This is in response to The Economist article titled “Under Narendra Modi, India’s ruling party poses a threat to democracy” dated May 2nd 2019
Your article starts with unsolicited advice “Voters should turf it (Modi) out, or at least force it to govern in the coalition”. So it seems the author is suggesting that the Indian voters should elect a weak government that can be remotely run by one / few families. The government with helpless Prime Minister that would be compelled to turn blind eye to mammoth corruption and anarchy. Or is the author suggesting that Indian voters should elect a government with Prime Minister like inexperienced and idiot Rahul Gandhi, whose only claim to the post is his lineage? Or atrociously abusive and mean Mayavati who can then put her statutes across the country, as she did in the UP when she was CM? Or Mamta Banerjee who made sure that Tata Motors is driven out of West Bengal and is turning blind eyes to the ongoing radicalization in the state of West Bengal?
Reading this suggestion I am very clear the author has some kind of ill will for India. She clearly doesn’t seem to wish good for India. Let me share a few more thoughts to rebuttal author’s views from the article and substantiate my belief that the author definitely does not wish good for India.
Had the demonetization dealt such devastation to agriculture and small businesses, as narrated by the author, then BJP would have been routed out in the UP elections
The article says sending warplanes to bomb India’s nuclear neighbour Pakistan was reckless. Have you ever covered how sinister and deep-rooted malice exists in the entire establishment of Pakistan that’s singularly focused on creating trouble in India? We, the citizens of India, have suffered the most from terror sponsored by Pakistan for the past 45 years. Pakistan has been blackmailing India for past 4 decades exporting terror (the only industry that thrives in that failed nation), and it’s our right to retaliate in self-defence. Our successive past governments have failed in their important duty of defending the country. We are absolutely thrilled that we now have the Prime minister who has the courage to not bow down to the blackmail of Pakistan or other countries, such as China.
The article says Modi inflamed separatist insurgency. The author doesn’t even have the courage to call these terrorists as terrorists but rather calls them ‘separatists’. This clearly reveals that the author has a sinister agenda. And it’s absolutely shocking that your media gives space to the author who is glorifying the continuous act of terror as “separatist insurgency”, even when the whole world is suffering from the menace of terror. The latest Easter attack in Sri Lanka is a stark reminder of this global threat; and yet, your media is providing space to an author who dares to whitewash the most evil form of terrorism as “Separatist Insurgency”. While the author has preset agenda, I would have expected your media house to know that the recent Panchayat elections held the state Jammu and Kashmir in Oct-Nov 2018 witnessed over 71% voter turnout, despite a boycott by so-called separatists and major local political parties. This clearly shows that the overwhelming majority of Jammu and Kashmir is supporting the central government, and despite terrorists’ threat, elected to vote. Jammu and Kashmir have 3 regions: Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, but the author only seems to be concerned about the handful of terrorists and their supporters in just 4 districts of Kashmir, while completely ignoring the plight of the people Jammu, Ladakh and the large territory of Kashmir other than the 4 districts.
The article talks about the so-called failure of demonetization and causing huge disruption to farmers and small businesses. Your assessment, if at all any, completely ignores that agriculture production grew 2.7% in the very farming season when demonetization was done. Your assessment also seem to be completely ignoring 80% increase in taxpayers, a 60% increase in tax revenue, 45% increase in small investments, including mutual funds since demonetization, and more importantly the identification and closure of over 300,000 shell companies, most of which were used for money laundering and illicit financing, which was causing huge damage to the economy. One would expect the author to do at least some fact checks: Just 4 months after the demonetization, in the assembly elections in the state of UP, having 210 million population (at 16% of India’s population), with over 65% living in rural area and occupied in agriculture and small businesses, the BJP, under Mr Modi, won 325 seats out 403 seats, registering gain of 26% vote share from previous state election. Had the demonetization dealt such devastation to agriculture and small businesses, as narrated by the author, then BJP would have been routed out in the UP elections. But, when the author is an article with an agenda, the facts don’t matter.
When the author mentions about rising unemployment in India, she seems to be completely relying on the highly suspicious historical data on employment in India
The article states that despite the implementation of GST and bankruptcy code the economy has only marginally grown. But while sharing the naive views, the author completely ignores many aspects-
- There is no other parallel in the world where so complex financial reform of integrating 40+ tax systems across 29 states and 7 union territories with over 20 official languages for 1.2 Billion people were integrated into a single tax, along with the formation of independent statutory decision making and governing body. Any such mammoth reform anywhere in the world does cause temporary disruption and slowdown. A change in a major IT system even in a medium size company causes disruption in its operations and temporarily slows down in the growth.
- While the oil price is down, the external environments of protectionism have far-reaching impacting on the growth. Today, despite protectionist environments across the globe, which has caused a major slowdown in almost all countries other than the US, India is growing faster than before, despite temporary disruption due to several humongous and foundational reforms. Also, the first 2 years of Modi govt saw successive 2 years of severe drought – witnessed the first time in over 150 years. With over 40% of India’s population dependent of agriculture, and due to failure of 65 years of regimes post-independence, there is very limited irrigation in India, a large section of population and economy is heavily dependent on rain. Two years, of successive droughts at the beginning of Modi government, caused major damage to the Indian economy. It was only because of Modi’s astute administration that despite such major droughts, India grew significantly.
- While the article mentions that there is only a marginal increase in the growth, it makes no mention of the fact that India succeeded in controlling the inflation below 4%, including below 2.5% for most quarters with -ve inflation for food during the 5 years of Modi rule, including during the 2 successive years of drought, as against double-digit inflation of 2012, 2013. So the real growth (factoring for inflation) is far higher than during the previous government. The article also ignores the fact that earlier govt had fueled the economy through unplanned stimulus and funnelling of huge amount of corruption money through instruments such as P-note, which led to double-digit inflation and asset bubble resulting in 800% to 1200% increase in property prices, causing severe hardship to common men and also inflicting huge blow to many businesses.
- Similarly, the article is completely silent on the fact that India’s is the fastest growing major economy, having highest FDI, has brought down fiscal deficit from over 6% to 3.5%, current accounts deficit from nearly 5% in 2013 to 2.4% now.
- Under the Modi government, India’s ranking for Ease of Doing Business improved to 77 in 2018 from 142 in 2014.
- I can share several other data points on India’s economy, including growth of small & medium enterprises, growth of startup ecosystem, phenomenal growth of infrastructure, growth in the Indian stocks market caps, increased investments in manufacturing in India by global brands, shifting from China etc, but for brevity I would just draw your attention that, as per global firms like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, Bank of America, JP Morgan etc, in the past 5 years India has become one of the brightest stars from a Fragile Five in 2013. The author would get some enlightenment if she studies the reports of leading analysts on India
When the author mentions about rising unemployment in India, she seems to be completely relying on the highly suspicious historical data on employment in India. The increase or decline is always relative to the previous (base) data point. So let me draw your attention to few startling discrepancies in India’s historical employment data – since 1991 India’s official data has shown unemployment to be below 4.5%, and for the most period below 4%. The unemployment data of 2013 (last before Modi came to power) shows unemployment at 3.4% – lower than the US’ April 2019 unemployment of 3.6%, which is the lowest for the US in 49 years! Do I need to say anything more about the reliability of India’s historical unemployment data? So if the historical/ baseline number is so unreliable how can one define increase or decrease?
May I also give you unsolicited advice as well that have the author start writing an article, for publishing in 2024 when Prime Minister Modi would take the oath for the 3rd term
Realizing author’s prejudice and agenda, I am not at all surprised that the author has made no mention of successful implementation of so many schemes for common and poor people by the Modi government such as – Ayushyman Bharat, the World’s largest government-funded healthcare program covering 550 million people – more than the combined population of 28 European Union countries; Opening of 345 million Jandhan Bank accounts – more than the total US population or larger than the combined population of the 5 most populous European countries; achieving 100% electrification, electrifying over 18,000 remote villages and over 2,400,000 house that were without electricity even after 65 years of independence; giving 90 million new LP Gas connection (including 50 million free connections), more than the total gas connections given in past 65 years; construction of 100 million toilets to provide sanitation to over 40% population (or 500 million people, that’s comparable to the combined population of 28 European Union countries) that was not having such basic amenities until now.
I am also not surprised that the author makes no mention that Mr Modi has been awarded several prestigious international awards, including the Seoul Peace Prize in 2018, UN Champion of the Earth in 2018, Philip Kotler Presidential award, Highest civilian awards by Palestine, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and UAE, apart from several global rankings by Times and Forbes magazines.
But, before I end, I must appreciate that the author acknowledges that in 2014 your newspaper had grossly misjudged our beloved Prime minister and truly the tallest leader in the world, Mr Modi, imagining him as a bad person. May I also give you unsolicited advice as well that have the author start writing an article, for publishing in 2024 when Prime Minister Modi would take the oath for the 3rd term, to describe how great you are at being consistently wrong in judging Mr Modi due to your biases and prejudices.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.