Sunday, April 24, 2016

PM Modi - Still Underwhelming

Source -
As I read different news about Indian PM Modi, I am still sorting out how PMO works and how is India's highest politician working to solve India's myriad problems. It does not render any reassuring picture.

First, I was impressed that PM Modi did not buckle under Chinese pressure and allowed minority Uyghur leader to visit India. India had a reasonable case when China played sucker to Pakistan in stalling terrorist designation of Massod Azhar. If China wants to be a global power to be respected by many countries around the world, increasing funding for global spin masters is not necessarily an effective way. Such a desperation is a classic sign of a weaker dictatorship. India has no reason to be a supplicant to any such low level Chinese model of politics and it was an excellent move by PM Modi to allow alternative voices about China to come to India. It is an act from strength to perfectly project India's resolution against China. India is one of the few countries which is lot less dependent on mighty Chinese Economy and has military wherewithal to withstand any Chinese military adventures (even if her friend Pakistan joins simultaneously). Given this, it is entirely appropriate that Indian Government remains cognizant of it's strength and does not hesitate to assert itself in Sinosphere. 

For sure, granting a visa to a so-called separatist of China is with it's own risks too.[1] There is nothing to stop China in reciprocating that by inviting and nurturing many of India's dissidents as well. But the hope is open and democratic polity of India offers enough avenues to all opposing voices so that Indian minorities do not need to cross India's border to vent their grievances. And that is where doubts start coming to my mind whether Modi government is open enough to accommodate minorities and opposing voices. With its famous umbilical chord to RSS, Modi government has lot to do in keeping away the poisonous, one sided Hindutva Chauvinism of Sangh variety. Otherwise all these bold moves to shelter minority thinkers and leaders from China would simply backfire.

Secondly, PM Modi has been pitching Make in India program and related policy prescriptions for a while. After the initial euphoria and launching of any such policy, one expects a coherent set of policy framework to achieve these economic goals. But Modi Economic policy is nothing but sloganeering with no coherent thought behind it. Such an approach might be able to make improvements in a single state like Gujarat; but one doubts whether it can succeed at the national level where the policy has to cover multiple states, many of which are governed by opposing political parties.

Finally, all the flurry of economic policy making begs a question whether Modi government is putting the cart before the horse. Fundamental to India's economic well being and welfare of Indians is the rule of law, protection of property (physical and intellectual) and timely delivery of justice. Heart of a successful Capitalism is solid, strong and effective property law enforcement. When your law enforcement - judicial system - is weak, over worked and delayed; commercial transactions and disputes do not get addressed in timely manner; slowing down utilization of Capital which results in clogging of economic progress wheels. Successive Indian Governments have failed to understand the importance of an effective judiciary system. Uncontrolled corruption is an outgrowth of the malaise in India's judicial system. When CJI cries in front of PM, one gets a clear evidence that PM Modi does not grasp the importance of improving India's courts. Modi's Make in India policy has no meaning if he does not help achieve unclogging of India's courts. Otherwise, he joins the long list of India's PMs who neglected improving Justice in India.

[1] Update - Looks like Modi Government after all buckled under the pressure of Beijing and has stopped the Uyghur leader from entering India. That is a shame, one more sign that Modi Government is not thinking through and not showing any ability to carry through tough calls. Equally worrying is Indian Media is silent on this reversal.

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