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Will Modi Ji Get His Babus Out Of The Way And Allow India To Prosper? By RKB

In Blog, Featured, Rajiv K Bajaj
June 22, 2021
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Can We Stop Gloating Over Pakistan’s Misery and Look At How Even Bangladesh Has Overtaken Us?
Will India and Pakistan ever get around to a civilised relationship where we don’t threaten to kill each other and drain each others’ resources in a war of intimidation that’s lasted 73 years?
Let me put it another way
If we don’t we shall continue to grind in poverty and civilisational angst that will destroy whatever windows of opportunity open up to move to the next level to allow our people to enjoy the benefits of a developed economic and social polity as say Europe !
There was a time it had seemed that India had left Pakistan far behind; that we were now competing with China in terms of economic growth and poverty alleviation
But all the vile rhetoric of “Go To Pakistan” for everyone and everything opposed to the fanatically foolish dunderheads who seem to be ruling the roost today seem to have put paid to that great surge forward
We are back!
Back to the days when comparing ourselves to Pakistan was the only way we could look in the mirror and say “we have failed, but the Pakistanis have failed even more than us”
Once again we have begun competing with a nation the size of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar
It’s a Death Wish devoutly to be wished away!
Have we for instance outdistanced our neighbours so much militarily and economically that we need not worry about them anymore?
We haven’t
Our Armed Forces per se remain in the same mindset as before (and with the same laughable budgetary allocations)
The economy has tanked leaving the Giant India looking enviously at a resurgent and dynamic Bangladesh
So much so that one renowned Editor (a man I genuinely admire namely Shekhar Gupta of The Print actually more or less proved the case that sub-Saharan Africa was richer and economically far more advanced than India today)
This was the “most unkindest cut of all”
What happened?
What did we do?
How did we allow so much hubris to render us helpless in the face of the coming tide of an economic slowdown and COVID?
Is anyone even asking the question?
Or are we just wallowing in the pride of the BSE and NSE breaking one record after another ?
It’s like hoping that because the local Casino owners are making billions they will share a bit of their wealth with the sewage workers!
Doesn’t work and won’t happen!
Even if the Sensex were to touch a 100,000 it may not create a single job for anyone, anywhere!
The kind of triumphalist rhetoric we have been carpet bombed with for the last seven years has left most rational journalists (and economists) befuddled and bemused
No jobs, no businesses, no shops around the corner…we are back to the days of Mrs Indira Gandhi when the Govt was the only Mai-Baap and instead of the license raj we have its equivalent version today!
Bangladesh overtook us on every human index
Sub Saharan Africa is not only richer than us but better on practically every human developmental index
So what are we left with?
Here’s an economic analysis and projection which is largely understated and not too bitter
♦️Prime Minister Modi’s avowed GDP target – a $5 trillion (£3.6 trillion) economy by 2025, or roughly $3 trillion after adjusting for inflation – is like the Bollywood version of history
♦️Independent pre-Covid estimates for 2025 had touched $2.6 trillion at best. The pandemic has shaved off another $200-300bn.
♦️But Covid is not solely responsible.
India’s GDP – at a high of 7-8% when Mr Modi took office – had fallen to its lowest in a decade – 3.1% – by the fourth quarter of 2019-20.
♦️A disastrous currency ban in 2016, (the Great Demonetisation Disaster which won Uttar Pradesh but destroyed everything else) which wiped out 86% of cash in circulation, and a hasty roll-out of a sweeping new tax code, known as the Goods and Services Tax (GST), virtually destroyed businesses
♦️India’s biggest challenge since has been a slowdown in investments since 2011-12,” says the Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy (CMIE). “Then, since 2016, we have suffered too many economic shocks in quick succession.”
♦️The currency ban, GST and intermittent lockdowns all reduced employment
♦️Unemployment climbed to a 45-year high – 6.1% – in 2017-18, according to the last official count. And it has nearly doubled since then, according to household surveys by CMIE, a widely-used proxy for labour market data.
♦️More than 25 million people have lost their jobs since the start of 2021. And more than 75 million Indians have plunged back into poverty, including a third of India’s 100 million-strong middle class, setting back half a decade of gains, according to estimates by Pew Research.
♦️Finally “Make in India’ Modi ji’s high-octane flagship initiative – was supposed to turn India into a global manufacturing powerhouse by cutting red tape and drawing investment for export hubs.
♦️The goal: manufacturing would account for 25% of GDP. Seven years on, it’s share is stagnant at 15%. Worse, manufacturing jobs have gone down by 50% in the last five years, according to the Centre for Economic Data and Analysis.
♦️And Exports have been stuck at around $300bn for nearly a decade.
♦️In the last 7 years India has steadily lost market share to smaller rivals such as Bangladesh, whose remarkable growth has hinged on exports, largely fuelled by the labour-intensive garments industry.
Where does that leave us?
We are left with gloating over the misery of our western neighbours (and don’t be too surprised if one day the Pakistanis realise who they are, what they are and actually beginnto work towards the initial dream of General Ayub Khan to turn Pakistan into the Switzerland of South Asia)
Point is it’s time for us to wake up and smell the coffee
From the heady days of initial reforms from 1990 to 2000 when we were actually able to bring more than 30 crore Indians out of the stranglehold of poverty to the stagnant state right now is a classic example of how to destroy everything that works
Remember the old adage “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” well we not only broke what worked but refused to fix what we broke
We are now a bunch of hot air balloons full of triumphalist rhetoric that no one takes seriously anymore
Yes Indians do run the largest IT companies in the world; Indians also run the National Health Services Of many countries …but they are not Indians anymore
Are we going to wake up to the fact that in Europe, US and the rest of the developed world the India Story has nothing more to tell!
If we don’t we shall have a horrid awakening like Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the rest of India did in 1962 when the Chinese decides to teach this “upstart nation full of nothing but conceited hot air a lesson”
So what’s the alternative?
Another Balakot? Surgical strike to make us feel good about ourselves?
Or will the Govt do what it takes actually to implement that long forgotten Modi slogan “Minimum Government, Maximum Governance”?
And allow Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises to thrive instead of being throttled in an atmosphere of raids, intimidation and rules more complicated than a Mandelbrot Set?
Will the Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi, the man I have voted for twice, get the bloody bureaucrats out of the way so the country can prosper and thrive?