witnessed ‘trailers’ in the form of policy announcements – too many of them. They would need time to fructify. Even if it is a mixed bag, and even if the first year’s report card is at best provisional, the Modi government certainly has something to show. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi giving it zero-out-of-ten marks is political rhetoric and even he knows that. A fair verdict would be seven marks each on foreign affairs and economic management, five on politics and at the best, three on social front.

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