Modi Sarkar: Areas of my concern

Part 4 of series on #modiplan

I will try to paint a plausible scenario of 2019 in my next post. I will follow it up with what might be PM Modi’s game plan.

Excerpts from article published on Oct 8, 2015 and some updates . The above article was written before the Bihar Elections and the stunning defeat of Modi.

Here are areas of serious concern

Tax policy

I will start with the tax policy and issue of recovery of black money. The tax policy continues to be ridden with discrimination , exemptions, and discretionary powers to tax men. The GST (Goods and Services Tax) design is faulty due to multiple rates and exemptions. The FM hasn’t used the compensation lever well to prevent the its birth defects. When we eventually get GST it will not be a neat solution to the tax tangle. Once embedded these defects will be difficult to get rid of because of new vested interests who will get entrenched. GST design compromise is an example of what I call as Congress Culture.

(update Nov 30: as you read this, there are signs of further compromises in the GST in order to obtain Congress’ support.)

There is no sign of a simple direct tax code (DTC).  The fiasco over the (Complicated) Saral form is one example of continuing wrong direction to tax administration. The retrospective taxation issue involving Vodafone etc. and the MAT issue involving Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPI) are other examples of the poor show by the finance ministry and the entrenched Congress culture.

Black money

638 declarations were made amounting to Rs. 3,770 crore by midnight of September 30. Recently, the SC monitored SIT said that the black money based on information received from foreign countries under information program adds up to Rs 6,400 crore. Assuming that all cases are pursued with 100% success, we can expect about 11,000 Crore black money and recovery of 7,000 to 8,000 Crore.  These are laughable figures.

And what are main sources of the black money? The SIT tells it is cricket betting! Come on guys, haven’t you heard of real estate cash transactions? Without identity linked property records it is impossible to plug black money flowing in and out of economy. You surely know about the round tripping of money through imports, exports and portfolio investments (‘rigged’ trade invoicing alone affects India’s GDP by around 3 % according to Global Financial Integrity estimates). Haven’t you heard of how participatory notes help money laundering? Absolutely nothing appears to have been done to check the generation and absorption of black money in the white economy.  (Update on Oct 5, 2015: FM is now talking about making PAN mandatory for cash transactions above some level. This is not going to be enough because PAN universe has fictitious duplicate numbers.  Nothing will stop benaami property transfers. This is an example of incremental, inconsequential working. Even this -The PAN compulsion -could have been done a year back)

The Finance Ministry is still in the clutches of Babus of Congress Government.

The Black Money recovery and tax policy areas are really a big black marks on Modi Sarkar’s record. It is ironic that Modi Sarkar, whose first decision on assuming power was to constitute a SC mandated SIT on Black Money, has failed in such a manner.

Police, regulatory bodies, and judiciary

The police, regulatory bodies, and judiciary constitute the second area of concern. There are no signs of overhaul of police and regulatory bodies. They routinely fail in surveillance and botch up investigations. Our courts take forever to deliver judgments. When they deliver judgments, they are so poor that they get overturned by higher courts and so on. While over 200,000  poor undertrials (they can’t get bails) languish or perish in jails, the convicts roam free or enjoy discretionary furloughs. The mighty accused are assured of life time of fruits of their crimes. PM Modi had started well by asking SC to expedite cases against sitting MPS and MLAs but seems to have given up after the SC rejected it. Trials by media substitute trials by courts.  The above bodies are vital for implementation of laws, prevention of crime, investigations, settling disputes, and punishing the guilty. Existence of a modern welfare state and civilization depend on these bodies. Even the economic progress depends on enforcement of commercial contracts. The above state of affairs is a big threat to India.

Modi Sarkar can’t act alone in the above areas, it has to influence the state governments and judiciary. But it has failed even to set a direction.


The third area of concern is the media. Independent media are supposed to be the fourth pillar of democracy. Most of the main stream media are seriously compromised. They are owned by vested interests. Our media are already sold out to businesses, politicians and global forces of Islamisation and Proselytization (Church). When exposed, minor apologies are issued and forgotten. A vibrant social media acts as a counter weight but it is not enough when large sections of populations are still out of it.

It is ironic that the BJP and PM Modi, who have been subjected to slander and libel by our main stream media, haven’t moved to make Press Council or some such body vigilant and active. It is also necessary to probe financial deals, sources of funding and assets of media and journalists to unearth vested interests.A heavily compromised media sector is a serious threat to the free flow of accurate and unbiased information hence it a threat to democratic processes of information dissemination and opinion formation by citizens.  A big failure which may cost India and Modi Sarkar dearly.

Urban Transport sector

The fourth major area lacking a new paradigm is urban transport sector. This affects the quality of life of people in cities through accidents on roads and pollution. There are some starts in city Metro projects. The bus based public transport is crying for attention. We are missing a good policy and a road map here.


The fifth area which has missed Modi Sarkar’s attention is agriculture. The myth that farming can’t be profitable must be challenged. Right from farm inputs to farming technology to marketing of farm produce, value chains are in bad shape. The farmers and the consumers suffer and middlemen make merry. The government has talked about farm price fund, farm information network for farmers and e-marketing platform. Then there were some attempts to free the farm marketing from the monopoly clutches of APMCs.  Irrigation projects, water harvesting, drip irrigation, and better crop patterns are essential. For example, too much land and too much water is being used for sugar cane farming in regions which are drought prone.  We are missing a comprehensive plan for this sector.


The sixth area of concern is the environment -clean air, water, food, and ecological balance. Instead of isolated thinking in this area, there is a need for integrating the principles of ecological balance and conservation into policy making in all areas of economy. For example, the transport sector must focus on mass transport and the energy sector must give enough weightage to conservation.  Apex policy level targets like reducing carbon intensity by 35% by 2030 might satisfy the pressure groups but they will do nothing to improve the quality of life of citizens . See what happened in Delhi. It made a switch to the so called environment friendly CNG as a clean fuel mandated by SC. It is now one of the worst polluted cities. Mind you Delhi has received  adequate funding, it even has a good metro.  It has good buses, but not enough to encourage people to ditch there risky two wheelers and fuel guzzling (per capita) cars. Delhi’s  failure in curbing pollution should alert us to the dangers of focusing only on the so called clean fuels and pollution norms.

Social sector

Social areas: Swachha Bharat, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao movements, and crimes. This is the seventh area of concern.   We don’t have social reformers of the stature of Raja Rammohan Roy, Phule, Agarkar and Savarkar anymore. The government can provide infrastructure like toilets and law enforcement machinery but the rest is up to the society. PM Modi has done well to increase awareness of these issues but the state governments and local bodies  must get their act together.  It is really for citizens to demand and use these facilities well.

Many so called anti-minority incidents were either stage managed or just cooked up stories (e.g. the so called Church attacks). Some were personal rivalry issues colored as communal issues by the ever strident Congress and main stream media. State governments have failed to overhaul police (see the second area of concern above) for preventing these. Even the BJP ruled states like Maharashtra and Madhyapradesh haven’t done well in this regard.

Missing National identity and pride

Without a predominant and a preeminent Hindu* civilization there can not be strong and tolerant India.  Without it, India’s development will remain a pipe dream. See my post . PM Modi, a former RSS pracharak,  has failed to prevail upon state governments of UP, West Bengal, Assam, and Kerala to prevent murders of Hindus and kidnapping n rapes of Hindu girls. Anti-Hindu propaganda by the media gets a cover as freedom of expression, but defense by Hindus gets labeled as communal or bigoted. There is certainly a restiveness in people due to this. Without pride in what is good in our 7,000 to 8,000 years of known history and without being  aware of what went wrong during it we can’t have a strong national identity. A fractured geography (partition, Pakistan occupied Kashmir), foreign words like ‘secularism’ and a truncated partisan history written by foreigners and leftists can’t give us this identity.

New information coming to light and new development will need revisions in the above.

I will try to paint a plausible scenario of 2019 in my next post. I will follow it up with what might be PM Modi’s game plan. (He has said that his government is working to a plan)


Modi Sarkar priority: Security and Economy

Part 3 of series on #modiplan

Excerpts from article published on Oct 8, 2015 and some updates . The above article was written before the Bihar Elections and the stunning defeat of Modi.

Signs of good progress in security and economy

India has done very well under PM Modi  in many areas. His foreign policy has helped improve external security environment. It has also secured substantial economic gains (surging FDI, for example) . PM Modi’s  foreign policy has been an outstanding success. Our relationship with neighbors are much better, except Pakistan.  Also, Nepal is a recent concern. Defense capabilities are being swiftly augmented with faster decision making. Terror attempts are being foiled and terrorists are being caught. We have also seen success in a unprecedented cross-border action (Myanmar)  Modi-Swaraj-Doval and their teams have done very well.

Domestically, many areas have improved. The power situation is much better. There were no summer blackouts this year -helped by Coal India’s revamp among other things. Ultra High Power projects, Solar Energy parks (ambitious targets), and Oil Exploration projects are being pushed.  So we should see good deal of additional energy availability in long term. The only area lacking progress here is the distribution sector which is lossy and unable to pay for power. The road construction (Highway sector) has picked up pace. The Railways are showing signs of a new life. I see pictures of clean bogeys and stations on twitter. Modi Sarkar is pushing project implementation -this year’s project starts and project spending is more by 50% over last year. The FDI is showing healthy trends (the best globally) thanks to Modiji’s travels and excellent salesmanship of Make in India’. State governments like Rajasthan, MP, AP  and TN are showing greater urgency in attracting investments. And one takes Gujarat for granted. They are also amending laws where necessary. All these and such things by themselves should give a boost to economy and job creation in short (this year) and medium term( next year)

Then there are bigger things that will ensure buoyant economy and well being of those who desperately need help. These are known as J. A. M. : Jan Dhan financial inclusion program, Aadhar unique identity card and Mobile Governance.

“As a part of this effort, the program Govt. aimed to provide 75 million unbanked adults in India with accounts by late January 2015. As of September 2015, about 180 million accounts had been opened; about 44 percent of these accounts did not carry a balance, down from about 76 percent in September 2014.  ” (source )

The potential benefits of direct subsidy transfer to bank accounts, linking of insurance, and small loan accounts are ‘huge cubed’. They will go beyond savings in subsidy leakage. You clean up embedded corruption, bring the poor in economic activity helping them to carry out their livelihood earning trades, and provide them small succor -all in one stroke. The positive energy unleashed at the grass root level will be unprecedented in India.

Though the Rural Optical Fiber Broadband network project is stuttering,  I expect big push to it because it is a part of the J.A.M. architecture. The Digital India initiative has received a huge thumbs up by Silicon Valley biggies (Google, Microsoft ) and professionals alike. The country’s digital and communications infrastructure should see a big overhaul in the long term ( 2 to 3 years). The e-governance and e-services should also see increasing coverage.

All above are signals of economic transformation at the high levels of the economy (public infrastructure investments, FDI, and hopefully, over next two three years, investments by domestic corporate sector ) as well as at the gross root levels (through J.A.M.) The charge that Modi Govt is Suit Boot ki Sarkar is proven to be baseless. 

The external security environment also has substantially improved. Pakistan is on back foot. China is being contained through the carrot of economic cooperation and a stick of strategic counterweights of Japan and USA. UAE has been persuaded for extraditing wanted criminals.

Thus there are signs of good progress in economy and security. Modi Sarkar’s big strength is implementation. This should help in keeping progress well on track.

I will describe the areas of concern in my next post.

PM Modi: My expectations

Part 2 of series on #modiplan

Excerpts from article published on Oct 8, 2015 and some updates . The above article was written before the Bihar Elections and the stunning defeat of Modi.

I set down my expectations of directional shifts by Modi Sarkar:

My expectations of directional shifts by 2019

India has been without visionary and effective government since its independence. There is a huge backlog of development work and that of undoing the wrongs inflicted by the Congress for over six decades. Therefore it is unrealistic to expect all the following will be done by 2019. What I am looking for good progress in some areas and signs of directional shifts in the remaining areas given below.

  1. Major increase in jobs or livelihood earning opportunities
  2. Country’s external and internal security on a very strong footing
  3. Rule of law felt by all. The mighty should be scared of taking law in their hands and the ordinary people should feel reassured by law
  4. Overhaul of agriculture sector for benefit of 50% of population and for reducing urbanization pressure
  5. Major improvements in mass transportation -intracity and intercity
  6. Cleaner air, water and a better ecological balance
  7. Right to information to be expanded to include right to fair and accurate coverage of news by media
  8. Congress Mukta Bharat: Elimination of Congress Culture** (divisive culture)

In the upcoming post, I will start describing what I see with reference to my expectations.

PM Modi: Confounding critics and admirers

Part 1 of series on #modiplan

Excerpts from article published on Oct 8, 2015 and some updates . The above article was written before the Bihar Elections and the stunning defeat of Modi.

There is no doubt that PM Modi has captured imagination of Indians and the global citizens alike. His sworn critics can’t go to bed without having done their daily constitutional of ‘Hate Modi’ activities. His approval ratings continue to be very high despite their campaign. I admired this man for his work as Chief Minister of Gujarat. My admiration was based on personal observations, his track record in Gujarat, anecdotes, and Madhu Kishwar’s painstakingly researched book (Modi, Muslims, and Media).

I admire Modiji as person after having ‘seen’ more of him in public life as a PM and after having read about him. His campaigning in Loksabha elections broke all rules of the game. BJP got absolute majority -despite hate campaign of over a decade by Congress and its slaves in media and intellectuals – thanks to this indefatigable man. He was of course helped by a wide spread anger towards the Congress. He was also helped by the RSS cadres. He used social media with great dexterity.

Look at the way he handles interviews. Look at the way he works and travels. Recall how well he conducted his last year’s US trip despite his Navaratri fast. You can have a great back office team, and best of the advisers but they can’t help you in all this. Look at his spartan, almost ascetic life. (That expensive suit was auctioned in aid of charity, like the gifts he has been receiving). As per my modest understanding, such energy and clarity of thoughts are signs of a Yogi.

But my admiration doesn’t stop me from trying to understand where he is leading us to. It doesn’t prevent me from being objective. It doesn’t come in way of finding what is wrong with his government’s actions.

PM Modi so far has confounded both his critics (he has stuck to development agenda, he has not shown any dictatorial streak which was painted by fear mongers) and supporters (by not bringing  Gandhis and Vadras to account in National Herald, land grabbing cases and other scams like 2g and coalgate, by not protecting Hindus, BJP and RSS people in West Bengal, Kerala and UP, by letting Congress stall Parliament)

Update: Many of his admirers have been upset about his perceived soft pedaling of cases against corrupt politicians and their kin. Some of his admirers even think that BJP leaders like Sakshi Maharaj (motormouths) are causing setbacks to party. Some think that Beef and Reservation controversies caused Bihar debacle.  It is easy to see that divided Hindu vote along caste lines engineered by Lalu Nitish combination and block vote by Muslims (who traditionally don’t support BJP) caused the defeat.

I will set down my expectations of directional shifts from Modi Sarkar in Part 2 of this series.