Sunday, May 24, 2015

Trivial Pursuit

Vasu Reddy From Chicago
vasureddy@aol.com

Normal citizen of India is looking at the Modi government for actions on many of the poll promises that put him in the PM chair just about a year ago.  There is no magic to politics, and Modi and his BJP colleagues are no different than other master politicians in speech verses performance.  The election promises of a political party that is in the opposition are typically targeted at the weaknesses of the incumbent government, and the electorate already has the five year history (or in some cases more than one term) to make opinions on the ruling party, and also listen and make opinions to vote for the opposition.

Along with majority of Indians both in India and the NRI community, yours truly also strongly advocated opinions (and continue to express positive opinions) for Modi lead government for India.  There are may be a dozen major factors along with many more tangible and intangible reasons for voting for a change at the central government in India in 2014.  Modi and his team and their agenda that sets out the future of India, for both the very rich and the common man and in between the middle class.  The rhetoric, the speeches, the words of wisdom, the challenges for the new government, the wide reach of the media and internet, the many reasons of the nation’s needs and in my opinion the corruption at every level of government; all factors that needed to be changed and Modi hit one every one of the failing of the previous government, and we the people were listening to him and his party.  We really needed change at the top, and also change in the policy and administration of the country.  It did not matter who was listening, but just about everyone wanted to have the government do something to curb the corruption and start focusing on the common man agenda.

Modi was a successful CM, and administrator and also a man who is quite simple and reaches out to everyone.  His reach is enormous to everyone with ability to communicate, and in today’s connected society he is a superstar.  At times he is like a teenager who is constantly updating his profile on the internet pages, and much of it personal and meaningless for public policy.  He shares his private moments with his travels and other head of state, and most of them are filled with his personal anecdotes and his personal comments on where and with whom he is with.  Modi is the leader of the largest democracy on earth, and his reaching out to anyone on earth is unobstructed.  His personal equation with everyone he meets is quite warm and receptive.  It doesn’t matter which country he is in or who he is meeting with, the man is a charmer.  His travels and interactions globally has certainly put India and its leadership as a positive discussion across the world.  We finally have Indian PM that is a welcome visitor into the global audience, and he certainly is smart and savvy to embrace people, politics and culture of everywhere he is.  He is our own political superstar.

In a year at the helm of the country, Modi is well travelled and well engaged man of action.  His agenda is enormous and his public persona continues to expand globally as a man of substance and pro-development.

To review a year at the helm of India is quite trivial.  It is difficult to really look at the election manifesto and 12 months in power.  The election manifesto is typically a list of corrections to the failures of the incumbent government and adding a few spicy issues that are of importance to the nation at the time of elections.

The massive change in the perception on India and Indians across the world after Modi took over as PM is the curtailing corruption.  It is a universally known fact that Modi and his team have been quite vocal in curtailing the corruption, and in the last year there is no significant or major scam that is highlighted as associated to Modi government.  Personally, this is a major plus for Modi and his government.  The telecom, coal, public sector privatization, defense and any other areas where the government has taken major initiatives and auctions, there is no whiff of scams.  This is an election promise that Modi made, and if the current trend continues it is the most significant achievement of this government.  This is probably the most important contribution to the nation’s well-being and managing it resources.

Moving from a state capital to the nation’s capital, especially with the vast diversity of India and its needs. Modi definitely has some more learning to do on what his government says and what it does.  The reality of running a massive nation is much different than running a state, and we can see the management issues that have become common to Modi government.

To begin with a year is over in governance, and it is time to implement what is constantly being publicized as government agenda.  Also, for each project make public what was said and what is being done.  Outside of curbing corruption, there are a lot of initiative that the government must respond to, and put out the progress on each of them.  For sure the promise of returning black money to all Indians is simply impossible as India alone can’t force the global banking system to do something they have never done before, and also estimating the amount of money that is really stashed abroad is the most unimaginative poll statement any politician can make.  People are way too smart to realize that there are things the government can do and there are things that are impossible.  People would appreciate if the government fixes the laws going forward and curb the hoarding of unreported money, rather than trying to figure out imaginary numbers that were promised before the elections.

The government should stop announcing impossible expectations, and start publishing the report card on the already under process initiatives.  Take the next four years to better manage the country’s resources and continue to eliminate graft and cronyism.  By simply diverting the national resources to national building, people will respond to the next elections.  No matter how well you speak or how well you tell a story, the audience is limited to one sitting.  You will have to deliver to the expectations for people to continue to listen to your story.  In Modi’s case and his BJP government, the emphasis should be to continue to eliminate graft (100% graft free) and start publishing the progress of its many initiatives.  No matter what the progress the public will want to know where the government is in doing things that are of importance to the nation, and the public also is fully aware of the reality of life much more than what politicians give credit to.  Modi is always online and it will take his government very little effort to update the nation on everything they have said they will do in the last year.  Just keep us updated and we will judge the actions.  It’s simple to understand and appreciate facts, rather than play trivial pursuit with government’s actions.

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