Sep 3, 2014

10 Reasons Why Modi is Proving To Be a Gamechanger

It's been 100 days and you know it. You know that you have a Prime Minister who is not as stiff as a robot and does not wear a mask in place of regular human face. The new Prime Minister has eyes that rove, muscles that flex, hands and a head that move and most importantly a mouth that utters words. Behold India, you have just gifted yourself a rather energetic, spontaneous and 'lively' prime minister, ending a decade-long agony of drift, lethargy and uncertainty.

I am not trying to draw out a 100-days report card of Prime Minister Modi nor I am trying to say that all that plagues India has ceased to exist. I am a regular young Indian who is very impressed with what he has seen of Mr. Modi thus far. From the historic swearing-in to the just concluded Japan trip, Modi has driven home at least three vitals points - one, he is way more spontaneous and imaginative that even his admirers thought of him to be, two, he will go all out to achieve what he believes in, almost like an adamant child, three, he means business, and he will do everything possible to leave behind a remarkable legacy. To cut matter short, I am here listing 10 reasons that make PM Modi a gamechanger or at least give him a very good shot at becoming India's first great leader of the 21st century:

1. The Man is the Message: Modi is a workaholic, no-nonsense man. He labours every day in his office and he his making sure everyone else around him does the same. Ministers are more accountable and ministries are bustling with activity right at 9 in the morning. Bureaucrats are powerful but their flab has been peeled off. There is zero tolerance towards inefficiency, non-performance, sycophancy, chalta-hai attitude and corruption.

2. The blessed oratory genius: Modi speaks with his heart wherever he goes. Secretary-written speeches have been junked, nicety and typicality have been minimized, he calls a spade a spade. So, not only his speech is extempore on the Independence Day, he takes the great risk of going completely unscripted on a foreign tour as crucial as Japan's. Guess what, he is pulling it off with aplomb thus far.

3. Buidling a personal connect: Mr. Modi has the innate knack of staring into someone's heart, and not just the eyes. Right from his campaigning days to his current status of being the prime minister, Mr. Modi has managed to strike chord with a billion people. You believe him when he says he will build 100 smart cities, clean the Ganges or get us the bullet train. Politics is a game of perception and Indians largely perceive Mr. Modi as a 'doer'.

4. Love thy neighbour: Modi has managed to do what the two successive UPA governments conveniently and dangerously ignored, that is meaningful engagement with its immediate neighbours. In an unprecedented gesture, he invited eight heads of state and chose Bhutan for his first official tour after taking oath. Next in line was the much-needed brotherly (not big brotherly) gesture towards Nepal where he won over everybody's heart while addressing the Nepalese parliament. India's relations with Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have dramatically improved and even Pakistan was given an olive branch till they decided to look the other way.

5. Perfect Pakistan Policy: Modi and his government has successfuly underlined a simple message- terror and talks cannot go on simultaneously. Despite opting to engage with Nawaz Sharif on day one of his office, Modi quickly realized that it is futile to 'talk' with a neighbor that is hell bent on gunning down our soldiers and civilians on the border. Add to it to the brazenness of Pakistan to hold separate talks with the so-called Kashmiri representatives, the Hurriyat, a group of largely out-of-job and out-of-favor anti-nationals. By deciding to call off the foreign secretary level talks, Modi has at least cut down on a futile decade-long exercise that yields nothing other than an inflated bill of cookies and table tennis balls.

6. Reinvigorating foreign policy: Modi has left Japan in complete awe of him. From tweeting in Japanese to jamming with drummers to playing a flute, Modi has brought in whole new level of personal involvement in India's relations with Japan. Expect more of this when Chinese come to Delhi or Modi himself visits the US. Also, not to forget the subtle nudge that Modi had for Beijing, hinting the strategic shift in India's position to not treat China with the kind of respect that it hardly deserves. India-Japan partnership may well be the most defining achievement of this 100-days old government.

7. Right noises on economy: There are no tall promises of bringing down the inflation in 100 days. Jaitley, Modi's trusted Finance Minister, is working slowly but surely to bring India's economy back on track. Green shoots are already emerging with the manufacturing and service sectors showing signs of revival, GDP clocking its best ever performance in the last two and half years and a renewed push for reforms and economic management. The fact that Modi has eloquently asked the world to come and 'make in India' shows the kind of interest the PM has in reviving the India story.

8. Rebuilding and reselling the India story: The last five years have seen India plummeting in the eyes of global investors and marketers. Policy paralysis, indecisiveness of the leadership and red-tapism threatened to cut the India story short, but Modi, like a true-blue Gujarati is selling the India model to the world again. He promises to reduce bureaucratic hurdle for foreign investors and offers them a red carpet while underlining the uniqueness and opportunities of the Indian market.

9. Focus on little things that will go a long way: Bank account for all Indians, drive to make India a clean country, cutting down on multiple ministries, scrapping of the planning commission etc. are just some of the examples of small but significant corrective measures that Modi has focused upon. While the big pet projects may take some time to materialize, these tiny jewels may well help India shrug off some of its dirt and troublesome flab.

10. Dodging a thousand provocations: From day one, parties and intellectuals with vested interests have been trying to flare up unnecessary controversies around the new government. From Smriti Irani's educational qualification to random communal statements by fringe elements, an attempt has been made to incite Modi into speaking something silly or out of turn. Dodging all these efforts, Modi has been focused on governance and promise delivery, and has refrained from playing into the hands of his critics.

These are great signs coming from India's new Prime Minister. 100 days is too less a time to judge the performance of a Prime Minister or a government, but it is the kind of mandate, resounding and historic, that Mr. Modi has got from the people, which makes his each day in office an acid test. The man, so far, has delivered more often than not, a feat that has further risen the already towering expectations of this nation of a billion hopefuls.

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