Who Does the Modi Sarkar Really Represent?

The urban middle class, the rural folk and businessmen are all getting restive


Prime minister Narendra Modi’s personal popularity as well as the hopes and expectations from him continue to remain extremely high. He has just returned from a triumphant visit to three nations and the fawning adulation of the Indian diaspora. But, as his government gets set to mark a year in office, even his most vociferous supporters must admit to a sense of confusion about the government’s priorities that is conveyed through its actions and the negative narrative of the mainstream media.
Modi sarkar’s innings started with three major programmes. The first was JanDhan Yojana, which claims to have opened over 140 million bank accounts for un-banked people. It is expected that over 33 types of subsidies will eventually find their way into the JanDhan accounts, which come with a RuPay Card (with an inbuilt accident insurance cover paid for by the National Payments Corporation of India, so long as the Card is used at least once in 45 days), an overdraft facility of Rs5,000 and life insurance cover. 
While JanDhan is touted as a major success, there is no clarity on how many new accounts were actually opened and how many will remain unique after eliminating duplicates. Bankers openly admit to intense pressure and impossible targets set by the finance ministry to report a large number of accounts opened. They admit that intermediaries took the same set of people from one bank to another to enable them to fulfil targets. 
Some say that a large number of the defunct no-frills accounts (210 million) that were opened under the diktat of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in the past few years have been reactivated. This time around, they have been linked to the core banking system to enable the credit of government subsidies/benefits into them. But that is not enough. In rural India, where bank branches are few and far, transactions can only happen through banking correspondents. 
This last-mile linkage between account-holders and the bank is yet to happen. Nobody is clear what shape this will take or the safety and security issues involved. More importantly, account-holders will be able to avail the proclaimed benefits of overdraft, insurance, Aadhaar linkage and RuPay Card only when this linkage happens. Before that, will the prime minister (PM) ask for a detailed audit and honest appraisal of JanDhan accounts and order the cancellation of multiple accounts? JanDhan accounts have been opened with minimal KYC (know your customer) checks and could easily become conduits for laundering black money. 
Another important priority for Mr Modi was the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan (Clean India Mission) which includes toilets for all. After the initial blaze of publicity blitz about its celebrity brand ambassadors, this campaign too has waned. Basic issues of sweeping and garbage disposal, which are the domain of local municipalities (including segregation and recycling), remain neglected in most parts of India. The Digital India Programme is the only major initiative launched by the PM, which is apparently moving with speed and efficiency; but the public knows little about this.
Interestingly, while three major initiatives of Narendra Modi sarkar have yet to impact the lives of ordinary people, a series of other actions, or failure to act, is agitating different segments of his support base.  
The urban middle class, fed up of dealing with corrupt government, stifling red tape and crumbling infrastructure, was looking for Mr Modi to deliver growth and governance. The rural folk had hoped to see better markets for their produce and jobs. Business and Industry expected less of red tape, better labour laws, a stable tax regime and an end to taxtortion and retrospective actions. Today, there is creeping despair among all these stakeholders about the lack of action and direction.
The government would argue that it has set in motion processes that would eventually lead to achche din. But is the hurried launch of new institutions without a proper roadmap and shutting down failed relics the right way? The Planning Commission has transmogrified into Niti Aayog but nobody is quite sure about its role and whether it will fulfil the objective of being lean and effective. Debashis Basu, our editor, explained in his Business Standard column, how Mudra Bank had been hurriedly set up without touching dozens of legacy institutions and schemes that had failed in the very same objectives over the past decades. All of them continue live off taxpayers’ money. 
If this were not enough, business is chafing at slow reforms, pursuit of retrospective taxation cases and the apparent intolerance of this government to criticism. Gung-ho foreign institutional investors (FIIs), who had driven the Sensex to all-time highs with a Rs2,80,000-crore net investment in 2014-15, have been badly hit with a massive minimum alternative tax (MAT) claim of Rs40,000 crore. Every expert, including those who have little to do with FIIs, finds the action outrageous; yet, finance minister Arun Jaitley stoutly defended the tax demand with a set of dodgy arguments. Is the government being badly misguided by its bureaucracy? Or, has the Modi government learnt nothing from the unfair targeting of Vodafone by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) that cost us billions of dollars of foreign investment? 
The new, longer income tax return (ITR) form requiring details of foreign travel and personal spending on such trips was withdrawn overnight after it sparked massive outrage over social media. Instead of targeting the most obvious founts of unaccounted money, the government’s Black Money Bill mainly seeks to arrogate more power to tax officials to harass and question people who have assets overseas. Whether it unearths any black money or not, the Bill is certain to unleash a wave of taxtortion. Why does the Modi sarkar continue to be led by the same abominable bureaucracy which has harassed law-abiding Indians for decades while lawbreakers escaped punishment? If the Congress is reduced to just 44 seats in parliament it is because of the massive loot by crony capitalists and a backlash against the government for creating a toxic environment for doing business in India. 
Narendra Modi had won people’s hearts and votes by promising to change all this. People were hooked on to slogans like ‘India first’ and ‘minimum government, maximum governance’. He promised to reduce the number of permissions required to set up business; but the bureaucracy is working overtime to do the opposite. 
Another mystery about the Modi government’s priorities is the decision to stake both goodwill and reputation on amending the Land Acquisition Bill. Since independence, our public sector companies and government regulators have amassed massive tracts of land and buildings that are extremely valuable today. Many are owned by loss-making institutions sustained by doles from the exchequer. The government could easily encash these assets and use the funds to revive public sector white elephants like Air India.
Wherever you are in India, especially in crowded urban centres like Mumbai, Delhi, Pune or Bengaluru, you will notice empty government buildings or large tracts of unused land owned by unknown institutions. Within a one-kilometre radius of our office in Mumbai, we have a training institute in crumbling disrepair on the arterial Veer Savarkar Marg. In a lane opposite it, is a huge Bankers’ Training Centre of RBI lying empty and a little further is the controversial Indu Mills, again in disrepair and ruin. Look around you and you will have plenty to report too. 
But Modi sarkar had no time to look; it preferred to amend the Land Acquisition Bill when acquisition by industry has always been iniquitous to landowners and controversial. Did Modi sarkar forget the special economic zones (SEZs) scandal? Why is it unwilling to think out-of-the-box, as it was expected to? 
So, the question is: Who is the government working for and why do its priorities seem so muddled?
(Sucheta Dalal is the managing editor of Moneylife. She was awarded the Padma Shri in 2006 for her outstanding contribution to journalism. She can be reached at [email protected])
Alkesh Patel
9 years ago
Just one sentence... there is always huge difference between writing such analysis sitting in the AC office, surfing some (vi)news channels AND the ground reality, that the common man experience. (clue: please look at your own MONEYLIFE POLL, where you have asked the question - How would you rate Modi Govt’s performance over the past 12 months? and the result so far is overwhelming 61% of your own readers say - GOOD.
It is over to you my lord. :-)
9 years ago
nice post i like this ,,,,,,

Also, thanks for allowing me to comment!the best deals can come anywhere
clikc here..
9 years ago
9 years ago
Any such discussion solely confined and remorsefully limited to the simplistic 'material' side of life is not but destined to go on and on,to eternity,with no righteous conclusion or real solution in sight.

Nonetheless,Sporadic Reaction (to share own individual further thoughts):

No doubt, it is an undeniable 'fact of life', not an ideal 'life principle', to go by one's own individual perception/perspective,to drive oneself to say or believe that anything is
'good' to be emulated or 'bad' to be eschewed,- if not what looks better or the best- for the societal welfare.

And equally undeniable is the fact of life that none of we, the homo sapiens, believes what anyone else says or believes, especially if not just one but more ,- by and large and commonly agreed and unreservedly acknowledged to be equipped hence deserves to be heeded to or at least listened to and given due consideration, before forming one's own opinion and trying to put it across with an unadulterated altruistic outlook on life on earth/humanity of which the one constitutes just a speck/drop in the ocean.

Still,life has to go on; and is sure to continue to go on, as ever before, from time immemorial (named, 'yugas' in scriptures).

If interested to be enlightened, the only way appears to mind to read and try to understand what the renowned and widely honoured handful of 'spiritual gurus' have had to say/been saying; e.g. Zen of gone-by era, and few like Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev* and Sri Sri, according to own choice and preference.

Welcome to "Edit" and share with the rest, if inspired to thinking and serving the common good.

> For the most plain / confrontational speaking, may care to listen here>

*Become the Master of Your Own Destiny
uttamkumar dubey
9 years ago
Disclaimer :We never want Modi/govt to fail.We criticize for good and this should be Answered honestly by the govt,alongwith Shouries statement.

Just copying the contents from facebook :
FAILURE OF MODI GOVT- Reason: Undoing Congress of 60 years. Laudable? Laughable? Regrettable?
For every failure of Modi Govt, the most common argument offered is "Have to undo what Congress did for 60 years". A lot of Modi bhakts have that argument on the tip of their tongue and now it has been adopted by others too who may not necessarily be bhakts but are swayed by the common discourse. To me, that is the most pedestrian argument ever.
Let us assume that Congress did a lot of scams, which is the most deep-seated grouse and a just one. 2G, 3G, Coal etc. But how does that effect the Governance of the present day Government?
A Government is always about doing things and not 'undoing'. As far as doing is concerned, BJP and Narendra Modi have put every possible promise in what they call the Manifesto which they released on the eve of the first phase of 2014 elections while other parties had released their manifestos well in advance. In addition to that, Narendra Modi made new promises in every rally of his. Let us enlist some of these promises and figure out whether "sixty years of Congress rule (SYOCR)" is actually stopping the Govt from doing the needful as Modi Govt and its bhakts widely claim.
1) The posts of Central Vigilance Commissioner, Central Information Co-missioner and Lokpal haven't been filled up in 8 months while Modi promised transparency.
2) Modi Govt promised to bring back black money. Now let us for once assume that the 15 lakh per person claim was just election rhetoric (Jumla in Amit Shah's words) and that the money will actually go to Government's coffers if it does come back. But the SIT deadline was 31st March 2015, what happened to that?
3) While Rajnath Singh furiously argued in the Parliament that farmers should have the right to refuse through a consent clause during the 2013 UPA land bill, they have very conveniently removed the consent clause in their own land bill.
4) Modi Govt promised increased MSP (Minimum Support Price) for the farmers, have farmers seen any extra MSP? In fact, so many farmers had issues of not getting Urea and the unseasonal rainfall and hail has worsened their woes. No wonder the rate of farmer suicides has shot up and is in fact more than what it was in the Congress regime in the preceding few years. However different state government including BJP's newly appointed Govt in Haryana are giving pittance as compensation for crop damage. Why no increased MSP, where is the compensation for farmers?
5) Why were the heads of so many IITs and IIMs vacant for months together?
6) Why is the growth in the eight core sectors which includes cement, steel, coal etc going down rapidly? It was 6.7% in November 2014, 2.4 in Dec, 1.8 in Jan, 1.4 in Feb and now -0.1 in March. One thing that Modi for sure promised was 'Development'. Do these numbers look like one of a 'Developing' country?
7) While motorcycle sales declined for the 6th straight month in March, sales of tractors were down by 10 per cent but indicating rural distress and distress among lower middle class. Sales of real estate in both residential as well as commercial sectors is down, with Ahmedabad being the worst in sale of commercial real estate. If there's so much development, why do people not have the money to buy things?
8) Narendra Modi promised to get rid of criminals in the Parliament and promised to have a committe to look into these matters within 6 months of coming into power. Where is that committee?
9) Narendra Modi promised OROP (One rank One pension) for the Army, has it been implemented yet? Especially, since he professes his love for the Army till no end. Infact, what his Govt did was to oppose benefits for disabled army men in the Supreme Court. So while Narendra Modi spent 780 crores of Government's money in just advertisements, he apparently has none for either disabled army men or farmers.
10) Arun Jaitley claimed that he'll change the income tax slab to 5 lakhs from the present 2.5 lakhs. That didn't happen, but what happened was a huge reduction of Corporate tax and his statement that "Middle class will take care of themselves".
I can go on enumerating these promises that BJP has made and miserably failed at, but that will take for ever. Now what do any of the aforementioned points have anything to do with 60 years of Congress rule? From growth numbers going down to distress in rural and lower middle class to promises of black money, OROP etc, how would 60 years of Congress rule have any bearing on this?
Fact is that Narendra Modi Government has failed in delivering after getting the kind of mandate they did in 2014 Elections and this "undoing 60 years of Congress rule" is the propaganda they hope the general populace will buy to not catch them by the scruff of their neck.
If Congress volunteers can get over the hyperbole they indulge in through hashtags like ‪#‎RGWithShivji‬ and get over peddling soft hindutva, they'd probably be able to counter such lame propaganda that they have fallen to.
And well for those who disagree with me and are eager to dish out the Congressi label for me, go ahead and do so, because that is the limitation of your intellect.
~Pratik Sinha

Disclaimer :No offence to person live or dead..
Replied to uttamkumar dubey comment 9 years ago
Very nicely written comment. I could never do so. But I wanted to say what Mr Dubey did. Modi stands a liar as he won elections on his promises and we now feel cheated. But there are Modi Bhaktas who are ready to give him time--may be 10 -12 years, and refuse to accept the truth. I am a soldier and we the soldiers voted him and see where we stand now?
J Pinto
Replied to uttamkumar dubey comment 9 years ago
Pratik I am sure there are a lot of thinkers like you who are not blind bhakts. For some reason the bhakts, through smaller in number are much more active on the web. Let us not interpret their barking as having any bite.
Replied to uttamkumar dubey comment 9 years ago
Things remain ditto--"ka nripa bhaye ka hani ka labh"--.Indian political parties can never work for the poor. There is no personal gain A lots of sacrifice is needed to do good for the poor which not many can do. Basically out mindset of years of slavery has not changed and we want money-money for our own folks sacrificing the interest of others.
Bal Gupta
9 years ago
One single fact has to be understood by all:
Namo may have not come upto the very exacting standards n benchmarks of the Intellectuals of this country.
The aam aadmi may also be feeling that he has not done much for him/her.

But the point is this: Could Manmohan Singh (under seize of the Family) have under similar circumstances done better?

Isn't Governance better now under Namo?
Aren't foreign leaders better connected with Namo?
When was it that MMS interacted one on one with any world leader?
Why does the FIIs find future under Namo brighter than under blighters like RaGa n SoGa?

Why can't these eminent writers see the difference in scam ridden UPA and scam free NDA?
Why can't these writers give a few years to Namo as against 50+ years of mid governance under Congress and UPA?

NaMo batters sell more and there is no dearth of people making hay while the Sun shines.
Replied to Bal Gupta comment 9 years ago
Some has to tell me if there is any improvement in governance. I think it has gone worse. Food price control is part of the governance as our country is full of poor people. Dal has become a luxury to the poor today. Rs 60/- was the price then, now it is Rs 100/-. Veg prices too has sored up. Any body any time can lift a girl and rape her, state of corruption at low level. effecting common man in everyday life is same. Why not face the fact instead of showing loyalty to Modi. He also promised one rank one pay to Defence forces and told the soldiers in Siachin that it has been granted. It was a blatant lie to win the vote of the jawans. Where is the OROP? I cannot see it even far away. Two of my mates have died without seeing OROP recently and I too doubt if I can see the day. I liked Modi initially but now Many wish to see his back as early as possible--and a large chunk are the retirees from defence forces. The ones still in service cannot speak freely.
J Pinto
9 years ago
Readers must not loose sight of the facts:

Government is for, of and by the RSS which is at the top of a Sangh Parivar. There are strong fundamentalist and militant elements which seek to convert India's multi-coloured pluralistic society into a single colour - Saffron.

Development (progressive, so acceptable) must go hand in hand with Hindutva (regressive divisive ideology, hence unacceptable)

Stronger the BJP gets the stronger RSS and hence Sangh Parivar gets.

The wisdom of Indian electorate has been repeatedly demonstrated. Hopefully they will be wise enough to deny BJP a majority in the states and hence the Rajya Sabha. Because taking the Rajya Sabha means a change in the Constitition of India.

Those who believe the BJP enjoys discipline and devotion to the nation , that BJP is different and abhors corruption should start by reading about G. Janardhana Reddy & B. S. Yeddyurappa
9 years ago
By the time "Achchhe din ayenge" half the poor people will die.---of high prices, and negligence by the Govt.
9 years ago
All who are Commenting OTHERWISE On sucheta .s article, shud have seen Aroun shouri talkking to Karan Thapar on a talk show tonight IT was MORE OPEN AND HONEST--so pls dont criticize sucheta very upright journalist who doesnt nmince words ,says what she honestly feels must be said n written. pick up a thread from there and ponder is achchey din really aa gaye

Janakiraman Rajalakshmi
Replied to S.S.A.Zaidi comment 9 years ago
Thank you. What Arun Shourie says does make a lot of sense. So is Sucheta Dalal's assessment.

The more I try to understand the more confused I become. S.Gurumurthy of RSS praised & praised the Mudhra Bank. Debashis Basu thinks otherwise.
atul naik
9 years ago
A person who has never played cricket is teaching Sachin Tendulkar how to bat.
atul naik
9 years ago
A person who has never played cricket is teaching Sachin Tendulkar how to bat.
achyuta venkatesh shenoy
9 years ago
I thought the author would have told "Who does Modi Sarkar really represents" The author seems to be confused like any other citizen.I think Modi Sarkar represents a section of the society which is having Ache Din. For the time being it seems that Politicians of all hues are having Ache Din.
9 years ago
For millions of account, thousands of banks are needed. The needy,ie,our villagers hardly have accounts even in post offices. No money, no bank accounts needed. Amazing Modi knowledge reflected here.---
9 years ago
Very well commented upon.I wish whatever has been highlighted in the article is taken notice of by the people who matter and corrective steps are taken
9 years ago
Congress ho ya Bjp Both are same under the cloth
JANDHAN 1200000000*5000=means 600000cror
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