While it is way too early, the super mandate which they got and subsequent public impatient has put the newly elected National Democratic Alliance government on a continual assessment. Everyday millions of sceptics as well as supporters across caste, class and profession ask, “Is the Modi Sarkar keeping its promises?” Recent turns of events; rail fare hike, union budget and insurance FDI have made public more anxious about where this government is really going.
Any new government which comes in to the power gets a gestation period which NDA got deprived of in river of expectations from its voters. The campaign which made people believe that Mr. Modi will come with some magic wand and change everything was taken quite literally by the Indian electorate and now they put government under questions every day. In wake of these questions it makes sense to look back what has happened in two months.
As a Prime Minister Mr. Modi came out as a concerned, action oriented individual. His initial mandates to his ministers on unbiased, no nepotistic appointment send out a strong signal on how this new government is going to function. Long presentations by secretaries on ministry agenda and scope of work to the PM and Cabinet did not only set a systematic momentum but also dusted away the ‘rotting pile of files government office’ impression. Though some criticised PMO for throwing too much weight around ministries, it could also be seen as shaping up the whole environment under one converging vision. Some controversial and some appreciable appointments which were made can be seen as part of developing an ecosystem for coming change. The big question and the one which concerns most of Indian electorate revolve around curbing price rise. So, how far the government has gone with that? Experts say that government will be able to draw an action plan only once monsoon crops come and they get a clear picture of demand supply gap. Even during the previous government it was recommended to put a ban on forward trading of food commodities but was resisted by then agriculture minister. Though not certain but the current government is very likely of passing it. Government is also working hard on understanding and finding approach to legal hurdles towards coal and ore mining. Deficiency of power is a key hurdle in growth of economy and thus government is taking it up on high priority.
Government has not scaled up too many defence projects, at least which are in public knowledge but there are plans of domestic manufacturing of low – technology and expenditure oriented defence items and equipment. In terms of neighbours, China and Pakistan like always remains prime focus of the current government. By his actions till now it seems the government is taking a slow and steady approach towards Pakistan while watching its every move. The situation with China is way more delicate and like earlier government, this one also does not look to break the status quo on border issues. The government doesn’t want to let the west play China and India against each other. Being two biggest markets the government might look at increasing ties and together get a standing to manipulate western powers and possibly also to neutralize Pakistan. The current government is on track of keeping it relations steady with Russia as signals came from Brazil meeting of two head of states. PM has also put aside his ego and is taking a trip to United States. India here is likely to focus on trade related issues. The current Obama government terms end in January 2017, so government is not likely to discuss on strategic and security issues at this point of time. Yet, the theatrics of the visit is being played out very minutely by PMO to ensure a symbolic effect of the visit. His foreign interactions efforts probably makes him the first Indian PM to have such extensive world view in so less time, this also gives a broad idea of the policy he is building. Japan, Israel and China are going to be the prime focus of this government and neighbourhood security issues the top priority.
On domestic industry front while most considered Modi government as to be favouring big corporate houses, handling of allegation on Reliance of stealing ONGC gas sets the tone. Reliance might not find as much favour with NDA government as with the previous one. PMO’s personal intervention to ensure legitimate and unbiased legal proceeding in the dispute has sent a strong signal.
It could certainly be said that the PM who sits in Delhi is very different from the campaigner who traversed the country during elections. While the government seems to be moving towards the promises it has made, it is not going to be a magical overturn. It is a strong PMO which sits at centre and hold the power to strike balance between growth, sentiments and welfare. So far the new government has shown maturity by not scraping all policies of earlier government but use them as building blocks for their own. The government seems to be moving steadily with a vision and action plane. The promise of good days still holds true but is certainly not at the next block.