We will not go into the politics at the centre. Because we believe politics should be the last point of interest for the people. You and me will benefit if the government does a good job and will lose out if it handles governance badly. How does it matter whether we are BJP fans or that of the Congress or TDP or any other party for that matter. Modi and BJP are still very strong at the centre but that is not of concern to us. Let us only keep our focus on issues as Andhra Nation’s tagline says ” Trash politics !! Talk Development !!”
Here is where I feel Modi government has done a good job
- Transparent government: Natural and valuable resources like coal, telecom spectrum etc have been auctioned in a very fair manner with no scope for corruption.
- Absence of big ticket corruption: Even after 2 years no major corruption allegations have surfaced on this government which is great. Some BJP states have faced them but for whatever reason those allegations have not really snowballed into a controversy. (like Vyapam scam in MP or Lalit Modi links to Vasundhara Raje)
- Foreign affairs: Modi’s globetrotting has certainly paid some good dividends and has enhanced India’s image in general.
- Fiscal stability: The macro economic conditions are definitely stable today. Part of it is sheer luck in terms of lower global crude oil prices but that is part of the game.
- No infighting at the centre: Many non-congress governments of the past have suffered from instability due to infighting. But in this government Modi is the only one who counts. And that has been more a benefit than a loss.
- Power and Road ministries are doing great job: Piyush Goyal as the power minister has done a commendable job. And there are reports that roads ministry under Gadkari is getting its act together.
Here is where Modi the government has failed to deliver
- Job creation: No one needs a lecture on how important job creation is to India. Modi has certainly failed here. Read — Job are being lost, not generated
- Agriculture: If a PM wants to help industry and corporate manufacturing its fine. Make in India is a step in the right direction. But in today’s times of global slowdown, it is unlikely to yield results. When 40% of Indians are still in agriculture, it needs a lot more focus.
- Economic vision: Modi’s government is more about small regular steps. Like Kaizen practices of Japan. But India’s problems are so big that small steps will not matter. Unfortunately Modi and his team lack the intellectual bandwidth to think really big and out of the box. For example, 60 year old planning commission was disbanded in a hurry and a new body Niti Aayog was put in place. Close to 18 months after its existence, Niti Aayog still just does not know what it’s supposed to do.
- Pakistan and Kashmir: True, it is foolhardy to expect quick results here. But there only seems to be utter confusion on what needs to be done. There is yet no proper Kashmir and Pakistan policy.
- Higher education: There are enough reasons to believe that the government tried its best to intrude into the autonomy of some institutions or polarised its students or has actively supported campus politics. None of that is good for the country.
Some slogans are really good but have remained just slogans. Swatch Bharat, Smart cities or even Make in India etc. All these are lofty in intentions but there is little difference on the ground.
What can horribly go wrong in the next 3 years?
- The biggest risk is crude price surge. All good macro news in India is due to lower crude prices since Modi’s win in 2014. India has saved approximately RS 3,00,000 crs in the last 2 years on account of this. See table. A lot of good news will vanish if crude goes up beyond 70 dollars per barrel once again. It may happen anytime in the next 3 years.
- I am almost certain that the jobs scenario is unlikely to improve. Start ups which provided many jobs in the last 2 years have started slowing down. Automation is wiping out software jobs slowly and general slowdown has hit MSEs hard.
- There are doubts if the government is serious on agriculture at all. Things may not improve much even with good rains this monsoon.
- Pakistan and Kashmir may continue to remain irritants even in 2019.
- Lack of jobs is creating socio-economic tensions in various parts of the country. Like Jat stir in Haryana and Kapu agitation in Andhra. We may see many more such events in other parts of the country too.