In a bullet-point, problem-solving approach, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s last-minute manifesto bears a distinct Narendra Modi stamp. Released on Monday, the manifesto emphasises growth and governance reforms in a shift away from the UPA’s politics of subsidies and entitlements.

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Even on core ideological issues, the BJP manifesto is business-like. Thus, the Uniform Civil Code to replace the community-specific personal laws is presented as a necessary step towards gender equality.

Temple tone down Similarly, on the Ram temple, the manifesto promises to explore “all possibilities within the framework of the Constitution”. This contrasts with its 2009 manifesto harping on the “overwhelming desire of the people in India and abroad to have a grand temple at the birth place of Sri Ram in Ayodhya”. As expected, the party reiterates its opposition to FDI in multi-brand retail but in the same breath says foreign investments “will be allowed in all sectors wherever needed for job and asset creating, infrastructure and acquisition of niche technology and specialised expertise”.

The slick document was released in the presence of the BJP top brass — Narendra Modi, LK Advani, Rajnath Singh, and Sushma Swaraj — on the day the first phase of polling began, in Tripura and Assam.

Unlike previous manifestos, which were formal and often rambling, the 2014 document, which borrows liberally from Narendra Modi’s speech at the BJP’s national council meeting in January, is essentially the party Prime Ministerial candidate’s answer to the issues of inflation, unemployment, corruption, and paralysis in decision- and policy-making.

The document “attends to the imminent” after a crisp introduction by manifesto chairman Murli Manohar Joshi.

It takes up rising prices first, and offers a six-point solution. “Our immediate task would be to rein in inflation by putting in place strict measures and special courts to stop hoarding and black marketing; setting up a Price Stabilisation Fund; unbundle FCI operations into procurement, storage and distribution for greater efficiency; leverage on technology to disseminate real time data, especially to farmers on production, prices, imports, stocks and overall availability; evolve a National Agricultural Market and promote specific crops and vegetables linked to food habits of the people.”

This echoes Modi’s national council speech: “…Our first priority will be to develop a real time data mechanism for the farmers… have full faith that price stabilisation fund should be raised… so that the common man does not have to bear the blow of inflation…In the same way, it is need of the hour that a national agriculture market is established…”

Similarly, most of Modi’s suggestions made in the national council speech find a place in the manifesto, especially on development of next-generation infrastructure — a gas grid on the lines of power grids, railway modernisation, building world-class ports, IITs/IIMs/AIIMS in every State, 100 new smart cities, and so on.

Economic revival tops the agenda, with the manifesto suggesting steps to reduce banks’ bad loans as also a strong regulatory framework for non-banking financial companies.

The Tax Policy Framework seeks to rationalise the tax regime and bring on board all State governments in adopting the Goods and Services Tax.

Industrial promotion Steps for industrial promotion include single-window approval of projects, fast-tracking environmental clearances, and priority to manufacturing with infrastructure (rail and road network, port facilities and 24-hour power) support.

Barring health and education, identified as needing state support, the manifesto emphasises asset creation and linking human resources and infrastructure to economic growth. Even the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) is listed among the steps needed to enhance farm profitability. Other suggestions to raise agricultural productivity include increasing public investment, lowering input costs, and technological support

Centre-State relations The manifesto emphasises reforming Centre-State relations with a focus on ensuring fiscal autonomy for states. Indeed, this was one area Modi chose to highlight in his short address after the manifesto was released. “We will build a Team India which has all the chief ministers besides the Union representation,” he said.

Clearly, growth is at the centre of the BJP’s political and policy discourse, and Modi means business.

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