First Year Anniversary

The Modi Government in India is completing its first year anniversary this month.

During Modi’s election campaign, there was an “electric” feeling around the country. When his party was elected to power by the largest democracy in the world, the citizens of India had lots of expectations – they expected nothing short of a revolution after many years of lethargic governance by the outgoing Congress Coalition Government.

And, world leaders sat up – here is finally a prime minister who promised action and big improvement in governance. The United States quickly removed the visa ban that they had imposed on Mr Modi in 2005. Modi was invited to many countries. He paid special attention to the U.S. and China as both are global powers. He also paid attention to the neighbouring countries such as Sri Lanka and Nepal.

During the past 12 months, India’s visibility on the world stage greatly improved. Big countries have started taking India seriously. Modi became one of the top world leaders with very active presence on social media. His FaceBook and Tweets have millions of followers.

However, notwithstanding the global impact, the common man on the ground in India might beg to differ.

Nothing much has changed for the common man. The corruption and inefficiency in local governance still continue – mundane things which affect the common man, while these may be considered really simplistic or mundane, do affect the self worth and public comfort. Simply being on the roads in India is a lesson for most people. With just 1% of the world’s vehicle population (though growing rapidly), India has nearly 15% of road deaths in the world. One can go on and on, these things continue as usual. Of course, a new government would have priorities, and the citizens have to wait and see the impact.

The worst thing in India continues to be bribery which is required to get anything done on time. There are ways to circumvent if one has ample time on hand. But most people don’t and so bribes are paid. Today’s Times of India web edition says the Indian household pays INR 4,400 on an average per year in bribes (that translates to USD 75), based on a recent survey. India fares very poorly on the World Corruption Index.

There are many such things, but it is important to give more time to the Modi government. There are mistakes being made by his Ministers, and I am sure Mr Modi tries to correct them. I think he believes in “active” intervention, which is good.

However, time will run out soon, and patience will run out even sooner. So, Modi might see negative results in State elections if things do not improve soon. It is up to the Modi Government to list peoples’ priorities and then try to address these priorities. There must be more communication to the citizens (more than what happens overseas).

We will see how things improve. Can only wish the Modi government another 12 months of positive success that should lead to improvement in life for the average citizen.


Vijay Srinivasan

24th May 2015


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