This was for my school magazine/newspaper but I’m so busy these days that the only writing I’ve done is for college apps. So, this is a bit less creative, but I still like journalistic writing so I’m trying something new.
Three years ago, Narendra Modi took the reins of India as Prime Minister, and the country has not been the same ever since. Power comes with the overwhelmingly significant task of decision making and an inevitable set of changes. Modi’s development agenda has made headlines: the infamous overnight demonetization, the installation of Good and Services Tax (GST), and the “Pradhan Mantri Gramin Awas Yojna” scheme to provide housing for all by 2022.
His ideologies stem from his past. While he may be one of “Time’s 100 Most Influential People” today, he spent his childhood selling tea on railway coaches. This life in poverty is what served as his first inspiration to implement change. According to an interview with him in India Today, Modi believes that “India is standing at a watershed moment, on the cusp of actualising its inherent potential as a developed nation and a global leader”. This has driven him to have a commitment that is best summarized by one of his campaigns, “Sabka saath, sabka vikas” (Together, we will have progress for all). Over the past few years, the country has been remodeled in attempts to reach this major goal.
Transparency has been an integral part of the Modi government. As the government plans to destroy corruption, it has been trying to cut bureaucratic red tape. This can be observed through the coal and mining reforms that have been implemented. Prior to this, it was revealed that certain entities had been benefitting from the government’s allocation system as the public sector had the exclusive right to mine and sell coal to the market. In order to combat this, private participation has been permitted which has not only boosted supply but also provided greater incentive for investments in the market. The frequently debated demonization scandal is proof of the administration’s desire for candor. The reasoning behind the set of actions was to purge black money from the economy. While this partially worked to reach its goal, it came with its own list of complaints. The sudden nature of the currency change led to a cash shortage, which eventually reflected in poor GDP figures in the months of April and June. Many argued that it was unjustified as black money could not turn white if it was put into bank accounts. Nevertheless, it was a change that impacted the entire country and will forever be remembered in history.
Local and international relations are a key component of the administration. Unlike previous leaders, Modi has taken initiative to keep in touch with the public via social media. The Ministry of External Affairs remains directly in touch with people online to update them on their progress. During Operation Rahat, an Indian effort that evacuated 232 people from Yemen, Twitter was used as a means to communicate updates. This led to the United States requesting Americans in Yemen to seek help from the Indian High Commision which demonstrates India’s newly acquired connection with the international community. Modi’s visits abroad, a total of 49 countries in the span of three years, are examples of this focus on international relations. The previous Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, only visited 27 countries during his first three years as the Prime Minister. The cost of this trips has been heavily criticized by opposing parties as Modi spends approximately Rs. 41.1 crore on his trips per year. The bulk of the expenses were taken up by hotel accommodations, according to breakups given by foreign Indian missions. The government responded to the negative comments by claiming that this trips were beneficial to the economy. This is supported by American investors betting on Modi and investing $41 billion in India by next year, and the Indian-American partnership to counter Pakistan’s efforts. There has definitely been a jump in India’s involvement with other nations in the recent years in order to have strategic partnerships that projects India as a rising power to the rest of the world.
As with any new government and system, there have been significant successes and failures. India is trying to climb up the power ladder and reach to new levels in every aspect possible. This is no easy task, and it is only natural to have a combination of experiences and reactions. As of now, Modi still has the chance to gain another term and therefore many believe that we will be cast under him for years to come.