PM Modi’s 100-hour report card

Source : SIFY
Author : Sunil Rajguru
Last Updated: Fri, May 30th, 2014, 07:33:51hrs
PM Modi’s 100-hour report card
The 10-year Manmohan Singh regime already looks quite far away and things appear to be moving quite fast indeed.

That Modi has "hit the ground running" is a cliche that is featuring regularly in TV channel reports. A look at some of those beginnings...

1. Sensex breaches 25K:
This one happened just on the confirmation of Modi becoming PM on May 16. For those thinking that this was a routine affair, one should note that though the 21K mark was breached way back in 2010, the 22K mark was crossed only in March 2014 at a time when opinion polls showed that Modi’s coming was almost a certainty.

Somebody has shown great optimism in playing on the slogan "Abki baar Modi sarkaar to"...Abki baar tees hazaar!

In the dark days of UPA2, no-one used to talk of 25K, let alone 30K.

2. Women empowerment on Day 1: Six out of the 23 Modi Cabinet ministers are women. That’s more than 25%. While that’s way below the 50% mark, it’s still way above what Prime Ministerial Cabinets are usually like.

Sushma Swaraj also became India’s first exclusive woman Foreign Minister. (Note: Prime Minister Indira Gandhi held it as an additional charge.)

3. Thrust towards being "younger": Both Morarji Desai and Manmohan were Prime Ministers in their 80s. Modi may change his Cabinet in subsequent reshuffles, but in the first one at least he has kept the 75+ club out, unthinkable in Indian politics in the past.

In fact, of the 45 only two are 70+. Relatively speaking, that’s something new. The crucial HRD Ministry is headed by a 38-year-old Smriti Irani.

4. A foreign policy coup: How many times did Manmohan meet Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa? That couldn’t happen due to many pulls and pressures. Well Modi has met Rajapaksa, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and all the SAARC leaders to boot on the day of his coronation.

If that’s not enough, then the Chinese Foreign Minister is making a beeline to India at the beginning of June itself.

5. Crackdown on nepotism: This is the biggest bane of Indian politics and really messes up governance from top to bottom. Modi has never favoured his family in his entire life and is now looking to expand that to Lutyens’ Delhi.

Modi has advised his Ministers not to hire relatives for their personal staff and they will find it tough to defy him. Some of Modi’s good habits may just about percolate from the top down to the bottom.

6. SIT on black money:
In 2009, a writ petition was filed in the Supreme Court seeking the return of black money from foreign tax havens. Way back in July 2011, the SC ordered the setting up of a Special Investigating Team (SIT).

While the SIT was in the works for some time, the fact remains that Modi became PM on May 26 and it was finally constituted on May 27.

7. The audacity of hope: Modi’s biggest achievement has been to induce hope in India. The general elections saw a record vote and on May 16 while a good section of India’s so called intellectuals were sulking, most of India was upbeat.

The optimistic mood continues with Modi making strong bold moves in the first few days itself.

8. The self-fulfilling prophesy: One economist concluded that things would get better because a self-fulfilling prophesy was being put into effect. Another said that the stock market bull-run would last for years.

Bureaucrats cancelled their leaves and had to come out with a presentation detailing their 5-year plans. Ministers were told that they had to come out with 100-day plans and would have to go in for 16-hour days and get up at 5.30.

Now suddenly Lutyens’ Delhi has been shaken and all the babus of India are on their toes. This is bound to change the overall efficiency of the Government of India. It is high time that they matched the professional standards of Corporate India and that signal has been sent in a matter of days.

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The author is a Bangalore-based journalist and blogger. He blogs here.