‘To see editors calling themselves great intellectuals saying what Rahul Gandhi says, speaks of their credibility’
‘You take any measure by Narendra Modi; it is not intended for today’s results; the result will be permanent’
‘What Modi has achieved in 365 days in terms of India’s strategic relationship and economic benefits from abroad is unbelievable’
Swadeshi economist, columnist and chartered accountant S Gurumurthy speaks to Shobha Warrier about one year of Modi Sarkar.
S Gurumurthy rarely talks about Prime Minister Narendra Modi or the way he is administering India. In this rare and exclusive interview with Shobha Warrier/Rediff.com, Gurmurthy, image, left, analyses the first year of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in office, how he has turned all the all the negatives to positives, and what he should do to make the economy grow.
Perhaps for the first time in India has a prime minister been scrutinised and dissected so thoroughly after one year in power. Is it because he promised ‘achche din’ during the campaign and so people expected good days to come from the very day of him assuming office?
No. The unadmitted truth is that the media hates him and they will always hate him. They were the ones who said this man was a Hitler and had killed 4000 Muslims; they later reduced it to 2000 and now it (the toll) stands at 1000. A shameless media pretending to be neutral targeted him for 12 years. Some of them went to the extent of creating the suspicion that the Godhra tragedy was enacted by Modi to justify killing Muslims! This fraudulent theory was assisted by a United Progressive Alliance-sponsored commission of inquiry which said the tragedy was an accident, not a conspiracy.
They demonised the man so much and so continuously that the foreign media began echoing the Indian media, and the foreign media xerox copying the demonisation of Modi by Indians became news here as the foreign media too was calling him a demon! It is the foreign-funded NGOs-Indian media alliance, the most deadly and immoral alliance, that started the campaign against Modi and kept targeting him for over a decade.
You mean the English media?
It is the English media that dominates and the language media is only a shadow of the English media, even though it is several times bigger. Opinions are created by the English-speaking elite media and many of them have nothing to do with the real India but these are the people who set the agenda for India and inform the world. No foreign media will quote a language media even though it might command a readership much higher than the English media. The NGO which worked in conspiracy with the Indian media proclaimed that they got the Americans to deny visa to Modi!
Every prime minister from Jawarharlal Nehru to Indira Gandhi to Rajiv Gandhi to P V Narasimha Rao to A B Vajpayee commanded goodwill in India and outside. In the case of Vajpayee, the media said the Jan Sangh was bad, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh was bad, but Vajpayee was good. But you take the case of Modi, the moment he was proclaimed as the PM candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party, 60 members of Parliament, including communists, wrote to the president of the USA to be firm on the visa issue. The Economist magazine wrote, ‘we cannot be persuaded to support this man’. See the kind of hatred they had generated then within India which echoed outside.
And the man comes to power! Can you imagine the deficit he had to cover? Trust deficit and legitimacy deficit of the victorious Modi transformed into national discredit of having elected a leader with such deficits. But in one year, he has completely overturned the situation. Has any newspaper written one word on this?
First, the foreign media said he would never have good relations with his neighbours. In one move, by calling all the Saarc leaders for his swearing-in, he demolished it. It was such a brilliant strategy. How many in the media appreciated this? They couldn't tolerate that he has come to power in spite of them.
Now about the kind of scrutiny he had to go through. Modi has been elected for five years, and he was supposed to do certain things in five years. But newspapers are writing editorials asking, tell us what have you done in one year? I can understand an immature person like Rahul Gandhi asking this. But to see editors calling themselves great intellectuals saying what Rahul Gandhi says, speaks of their credibility.
How do you evaluate his first year? What are the positives?
What Modi has achieved in terms of India’s strategic relationship and economic benefits from abroad is something unbelievable in 365 days. He has made America accept our nuclear liability clause. He has made Australia and Canada give 3500 tonnes of uranium. He has not only made China commit to invest $20 billion, but he has told China about setting right the negative trade deficit, implying anti-dumping duties against them. (We have over $ 400 billion in current account deficit). Manmohan Singh, who was virtually crawling before the Chinese president, allowed the nation to run up a trade deficit of $ 375 billion in 10 years. Modi got $ 35 billion investment from Japan and then from EU too. In 365 days, he has turned all the negatives into positive, from (-) 5 to (+) 7. Did any analyst write about the negative scores he had had to overcome in and outside India? They wrote as if he began writing on a clean slate.
The criticism is that he has only got promises for billions of dollars but nothing has come to India…
You mean to say they issue a cheque for $20 billion on the first day? It will come only when the projects begin to take off.
Another criticism against him is that he has been travelling all over the world, neglecting the domestic front…
I told you that he had unbelievably set right his and the country's image abroad (that was) viciously spoilt by our own media in 365 days. Without that, economic recovery in India too would be difficult in an inter-dependent world, particularly when we have been running a current account deficit and making it up through loans and investments from abroad.
On the home front, he is building a powerful foundation for the country’s economy. What are the things that have been missing till now? We were not able to reach people in terms of financial inclusion. No foreign economists or the RBI would say the person who has no money should have a bank account. That was the policy till now. Here, our need is, everybody should have a bank account, only then could we put money in his account.
The RBI agreed to have one crore bank accounts in three years. The finance ministry said, three crore bank accounts in one year. But Modi wanted 7 .5 crore bank accounts in five months. Do you know what the latest tally is? 16.5 crore bank accounts. The scaling up of the operation Jan Dhan Yojana is unthinkable.
Next, 10 crore people have been hooked into three insurance schemes. It happened because they had bank accounts, kisan credit cards and other financial inclusion mechanism
These are all fundamental things. Rajiv Gandhi had said 85 per cent (of the allocation) gets eaten away on the way. Those days are over. The money will go directly to the person. Nobody can eat it in between. Afterwards, what the beneficiary does with the money, is a different matter.
Take the gold monetisation scheme and the MUDRA refinance scheme -- a remarkably India-specific idea. All these are India-centric ideas which neither the Indian nor the foreign media will write about.
You take any measure by Narendra Modi; it is not intended for today’s results; the result will be permanent. He is planning a socio-economic structure which will be solid for the country whether Modi is the prime minister or somebody else.