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Expectations and problems before new Modi team

Saturday, June 01, 2019
By Prakash Bal Joshi

With solid mandate and total command over party structure, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has begun his second term with much expectations from voters who gave wholehearted support to the BJP led NDA government.

Not that all those who voted for the BJP and its allies were very happy with the performance of many ministries but they kept aside their frustrations and voted for Modi and his second term for ensuring better stable and strong India. The fragmented opposition failed to enthuse any confidence and lacked cohesive and conclusive election campaign. As a result , the BJP has not only expanded its base in many states but also posed threat to some of the state governments with slender majority.

New faces in cabinet
No one actually foresee such massive support to the Modi campaign which could turn the euphoria into actual votes for the BJP and other NDA allies across the states. Modi realising the crucial role played by the regional parties in consolidation of votes has inducted representatives of the NDA allies though the BJP has majority on its own.

 Modi himself  has mentioned in his  speech when he was elected BJP parliamentary party’s leader that he and his team will have to face tremendous expectations from the people which he termed as faith vote. They believed in him and his party which can keep the country safe and deliver promises. The new team which has already sworn in will have to defend the interests of the Indian state, and advance the goals of growth, development, national security and stability. Without batting an eyelid, Modi has dropped 40 per cent of outgoing team and inducted new faces including S. Jaishankar , a career diplomat who has been one of the key adviser to Modi government during last five year.

With 303 BJP seats in the Lok Sabha, Modi has got full free hand in selecting his own team , its composition and allotment of portfolios. Though there was some speculation over BJP strategist and party president Amit Shah joining the cabinet finally he is in with added responsibility. He has to perform in his second term and as such he need a strong team based not only on political consideration but also on merit to perform and support his vision of development and growth.

With his charismatic personality and ability to take hard decisions, he has restored the authority of Prime Minister’s office during his first tenure. In fact, due to peculiar political situation during UPA I and II, the system had undergone lots of changes and eroding the authority of PMO as most of the ministers had direct access to the UPA chairperson and functioned almost independently. Lack of cohesiveness and coordination between different ministries were witnessed developing lack of decision making, what opposition then called as “paralysis of policy making”.

 Under Modi government, things have undergone changes and PMO has once again become central coordinating centre. The PMO regained its lost importance, in fact Modi thanked his PMO staff for assisting him in running the government efficiently. Modi pointed out that he was for efficient PMO and not effective and dominating PMO. Once policy decisions are taken then it is for the PMO to ensure its timely implementation in coordination with other ministries.

There is also criticism by opposition that the PMO under Modi is very strong and other ministries have very little and limited authority.  

While forming the cabinet for his second term, Modi has tried to achieve a balance between maturity and youthful energy. As a result, there will be more synergy and monitoring by the PMO of important projects and ministries.

Modi has already instilled a kind of discipline during his first term but will help to create more conducive atmosphere if there is larger debate and discussions within the cabinet system. It will be great if such openness and autonomy can work side by side and give new energy to the entire process of decision making and implementation. India’s institutions will be further strengthened if the system of cabinet governance is in place taking all important and emergency calls.

The economic conditions needs urgent reforms to push further growth and development in diverse field. During campaign, all along the youths of the country have been demanding more jobs and proper compensation of work. The government needs to take plethora of steps to ensure that along with the growth in new sectors, jobs are created in large numbers. Actually as the number of jobless goes down, it will also be a sign to indicate that the economy is on the right track. The international scenario is also not very clear as trade war has escalated and China USA are fighting it out creating ripples across the globe. The USA has already withdrawn the favoured nation status which also will impact adversely.

With Modi adopting “pro-East policy” certain changes will take place. With the ongoing research in artificial intelligence, many changes are already taking place which will change the way we handle things and create jobs in new platforms. The new team needs to take an urgent overview of the economy and take urgent measures.
There is also expectations that the government under Modi will start the process to carry out economic reforms which were pushed under carpet during last five years. The plight of agrarian economy is also not very good conditions and will need urgent short term as well as long term policy initiatives to face grim situation. The economic reforms can also take care of goods and services taxes.

J&K will be in the spotlight
Apart from economy, the real issues of governing Jammu and Kashmir will also come under scanner as things have not changed drastically and terrorists funded and trained across the border are very much present. What will happen to article 370 and Article 35A of the Constitution dealing with Jammu and Kashmir. These articles limit power of Parliament over Jammu and Kashmir.  Will the authorities take some measures to deal with the infirmities in the constitutional structure. So far the government and the parties in power used to take umbrage behind the fact that the ruling coalition does not have majority in the upper house and cant push through constitutional changes. Now with increased strength, the NDA will have majority on its own as more seats will keep on adding as time flies.

What about promise of construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya, the movement which propelled the BJP to power in Delhi. It will be observed by people as they expect the government to take steps to ensure early building up of the temple.

Modi government will also need to take steps to ensure proper climate for accommodating minorities under his Sabaka Sath Sabaka Vikas and Sabaka Vishwas slogan by initiating some steps.

There are no signs that the Pakistan will give up its strategy of bleeding India through proxies war using terrorist network. The Modi government will need to handle this with care and firm hand.

With Amit Shah as a new home minister , and distribution of portfolios, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has started his second term with a serious note to deliver his promises given during election time.

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