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‘Reformer’ Modi charts his own line

‘Reformer’ Modi charts his own line
Highlights

Reformer Modi charts his own line, Looked at from one angle, the six months of Narendra Modi\'s tenure may be a cause of disappointment for some.

Six Months In Office As PM

Looked at from one angle, the six months of Narendra Modi's tenure may be a cause of disappointment for some. For the corporate sector, for instance, the absence of "big ticket" reforms is bound to detract from the prime minister's go-getter image. The business houses may not have said anything as yet about their dissatisfaction, but it is clear by now that Modi is not an ideologically-driven right-winger like Ronald Reagan or Margaret Thatcher.

Instead, he evidently likes to pursue his own line and at his own pace. He will not be hustled, therefore, into drafting a hire-and-fire labour reforms policy which is favoured by industrialists nor into a return to land acquisition laws reminiscent of the 1894 rules which have now been scrapped.

What is more likely is that he will tweak these laws, including those on environment, and not opt for drastic changes. In this respect, Modi is a reformer, not a radical.

Any expectation, therefore, that his party's majority in the Lok Sabha will make him ride roughshod over the existing rules and regulations will not be fulfilled. One reason why such dramatic changes have been expected since Modi appeared on the scene like a "rock star", as even the foreign media describe him, is the pent-up frustration in the last years of the previous government among both businessmen and ordinary people caused by the stalled reforms and policy paralysis. It was hoped, therefore, that Modi's changes would be in the nature of a no-holds-barred recourses to a fast-growth path.

Since this hasn't been the case, the belief is that he is as much of a pragmatist as any other politician who will not like to unnecessarily overturn the apple cart.

As a result, while avoiding major changes, the prime minister is currently focussing on what can be deemed small things, such as toilets, cleanliness, e-governance, encouraging the underprivileged to open bank accounts and the celebrities as well as the MPs to "adopt" villages.

There is also another kind of disappointment for some people with Modi. Although the recent riots in Trilokpuri and the communal tension in Bawana on the outskirts of Delhi have been seen as examples of the local foot-soldiers of the saffron brigade fishing in troubled waters.

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