Specials

‘Modi govt only good at marketing’

Richa Mishra | Updated on January 27, 2018

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Number-crunching comes naturally to investment banker-turned-politician Jyotiraditya Madhavrao Scindia. Talking to BusinessLine, he terms the Modi government as one that is good at marketing, while the grassroots reality is different.

How do you see the Modi government’s performance in the third year (a number of economic legislation being cleared)? How much credit would you give them?

In any test, at the end of the day, the proof of its success always lies in the final outcome and results. And if you look at outcomes, you have to look at all parameters of the nation:

Look at what’s happening around internal security — heightening naxal activities, rise in ceasefire violations, terrorist attacks, rise in insurgent activities in North East, and the internal situation in Kashmir — which is very worrisome. The environment today is not one of internal security, but of internal insecurity.

Defence is a major cause of concern. Look at Defence and the number of crises that have emerged: attacks on military bases, shelling, recommendations of Campose committee after Pathankot not being implemented, increase in terrorist and cross-border incidents. And then the government talks about Make in India in Defence, where you have a deal of 126 Rafale jets, which is watered down to only 2 squadrons of 36 planes, and there is no Make in India component.

Rising Intolerance – vigilantism and violence in the name cow protection, people being harassed by moral police squads, Dalit-Thakur violence in Saharanpur, Pehlu Khan's murder in Rajasthan — it is becoming a trend. BJP would term this as a normal situation, but it is not normal for you and me, as an ordinary Indian. They have made it such that you are either with them or against them. There is no contrarian view that any citizen in the country can have.

But they did go ahead with demonetisation...

What is happening to farmers? Whether it is demonetisation or otherwise, the fact of the matter is that the farmers today are facing the deepest crisis. MSPs have not gone up, but input prices are going up. Many States like Madhya Pradesh are charging the highest VAT — almost 28 per cent.

While there is shortage of power for farmers, the government is saying there is surplus power in the country, which in itself poses a conundrum. And the final blow to the already suffering farmer was demonetisation. Today, when a farmer sells produce, the payment is in cheque. When the farmer encashes the cheque it bounces, so instead of farming the farmer is now roaming around the banks and courts to get his money back.

Employment: The government promised 2 crore jobs annually, while the reality is that they are just about meeting 1 per cent of their target. There is no increase in capital investment, no growth of capital formation.

All these are worrisome signs. You and I both know that capital investment going in will only yield results after two years, because it is a two-year lag cycle.

You talk about many Bills being passed in Parliament but on the ground, the situation is extremely worrying. Even with demonetisation what has the government achieved? Today, new currency is found in counterfeits. Six months later, the RBI Governor does not have details about the impact. People lost their lives, millions lost their jobs.

Do you think weak opposition is a reason for the government not being questioned?

Well, I think we are trying to put forward our voice. The opposition is working together on many issues that find common agreement such as the land bill, rising intolerance, etc. But I think your suggestion must be taken into account by us and we need to put together a more cogent and well-articulated strategy.

Do you see them going ahead with radical reforms…

Hold on, I want to ask you, what radical reform have you seen. Is demonetisation a radical reform? What has it achieved? GST is our baby, the BJP stopped it, and now they're its biggest proponent.

They criticised Aadhaar and again, have become its biggest proponent. The clichéd English adage – many a slip between the cup and the lip – describes them best. Meanwhile, the nation still awaits its due!

Published on May 15, 2017

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