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Disclaimer: I am not pro NaMo, I am pro India.
Despite not being a Modi supporter, I voted, with zillions others, for Modi to become the leader of this country in May 2014. And I did, despite all odds, believe that it was just a matter of time before somebody who had been voted in on the development plank, will start getting India into its rightful position in the world economy.
My sense of disenchantment not-withstanding, I still believe that India has become a country where we needed just the right mentoring and our economy would go into the stratosphere.
In Sept 2014, I actually wrote a post that talked about the steps that were being taken for the sorting the policy paralysis and said that we needed to be patient to see the results. For those who know me, know that patience is not a virtue that I subscribe to, but I sincerely believed that in the Indian context it was warranted. Please see my previous post: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/20140923135540-1760677-acchhe-din-aane-wale-hain
It has been a roller-coaster 23 months since then and I am a little older, a tad wiser(I hope!) and disillusioned. The disillusionment is not with the current government and its antics. It is with the people at large(and this includes the "janta" and the Government) and how we tend to blame everything on somebody else. The buck never ever stops with us - it is with somebody else. The disillusionment creeps in from the sense of deja vu - of constancy, of never changing, of refusing to take charge, of everything really...
The government has made all the right noises - after all we have a rockstar PM who wooed and won over the masses in India and across the globe. There is suddenly work happening - the FM is making noises about simplifying the tax structure for individuals and corporates (though we are to be taxed more), the Defence Minister talks about boosting the morale of the armed forces(Never mind the OROP mess and Pathankot), there is talk of putting the infra projects on the accelerator mode, etc. And suddenly everybody is looking at India closely.
And then began the announcement of one scheme after another from the national platforms - Digital India, Make in India, Swacchh Bharat, Start Up India, 100 Smart Cities... These were announced with great fan-fare from global forums, with grandiose plans, huge advertising campaigns, amazing amount of publicity. Each one was showcased as scheme that will change the face of India. And each by themselves were actually a piece of art - no pun intended: If they reach fruition, they will actually make India a better / smarter country.
The media went overboard with each announcement, what stood out in each communication was how this was never undertaken before. The comparison with the previous government was made by all and sundry, severely undermining the announcement - comparing with a Government that did "Damn all" after all does not show how wonderful you are - and incidentally the current Government was voted in only because of the abject failure of the previous one...
One of the biggest issue that I see is that we have a good PM surrounded by an amazingly bad core team. The examples are a plenty: The mess in education -Hyderabad and Delhi are prime examples of doing too little and too much; Home Ministry issues... Pathankot and Jat Agitation; The BJP Chieftains(and spokespersons), who gets the PM into bigger messes than any other single group; The lousy local state teams that ensure that the PM needs to step in and address maximum rallies across states if they have any chance of winning the elections and unfortunately make statements that are lapped up by the national media; The communication team that ensures that the PM is not responding to all that he should and responds to all that he shouldn't.
I guess the biggest problem for the current leadership are "The BHAKTS", who take it upon themselves to support any and every utterance of the PM as the gospel truth, use foul language and hooliganism, and basically, by association, malign the good intentions of the PM.
I firmly believe that the leader of the biggest democracy needs to just do one thing - LEAD!!! He needs to look at his coterie with his eyes wide open, ensure that he continues on the path of economic growth, tone down the rhetoric and speak out when he has to.
The PM needs to ensure that the schemes that have been launched with much fanfare see fruition, are actually able to change things on ground and do not need mere statistics to prove their success. He needs to focus on the growing parity between the haves and have-nots and make available a level playing field for the have-nots to better their situation. The distance between the rich and the poor is bigger and worse than anywhere else in the world. He needs to ensure that it is the people who need help that are focused on and this has to be sustainable and not merely through doles and subsidies! For this, the PM needs to delegate - we can not have him do everything - he needs to bring in more people, better qualified and experienced, to run his pet projects and ensure that these are delivered on time.
When the work on the ground starts to be visible, we will indeed wake up. It is the momentum that is needed and a catalyst and with all the plans that are in place, we can be reasonably sure that if we are steered in the right direction, we will be able to become a very important player in the global scenario - and not just economically and politically. The PM needs to ensure that we are finally moving towards a destination where each one of us can do our bit and be proud citizens.
What will be remembered in his first term as the PM will not be the mess - and there is indeed a huge lot of it, but the positives and the fact that he was able to deliver on the development plank, if indeed he is able to!!! So here's hoping that Atal Ji's India Shining becomes a reality sooner than later!!!