Connect with us


Modi: A journey of Hero to Zero in 40 months



Narendra Modi

These were the heady days for nation when Modi came to occupy the seat of power in Delhi after putting an end to the ten years of UPA rule. There was lot of excitement and expectation among people and everyone thought that something very good is going to happen.

It was May 26, 2014 and a Bollywood starlet tweeted “Just landed in Delhi” “And even air feels cleaner, #AccheDin”. The crowd which thronged Delhi to celebrate PM Modi’s swearing-in breathed that purified air through the Modi mask which had been elevated to a fashion statement during long election campaign.

Image result for narendra modi jumla

In response to Modi’s triumphant speech, they enthusiastically responded to his call of “Achhe Din” with chants of “Aa gaye” in a symphonic chorus of sycophantic adoration. A nation saturated with meticulously constructed narrative of UPA non performance and policy paralysis had found faith in the mythological Gujarat model. On May 28, 2014, belligerent Modi had a tough talk with Nawaz Sharif , his Pakistani counterpart. On the same day Modi Cabinet in its first formal meeting constituted a Special Investigation Team to bring the black money stashed abroad.

The very next week on June 5, he gave a jolt to the bureaucracy, telling them their leisurely golf games are now thing of past and they should better pull up their socks. The decisions flowed thick and fast and the contrast with the earlier UPA Govt could not have been starker.

On June 11, the Govt asked Supreme Court to take a quicker decision on the issue of MPs with criminal background and on July 30, Govt introduced “lab to land policy” to increase the agricultural output and came out with the slogan of “more crop per drop”.

On August 7, the Govt announced increase of FDI in the key sectors of Railways and defence. A new irrigation scheme was announced on August 20 and Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana was announced on August 28 under which every citizen was supposed to get a bank account.

On September 17, which was also his birthday he sought his mother’s blessing under the glare of media cameras. Modi became savior of Indian Muslims on

September 20 when he spoke about the injustice done to them and on October 11 he asked every MP to adopt a village. On October 26, he conducted a series of meetings and defence projects worth 1, 20,000 crore were cleared.

It seemed as if Govt had its eyes and its mind everywhere. The focus area was fast identified with jet set speed and profusion. On June 24, Mr Modi focused on redressal of public grievances and improving the centre-state relations. Suddenly the needs of armed forces became a priority issue and emphasis to cut the red tapes in order to meet their long due requirements.

In his very first Independence Day speech on August 15, 2014 he talked about giving an access to a toilet for every Indian citizen and improving the lot of women in India. He talked about “Digital India” scheme to boost the education and healthcare sector on August 22 and on September 25, he launched his flagship scheme of “Make in India’ to boost the manufacturing sector in India.

Image result for narendra modi Americans at Madison square

He charmed the Americans at Madison square garden and even the audacity of wearing a suit with his name embroidered on it was forgiven when it was auctioned for a princely sum of 4.3 crores for the venerated cause of cleaning the Ganga and the nation cheerfully lapped up eulogies to his hotness quotient.

He hopped from one country to another in pursuit of India’s energy future and was hailed by media as an international rockstar. Australia was charmed and returned two precious antiques which had been stolen from India. Times magazine gave an impetus to his soaring image by declaring him as a person of the year.

The markets loved him and shops from Mumbai’s famed causeway to Delhi’s Sadar Bazar reaped windfalls from the sale of Modi merchandise. There were many stories floating in air like five reasons of why Modi is special and a 10 point plan by Modi to improve India in 100 days.

We also heard stories of Modi working tirelessly for 18 hours or more to bring the proverbial “Achhe Din”. The superman Modi had arrived with a magic wand in his hand and he was going to change the destiny of people.

On October 4, 2017 , precisely 1220 days after he became India’s 14th Prime Minister, a querulous Modi was reduced to fudging figures and lashing out at a handful of people for spreading pessimism.

The word on the street was too loud to be missed and it said “Modi is on back foot”. The dissenting voices are proliferating across sector as diverse as agriculture to industry to entertainment and beyond. Suddenly a large section of media rediscovered their voices and these voices are sharp, they are critical, they also excoriate. The opposition has upped its ante on social media which was once BJP’s monopoly and reduced party bigwigs to warning of a tool they once willingly appropriated to their ends.

Fact checking suddenly became the new buzzword and one time cheerleaders are turning apostate. The trusted allies like Shiv Sena have turned fractious and BJP’s own old brigade like Arun Shourie, Subramanian Swamy and Yashwant Sinha have voiced their astringent criticism openly in public and almost dared the party to take action against them, in full knowledge that the now beleaguered BJP cannot afford to have its own people talking in opposition’s voice.

Three years is relatively a very short time in politics, in fact too short a time for a messianic figure to thoroughly lose his sheen. On October 4, 2017,a speech to company secretaries virtually morphed into an attack on his critics and during the course of which Modi compared his critics to the pessimistic Shalya but altogether missed the moral of the story, “Always listen to your critics”

It was way back in October, 2015 when Arun Shourie had attacked party’s lack of original thinking when he pointed out the absence of viable road map in order to become a worthy successor of Congress. He was bang on as no less than 16 schemes of Modi Govt were only rip offs from the earlier UPA’s schemes and were repackaged and renamed projects.

Image result for narendra modi Intensified Mission Indradhanush

As Modi enters in the final stretch of his first term as Prime Minister, he has been reduced to someone who renames and reframes these same repackaged schemes with a few coats of irony. So, the Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana is now Saubhagya.Mission Indradhanush which was first launched on December 25, 2014,to immunize children against preventable diseases but on October 8,2017 it was relaunched as Intensified Mission Indradhanush.

In tandem with Sinha, Subramanian Swamy also raised waves in September this year which resulted in giving a huge fillip to the opposition’s cause. He severely lambasted the Finance minister Jaitley and said that the economy was in a tailspin and if not corrected, would lead to a major depression.

In June, 2017, almost a month before the dramatic midnight rollout of GST was to take place, Swamy warned that the country is least prepared for it and suggested that 2019 would be a better target date. He further said that if GST is implemented as planned on July 1, “It could become our Waterloo”. Many frontline analysts and economists who echoed his views were conveniently brushed aside as cynics.

Image result for yashwant sinha modi

Now in a short span of 40 months the charismatic, confident and the capable knight in the shining armour of May 26,2014 has been reduced to a petulant, fact challenged, constantly sulking Don Quixote tilting at the windmills in his own mind. The much in demand statesman has made himself to be a sulky, embattled politician, who is perennially in a campaign mode and needlessly

litigating an electoral battle he won convincingly three and a half years ago. Modi has suddenly turned into a panicky man who sees conspirators virtually everywhere.

There was once a messiah whose rise to the pinnacle of power in the largest democracy was greeted by adoring crowd in Modi masks in hope of their proverbial “Achhe Din”. Now all that is left of that euphoria and the national outpouring of hope is the dusty fibre masks, most certainly made in China.


DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.



Bank with Amit Shah as a director collected highest amount of banned notes among DCCBs: RTI reply

The Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank (ADCB) secured deposits of Rs 745.59 crore of the spiked notes — in just five days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the demonetisation announcement. All the district cooperative banks were banned from accepting deposits of the banned currency notes from the public after November 14, 2016, — five days after demonetisation — on fears that black money would be laundered through this route.



Amit Shah BJP

Mumbai, June 21 (IANS) A district cooperative bank, which has Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah as a director, netted the highest deposits among such banks of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes that were abruptly demonetised on November 8, 2016, according to RTI replies received by a Mumbai activist.

The Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank (ADCB) secured deposits of Rs 745.59 crore of the spiked notes — in just five days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the demonetisation announcement. All the district cooperative banks were banned from accepting deposits of the banned currency notes from the public after November 14, 2016, — five days after demonetisation — on fears that black money would be laundered through this route.

According to the bank’s website, Shah continues to be a director with the bank and has been in that position for several years. He was also the bank’s chairman in 2000. ADCB’s total deposits on March 31, 2017, were Rs 5,050 crore and its net profit for 2016-17 was Rs 14.31 crore.

Right behind ADCB, is the Rajkot District Cooperative Bank, whose chairman Jayeshbhai Vitthalbhai Radadiya is a cabinet minister in Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani’s government. It got deposits of old currencies worth Rs 693.19 crore.

Interestingly, Rajkot is the hub of Gujarat BJP politics — Prime Minister Modi was first elected from there as a legislator in 2001.

Incidentally, the figures of Ahmedabad-Rajkot DCCBs are much higher than the apex Gujarat State Cooperative Bank Ltd, which got deposits of a mere Rs 1.11 crore.

“The amount of deposits made in the State Cooperative Banks (SCBs) and District Central Cooperative Banks (DCCBs) — revealed under RTI for first time since demonetisation — are astounding,” Manoranjan S. Roy, the RTI activist who made the effort to get the information, told IANS.

The RTI information was given by the Chief General Manager and Appellate Authority, S. Saravanavel, of the National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (NABARD).

It has also come to light, through the RTI queries, that only seven public sector banks (PSBs), 32 SCBs, 370 DCCBs, and a little over three-dozen post offices across India collected Rs 7.91 lakh crore — more than half (52 per cent) of the total amount of old currencies of Rs 15.28 lakh crore deposited with the RBI.

The break-up of Rs 7.91 lakh crore mentioned in the RTI replies shows that the value of spiked notes deposited with the RBI by the seven PSBs was Rs 7.57 lakh crore, the 32 SCBs gave in Rs 6,407 crore and the 370 DCCBs brought in Rs 22,271 crore. Old notes deposited by 39 post offices were worth Rs 4,408 crore.

Information from all the SCBs and DCCBs across India were received through the replies. The seven PSBs account for around 29,000 branches — out of the over 92,500 branches of the 21 PSBs in India — according to data published by the RBI. The 14 other PSBs declined to gave information on one ground or the other. There are around 155,000 post offices in the country.

Fifteen months after demonetisation, the government had announced that Rs 15.28 Lakh crore — or 99 per cent of the cancelled notes worth Rs 15.44 lakh crore — were returned to the RBI treasury.

Roy said it was a serious matter if only a few banks and their branches and a handful post offices, apart from SCBs and DCCBs, accounted for over half the old currency notes.

“At this rate, serious questions arise about the actual collection of spiked notes through the remaining 14 mega-PSBs, besides rural-urban banks, private banks (like ICICI, HDFC and others), local cooperatives, Jankalyan Banks and credit cooperatives and other entities with banking licenses, the figures of which are not made available under RTI,” he said.

The SCBs were allowed to exchange or take deposits of banned notes till December 30, 2016 — for a little over seven weeks, in contrast to district cooperative banks which were allowed only five days of transactions.

The prime minister during his demonetisation speech had said that Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes could be deposited in bank or post office accounts from November 10 till close of banking hours on December 30, 2016, without any limit. “Thus you will have 50 days to deposit your notes and there is no need for panic,” he had said.

After an uproar, mostly from BJP allies, the government also opened a small window in mid-2017, during the presidential elections, allowing the 32 SCBs and 370 DCCBs — largely owned, managed or controlled by politicians of various parties — to deposit their stocks of the spiked notes with the RBI. The move was strongly criticised by the Congress and other major Opposition parties.

Among the SCBs, the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank topped the list of depositors with Rs 1,128 crore from 55 branches and the smallest share of Rs 5.94 crore came from just five branches of Jharkhand State Cooperative Bank, according to the replies.

Surprisingly, the Andaman & Nicobar State Cooperative Bank’s share (from 29 branches) was Rs 85.76 crore.

While Maharashtra has a population of 12 crore, Jharkhand’s population is 3.6 crore. Andaman & Nicobar Islands have less than four lakh residents.

The poorest of all the cooperative banks in the country is Banki Central Cooperative Bank Ltd in Odisha, which admitted to receiving zero deposits of the spiked currency.

Of the total 21 PSBs, State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Bank of Maharashtra, Central Bank of India, Dena Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Punjab & Sindh Bank, Vijaya Bank, Andhra Bank, Syndicate Bank, UCO Bank, United Bank of India, Oriental Bank of Commerce, and IDBI Bank (14 banks) — with over 63,500 branches amongst them — did not give any information on deposits.

Continue Reading


Can yoga make the cut for Olympics?

It’s only natural that the voices for and against will get louder and more competitive. Being the unofficial benefactor of yoga, India is expected to take an unequivocal call.




On a day when yoga is having to jostle for mind space with a hugely popular sporting event like the FIFA World Cup, many fans of the ancient regimen are seriously dreaming up for a world cup of their own. Are they getting too carried away by the euphoria around of the 4th International Day of Yoga? Or is it a case of trusting yoga’s extreme versatility to adapt itself to the demands of the time?

Will there ever be a time when a Yoga World Cup driving up a mania like the FIFA World Cup does? As yoga gets mainstreamed big time in the last four years, a debate on whether it can become a competitive sport has actually begun. The jury is still out with both sides of the divide putting out equally tenable and credible arguments.

It’s only natural that the voices for and against will get louder and more competitive. Being the unofficial benefactor of yoga, India is expected to take an unequivocal call.

Unfortunately, we have seen quite a flip-flop on this. After deciding to treat yoga as a sport in 2015, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) reversed the decision in the following year.

Giving in to the Puritans who frowned at any dilution of its spiritual core, it concluded yoga has quite a many subtle elements in which competitions are not possible. Many watchers see a not-so-yogic hand in this change of heart. Some of them ascribe to it a compromised arraignment to end a tug of war between MYAS and the Ministry of AYUSH over the control of yoga.

Surely, yoga isn’t just about asanas or body postures. According to the eight-limb (Ashtanga) paradigm of yoga, the other dimensions include such subtle things as adherence to social and personal ethics, control of breathing and senses and one-pointedness and meditation. It will be next to impossible to draw up a championship format for these realms of activities. Yet, sport-yoga is not a dead dream.

While it wouldn’t be possible to adapt the whole philosophy of yoga into competitive sports, we shouldn’t underestimate yoga’s flexibility to adapt itself. From being an ancient spiritual pursuit for those seeking enlightenment and becoming a hippies’ fad, yoga has shown remarkable flexibility to become the most-chanted lifestyle mantra of today.

The point is that some kind of competitive sports based on one or more limbs of yoga is a distinct possibility. Though it may not live up to the loftier promises, yoga-based games and sports will do no harm. Instead, they will do a lot of good to the cause of yoga promotion. Yoga as a sport will comfort quite a many who see a baggage of faith and welcome the greatest number of people.

Though some fear a dilution, not all yoga protagonists are against such an innovation. Big names have openly spoken about taking yoga to the Olympics. Going by the rising global craze for yoga, mats are going to roll sooner in the sporting arena. The real challenge will be in drawing up a competitive format that not only conforms to the definition of modern sports, but also doesn’t dilute the core. I don’t see any difficulties in making yoga “amusing”, “leisurely”, or “entertaining”. When martial arts and gymnastics can qualify and even make it to Olympics, asanas, the most primed candidate for being turned into competitive sports, can definitely make the cut!

Traditional yogis who swear by the spiritual and philosophical lineage of yoga need not worry. The tradition is on their side. The eight limbs of yoga are so interconnected that even if one does asanas, and that too as an exercise or a game, the practitioner is most likely to experience other dimensions like meditation, one-pointedness and bliss.

Even asanas, the most gross form of yoga, hold out endless promises. Maharishi’s Patanjali Yoga Sutra envisions asanas as a means of attaining what’s beyond the obvious. That means that adapting them into competitive sports isn’t likely to rob them of the power to unveil the Infinity.

Is it time then to tick a Perfect 10 on that gravity-defying Sirsasana?

(A former journalist, M. Rajaque Rahman is a full-time volunteer of the Art of Living. He can be reached at [email protected])

Continue Reading


A view through an infrastructure investor’s prism

Active policies to address the three issues revolving around the value, scarcity and contract enforcement that investors utilise to determine both investments and the required rate of return can help make policies useful.



investment returns

Perspectives on infrastructure assets vary widely: While investors focus on investment returns, policymakers analyse both financial and socio-economic benefits. It would be worthwhile for policymakers to view things through an investor’s investment prism because an understanding of the critical factors that shape investment decisions will help frame better policies to expedite Indian infrastructure creation.

The “raw value” of an infrastructure project is what a potential investor evaluates first. For example, in a renewable energy wind project, the wind potential of a site is what an investor evaluates. For a transportation project, the investor evaluates the potential passenger traffic. This so-called “raw value” is a huge determinant of the financial viability of a project.

Segregating infrastructure sectors and projects by such “raw value” can help government and industry alike to work towards directing infrastructure capital more optimally. Additionally, such analysis helps in framing policies for those sectors that deliver very substantial social and economic value but are not financially viable on their own.

A robust framework that helps determine “raw value” can aid all the stakeholders, especially the government, to work with investors and multilateral trade agencies to find financing solutions for such socially and economically relevant projects. Eventually, India needs to create an information repository of sorts that provides the global investor base information and access by asset type and investment potential.

Once the “raw value” of a project is determined, an investor tries to gauge what is called its “scarcity value”. Take, for instance, transportation projects. If the transportation potential of connecting City “A” with City “B” is attractive, then is building an airport to connect the two cities the most optimal infrastructure asset? That is, in spite of the traffic potential, is an airport a “scarce” enough asset to deliver attractive returns?

The investor will gauge whether the airport is likely to face competition from a competing train network or a highway. Being cognizant of the long-dated nature of infrastructure assets is important. Hence investors will have to gauge the “scarcity value” of the asset to determine the attractiveness of the asset over the long investment horizon and, therefore, eventually decide on their willingness to invest in the asset.

It is essential for the government to find a balance between allowing investors to make returns commensurate with the risk taken and allowing the public to have access to a well-priced and high-quality infrastructure asset. The twin objectives of consistency and transparency in policy are crucial in this regard.

The government’s ability to formulate and communicate the strategy effectively regarding not just sectors but individual assets is vital. To indeed expedite infrastructure creation, granular policy across industries will be needed, more so for much-needed greenfield infrastructure projects.

Apart from “raw value” and “scarcity value”, an investor considers a third factor: The quality of the underlying contracts signed for the asset. Investors look for high-quality counter-parties with whom to sign contracts. More importantly, the government’s ability to deliver a robust legal system for contract-enforcement, as also a more efficient system for conflict-resolution, will attract more significant investments.

Lowering the risk perception for Indian infrastructure assets is essential not merely to attract more investments but also to attract investments at lower financing costs. Reducing the cost of capital is going to be a significant driver of infrastructure projects through their improved financial viability.

Another area that merits attention is the possibility of the government working even more closely with Export Credit Agencies of various countries to offer foreign exchange hedges, while “importing infrastructure investments”. Solutions that not only reduce the legal risk in investments but also partially eliminate the foreign exchange risk can help boost investments significantly.

Active policies to address the three issues revolving around the value, scarcity and contract enforcement that investors utilise to determine both investments and the required rate of return can help make policies useful.

Policy frameworks can potentially be refined using these three key factors that shape investment decisions. Most importantly, one does not need to improve concurrently on all three fronts for all infrastructure sectors; incremental improvement on one element can provide a significant fillip to infrastructure investments.

(Taponeel Mukherjee heads Development Tracks, an infrastructure advisory firm. Views expressed are personal. He can contacted at [email protected] or @Taponeel on Twitter)

Continue Reading

Most Popular