Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The Hindu begins its campaign for 2024 against Narendra Modi one day after he was elected with a stunning majority

The following article has been written for MyInd Makers. Pasting it below for reference:

After the results yesterday, one would have thought that the alleged liberals will take a break. One would have thought that they will reflect and ponder upon why their calumnious campaign failed so spectacularly. One would have thought that they will be humbled by this drubbing.
Instead they have begun their campaign for 2024, right from Day 1. DAY ONE. The Hindu had a long editorial and equally long Op-ed piece today. Let’s first analyse their editorial.
The outcome, hence, must be understood as an electoral endorsement of Hindutva, or Hindu nationalism, the creed that guided the BJP and its forebears for nearly a century
I cannot think of a worse insult of the 2019 mandate. The condescending tone of The Hindu, mocking the amazing endorsement of the Modi government by the people, is outright shocking. Did the people of the North East endorse Hindutva or the massive infrastructure development they have received access to? Did the people of West Bengal endorse Hindutva or did they endorse the development schemes of Modi? Did the people of Karnataka endorse Hindutva or did they slap the incumbent government for their pathetic performance? Did the people of Kerala endorse Islamism then? Did the people of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh endorse Hindutva just a mere 5 months after they rejected Hindutva? Does The Hindu really believe the people of India are so finicky to change their minds every couple of months, for and against Hindutva?
Unable to rely on Hindutva further, The Hindu then continues to discuss the origins of the “Idea of India”.
Championed by the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, it sought inspiration from the millennia-old civilisation, the Vedas and the Upanishads, but also strived to build India into a modern society with a scientific temper and liberal values. The idea outlived Nehru, but it had begun to fade soon after his passing.
If the idea of India “begun to fade soon after Nehru’s passing”, who exactly should take the blame? Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri? Of Nehru’s daughter, Smt. Indira Gandhi? How did The Hindu jump directly from 1962 to 2014 and wanted to get away with the interim period with a mere “soon after his passing” kind of silly statement? Did they think that the Social Media will be in celebrations and therefore ignore this trite?
“With the 2019 result, Hindutva has pushed Nehruvian secularism to the margins of Indian politics. The Congress, now led by Nehru’s great-grandson Rahul Gandhi, did better than in 2014, but not enough to even be recognised as the official Opposition in the Lok Sabha
Are we now rolling out the red carpet for Rahul Gandhi for doing “better than in 2014”? An increase from 44 to 52 is now being seen as an achievement by the gang? Do they really want us to buy this logic? And pray, what exactly is Nehruvian secularism? The same secularism that couldn’t find a space in the then constitution document? The true secularism is practiced by Prime Minister Modi – “Sabka saath, sabka vikas”. If this is not true secularism, I don’t know what is!
The hatred just does not end there. “The 2019 verdict has also dismantled social justice politics in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar”. What kind of “social justice” is it when narrow minded political parties ensured that the poor remain poor? Does The Hindu think that the people in UP and Bihar are so unaware of “social justice” that they gave it up for an imaginary “Hindutva” plank? From where does this arrogance stem for this gang?
The welfare schemes of the Modi government did play a role, but these or the promise of economic development were not the real differentiators.” – Oh thank god for the small mercies! The MUDRA Loans, the jobs, the cylinders, the houses, the electricity, the roads, the bridges, the rails, the taxes – all these didn’t matter much! “Hindutva” mattered a crores of people from across the country!
After winning, the Prime Minister tweeted – “Sabka saath, sabka vikas, sabka vishwas”. The Hindu has shamelessly ignored this tweet and infact urged the Prime Minister to ensure “sabka vishwaas”. Don’t believe me – here’s their line from the parting para.
Prime Minister be asked to live up to the promise they continuously make — ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas (with all, development for all)’. These tenets must be felt in the daily lives of the marginalised sections of the population, and Mr. Modi must add a third tenet to make his mantra meaningful: sabka vishwas (the trust of all).
How low can these people really get? Did Modi really win this election if crores of people actually didn’t believe in what he has done so far? Does The Hindu really think that the “marginalized sections” haven’t “felt” vikas in their daily lives? And yet came out to vote for Modi, in massive numbers?!
Now, if you thought the editorial is outrageous, you must read the Op-Ed, by Harish Khare. First – Harish Khare is a known opponent of anything BJP. Tomorrow if Modi says breathe regularly, Harish Khare might write an article opposing the statement. So it wasn’t very surprising to see him write the following today: “The 2019 verdict has produced coherence in our governing arrangements; yet it is cause for democratic unease and concern
Harish Khare has already begun to sow seeds of hatred in the country. What else explains this rant – “The 2019 verdict has a chilling message. The minorities’ votes do not count, and therefore, they can be done out of their space under our collective sun. The Muslims have been told, once more, to remain stranded in their own islands of resentments and grievances.
Really, have they been told so? Where have they been told so Mr. Harish Khare? While volunteering for the campaign, I have come across people irrespective of religion endorse Mr. Modi’s policies. If only you had the gall to come out of the comforts of your office and interacted with normal people!
There are many other examples of lethargic writing and fear mongering. Many other examples of hatred filled rants that are puke inducing, in both the editorial and the Op-Ed. Suffice to say that the editorial board of The Hindu is living in some cuckoo land. What else explains their end note in their editorial?
The Hindu hopes that Mr. Modi’s second term will be more inclusive than the first, which was marred by arrogant pride and hateful prejudice.”
The people of the country have slapped The Hindu with a resounding verdict. The people of this great country would never have reelected a government with such a mandate if it wasn’t inclusive; if it was arrogant; if it spread hatred and prejudice. The Hindu must stop insulting the intelligence of the citizens of this great country. And must reflect on why their arrogant and hateful campaign didn’t click with the people of India.

BJP’s performance in Telangana: Surprise to many, shock to one

The following article was written for Right Log. Pasting it here for reference:

Kalvakuntla Kavitha is the daughter of the Chief Minister of Telangana. She represented the Nizamabad constituency in the Lok Sabha from 2014 to 2019. Quite expectedly she was given the ticket to contest the 2019 elections. In one of her speeches immediately after getting the ticket, she gave a call to the farmers of her constituency. She told them that Narendra Modi has caused severe farmer distress in the country. And the only way to teach him a lesson was to go to Varanasi and file 100s of nominations against him.

The farmers were thrilled by her idea. Just that they made a slight change to her plan. Instead of filing nominations in Varanasi, a whopping 245 farmers filed their nominations in Kavitha’s own constituency Nizamabad! 176 farmers finally stayed in the fight against the incumbent MP (also, the CM’s daughter).  Nizamabad had garnered attention nation wide, because now we have a total of 185 contestants. This is the highest number anywhere in the country, even setting a world record, with 12 EVMs deployed on voting day, in each polling booth.

There were two opinions going around. One that Kavitha will still win handsomely. Afterall she is the CM’s daughter! Two was that it will be a tight race. The second thought gained more prominence when KCR himself went to the house of a former TDP MLA whom everyone forgot about! This former MLA apparently still had some grip on a couple of villages, and even that mattered so much to KCR that he went to the former MLA’s house.

And the tough fight was expected to be given by the Congress party. Just like the farmers made a slight change of plan, the voters of Nizamabad gave a small twist to the pundits. They voted BJP! They voted BJP in large numbers – so much that the BJP candidate D. Aravind beat Kavitha by a whopping 70,000 votes! These are two political earthquakes no one expected – that Kavitha would lose and would lose to the BJP!

Did the political earthquake stop there? Absolutely not! Even before the leads in Nizamabad came in, the BJP began their unassailable leads in three other constituencies – Adilabad, Karimnagar and Secunderabad. Why is this an earthquake? Because in the just concluded Telangana Assembly elections (December 2018), the BJP won 1 seat out of 119. Just one. It lost deposit in 106. Let those numbers sink in.

The BJP candidate from the Karimnagar Lok Sabha seat is an extremely committed party worker, Mr. Bandi Sanjay. He is just a corporator in Karimnagar. He had unsuccessfully fought the 2014 and 2018 Assembly elections. KCR’s son, KTR is an MLA from Sircilla that falls under the Karimnagar Lok Sabha constituency. KTR even (jokingly) challenged his cousin Harish Rao that Karimnagar will give a larger majority to TRS than Medak will. Who would imagine that the TRS will lose on its home turf and that too to the BJP? Some analyse that Bandi Sanjay had sympathy factor going for him – that he has tried so many times and has worked hard for the party, so he must be given once chance. Some analyse that he ran a good campaign (ofcourse!). But would any of that even explain the nearly 90,000 majority over TRS candidate (who by the way is a very prominent leader of the TRS!).

Adilabad’s BJP candidate, Mr. Soyam Babu Rao was given the ticket just days after he jumped ship from the Congress party. So whilst he did have a good following as the regional leader, everyone is indeed surprised as to how he got a 60,000 majority over his nearest rival.

The only sureshot seat for BJP in Telangana was Secunderabad. The moment Mr. Kishan Reddy’s name was announced as replacement to the sitting MP, Bandaru Dattatreya, it was quite evident that Secunderabad is the seat to watch out for. Kishan Reddy was a 3 time MLA, who lost very narrowly in 2018 elections. He is a well known face and a campaigner too. So while everyone was betting on 1 seat from Telangana, the people have given 4 seats to the BJP!

What explains this paradox? In my mind, this is because of two people. One, is Chief Minister KCR.
Almost immediately after the whooping 2018 assembly election victory, he appointed his son KTR as the Working President of the party. He said that now KTR will take care of the party, while he, the mighty KCR, will strive to play a “national role”. KCR took nearly 50 days to form a cabinet (Only he and Mahmood Ali were sworn in on Day 1). He appointed only 8 ministers and left out his very popular nephew, Harish Rao, from the cabinet. All these have irked quite a lot of voters – this show of arrogance so quickly after winning a historic mandate wasn’t expected of him. To add to this, the TRS party has accepted nearly 10-12 Congress MLAs. People haven’t been able to fathom why this urgency to accept the turncoats. Infact, just prior to the Lok Sabha elections, the TRS even lost the MLC elections!

Dislike towards KCR still doesn’t explain voting *for* the BJP. To complete the puzzle, we must now bring in Prime Minister Narendra Modi! There is no bigger example of the silent undercurrent of support for him than Telangana. This is the first time ever the party won so many seats here. Even while planning for Modi’s meeting, Karimnagar and Adilabad were not even on his iternary. The party was hoping to win Mahbubnagar (but couldn’t). The massive majorities secured by BJP candidates in Telangana are also because of the phenomenal delivery of welfare schemes by Prime Minister Modi. They are because of the exemplary communication strategy and finally because the voter recognized the value of having a strong Prime Minister who doesn’t differentiate between who voted for him and who didn’t.

At various forums, I was also personally confident of only 1-2 seats. This is a humble pie I don’t mind eating 😊. The Telangana results are a fantastic study of how the Indian voter will always reward exemplary performance even if he/she doesn’t overtly show his/her preference. They are also a gentle reminder that arrogance never succeeds.

Footnote: The 176 farmers who contested in Nizamabad have combinedly received a whopping 94,000 votes! The defeat of KCR’s daughter will stand out as one of the biggest stories of this election.

There were many takeaways from PM Modi's interview with Akshay Kumar that the leftists ignored

The following article was written for MyInd Makers. Pasting it here for reference:

Many of us who watched Prime Minister Modi’s speech to the UN in September 2014 were amused when he said “chalne do yaar”! Akshay Kumar, in his interaction with Prime Minister Modi, asked him how he felt speaking at such a huge stage for the first time; how confident he was and if he was in any tension? Modi’s answer stumped me. He opened up and told us he had no problem of confidence but had the problem of over-confidence!
A day before the event, no written speech was ready. The PM is used to speaking extempore so he only had a broad contour available on what he will speak. It was Sushma Swaraj who convinced him on the need to have a written text so that any messaging doesn’t get lost. Though reluctant, the PM had agreed for it. And since he understood the importance of the written text at such international forums, he continued with reading out speeches at all such forums.
To me, it was simply phenomenal that the Prime Minister has so openly spoken about being over confident and then being subsequently (and successfully) reigned in by his minister. This leadership example is extremely critical to keep in mind to all those who aim to become leaders in their respective fields and organizations.
This is just one of the many leaderships and management lessons one could learn from the Prime Minister’s interaction with Akshay Kumar. Take for example the answer on how he handles bureaucracy. The PM said there are two ways to deal with it – one is that he can get angry at the officer for bringing in a document/idea that he doesn’t like; two is to listen to the officer and then give suggestions on what alternative ideas exist and can be implemented. The officer will get to understand the PM better and subsequent reports will reflect the same. In addition, the PM also mentioned that even he will get to learn a lot in this process.
When he was asked, “What will you wish for, if Aladdin came to you with a magic lamp”, I was mentally getting ready to hear answers like, “eliminate poverty”, “improve prosperity” etc. His answer yet again stumped me. He said that his only wish would be that the Genie would never ask anyone to ask for three wishes! He said that we have to inculcate values or hard work and success through hard work only. By showing false hopes of wishes coming true without any efforts, we are only setting a false example! I then remembered one of his earlier interviews where he also mentioned that he believes in the hard work of Indians and doesn’t believe that they want free doles for everything in their lives.
The explanation of the game they were made to play at RSS Shakhas through which one learns about one quality of each participant gave us an insight into how he was groomed in his early years. However, there was another answer that stuck a chord. He was asked about his dressing. The PM took on the criticism about his dressing (In my opinion, that criticism didn’t warrant any response coming as it is, from small minds). He told us that perhaps somewhere in his mind, given how he experienced poverty, he always wanted to look clean and good. And therefore, his taste to wear clothes that are clean. Am sure there are lakhs of people who identify with this thought process. It was indeed a pity that small minds in our opposition parties and elite English media chose to mock his choice of wearing good clothes.
This interview of the Prime Minister stands out for the many management and leadership lessons it provides. And no lesson provided is mere rhetoric. They are all borne out of the rich administrative and life experiences that our Prime Minister has undergone.  So while the leftists may go crazy on how a film star can talk to the Prime Minister, we must focus on the various leadership and management lessons that this interview has offered! Here’s to more such interviews.

Is Narendra Modi the best finisher that India has ever had?

The following article was written for MyInd Makers. Pasting it here for reference:

In one of his speeches after becoming the Prime Minister of the country, Narendra Modi made a very interesting and an important remark. He said that there are so many projects that have been announced, unveiled, re-announced, re-unveiled, foundation stones laid and re-laid, but haven’t been completed yet. In some cases, projects haven’t even begun! And therefore, he announced that he will first focus on getting these things finished.
Projects always do not necessarily mean the infrastructure related ones. They can also mean many policies that sounded good on paper but were never implemented, either for the lack of political will or lack of a satisfactory “deal”!
Take for example the India Bangladesh Land Boundary agreement – which was pending since nearly 45 years. The agreement was ratified in Parliament unanimously. Think about that – in these turbulent political times, we have had an unanimous resolution in Parliament to resolve a problem after 45 years!
Or take for example, the long pending One Rank One Pension. This problem was pending for nearly 40 years! Infact, the UPA-2 government allocated a measly sum of INR 500 crores for this! This 40 year old problem that was solved in the year 2015 needed INR ~8000 crores an year!
Or the Benami Property Act, that was passed by Parliament in 1988 wasn’t operationalized till 2016 (for 28 years!). Or the GST that was first discussed in the year 2000 and was first planned to be implemented from 2010 onwards. GST saw the light of the day only in the year 2017.
Or the NRC (National Registry for Citizenship) in the Assam that was pending for a whopping 40 years. Or the 1400 colonial era laws that were abolished. Colonial Era would indicate that some laws are even more than 100 years old! The Modi government took the commendable step to abolish ~1400 such useless laws.
Focusing on such policy paralysis also meant that this attitude is also extended to the many pending infrastructure projects. No mention of the Narendra Modi government is complete without talking about the hug infrastructure gains we have made in the past 5 years. The Prime Minister setup a regular meeting titled PRAGATI. Through this he has reviewed all long pending projects and more importantly has figured out a way to take them to completion. A total of 26 PRAGATI meetings have been held so far, with direct interaction with the officials closer to the ground. What’s the result? The following projects were finished! (Hat tip to the unknown user who researched this and coined the word “finisher” for Modi!).
  • Bansagar Canal - Pending for 40 yrs
  • Kollam Bypass - Pending for 43 yrs
  • Vns-Kol Waterway - Pending for 32 yrs
  • Bogibeel Bridge - Pending for 21 years
  • Chabahar Port - Pending for 15 yrs
  • Sardar Sarovar Dam - Pending for 15 yrs
  • Western Peripheral Expressway - Pending for 15 yrs
  • Strategic Oil Reserves - Pending for 13 yrs
  • Kota Chambal Bridge - Pending for 12 yrs
  • Rifle Factory in Amethi - Pending for 12 yrs
  • Kishanganga Hydro - Pending for 11 yrs
  • Pakyong Airport - Pending for 10 yrs
  • Dhola Sadiya Bridge - Pending for 8 yrs
  • Chenani Nashri Tunnel - Pending for 7 yrs
These are just a few examples. Am not quoting the 10s of 1000s of kms of roads laid across the country. Infrastructure didn’t mean roads and bridges alone.
Never before in our history has there been so much focus on developing infrastructure on our waterways! The first ever Multi-Modal Terminal Constructed on River Ganga was inaugurated in this tenure onlyLike National Highways, more number of National Waterways have been added to our system. For the first time, we have witnessed a container ship and a cruise ship traverse the waters of Ganga.
Did you know that till the year 2014 the entire North East India was NOT connected through Railways? It was a shocking fact to me when the PM mentioned it in one of his speeches. Today, the entire North East is connected by railways. From Independence till 2014, we had 70 operational airports. In just the last 5 years, more than 30 new airports have been made operational.
A world class National War Memorial, pending for nearly 60 years and the National Police Memorial, pending for nearly 35 years were two significant projects finished during Modi’s tenure.
When a program like Make in India was launched, many did assume that this will just be another government program that will not take off. Today, we have an unprecedented 140 Mobile manufacturing units (as opposed to 2, just 2 in 2014). Today, we have an unprecedented number of automobile manufacturing happening in India. Large companies like Boeing have collaborated with Tata to get into manufacturing of Helicopters.
I can go on and on. Building excellent infrastructure at a pace unheard of before, will remain a unique hallmark of the This article on mine is the 9th in a series of articles I have written to explain the achievements of the Modi government. It took 9 articles to explain the achievements – such is the phenomenal range of accomplishments on this Modi government. All articles have focused only on the achievements of the government, without any negative connotation of what the opposition did NOT do. Basically no whataboutery.
As voting begins on April 11th, it is my earnest belief that we must reflect upon the phenomenal good that has happened and give the Modi government one more chance to continue to build upon this work. Phir ek baar, Modi Sarkar indeed!

Modi the Disruptor- How PM Modi has challenged status quo and disrupted the hegemony of the 'C System'

The following article was written for MyInd Makers. Pasting it here for reference:

Saif Ali Khan awarded Padma Shri” – this was a news item that remained with me for a very long time. Because Saif Ali Khan got Padma Shri in the same year that Rekha got. Saif Ali Khan infact got Padma Shri before Sridevi got.
We had even read many news items in our regional newspapers (telugu) on how the state government over many years has failed to lobby for more awards to telugu speaking people! What can be a bigger shame than state governments lobbying for these prestigious awards? More importantly, what can be a bigger shame when the accomplishments of some real achievers were often masked by the likes of Saif Ali Khan?
From 2015, not only was this shameful practice put to an end, but now the public can send in their recommendations too! These awards are today rightfully called The Peoples Padma. The most recent emotional example that comes to mind is from the 2019 awards ceremony when 106 year old Saalumaruda Thimakka blessed the President of India. Earlier, “non-famous” achievers receiving Padma awards was an exception to the rule. Today, it is the rule. We learn so much about many real achievers who have silently worked towards the betterment of our country, away from the limelight.
The transformation of the Padma awards is just one of the many examples of how Narendra Modi majorly disrupted the status quo in our system.
Disrupting the Reservation policy
In almost every school and college where there are debates held, one common topic that is always given to the students is “Reservations”. And one common theme that always comes out from the debate is that reservations should be given to the poor and slowly the caste-based reservations should phase out. Why would this theme come out so frequently? Precisely because no one attempted to implement such a model and tweak existing systems.
Within just 3 days, Narendra Modi changed the entire landscape of reservations. On Jan 7, 2019, the Modi government announced 10% reservations to the economically backward sections of India. This 10% is outside of the existing reservation quota. The bill received thumping Parliamentary approval by January 9th! And with the President signing it on January 13th, India now had a new law mandating 10% reservations for the poor. The income limit to be classified as economically poor was put at INR 8,00,000/- per annum. The creamy layer for OBC is also capped at the same amount. So today we have about 31% reservations for only the economically backward in our country. I now wonder what themes would come out of the future reservation debates!
Disrupting our entire Tax mechanism
One of the videos I liked the most is this interaction of a Surat businessman with his highness Rahul Gandhi. The businessman complains that earlier he used to deal in cash and now he has to deal in cheques. His highness Rahul Gandhi interprets his complaint as follows: “Earlier everything happened on trust”!
This interaction happened almost immediately after the introduction of GST in our country. The concept of GST was first discussed in 2003 – just one tax for entire country. It was introduced in Parliament in 2010. However, the UPA woefully failed to build a consensus around GST. Even state governments of the Congress party opposed the form of GST that economist Manmohan Singh proposed.
GST in the then form, had two major problems. One was the lack of an IT backbone and two was the serious lack of trust by certain states because they feared a significant loss of revenue by virtue of not being predominantly manufacturing states. The Modi government-initiated discussions with allthe state governments of India and worked out a formula that was agreed upon by ALL the state governments. One must remember that there are different parties that are in power in different states and it is no mean task to bring a consensus on a topic as contentious as revenue! 17 different taxes were subsumed into just one tax.
The scale at which the GST was implemented was unprecedented. All feedback that used to come in was discussed at the monthly GST Council meets and decisions taken accordingly. The GST Council, that comprises of finance ministers of all states and India, has met 33 times. And has taken 100s of decision – all of them unanimously! Corrective measures were continuously taken to simplify procedures, reduce taxes and issue refunds. Nearly 90,000 crores per month was collected (infact for 4 times, the collections even exceeded INR 1,00,000 crores). India has now firmly established a unique and robust GST system in place.
Disrupting our collective behavior
There are extremely few examples in history, where people from a varied section of the society rise to the call of their Prime Minister and contribute to the development of the society. Seldom (or perhaps never?) have we come across a war-cry like Swachh Bharat. We are terribly notorious for taking pride in spitting on the road, throwing waste on the streets and littering our surroundings. It took one call to the higher conscience by the Prime Minister from the ramparts of the Red Fort to show us the mirror.
An earlier article of mine had given a collage of how children have picked this up in earnest. It is a matter of immense pride that almost all schools across the country have taken up Swachh Bharat in the right earnest and are preparing the future citizens of the country to behave more responsibly. Swachh Bharat does not end here – today, many districts in country are announcing themselves to be Open Defecation Free – because of the massive focus on the construction of toilets.
“Touching a raw nerve” is a phrase that is often used. In my view, the call of the duty by the Prime Minister has touched the “responsibility nerve” of people. What else can explain a Sachin Tendulkar, a Priyanka Chopra, a Anil Ambani, a Temsutula Imsong, a bunch of kids in an apartment complex, a batch of retirees, a group of doctors – working towards a common goal
Disrupting through Demonetization
I wanted to the save the best for the last. In my opinion, nothing can beat this decision. Not even anything that he will take in his second term. For a nation tired of listening to empty rhetoric of war on corruption, this was truly the first deadly blow. The scale at which it was executed; the minimal rule changes that were bought in; and most importantly, the phenomenal patience with which crores of countrymen supported this move will remain etched in history (Well, sadly not, if at any point of time the Congress cabal comes back to power. They will distort this history too).
If the success of demonetization was to be measured only by how much money did not come back into the system, then we are not looking at its entirety. An assumption that a deposit automatically made black money as white is equally erroneous too. The first measure of success is from the fact that all the money that was floating around has now been accounted for. One of the largest corrupt practices was the setting up of shell companies, only to masquerade the black money. The Modi government cancelled the registrations of 1 lakh shell companies overnight (and more than 3 lakhs so far). Nearly 3 lakh crore rupees worth of deposits have been identified as suspect and investigations are ongoing.
People have realised that this is the best time to come clean – today the number of people filing IT returns have nearly doubled. The 50 days of demonetization proved to us what a strong leadership and a willing populace can achieve. The opposition and media craved for many disturbances, instead we had concerned citizens distributing roses to hard working bank staffers!
Every single Disruptive Act of Narendra Modi was aimed towards making India a better place to live. We needed a rude wakeup call from our status quo practices. The Modi government dared to give us these wakeup calls across multiple sectors in the first term. The Disruptor in Narendra Modi lived up to expectations!
This is the 8th part in a series on the Narendra Modi Government. Here are the links to the previous parts:

The Narendra Modi government’s focus on making government services accessible and easy to use has shown exemplary results.

The following article was written for MyInd Makers. Pasting it here for reference. 

No power for villages during daytime” – screamed this headline in the year 2011. Infact the report went on to tell us that “If any village gets supply for one or two hours during daytime now, it may be by mistake of the field staff.” Read it again - If you get power supply then it is by mistake!
In 2019, I don’t have to tell you how easy the access to electricity has become! Every single village in our country now has access to electricity. Nearly 98% households have access to electricity. India today has become a net exporter of electricity, and this was possible only through the innovation and hard work on the entire government machinery led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
If you thought the ease of access has been limited to electricity alone, think about it again.
Earlier, applying and obtaining a passport was a nightmare. If you weren’t staying in a big city, you had to travel far off distances to apply. And then the brokers used to confuse you in order to loot you. And once you submit the application, it would take months for you to receive your passport. We had nearly 75 Passport Seva Kendras in 2014. That’s approximately 2.5 per state. By August 2018, we already had a whopping 308 Passport Seva Kendrasacross the country!  Today, even a normal passport gets delivered to you within just a week! Contrast this to the months you had wait and the hands you had to grease.
Earlier, if you changed a job, remember the paper work you had to do to get a new PF account and then transfer your older PF account to the newer one? Also, remember the amount of paper work and wait time to get any corrections made? The Modi government introduced UAN (Universal Account Number) – no more hassles with PF when you change companies! One number is assigned to you for your lifetime, and you don’t worry about any paperwork when you change companies. Even the online correction of details is such a simple process now – if you have the right documentation, things get automatically done within just days!
Today, not only is it very easy to file your IT returns, but your refunds are also coming back at record speed. Not too long ago, refunds sometimes even took a year! Such delays are a thing of an inglorious past now. Today, the poor have better access to healthcare - from 2014-2018, because of free dialysis and also the Jan Aushadi Kendras; and from 2018 onwards because of Ayushman Bharat. Today, students of India have better access to even premier institutes because they have all been added at a record pace.
Earlier, if you had to change your mobile carrier, you had to go to the shop of a new carrier and buy a new SIM. And then additionally go over the hassle of disconnecting your existing number. Today, with One Nation One Number, all you have to do is make a phone call and you change your carrier (ofcourse you still have to answer some questions of the existing carrier) 
One Nation, One Number also means there is no more “roaming charges” when you go out of your telecom circle – yet another ease of using your phone.
There was a recent uproar (as usual in the English media circles) when PM Modi made a joke about a 45-50 year old child! Usual suspects portrayed this as an insult to dyslexic students. Let me tell you what a real insult to not just dyslexics is but to a lot of differently-abled folks in our country. Till 2014, only 7 disabilities were recognized by the Government of India. Just seven. It is the Modi government that increased the list of such disabilities to 21, including “specific learning disabilities”, blood disorders and even acid attack victims. Those crying hoarse on one comment need to also look at how the Accessible India campaign and program has made a significant difference in the lives of the differently abled.
The revolutionary UDAN scheme has made flying accessible for lakhs and lakhs of Indian citizens. Today we have more airports than before, and more importantly we had more people travelling in flights than those travelling in AC trains! Speaking of trains, do you remember those difficult days when you wanted to book a ticket online? Do you now see how easy it has become to book railway tickets? Did you also know that all unmanned railway crossings have been eliminated in the country today? Chances are very high you wouldn’t know because the media doesn’t focus on these things!
The Narendra Modi government’s focus on making government services not just accessible but easy to use has shown exemplary results. Today’s generation might not be able to fully appreciate the scale of these changes but to the lakhs and lakhs of us who have witnessed these problems first hand, the time has now come to acknowledge the ease of living that the Modi government has ushered in!
This is the 7th part in a series on the Narendra Modi Government. Here are the links to the previous parts:

A 'common sense' approach to the Economy, is the highlight of the Modi government's economic policies

The following article was written for MyInd Makers. Pasting it here for reference:

5pm, February 28. At this time, one of the most anticipated events of India used to happen. For nearly 50 years, at this exact time, the Finance Minister of India would present the Annual Financial Statement (a.k.a The Budget) to the Parliament. 11am is when the Parliament starts to function. However, for about 50 years, the Budget was presented at 5pm on February 28th.
After Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee became the Prime Minister, the Budget timing was changed to 11am on February 28th. Turns out that the 5 pm time was decided so that British Parliamentarians can leisurely watch the Budget at their convenient time of 11:30am local time! It was astonishing how certain things were allowed to carry on in the name of “tradition” by the Congress party.
After Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister, the date of presentation of the Budget was changed to February 1st. Earlier, when the Budget was presented on Feb. 28th, it took up to May before all necessary legislative approvals were in place. Meaning, that we could not spend money till about June of that year. So we lose about 3 months, without expenditure on many things!
If the Budget is presented on Feb.1st and all legislative approvals are obtained before March 31st, then expenditure is possible right from day 1 of the new Financial Year – April 1st. It still beats me as to why no previous government thought about such a basic tenet of a budgeting system!
It is many such common-sense changes and policies that adorn the Financial and Economic policy of the Narendra Modi government.
When the Jan Dhan Yojana was introduced, Congress ecosystem led by P. Chidambaram came out and told us that this just a rehash of their 2012 scheme titled – “Basic Savings Bank Deposit scheme”. Imagine a citizen who doesn’t know English being explained about the awesomeness of a “Basic Savings Bank Deposit Scheme”! Now, P. Chidambaram tells us in 2015 that this 2012 scheme is an extension of “No Frills account” scheme of 2005! Again, who names a scheme as “No Frills”? PC also tells us that most accounts had zero balance and they had opened 24 crore accounts in 9 years.  
Jan Dhan Yojana – this simple and common name instantly connects with people. The implementation of this program was on a different scale altogether. A whopping ~35 crore accounts were opened in just 4 years.  A whopping INR 93,000 crores has come into our banking system. 24 crore accounts in 9 years versus 34 crores in 4 years! It took us so long to come with a common-sense approach to ensure every citizen has a basic bank account.
So what if poor people are depositing their money? The big looters haven’t returned our money. What about them?
Say hello to Insolvency and Bankruptcy code (IBC). I don’t understand the nitty gritty of such complicated schemes. All I know is this – A whopping INR 3,00,000/- crore rupees have come back into our banking system because of this. This was money given away by the UPA government led by economist Dr. MMS. Today, our money has come back into the banking system paving money for many saving schemes.
I don’t care about who is depositing money. I care about saving my money. How did Modi help?
Once our banking system has infusion of money, they can always reduce interest rates! If you had a home or an education loan in 2014, you would have experienced how at one point the interest rates have even come down by ~3%. Even today, the interest rates are 2% lesser than what you used to pay in 2014. Our EMIs have reduced, significantly that too. Should we not count them as our savings?
Let’s assume you do not have any loans to pay off. In order to save on tax, Modi government encouraged you to save more! It increased the exemption limit from 1 lakh to 1.5 lakh. You save more, you pay lesser tax. Should we not count them as our savings?
Even before the revolutionary step of tax exemption for taxable income up to INR 5, 00,000/-, the minimum slab was increased to INR 2, 50,000/- and the standard deduction was increased in INR 40,000/-. So no tax up to INR 2, 90,000/- till 2018. And now no tax up to income of INR 5, 00,000/-. Should we not count them as our savings?
And then came GST. Today, you pay lesser tax on almost every single item as compared to 2014. In some cases, taxes reduced from 21% to 5% too! The Inflation rate has been consistently low all through these 5 years. This means you do not pay exorbitant rates for the stuff you need for your daily life. Infact, this is the first election in which price rise is not even an issue! Add to this the lesser premiums on insurance and lesser cost of medicines, should we not count all of these as our savings?
The common-sense steps like infusing banks with deposits and increasing tax compliance have led to revolutionary steps like reduction of taxes and increase in savings!
Ok fine, I am saving. But I am also hearing a lot of people don’t have jobs because unemployment is increasing. What about them?
Here is where the Modi government has yet again stumped everyone with just some common sense. I would strongly encourage you to watch the videowhere this lady tears into those who question about unemployment. She makes the wonderful point about how the Modi government has made getting loans very easy, to setup a business. The MUDRA scheme ensured loans up to INR 10 lakhs without any collateral. The Standup India scheme ensured loans from INDR 10 lakhs to INR 1 crore, yet again with any collateral. And then we have Startup India, that has eased many procedures making India more startup friendly.
A whopping total of nearly 17 crore MUDRA loans worth nearly INR 8,50,000/- crores were given out, thus helping all these people to setup their own small-scale businesses. Nearly 70,000 Standup India loans worth nearly INR 15,000 crores have already been given.
Let’s use some more common sense. We have seen record sales of two wheelers, four wheelers and tractors! Basically, this means that more and more jobs get created in these sectors. An estimate shows nearly 1.3 crore jobs have been created in the transport sector alone! Today, we have nearly 150 Mobile manufacturing units as compared to 2 back in 2014; we have overtaken China in manufacturing of railway coaches – does this not indicate an increase in jobs? We have seen huge increase in our world rankings. Today, we have record construction of roads, bridges, houses and airports (don’t believe me, look around for yourself friends) – this only means that large scale jobs are getting generated.
Did you know that the organizations that do surveys on jobs DO NOT include any of these areas in their surveys? How they chose to not use their common-sense is something very amusing!
What about all those who mocked “Chaiwala” saying he doesn’t understand economics?
The biggest testimony of how Modi handled the economy came from P. Chidambaram. When asked where Congress will find the money for their “NYAY” scheme, he said that the increased revenue of Government of India from the increased tax collections will help fund this program! The arrogance of Modi’s critics in trying to shame his past is pathetic. Modi has proven that a common-sense approach is enough to solve many of our economic issues. Modi has proved that encouraging an out-of-the-box thinking will lead to many innovative solutions to help grow our economy by leaps and bounds.

Co-operative Federalism was at its best with Narendra Modi at the helm

The following article was written for MyInd Makers. Pasting it here for reference:

I wish to congratulate every Prime Minister and every government of this country for playing a crucial role in developing the country”. Thus, spoke Prime Minister Narendra Modi from the ramparts of the Red Fort on August 15, 2014. This was perhaps the first time that a Prime Minister publicly acknowledged the contribution of all his predecessors, irrespective of whichever party they came from. This ofcourse came as a shocker to the Lutyens group, but those who knew Narendra Modi knew that this was not going to be a one-time gesture!
Former Prime Minister Deve Gowda, speaking on the last day of this Lok Sabha recollected his first meeting with PM Modi in May 2014. During the course of the campaign then, Deve Gowda had announced that he will quit politics if Modi becomes the Prime Minister. After the victory, when Deve Gowda met Modi. And in that meeting, Prime Minister Modi had specifically requested Deve Gowda to ignore everything that was said during the campaign, and that Deve Gowda should continue to remain a member of the Lok Sabha because his guidance is required for the House to run!
One of Modi’s first act as new Prime Minister was to go and visit Dr. Manmohan Singh at his residence. Upon completion of his first year in office, Prime Minister Modi invited former PMs Dr. Manmohan Singh and Deve Gowda to his residence and held discussions with them – another first in our history (perhaps). However, Rahul Gandhi, as is his wont, took cheap digs at Modi for meeting Dr. Singh. Rahul Gandhi said that Modi was taking lessons from MMS because he didn’t know how to handle the economy. However, these cheap jibes did not deter Modi from becoming a person like Rahul Gandhi!
The President of India was inaugurating the GST.  Prime Minister Modi yet again invited both former Prime Ministers to share the dais with him in the central hall of the Parliament. Infact, Deve Gowda had nothing to do with the GST, but still Modi showed him the respect a former PM of our country deserves. Quite expectedly, the Congress party decided to boycott the GST inauguration and did not give permission to Dr. Singh to grace the stage. Yet, for some miraculous reason, our media doesn’t seem to think that the Congress party is an epitome of viciousness.
Enough of Prime Ministers and their meetings man! Do a handful of meetings make him a statesman?
While we are on GST, did you know that ALL the 33 meetings of the GST Council have been unanimous so far? The GST Council consists of Finance Ministers from ALL states. There are multiple parties that are in power – and ALL of them have unanimously passed GST resolutions in the council meetings.
The Vibrant Gujarat Summit was a brainchild of Chief Minsiter Modi. It was held every 2 years. And seldom did any UPA minister grace this event. Below is a picture from the 2013 Summit. We do not see a single Union Cabinet minister.
Now, let’s take a look at a couple of pictures below. The first is from the “Invest Karnataka Summit 2016”. Congress leader Siddaramaih was the Chief Minsiter of Karnataka then. NDA government could have easily sat this one out, and or even send a Minister of State. Instead, look at the heavy weights on the stage – Arun Jaitley, Venkaih Naidu, Nitin Gadkari, Ananth Kumar etc.
The second picture (a collage) is even more interesting. Union Ministers Arun Jaitley, Nitin Gadkari, and Piyush Goyal are seen in conversations with Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee.
I do not have to tell you how much both parties hate each other on the political arena. The NDA could have easily sat this one out too. Instead they chose to assist the West Bengal government further their investment agenda too.
The presence of Union Ministers at every swearing in ceremony of a Chief Minister
We know the viciousness with which elections are fought. I still remember how the Bihar 2015 election was fought. And how the victory of the first Mahaghatbandhan experiment was greeted with cheer from all over the Lutyens and the English media cabal. It was as if the end of the Modi government has begun. Every single opposition leader in the country went to Patna to celebrate. Amidst all this, I was surprised to see Venkaih Naidu on the stage. He was attending the event as a representative of the Union Government. I realised that a similar thing happened for the Delhi CM swearing-in too. And then later we saw that happening for the swearing in of the Mamta Banerjee government too. And slowly I began to realise that this has been Modi’s policy that at least a Union Cabinet minister will be present at the Swearing-in of every new CM in any state of India. Yet another first, which also gives confidence to the new dispensation that they can expect the fullest co-operation from the Union government.
The photo-op is fine. Did any actual co-operation happen?
Fair enough question. Let’s therefore hear it from the horses mouths only! Telangana CM, K. Chandrashekhar Rao (TRS) in 2016 thanked Piyush Goyal for helping Telangana overcome the power crisis in record time. In the same meeting, he also congratulated the PM for giving a corrupt-free government! Punjab CM Capt. Amarinder Singh (Congress) has acknowledged that he has had no problems working the Modi government. Infact, he even gives a great example of how the Modi government gave some innovative suggestions to overcome the crop-burning problem in Punjab. Karnataka CM Kumaraswamy (JDS) waxes eloquent on how he is getting good respect from the Central ministers. Despite the noise on Social Media by the usual suspects, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan (Left Front) has publicly acknowledged the awesome support received from the Modi government due to unprecedented floods.
Puducherry CM Narayanaswamy (Congress) goes on and on about how many of his road problems have been resolved by the Modi government. Then Himachal CM, Virbhadra Singh (Congress) too, praises Nitin Gadkari. Telangana’s minister KTR publicly acknowledges that Telangana got more roads constructed than ever before. Congress MP Shashi Tharoor tweets “before and after” pictures of a finished road project, that was pending for a whopping 40 years (remember he was part of the ruling dispensation for 5 years too!). 11 out of the 14 promises made to the state of Andhra Pradesh have been fulfilled. The list can go on and on – but never have seen so much co-operative federalism in our country as much as we saw during the past 5 years.
And the many small things!
The offer to take along Chief Ministers along with the Prime Minister on foreign tours. In fact, the Congress party refused to allow its Karnataka Chief Minister to accompany Prime Minister Modi on one of his visits! We, of course, did not see any English media writing about Congress party’s attitude. The holding of different conferences, earlier restricted to only Delhi, in different parts of the country (irrespective of the party in power in that particular state).
Over the course of the last five years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi played the role of a statesman in an utterly divided polity like ours. He has not let politics come in the way of development. He has consistently shown that political niceties are very much integral to our culture and the Sonia era viciousness is a thing of the past.
This is the 5th part in a series on the Narendra Modi Government. Here are the links to the previous parts: