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Modi at Mid-Term: 30 Months of a Govt That Decides and Delivers

Modi’s mid-term report card is marked by bold moves such as demonetisation, writes Vinay Sahasrabuddhe.

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This 26 November marks the completion of two-and-a-half years of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ascent to power at the Centre.

The past 30 months were crucial in many ways. Aware of the fact that he doesn't possess a magic wand to do away with all the woes of the countrymen, Modi has, during his term, employed several new elements in an otherwise worn out, old and outdated style of governance.

His huge social media outreach, emphasis on monthly dialogue with the people through Mann Ki Baat and embarking upon seemingly ‘difficult to implement’ drives like Swachh Bharat and Beti Bachao could well be described as honest attempts at changing the grammar of democratic governance.

However, what makes Narendra Modi stand apart from most former prime ministers is his ability to take decisions that are hard to sell and also ensure delivery of good governance.

Most of his landmark decisions required a huge amount of ‘courage of conviction’, which he obviously possesses in abundance.

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Modi’s mid-term report card is marked by bold moves such as demonetisation, writes Vinay Sahasrabuddhe.
(Infographic: Rahul Gupta/ The Quint)
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The Bitter Pill of Demonetisation

The latest of the bitter pills that the Modi government has very determinedly administered is, of course, the demonetisation of high-value currency notes. Those assailing this move are mainly focusing on its implementation – and one certainly can have varied assessments of the government’s preparedness. However, the politics being played out in Parliament and outside notwithstanding, it is noteworthy that there is a near-total agreement on the objectives behind this move.

Undoubtedly, this was a difficult decision, and to make people accept it – along with the hardships that may last for some 50 days – required an ability to take risk and strong political will. Although it will take a few months to gauge the exact impact of this move on black money and counterfeit currency, the fact remains that the government took a difficult call.

The PM reached out to the people, appealing passionately that they be a partner in this war on illicit money. The government has fairly successfully tried to prepare them for the emerging situation. No other leader could have possibly shown this kind of boldness, and people too would not have listened to such appeals from any other leader.

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Modi’s mid-term report card is marked by bold moves such as demonetisation, writes Vinay Sahasrabuddhe.
(Photo: PTI)
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Towards Electoral Reforms

Another shining example in the list of several such decisive moves that this government has undertaken, is the idea of simultaneous elections, so strongly mooted by the PM himself. Electoral reforms is a subject on which several rounds of discussions have happened – but most governments have repeatedly failed at acting on them. Again, most electoral reforms were mooted by the Election Commission.

Here, the PM has not only aggressively mooted this idea but he has been following it up in multiple ways, repeatedly. A parliamentary committee on this subject is supposed to have already finalised its report. Further, the PM has appealed, on various occasions, to different groups to have this idea discussed threadbare. Just like demonetisation, this idea too would require resoluteness and – more importantly –consensus-building on its practical aspects as well.

However, what is important is the government’s decision to work proactively on a front that has the potential for far-reaching effect on democratic governance and politics.

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Clear Stand on Triple Talaq

Yet another important and path-breaking decision of the Modi government has been its unequivocal position on the issue of triple talaq. While the latter has been under the consideration of the government and the judiciary for several years, the current government has been the first to come clean on it.

Besides, the government has dexterously de-linked the question of triple talaq from the larger issue of the common civil code. This has silenced the usual secular brigade, as triple and oral talaq is very much an issue concerning gender justice.

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Modi’s mid-term report card is marked by bold moves such as demonetisation, writes Vinay Sahasrabuddhe.
(Photo: PTI)
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Surgical Strikes and Remarkable Preparedness

But decisiveness is not the only requirement of good governance. It also needs to be backed by a demonstrable ability to deliver. Like the taste of sugar is in eating, the taste of good governance is in its implementation. And hence, many landmark decisions of the government, that have been implemented with exemplary efficiency, also deserve mention.

Take the case of surgical strikes.

The alacrity with which these strikes were conducted, the zero-loss plan that was put to work and the remarkable preparedness with which the anticipated fallout was handled, were all noteworthy. After Pokharan-II, this was an adroitly handled mission –and leaders of the government need to be congratulated for it.

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Resemblance to Churchill

Hard decisions are always harder to implement. Last year, ahead of the Assam assembly elections, the government took a bold call on the Land-Boundary Agreement with Bangladesh, involving exchange of enclaves between the two countries. This was a truly difficult call, given the BJP's traditional approach towards such issues. But the PM showed pragmatism, convinced the Congress government in Assam and subsequently went ahead with the decision.

Modi’s exceptional leadership qualities remind me of Winston Churchill – particularly at the time he was Britain’s war-time prime minister. Like Churchill, one of Modi's chief attributes as a leader is his capability to inspire people – the source of which is his own character.

And again, like Churchill, Modi has demonstrated enthusiasm, determination and optimism.

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(As Modi reaches the half-way mark of his term in office, The Quint asks if Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been a unifier or polariser ever since he came to power in 2014. This is the counterview, you can read the view on the debate by Lok Sabha MP, Shashi Tharoor here.)

(The writer is BJP Vice-President and a Rajya Sabha member. He can be reached at @vinay1011. This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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