What is the nature of political discourse in India today? It is biased, direct and cruel. The opposition has been called an anarchist formation of disparate political parties and the PM, a ‘Chor’. Take for instance any tweet or article about PM (Modi). These are extremely biased and one sided either for Modi or against Modi. There is no neutral ground as if Modi is infallible or Modi is Devil incarnate. He is either eulogized or cursed. Earlier there were more of eulogies, but now the tide has turned and there are mostly curses and these are getting shriller and shriller. There seems to be an anti-Modi tirade by his political opposition together with a section of media, intelligentsia and elite, who appear to hate him. and want him out of power by any means and immediately. As though, it were a life and death question. But why this desperation? One wonders, is there no scope for a balanced discussion?
What are the grouses really? It can’t be that India’s economic performance is desperately bad. After all, it has the highest economic growth rare among most countries with inflation under continuous control over the last four and half years. Of course, there is some concern about joblessness, but there is some concrete evidence of good job creation too in the organized sector. On law and order, there are incidents of concern. But these are not too many in a country of 125 crore people. There are complaints of undemocratic behaviour and stifling of free speech. Yet no specific instances could be cited except for the cases of ‘Urban Naxals’, which are sub-judices. ‘Rafale’ is only an allegation that too is debunked by the Supreme Court.
Agrarian distress is perhaps the only issue that remains to be resolved by the government. However, the government has launched many people-welfare schemes as well as a minimum support price to insure agricultural producers against any sharp fall in farm prices and they affirm that these would start yielding result in near future.
Let us now juxtapose the above accusations against the following undeniables:
- PM Modi has rolled back the tide of corruption. And while lower-level corruption may still be present, corruption in high places involving the Government has virtually come to an end.
- Modi forced discipline into the working of the economy. People have learnt to pay tax and repay commercial loans
- He has extended financial inclusion to the large populace below the poverty line.
- He has extended electrification to all villages in India.
- He has extended fuel gas connection to poor and needy.
- There has been positive impact on health insurance sector. Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection Mission has started bearing fruits.
- India jumped from 100 to 77 in the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ index.
- Introduction of Insolvency Bankruptcy Code has largely helped recovery of Non-Performing Assets.
- Tremendous acceleration in road air and rail connectivity.
- Very impressive acceleration in digitization.
- Noticeable improvement in tax compliance and additionality in tax revenue.
- Overhauling of tax system by introduction of Goods and Services Tax. Long term benefits don’t need emphasizing.
- Re-engineering of government delivery system by introducing Direct Benefit Transfer scheme.
- Providing refinance to micro business under the Scheme of Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana.
- The tone of foreign policy has been replaced by hard-nosed calculations based on the promotion of national interests.
Democracy is the least bad form of government. Mess, dissension and turmoil are its natural companions. In India, we have some of these. But look at other democracies all over the globe. It is much more violent and tumultuous in West Europe, Latin America and USA. We should be thankful we live in India.
The writer is a long-standing commentator on contemporary issues