Friday, 23 June 2017

Modi's Minimum Government, Maximum Governance

  • By definition "minimum government, maximum governance" is meddling with citizen's lives as less as possible and maintaining taxation at essential minimum levels while delivering citizen services effectively & efficiently. It is not just small size of cabinet and abolishing infructuos committees or institutions.
  • World Bank's perspective of good governance is “the manner in which power is exercised in the management of a country’s economic and social resources for development”.
  • In 2014, as most of the Indian elite supported the BJP during the Lok Sabha elections to its slogan: minimum government, maximum governance. Apart from this slogan, there seems to be little or no understanding for Modi & BJP what small government meant.
  • Two years after Modi was sworn in as prime minister, it’s more than obvious that minimum government, maximum governance was simply a slogan meant to woo a rather small – and ultimately politically useless – section of the Indian elite.
  • In recent months many have expressed their disappointment in the Modi government’s ability to live up to the promise of minimum government, particularly when it comes to running the economy. And in the bargain, we’ve ended up with more government in places we least expected—telling us what to eat and how best to be patriotic.
  • Modi government’s so far has largely focused on using technology to monitor bureaucrats and streamline business processes to ensure files are pushed faster and decisions taken with speed. Important as these reforms might be, they are neither substantive nor radical enough to achieve the goal of maximum governance.
  • The centralization has resulted in destroying the bureaucracy’s ability to take decisions as bureaucrats at the highest levels who simply wait for signals from PMO. 
  • From increased taxes to controlling what Indians will eat, watch or speak, the government seems to be getting more intrusive.
  • During Modi's 10-year stint as chief minister of Gujarat, there is no evidence of reduced spending or examples of unneeded government functions being jettisoned are provided.
  • Since 2014, size and function of the government has been decided by a number of political factors no different from how the Congress or any other state party would do it.
  • After the November 9, 2014, reshuffle, Modi’s government had 65 ministers which was 14 more than the last government with a majority in the Lok Sabha: Rajiv Gandhi’s 1984 ministry.
  • On taxes, the government introduced two new cesses since 2014. Eating out, to take one example, now means shelling out a fifth of your bill to the Union government.
  • Even worse, the Modi government isn’t even passing on this extra money to the state governments (who do the actual work of running development projects even as the prime minister organises yoga soirees). A transfer to the states of 6.3% of the GDP was budgeted for 2015-'16, the Union government only passed on 6.1%.
  • During his 2014 campaign Modi mentioned that government has no business to do business. But none of the PSU's were privatized or divested so far. The Indian tax payer under Modi still continues to subsidise the government’s efforts to run loss making airlines, hotels and banks.
  • Indian public sector banks are running crony capitalist dacoity, offering terrible loans to politically connected industrialists which were never paid back. In 2015, SBI wrote off a whopping Rs 21,313 crore in bad debts.
  • Modi said in an interview to the Wall Street Journal in May 2016. “You can’t suddenly get rid of the public sector, nor should you." It is clear that after becoming PM, Modi has made a U-turn on his “government has no business to do business” point-of-view.
  • Free market economies work best when the government makes a broad set of rules and lets private capital do the rest of the work. 
  • Modi government went to the trouble of laying down detailed rules for matrimonial sites. 
  • New aviation policy is attempting to directly control airfares, capping fare for flights of less than an hour duration at Rs 2,500. 
  • Government’s draft Geospatial Information Regulation Bill proposes near-draconian controls on business and individuals, making and using maps of India which was described as a return to the License Raj.
  • Trying to control what people see, eat and speak. BJP bringing in a stringent law outlawing the consumption of beef in Maharashtra. Modi’s government announced a new scheme to promote Hindi in areas such as North East and South India, another addition of responsibility.
  • Citizens surveyed on Modi Government's satisfactory performance after completion of three years stands at 61% is down from 64% that was last year and 68% at the end of first year of Modi Government.
  • The failure to deliver is a consequence of an obstructionist political opposition and an over-reliance on bureaucrats who constantly block new ideas. But this narrative will not take the Modi far. Voters want maximum action not maximum blame. 
My View:
Modi has no habit of walking the talking. His reluctance to appoint SC & HC judges as recommended by collegium, believed to be non-BJP loyalists resulted in 40% judge positions vacant for over two years greatly effected justice delivery system, which is contradictory to "minimum government, maximum governance" is one example. Modi suffers from worst possible type of corruption; an insatiable desire for personal glory at any cost; an extremely deep moral and spiritual corruption. Modi belongs to the line of autocratic ideologues rather than the western tradition of revolutionary neo liberalism, or marxist rationalism. He also represents the worst aspect of democracy: a demagogue who caters to an irrational populace’s cravings for self-identity and release from self-responsibility. He might not have taken any bribes in recent years but there is no way he could have risen to his position without having made massive and horrendous economic & moral compromises ... as described by Jayant Bhandari in

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