Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Criticize Modi all you want, but atleast do some Due Diligence

The following article was written for MyInd Makers. Pasting it here for reference:
Recently, I came across a tweet that said Narendra Modi has “ZERO intent” and that “he needs to act”. This tweet is merely symptomatic of the reactions of many of those who claim to be supportive of the government but go on to make rank generalizations like the above.
I set about asking some people to list out “the list of promises made, and not fulfilled/started”. I have received a few responses, but all of them strikingly focusing just on 2-3 aspects of his governance (One of them even wrote about “The sense of justice in the country has not been restored” – whatever that means!). What bothered me most is the impulsive nature of the reactions of so many supporters. The constant berating of Narendra Modi, Arun Jaitley, Amit Shah et.al has  just started to get extremely boring. It was extremely upsetting to see how many were either falling into the trap of the narrative being set by the media and opposition, or were basing their strong comments on just two or three aspects. Before getting into these aspects, a few thoughts below.
We berate the main stream media, criticize their extreme intolerance towards facts, but jump and latch on to their false reports to berate Modi! They show us long lines during demonetization, we jump the bandwagon and actually say that this is a big blow to Modi’s administrative capabilities! They show us that RBI issued 60 notifications/U-turns, we jump the bandwagon and actually say that this is a big blow to Modi’s administrative capabilities! Never mind the actual fact that he told us to bear with him for 50 days and the cash problem actually got resolved after 50 days. Never mind the actual fact that RBI did only 5 “U-turns”.
Of late, I find it amusing that action on corruption means sending Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and P. Chidambaram to jail. And because they are freely roaming, a chorus begins saying Modi is not doing anything. Never mind the fact that he is working towards plugging loopholes at the lowest rungs, through schemes like DBT. Never mind the facts the roles of middle men are being drastically cut down when it comes to payments of subsidies, of wages and in even selling of farmers produce. Never mind that the fact that he removed the need for gazetted officer signatures and interviews to all cadres below Class-2 (one of the primary sources of corruption). Never mind the fact that he is tightening the noose with Benami properties act (that wasn’t operationalized since 1988!).
Before 2014, multiple articles were written on the futility of separate Rail and General budgets. Starting this year, they have been merged. It was startling to see the sannata (for want of a better word in English) when this was formally announced – the calm was in extreme contrast to the noise that was made about this topic pre-2014.
I remember discussions on enabling lateral entry and ridding many institutions of IAS officers. He has begun work on this front. I remember discussions on no action on bureaucracy for bad performance – he has already relieved/penalized nearly 70 officers from active duty. I remember the outrage on the delay in declassifying Netaji’s papers (as if he promised to do so immediately). Infact, a few users on social media even asked – now that the papers are declassified, what happened to all those conspiracy theories on Netaji? I remember the outrage on the very existence of Planning Commission. He abolished it, but we seemed to have forgotten it. I remember talks of proper financial inclusion – he’s accomplished it through Jan Dhan accounts. He has begun to encourage entrepreneurship through MUDRA – we go silent or go on a tangent asking why is Sonia Gandhi not in jail! There is an eerie calm once some key demands have been met.
By now, you must be thinking that I am against the basic act of criticizing Narendra Modi or Arun Jaitley. Of course not! I have written earlier too, that the most meaningful criticism of the Modi government has come from the “bhakts”. I have also written that the Modi government is perhaps the first government to listen in to feedback so actively, and incorporate many of those suggestions too! By all means, we must critique the work if it isn’t upto one’s expectations – but to randomly generalize the entire working on the government, and spreading this “no sense of justice” message is really getting upsetting.
One of the biggest criticism is the continuance of RTE as is – and the lack of a new education policy still. Should we continue to push for it – of course yes! Should we brand Modi as a man with “ZERO intent” because of this delay? I will leave it to your judgment.
The other feedback I received for my queries included issues like “Ram Temple”, “Art 370”, “No conversion bill”, “NGT”, and “Minimum Government”. Some of these genuinely deserve to be pushed and pursued. But should we brand Modi as a man with “ZERO intent”? I will leave it your judgment.
The other general feedback (which I have also given at multiple forums) is the slow pace of nurturing an ecosystem that can systemically challenge the hegemony of the Liberal cabal. This includes active plugging of articles from sites such as MyIndMakers, the Swarajya group (Swarajya, OpIndia, Indiafacts) and many other blogger sites too. Should we continue to pursue this? Of course, yes. Should we brand Modi as a man with “ZERO intent”? I will leave it to your judgment.
I am also conscious of the fact that this article may even sound like a “bhakt” writing it. But, I really don’t have any problems if you want to call me so. In my view, what he has achieved so far, far outweighs the shortcomings. In Mr. Modi, I see a Prime Minister determined to wipe out the rotten legacy of the Congress ecosystem. In him, I see a PM determined to leapfrog into the future. In him, I see a once in a lifetime PM.  


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