PM Modi’s journey to ‘achhe din’ may involve brief period of pain
To his admirers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who completes a month in office Tuesday, has made a great start – from reinvigorating the ossified hand of a government system that hobbled progress to biting the bullet on tough decisions needed to pull India’s economy out of a dangerous morass.
To his critics, though, much of this is old wine in a new bottle, minor cosmetic tweaks that betrayed no signs of the paradigm shift in India’s destiny that Modi promised.
To be sure, in the history of a nation a month is but just a drop in the ocean. But, given the groundswell of hope and anxiety surrounding Modi’s ascent, the new government’s first 30 days have been under great scrutiny.
A sense of bullish self-confidence marked Modi’s sweeping victory last month, spurring hopes of firm governance and quick policy changes. Hope ignited in many Indians of a better life. To investors, the possibility of India further opening up its market never looked more real. “As far as the expression of intent is concerned, the new government has made the right noises,” says Sebastian Morris, professor of economics at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.
So far, there has been no dearth of action.
Prime Minister Modi started with a bang. The decision to invite South Asian leaders to his inauguration was as much about his desire to focus on foreign policy and build bridges with the neighbours as his talent to surprise.
From speaking of inclusive, accountable governance to promising a freer hand to bureaucracy, many of his moves have resonated well with Indians tired of a rudderless government mired in corruption scandals and whose indecisiveness had left more than 700 major industry projects in limbo.