June , 2019
A change in attitude augurs well for NDA 2.0
16:11 pm

Buroshiva Dasgupta

The new finance minister, Nirmala Sitaraman, in one of her first tweets immediately after taking office writes “Grateful for every thought/idea that’s being shared by scholars, economists and enthusiasts through print, electronic and on social media. I read many of them; also my team carefully collates them for me. Value every bit. Thanks. Please keep them coming.” This signals a major attitudinal shift and if followed through, it raises hope about a better India.

Numerous promises are usually made by governments when they come to power. But most of them remain unfulfilled generally because of attitudinal problems. We have seen policies being forced on the people without discussions – like demonetisation – or sometimes passed in the parliament with the force of brute majority. But things seem to be changing.

Just a day before the results were announced, the cases against National Herald and allied companies were withdrawn. So were the defamation cases on the controversial Rafael issue. Undue criticism of the ‘father of the nation’ was not allowed to go unnoticed as in earlier times. The BJP candidate had to apologise. Opposition pounced upon the draft education policy released immediately after the new government came to power since the draft policy suggested a compulsory study of Hindi in schools. The government immediately admitted its mistake and withdrew the clause indicating that nothing will be thrust upon the people. A third item has been added to the new government’s slogan -“sabka biswas”: which, it seems, the government has started following in spirit from the very beginning.

The expectations from the new government are very high, perhaps greater than what it was from the first Modi government. The people have reposed greater trust and therefore “dil mange more”. The economy is not at all in good shape. The NPAs are badly hurting banks; the unemployment rate is the highest in the last fifty years; suicide deaths in the farm sector have not lessened;  petrol and cooking gas prices are climbing  up every day. The country’s GDP growth rate is not reaching the expected target.

The US government has withdrawn the privileges that India enjoyed so far in its exports. This means the government is slipping in its foreign relations (getting titles and individual honours is not the only aim of the foreign ministry) and the volume of the foreign trade is likely to be hit. We have appointed a professional as a foreign minister and we hope to get better results this time. Better communication, less rigidity in human transaction seems to mark the new government which is a sure sign of a winning team.

After winning with a huge majority, power could have gone into the government’s head. But surprisingly that is not the case. The game of maligning people on the social media is not over yet; but the intensity that we noticed during the elections campaigns has certainly lessened. Cow vigilantism and ram mandir are issues which distract the government from performing on the economic front. It is hoped that such issues raised by over-zealous followers will be kept under restraint.

All eyes are on the first lady finance minister of India after Indira Gandhi as to how she steers clear of the numerous bumps in the economy. She is a professionally trained economist and has worked in internationally renowned financial organisations. She started her innings with the right approach – talking to specialists and the common man before she presents her budget in September. She follows the social media and is up-to-date with the happenings in the country.


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