Unfinished Tasks for Indian Prime Minister Modi During Next Five Years

At the end of the next five years of Modi's Prime Ministership, when, in all probability, he would quit politics, future history would judge his stewardship primarily on the basis of his anti-corruption success than any other achievements.

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File Photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi [ Special Arrangement]

There appears to be an overwhelming consensus in India that Mr. Modi should be elected as the Prime Minister of India for the third time during the forthcoming parliamentary election.

If one were to take a holistic view of Mr. Modi’s performance as Prime Minister during the last ten years, it would become very clear that there have been many positives and a few negatives in his administration. Furthermore, discerning observers would tend to think that whatever negative aspects of Mr. Modi’s administration have not been due to him but despite his efforts.

Two Farsighted Prime Ministers

If one were to have an unbiased look at the performance of the past Prime Ministers of India, perhaps Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru and Mr. Modi stand apart for their development vision and long-term outlook.

During Mr. Nehru’s long years of Prime Ministership, several monumental projects and programs were implemented in the country, such as Bakra Nangal Dam, Atomic Energy Commission, steel plants, setting up of CSIR laboratories for research, and so on.

During Mr. Modi’s tenure also, several monumental projects have been conceived, with some of them already implemented and a few of them in the work-in-progress stage.

Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru started his function as Prime Minister when the development stage in India was at a minimum level, and whatever he did was new and hitherto unattempted efforts. In the case of Mr. Modi, he had to take off from a stage when India was already in a somewhat developed condition, and Mr. Modi had the challenging task of sustaining the development and moving towards a big leap forward stage. From this point of view, one can say that Mr. Modi’s efforts have been as formidable as that of Mr. Nehru.

Imaginative Schemes of Mr. Modi

In the last ten years, Mr. Modi has laid his hands on several projects and targets not only to improve and fine-tune the industrial and economic growth of India but also to bring about a change in the social lifestyle of the people, particularly those in the lower-income group.

Many of the tasks undertaken by Mr. Modi are still in the work-in-progress stage, as Modi’s scheme of things has a long-term outlook and not a short-term one. Such projects are too many and include the construction of toilets for poor households, housing schemes for the poor, the promotion of yoga culture, the Clean India campaign, health insurance schemes for the poor, digitalization, facilitating the opening of bank accounts for poor people, reservation for women in parliament, and so on.

As the above tasks cannot be left hanging at this stage and the focus and dynamism have to be sustained, it is necessary that Mr. Modi should be given another five years of Prime Ministership, particularly since no other political leader in India today seems to match Mr. Modi even halfway.

Population Issue Ignored

While several of Mr. Modi’s schemes are very impressive, there are also a few negatives that need to be mentioned.

There is one issue which Mr. Modi seems to have ignored during the last ten years. This is his lack of efforts to reduce population growth in India.

India has already emerged as the most populous country in the world, and it appears that India would have a population of 2 billion people in the coming years if the population growth were to remain unchecked. This would be an alarming situation that India cannot afford. Further, in the coming years, India would be blamed by other countries for allowing the population to reach such an extreme level, which would have a negative impact on the global scenario.

Certainly, Mr. Modi has to explain to the countrymen why he has ignored the population explosion issue.

Corruption Issue – Still a Long Way to Go

There is another issue on which Mr. Modi has promised big. This is the corruption issue in India.

While Mr. Modi has done well to ensure that the Government of India directly under him would largely remain corruption-free at the top level, he has not been able to ensure a similar condition at the state level. To be fair to Mr. Modi, he has tried to check corruption by promoting digitalization in a big way, implementing the Aadhar scheme which would pave the way for ensuring accountability for money transactions by people, etc.

Unfortunately, he has not been able to check political corruption, which is the primary reason and root cause for the prevalence of corruption from top to bottom in the government machinery in the state administration in India.

In the next five years, Mr. Modi has to launch a strong anti-corruption drive in India, much stronger than what he has done so far.

Expectations from Mr. Modi Very High

Ultimately, at the end of the next five years of Mr. Modi’s Prime Ministership, when, in all probability, he would quit politics, future history would judge his stewardship primarily on the basis of his anti-corruption success than any other achievements. While history would certainly note Mr. Modi’s success on several fronts, any inability on his part to root out corruption, mostly if not fully, would be noted by future historians.

India has not been able to move on with the speed that Mr. Modi wants during the last ten years, only because of the prevalent corruption level in the country, which leads to inefficiency in administration, suffering for poor people, and public money not being spent fully for intended purposes.

As the country continues to repose confidence in Mr. Modi, the Prime Minister should be aware that what the country expects from him is much more than what the country has expected from earlier Prime Ministers.

N.S.Venkataraman

N. S. Venkataraman is a trustee with the "Nandini Voice for the Deprived," a not-for-profit organization that aims to highlight the problems of downtrodden and deprived people and support their cause and to promote probity and ethical values in private and public life and to deliberate on socio-economic issues in a dispassionate and objective manner.

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