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6-point agenda for Narendra Modi

May 19, 2014 10:48 IST

6-point agenda for Narendra Modi

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T Thomas

 

After becoming the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi will have to arrest fall in the rupee, encourage foreign investment and will also have to maintain highest standards of governance. 

Now that Narendra Modi is almost in the saddle it is appropriate for citizens to give suggestions to him on what he could do for our country.

As a member of a tiny minority community and belonging originally to one of the smaller states in the country (viz., Kerala), I am truly representative of a regional, linguistic and religious minority in India.

Traditionally minority communities have been wary of the BJP which they believe advocates domination by Hindutva. 

They have therefore sought refuge in the Congress Party, which is seen to be more secular.

But in the current election of 2014, even they do not seem to have voted for the Congress, which is a house divided and mired in allegations of corruption.

It could be that Mr Modi's victory is more due to a negative vote against Congress than a positive vote for the BJP.

He has done a very effective job in exposing the negative aspects of Congress rule and this earned him the victory.

Now it is time to prove that he can survive and create confidence by adopting policy measures that will benefit all sections in our country.

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Image: Narendra Modi will have to revive growth as the Prime Minister of India.
Photographs: Reuters

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6-point agenda for Narendra Modi

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The first and most important and visible step is the choice of cabinet colleagues, especially those for home and finance.

It will be advisable to bring in a professional like a former RBI governor as the finance minister, so that he is seen to be beyond bias and that Mr Modi is seen to place competence above other considerations.

The finance portfolio is also a litmus test for attracting foreign investors. An eminent professional in that key post will instill a lot of confidence.

Similarly, in the home ministry, it would be a great comfort if a legally eminent and relatively moderate person like Arun Jaitley was appointed.

For external affairs, a person like Jaswant Singh would be the ideal candidate. If Mr Modi can rise above petty prejudices and persuade him to come back it would earn him a lot of kudos.

He has the diplomatic charm and intelligence to impress people like US President Barack Obama or Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Mr Modi's victory should also mark the end of the Congress' mistaken slant to the so-called socialist model of economic development based on the allotment of the commanding heights of the economy to the public sector.

India has been held back for the last half a century by this myopic policy of successive governments in Delhi. Mr Modi can remove these blinkers and liberate our dynamic private sector which has been struggling at the leash of government regulations.

India will become one of the leading economic powers.

Entrepreneurship is dormant in the DNA of many segments of Indian society.

As one who comes from Gujarat, home of some of the best entrepreneurs, no one has to explain to him why he should open up more of our economy to our own people and not to state-appointed bureaucrats.

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Image: After the formation of the new government, job creation and implementation of delayed projects will be keenly watched.
Photographs: Reuters

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6-point agenda for Narendra Modi

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One of the biggest public sector enterprises is Indian Railways.

Why not consider privatising even them? Many other countries have done so. The rail lines in different parts of India can be leased by the government to different companies which can compete to obtain the lease.

Then the trains can be run by a different set of companies, which would own the coaches and compete for customers.

It sounds complex - but other countries have shown that it can be done. Each private rail company will have to ensure its own profitability in the face of competition from other operators.

Another pernicious policy which needs to be abolished is that of price control.

The most effective way to control price is through competition in the marketplace. By opening up more of the economy to the private sector, Mr Modi will promote competition and that will ensure rational pricing.

There is no need for government intervention.

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Image: The rail lines in different parts of India can be leased by the government to different companies which can compete to obtain the lease.
Photographs: Reuters

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6-point agenda for Narendra Modi

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It is time for India to consider free convertibility of the rupee.

With very good opportunities for profitable investments in India, most Indian capital will remain here.

However, Indians have enough capital and entrepreneurial capacity to invest in markets abroad as well.

Why should we not allow such investments by convertibility of the rupee into dollars or yen or sterling or euro? Perhaps, in the beginning, there will be a large outflow due to investments.

But over a period of time profits will flow back, as it has done for all developed countries in history.

Once he has settled down in the PM's job, in say six months' time, Mr Modi must visit some key foreign countries, beginning with Japan and Indonesia.

That can be followed up by a visit to the United States.

The very efficient and intellectual community of people of Indian origin in the US will be extremely happy and proud - more so since many of them are from Gujarat. 

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Image: It is expected that India may become an attractive investment destination after the formation of the new government.
Photographs: Reuters

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All negative views held by some people there will be dispelled by a visit by him; his sincerity and private sector orientation will appeal to the average American and to their political leadership.

By mid-2015 Mr Modi will have been PM for a full year and taken full control of the governance of this great country.

That will be the time for an annual appraisal of his performance which many people will carry out. In the meantime, all of us wish him Godspeed.


Image: The new Prime Minister will have to take full control of governance of the country.
Photographs: Reuters

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