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Long way to go: Modi is seeking to match Nehru for development projects

By NS Venkataraman* 

There appear to be an overwhelming consensus view in India that Modi should be elected as the Prime Minister of India for the third time during the forthcoming parliamentary election.
If one were to take a holistic view of the performance of Modi as Prime Minister during the last ten years, it would become very clear that there have been many positives and a few negatives in his administration. Further, discerning observers would tend to think that whatever negative aspects of Modi’s administration have not been due to him but inspite of his efforts.
If one were to have an unbiased look at the performance of the past Prime Ministers of India., perhaps, Jawaharlal Nehru and Modi stand apart for their development vision and long term outlook.
During Nehru’s long years of Prime Ministership, several monumental projects and programmes were implemented in the country such as Bakra Nangal Dam, Atomic Energy Commission, steel plants, setting up of CSIR laboratories for research and so on.
During Modi’s tenure also, several monumental projects have been conceived with some of them already implemented and a few of them under work in progress stage.
Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru started his function as Prime Minister when development stage in India was at minimum level and whatever he did were new and hitherto unattempted efforts. In the case of Modi, he had to take off from a stage when India was already in a state of somewhat developed condition and Modi had the challenging task of sustaining the development and moving towards a big leap forward stage. From this point of view, one can say that Modi’s efforts have been as formidable as that of Nehru.
In the last ten years, Modi has laid his hands on several projects and targets not only to improve and fine tune the industrial and economic growth of India and he has also targeted to bring a change in the social life style of the people, particularly the people in the lower income group.
Many of the tasks undertaken by Modi are still in the work in progress stage, as Modi’s scheme of things have long term outlook and not short term. Such projects are too many that include construction of toilets for poor households, housing scheme for poor, promotion of yoga culture, clean India campaign, health insurance scheme for poor, digitalization, facilitating the opening of bank accounts for poor people, reservation for women in parliament and so on.
As the above tasks cannot be left hanging at this stage and the focus and dynamism has to be sustained. Therefore, it is necessary that Modi should be given another five years of Prime Ministership, particularly since no other political leader in India today seem to match Modi even half way.
While several of Modi’s schemes are very impressive, there are also a few negatives which need to be mentioned.
There is one issue which Modi seems to have ignored during the last ten years. This is his lack of efforts to reduce population growth in India.
India has already emerged as the most populous country in the world and it appears that India would have a population of 2 billion people in the coming years, if the population growth were to remain unchecked. This would be an alarming situation, which India cannot afford. Further, in the coming years, India would be blamed by other countries for allowing the population to reach such extreme level which would have a negative impact on the global scenario.
Certainly, Modi has to explain to the country men as to why he has ignored the population explosion issue.
There is another issue on which Modi has promised big. This is the corruption issue in India.
While Modi has done well to ensure that the Government of India directly under him would largely remain corruption free at the top level, he has not been able to ensure similar condition at the state level. To be fair to Modi, he has tried to check corruption by promoting digitalization in a big way, implementing aadhar scheme which would pave way for ensuring accountability for money transaction by people etc.
Unfortunately, he has not been able to check political corruption, which is the primary reason and root cause for prevalence of corruption from top to bottom in government machinery in the state administration in India.
In the next five years, Modi has to launch a strong anti corruption drive in India, much more stronger than what he has done so far.
Ultimately, at the end of the next five years of Modi’s Prime Ministership, when in all probability, he would quit politics, future history would judge his stewardship primarily on the basis of his anti corruption success than any other achievements. While history would certainly note Modi’s success on several fronts, any inability on his part to root out corruption mostly if not fully would be noted by future historians.
India has not been able to move on with the speed that Modi wants during the last ten years, only because of the prevalent corruption level in the country which lead to inefficiency in administration, suffering for poor people and public money not being spent fully for intended purpose.
As the country continues to repose confidence in Modi, the Prime Minister should be aware of the fact that what the country expect from him is much more than what the country has expected from the earlier Prime Ministers.
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*Trustee, Nandini Voice For The Deprived, Chennai

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