B S Raghavan, a Chennai-based retired bureaucrat, lists here ten things that the Narendra Modi government is doing wrong. With a dawn of new regime in New Delhi, he says, "One expected to see verdant new shoots of change in the outlook, mindset and conduct of the government" but the high hopes are being shaken as "one sees dreary desert sands of dead habits".
Here are 10 things the Modi government is doing wrong:
This piece in response to this: 10 things that the Modi government is doing right
ONE: Falling for the glitter of foreign photo-ops: They mean nothing and could have waited until crying domestic ills were addressed. Modi must first till the home ground before he goes calling.
TWO: Failing to set out his priorities and approach by interventions in Parliament and addressing mass meetings in strategic locations (Kolkata, Chennai) a la his election campaign
THREE: Neglecting to cultivate the south. The Bharatiya Janata Party and Modi are still seen as north Indian aliens by people of the south. Names of schemes are in Hindi, speeches are in Hindi, and hardly any political figure of consequence in the government has visited the south after the government took charge.
FOUR: Persisting with nondescript and shady characters as ministers who soon will become either loose cannons or puppets in the hands of bureaucracy. They are yet to make any impression on the people. Smriti Irani has a charming presence and good repertoire of words, and renders them mellifluously and fluently, but comes through as immature and shifty.
FIVE: Indulging in slick coinages like HIT( recently spoke about it in Nepal). They will detract from prime minister’s gravitas, and will be seen as school-boyish gimmickry.
SIX: The PM's website is proving to be a gimmick. It is visitor-hostile, full of glitches and elicits no response to any of the messages. Large numbers who thought it was a hotline with the prime minister are disillusioned and Modi is becoming the target of their anger.
SEVEN: Resorting to spin rather than working hard to deliver solid, tangible outcomes. Making out that Modi’s exhortation to the secretaries is a first or going to town about the dos and don'ts for bureaucrats as a revolutionary step is nothing but spin. Both practices are as old as the hills. They have once again been dusted up, that's all.
EIGHT: No zing or pep in government. It is seen to be lack-lustre, languid and lackadaisical. It has made no difference to the cutting edge. US President Franklin Roosevelt set up the entire framework of the New Deal to break the back of the Great Depression in just one month.
NINE: No effort made by Modi to ensure smooth functioning of the Lok Sabha. By being constantly present, as Nehru was, and intervening now and again to set things right, as Nehru did, would have made an impact. The new Speaker is as ineffective as the previous one.
TEN: Where one expected to see verdant new shoots of change in outlook, mindset and conduct, one sees "dreary desert sands of dead habits".
This above column was written before the Prime Minister delivered his Independence Day speech on August 15.