Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has initiated the process of becoming the world leader at Davos. According to him, since Donald Trump started to put America first, there has been a vacuum in the global leadership. Modi highlighted three main challenges confronting the post-Cold War global order i.e. climate change, terrorism and protectionism. He also sought to provide an Indian solution to each of these challenges while drawing clues from ancient civilization and wisdom. Modi’s party and his government may consistently have fallen short of these goals, but he too acknowledges the fact that they lie at the heart of the Indian project. The report on his Gujarat Model has come to light just before the beginning of the World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos, where he was all set to impress on the global leaders and businessmen about the success of his model and put himself up as one of the world leaders. The reports by WEF and OXFAM have literally pulled Modi down to the road. After four years of the initiation of Narendra Modi’s rule in India, he has been successful in implementing the Gujarat Model throughout the country. Nonetheless, it had become easier for him to implement the Gujarat Model across the country as he himself was the state’s Chief Minister during the tenure.
These reports gave a huge blow to the charismatic leader and little of Modi’s spellbinding speech was on display when he took the stage at the World Economic Forum in Davos. The failed model is mainly preached by the Modi friendly economists and preachers of liberal economy. The rate of investment and GDP are the only indicators of development, which has made the model a huge success. Unnecessary exemptions for the corporates, allocating land at minimum cost, cheap electricity, and unregulated exploitation of labourers are the main reason behind the development of Gujarat. On the other hand, economists like Amartya Sen have perfectly pointed out that the economic development of Gujarat might be very eye catching but the Human Development Index is at the lowest level. Basic needs like education, health and others remain unreachable for the general population of the state. Businessmen are generating profit but the level of livelihood of the population is decreasing every day. According to the OXFAM report, in 2017, 73% of the total wealth created in India has gone to only 1%, primarily the businessmen and rich families. People living under the poverty level (67 crore) could increase their wealth by 1% only.
He had a big act to follow in Davos. At the same conference last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping caught the attention of the world when he essentially sought to take up the veil of global leadership that the US seemed to have carelessly discarded. Xi’s speech was a defence of globalisation. Modi too spoke of the fear that the tides of anti-globalisation were rising, and that countries were becoming more “self-centered”. But he didn’t seem to offer Indian leadership in response. He was precisely unable to strike the correct note.
India is perfectly placed to be the sort of leader that an authoritarian China can never be, a fractured Europe is failing to be, and an inward-focused US is refusing to be. But the report by WEF states that India is left far behind at the 62nd spot in terms of development. Modi emphasised democracy and openness in his speech to exemplify how India at this moment is different and better.