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Why Modi doesn’t feature in a list of India’s reformist prime ministers

Despite big ideas, Modi comes off poorly as a reformer, because his bureaucrats lack the motivation to push reforms and are beginning to enjoy unbridled power.

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Three questions: First, is Narendra Modi an economic reformer? Second, where would he rank in the list of India’s reformists: P.V. Narasimha Rao, Dr Manmohan Singh, Atal Bihari Vajpayee? And third, how successful is he in implementing his reformist ideas?

If the answer to the first question is yes, what does he have to show for as he begins his seventh year?

A lot has been announced and welcomed by those like us waiting for reforms to resume after a 10-year drought since UPA-2 began its slow suicide in 2010. Railways, agriculture, banking, manufacturing, labour laws, power sector, civil aviation, FDI in new sectors, PSUs, coal, mining, taxation — the list is impressive. But, as a Class 1 child would do in her arithmetic, draw a line under all these, and the answer will be pretty much zero.

Which brings us, sort of naturally, to the third question. Is Narendra Modi capable of implementing his ideas, especially the big, reformist ideas? You would have to be nuts, or a Naxal, urban or rural, if you said no. Think demonetisation and nationwide lockdown at four-hour notice from 8 pm. That’s decisive.

Why has he, then, been struggling so badly in converting his economic reform ideas into reality? It isn’t just coronavirus. The virus came three months back. India’s economy was in a steep fall for almost two years. There is indeed a factor of ‘the day after’ corona worsening our economic crisis. But there was a severe enough crisis even ‘the day before’. We can begin with his first big reform, the Land Acquisition Bill.

Also read:Don’t absolve Modi by saying he doesn’t have the right team to bring in economic reforms

Granted, you can blame that on politics or Rahul Gandhi. But here is a quick listing from the top of my mind, and with the help of ThePrint’s Senior Associate Editor for economy, Remya Nair. You can add more as we go along. There was a committee to overhaul direct taxes under then-CBDT member Akhilesh Ranjan, which submitted its report in 2019. It’s still not in public, and the file has been sent into, what late George Fernandes had said about India’s defence purchases, “bureaucratic orbit”, circling idly with no destination.

After demonetisation, the prime minister announced his Garib Kalyan Yojana, which was a kind of tax amnesty scheme, hoping to collect big bucks like P. Chidambaram’s VDIS (Voluntary Disclosure of Income Scheme) of 1997. Zilch came. The tax rate was so confiscatory and punitive, it was no amnesty. Rules drafted were so complex, that you’d be high on something illegal to make a disclosure under these.

There is a pattern to the Modi government’s economic decisions: The follow-up, the design of the plan, implementation takes too long. And by the time it is done, it is such a jumble of bureaucratese that it looks more like an overcooked spaghetti bowl. What is the status of the PSU bank reform, for example? Where is the promised bank holding company? Longer tenure for PSU bank chiefs, accountability of their boards? All good ideas idling in George Fernandes’s deadly orbit.

Power sector reform is a disaster twice over. A third attempt has been announced now. Let’s watch.

The same for coal. So many times has the coal and mining reform, and private sale, been announced in six years, that even Google is confused and searching for clarity. It has been announced yet again, in the latest, pandemic-package.

The inability of the Modi government to sell even one PSU in six years, except to itself in the manner of a Milo Minderbinder in Catch-22, does zero justice to a prime minister with such enormous power. Not even Air India. This year, there is an obvious challenge. But in his first tenure, his teams came up with a sale document so complicated, it might have needed the intellect of a Lord Shiva to unravel it. And then, the courage and strength of a Lord Hanuman to buy the company, and risk spending your life with CBI, CBDT, CVC and the courts, and jail. These four dreaded ‘Cs’ have only become stronger, rather than being reformed in these six years.

Also read: PM, CM, DM: India’s 3 big power centres have been exposed by one disaster

The answer to our first two questions, therefore, lies in the third. Modi comes off poorly, and doesn’t feature anywhere in the rankings of our reformist leaders yet, because his implementation of his own ideas has been poor. So, A+ for ideas, C- for implementation, and maybe B- on the rankings, essentially because of the bankruptcy code, some PSU bank mergers and GST.

Take your mind back to 1991. The political direction for reforms came from Rao’s minority government, but it had a stellar team of civil servants. And this continued until about 2009, after which Congress’s internal politics killed even the thought of reform. List the sherpas who hauled the reform up.

There were in three categories: Bureaucrat-economists (N.K. Singh, Y.V. Reddy, D. Subbarao, K.P. Geethakrishnan, all IAS), economist-bureaucrats (Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Bimal Jalan, Vijay Kelkar, Rakesh Mohan), and some pucca bureaucrat-bureaucrats who knew how to get things done. Think about A.N. Verma (principal secretary in Rao’s PMO), Naresh Chandra, who held every job or headed every reform committee that mattered (including defence) for those two decades, and Abid Hussain. And tough truth to tell, a memo written under their watch would never need one amendment for clarity or contradiction, forget multiple ones, as is now the norm in the lockdown period.

There are three ways in which they were different. One, the career bureaucrats among them had their moment under the ‘mai-baapsarkar sun. When the state had enormous power. Having enjoyed it, they were happy to give it up now. Which is essentially what reform, or the spirit of ‘less government, more governance’, is.

Two, having lived most of their lives through pre-reform years, they had experienced the shortages and miseries that the licence-quota raj brought. Listen to Montek and N.K. Singh recount their stories of the humiliation when a hotel in New York wouldn’t check them in, full secretaries, because Indian credit cards were not valid overseas. Or realising at a big multilateral negotiation in a Geneva hotel, that you could tell whether an Indian had been in a lift by sniffing petrol. Because India still did not allow the import of modern dry-cleaning equipment. A memory bank of such experiences brought the impetus for reform.

And third, combining this IAS group with lifelong economist-bureaucrats brought in intellectual weight. Finally, each one of these was allowed a long tenure in economic ministries. The career of N.K. Singh from joint secretary (commerce) onwards (even now he heads the 15th Finance Commission) is an example. Today, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das is the only durable economic bureaucrat.

The current civil service leadership consists mostly of secretaries of the 1985-87 batches. They are children of reform, or let us say, officers of the ‘colour TV era’ (beginning 1982). They don’t know what we were denied pre-reform, but also never knew the powers their predecessors gave away. They don’t have to be on a three-year waitlist for a Premier Padmini, even on IAS quota. They lack that motivation for reform, and they are only now learning to enjoy old powers, with the lockdown.

Think of the power of a civil servant ordering, hey, you 138 crore demented children, you will be on curfew between 9 pm and 5 am because didn’t mummy say it’s dangerous in the dark? And listen again, if you live in the green zone, you can eat tutti frutti ice cream. In orange, maybe strawberry. In the red zone, only vanilla, and that too if I can have it delivered to you. Then say thank you, jaan hai, toh jahaan hai. And reform, you want me to give up these powers? I haven’t even learnt to write a clean memo yet.

Also read: Situation normal, but all locked up: How Modi govt has risked incapacitating India


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  1. What is understood by ‘reformist’ ?

    Reform can be positive or negative. By international standards, reforms that improve living standards, provide jobs, education and healthcare are considered worthy That is not really in the agenda of the BJP govt. – even though it is in their rhetoric.

    BJP’s reform is ‘cultural nationalism’ : make India Hindu. So their reforms are to assert Hindu supremacy : (1) re-write history, even fabricate (2) put Muslims into a non-citizen class (3) restore primacy of caste Hindus, and keep low castes and minorities as servants for the swarnas and (4) promote mythology and pseudo science. For this, their reforms are Article 370, CAA-NRC, create conditions for removing reservation, change school syllabus to inculcate the feeling that Hindus are owners of the country, etc.

    In a boastful speech that Modi gave to suited and booted Hindus in a 5 star hotel, he cited these reform targets, thumped his left palm on the table, and said ‘Done’. Article 370, done; triple talaq, done… He had a string of self congratulatory ‘Dones’. The suited and booted Hindus applauded.

    Due to the wickedness inherent in the RSS-BJP’s reform agenda, they cover up with modern rhetoric about 5 trillion economy etc. However, they themselves say all those claims like creating 2 crore jobs , doubling farm incomee etc. are only jumlas.

    SG is using international understanding of reforms and finds Modi does not make the list. However, that does not mean Modi does not have a reformist agenda. Modi’s reformist agenda is based on Hindutva, or as Nehru said, fascism, Hindu style. SG should question that agenda. SG is wrong to include Vajpayee in the list of conventional reformists. Vajpayee was also a Sanghi, but he inherited a bureaucracy that was still not infiltrated with Sanghis, and he could not carry out the infiltration because he did not have a majority. He was no different than Modi. Nowadays, it is fashionable to recall Vajpayee and even Advani as moderate Hindus. They weren’t.

    Based on the RSS’s concept of reform, the BJP is reformist ! Due to Indian inefficiency, their reform projects, which are fascist and wicked in intent, have floundered ! Had Indians the maniacal efficiency of the Germans, the result would have been Hitlerian.

    Indians are slow with good reforms. But maybe their inefficiency gives some protection from their own wickedness !! Indian inefficiency is our survival asset.

  2. Subin, excellent and correct points.

    You have pointed out the poor planning for implementation – for example the calibrating the ATM machines for the new notes; or designing the new note to fit the existing machines.

    Likewise, the mess created when NRC was tried in Assam.

    However, the problem is not just on the implementation : it is the so-called ‘bold reform ideas’. The problem is they all stem from an inherent wickedness taught by the RSS. That is the root of the problem. Wickedness was behind demonetisation – the purpose was to get the upper hand in the UP elections by having control of the money supply, and starving the opposition of funds. For that, destroying the the economy is not an issue for them. Likewise, CAA-NRC when taken together aimed to declare say 30% of Muslims as non-citizens and put them in concentration camps – that is an RSS driven desire. India was heading for civil war, Covid saved India – temporarily.

    Wickedness is the driving force. In some ways, it is a grace that Indian inefficiency gets in the way of implementation ! Otherwise, if we had the same wickedness of the Nazis and German efficiency, it would be even more catasthropic !

    Indian inefficiency for implementation of a good reform idea is a problem; the same Indian inefficiency may save India when the reform idea is wicked !!

  3. SG is mostly right.

    But then why did a good section of the Hindus imagine Modi would bring economic reforms ? His slogan of 2014 ‘Minimum government, maximum governance’ was just acting. They were words invented by his American Hindu campaign managers, which Modi neither understood nor believed. The Hindu middle class thought it was a new dawn, which when added to the communal diatribes against Muslims and the resentment created against 70 years of Congress rule, filled them with great hope and made them delusional.

    I do not agree that Vajpayee was a reformer. He was brought up also in the RSS school of fascism, it is just that he did not have a majority, he had to play the moderate. At his time, M.M. Joshi tried to bring in Hinduised education, Sushma Swaraj told govt. employees to answer the phone with ‘Jai Shri Ram’, and Modi’s butchery of 2002 was done under Vajpayee’s watch.

    Modi’s upbringing was in the RSS shakha, and ‘cultural reform’ to make India a Brahmanic Hindu state is the only goal. Now they have a majority, that is what Modi is doing : rewriting history books, brainwashing children by doctoring school books, building Patel statue, renaming roads with Muslim roots with Hindu names, promoting yoga, psuedo science etc. Subjugating minorities is the core part of the RSS’s reform doctrine, which Golwalkar derived from Hitler. Modi has rock star status with Hindu NRIs who have best of both worlds : live abroad and believe Modi is making Hindus a superpower.

    India’s problem is the RSS. It has become a state within a state. It dictates all policy. Appointments are made by their diktat, not by merit. Raghuram Rajan and other educated people cannot work with them. They do not want intellectuals (they call them urban Naxals). It is like Goebbels said Germany did not need Jewish intellectualism. They want storm troopers like Anurag Thakur, Tejasw, Sadhvii etc.. Such people occupy all positions.

    India has no way out. The die is cast. The Hindus knowingly or unknowingly opted for fascism. The consequences have to follow. In the case of Nazi Germany, their madman created a war machine and jobs, and invaded countries in pursuit of lebensraum and a Greater Germany, and killed the minority. But that was not sustainable, the Soviet Union, the UK and the USA finished him and Germany. Here, Modi has been brought up with the notion of Akhand Bharat, but he cannot go for invasion of neighbours as we are in a nuclear age. But he can go for extermination of minorities. However, that will lead to civil war. This programme is not sustainable and it is not conducive to a stable growing economy. Modi has taken a growing economy and wrecked it, but he has continued with the RSS programme of ‘Hindu cultural nationalism’. He has Hindu support. But given the economic decline, how long will the second be sustainable ?

    Hitler and Goebbels also asked Germans to continue making sacrifices for the German nation, while defeat was written. When the Soviet forces were 1 km from Berlin, they committed suicide, and the remaining deluded Germans had to surrender.

    The biggest mistake Congress has made is to allow the RSS the freedom to operate, and become a state within a state. There is no way India can recover from the damage the RSS has inflicted and will continue to inflict. The economy cannot be retrieved, and no one can dislodge the RSS hold. Many Hindus will continue with delusions and stoutly defend Modi. So the logical consequence has to follow : economic collapse, civil war and disintegration. That has always been the outcome of fascism everywhere, and India will be no exception. I would request Hindus to engage their brain and look at the past record of fascism.



  5. Shekhar Gupta is known to create false equivalence to an extent that it jeopardises national security interests. For example, Shekhar Gupta mentioned that Indian Army is going to coup as it is tapping on indian politicians. The reality remained that Indian military intelligence unit discovered links of indian politicians with Pakistan’s ISI. And thus, the term ‘presstitutes’ was coined by then General.

    Shekhar Gupta agains does one more hit job; targetting bureaucrats and creating a false equivalence of license-quota-raj which arised due to covid. He conveniently ignores reforms by Commerce and Finance ministry under covid times which enables business to reduce bureaucracy. Now, the less informed readers get flown in the emotions, but Shekhar Gupta, we all know what you are. A typical presstitute for hire. Other media houses work in the same way. In the age of internet, the revenue are dwindling because they didn’t re-invent their businessm model. The new business model is do a hitjob for hire. This is also well explained in the book called ‘NDTV Frauds’.

    If you can get an itinerary of Shekhar Gupta to Netherlands and get his postbox, you will know his buyers.

    • The Editor: You might call yourself an Editor but you come off as a slightly better educated version of an itchy-groined Neanderthal from the BJP IT Cell or the Bajrang Dal.

      Your post is devoid of substance, argument or plain facts – although you make up for that by abuse and character defamation of Mr Shekhar Gupta. Whilst you bray like a demented donkey when it comes to hurling abuse at Mr Shekahar Gupta here, you fail spectacularly in marshalling facts and constructing a counter-argument to his thesis.

      You describe Mr Shekar Gupta as a “presstitute”, a word that is perhaps Hindutva’s gift to the English language. But tell me Editor saab: Doesn’t that term not apply to Arnab Goswami? And to other Modi friendly journalists like Sudhir Chaudhary, Rajat Sharma, Smita Prakash etc. Or is the adjective “presstitute” reserved only for those journalists that do not sing praises to the 56 inch chested Gujarati Messiah at whose altar you worship?

      I do not agree with Mr Gupta’s ranking of PM Modi’s performance:
      “ A+ for ideas, C- for implementation, and maybe B- on the rankings, essentially because of the bankruptcy code, some PSU bank mergers and GST”

      But I think that I can counter-argue without resorting to the techniques that you picked up from the likes of Babu Bajrangi, Tejaswi Surya, Adityanath or Kapil Mishra. One can disagree without being disagreeable Editor saab.

  6. ***Congress = We have just one family that loots.
    ***BJP = We are one large family of looters.
    ***O Gullible People of India, judge for yourself which kind of looter you would prefer, or perhaps you could do very well without a ‘Government’. Gone are those days when a POLITICIAN could be trusted. Perhaps in future it would be better to live without the presence of a Government !

  7. An opinion of a journalist whose most consequential decision is what to publish or what to write? Not what to do and deliver? Behavioral economics suggests that if a person is not extreme, they don’t get noticed. In today’s dynamic world opinions are losing meaning. The rant is without data. And interpretation.

  8. Beautifully illustrated. First of all let’s not get into this BJP vs. Cong vs. Others ding dong. Opposition’s role is to continuously rant about this and that and government’s role is accountability. I’m a citizen of this great nation and i want my country to work on implementation instead rhetorics. This chest thumping, honesty, paper planning, endless yogna making for poor etc. would yield nothing if everything comes back to zero.

    Typically, especially from the majority a common answer is this “Cong has ruled for more than 50 years, so give them at least 25” and in doing so, what will happen in between. Reforms would / are being made in the name of Desi, Make in India, Local catchy liners but when it comes to implementation ; always we are seeing one lame excuse and shift blaming. The latest life saver for the govt. is Covid.

    So let’s say the writer is saying’ Enough of the reforms, but we need implementation. So, who’s listening. And if we are not, there are many many articles that come and go but nothing happens. Or may be something might happen one day when a situation like “George Floyd” might engulf this great nation to bring about the CHANGE.

    • ‘The latest life saver for the govt. is Covid.’

      In fact, Covid is a life saver for India. Before it, India was heading for civil war over CAA-NRC and concentration camp.

      That is put off temporarily. The designer of CAA-NRC is in hospital with Covid.

  9. The funny thing is all these Charasis lament that BJP came to power the second it must be because they messed with voting machines. Standard nonsense spewed by these liberal Aandus who believe that every Indian but themselves are fools and must be liberated . My suggestion . Liberated the Congress party from the chief Charasi and his mother and, they may be in for a surprise. India was ruled by these Congressis for 60 years and they effed this country. Atleast give the BJP equal chance to do the same.!

    • What a stupid comment! Everybody knows that the BJP messed with voting machines during the elections ( which was also caught on camera). You are probably the only ignorant idiot in the country. Congress looted India for 60 years, so you want BJP to have an equal share of the loot? How unpatriotic! And yet morons like yourself call themselves NATIONALISTS !!! That’s mighty hilarious!

      • A brilliant retort Ms Rinku !

        Bhakths like Mr Babakan subscribe to the flawed idea: “two wrongs make a right”. And exactly as you point out, they rationalise the actions of the BJP as follows: “Congress looted for 60 years, so now it is the BJP’s turn to loot”.

        And worse still , many of the looters from the Congress and other parties, especially those facing corruption or other serious charges simply crossed over and joined the BJP ! Not only do they not get prosecuted as they belong to the ruling – or rather ruining – party, they also get a fresh chance to continue where they left off.

        Regardless of who happens to be in power, all Indian politicians and from all political parties – barring perhaps AAP – are in an unholy alliance with crony capitalists who finance their elections and other activities in return for favours. The “neta – crony capitalist” nexus continues with the BJP, indeed with much larger picking for the crony capitalist, especially if you happen to be a Gujarathi one.

        Not that these facts will matter to members of the Modi cult like Mr Babakan. If Modi says 2+2 = 5, the Babakans of the world will go about beating up people who say it is 4. After which PM Modi will lock them up for sedition !

        Welcome to Lynchistan !

    • Mr Babakan: Well, your post seems to confirm that the damage the Congress inflicted in 60 years was done in 6 short years by the BJP under Modi. Clearly, the Delhi University graduate has put India on the much-ballyhooed bullet train to ruin !

      Thank you Mr Babakan for validating my many posts attesting to the gross incompetence and spectacular mismanagement of the economy by the Modi regime.

      And now, thanks to termite man Amit Shah’s bombastic boast in the Parliament that India would recover Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, Aksai Chin and so on, we now have the Chinese occupying Indian territory in Ladakh. Clearly Corona Virus is not the only thing the Chinese have sent across to India. And in case you were awake in your history classes, you would probably have read about the disastrous 1962 Indo-chinese war and the hiding India received back then.

      Meanwhile, on the 34th Anniversary of Operation Blue Star, some Sikhs wary of Hindutva seem to be restarting their Khalistan project…

      The problem with bhakths like you is that you justify the crimes, yes the crimes of the BJP by pointing out to similar crimes under the Congress. Thus Modi’s Godhra pogroms of 2002 targeting must not be criticised because of Rajiv Gandhi’s 1984 pogroms targeting Sikhs. I guess your ilk will now justify Modi’s débâcle in Ladakh with Nehru’s similar defeats in 1962.

      In any case, isn’t it about time that Indians held whoever happened to be in power accountable for their actions ? Regardless of the party or the person who holds the reins of power? Why this deification of a flawed, authoritarian man who certainly is not the Indian answer to Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew that the middle classes have always wanted? And has not only reversed the economic gains of the past decades but also weakened the brittle glue that holds India together.

      In any case, as things stand today in non-Akhand Bharat, the “Dhokla paradigm” or the “Gujarat Model” of running India has derailed like the bullet train hasn’t it ?

      • ‘Well, your post seems to confirm that the damage the Congress inflicted in 60 years was done in 6 short years by the BJP under Modi.’

        In Modi’s election advertisment in 2014, ‘give me just 60 months, I can do more than Congress in 60 years’.

        After demonetisation, he said give me just 58 days to see its benefits.

  10. Fascists always implement their ideas decisively no matter what. It’s stupid of us to compliment them. It makes you look like a fascist, urban or rural.

    • I fully agree with your wise comments Mr Naveen Rao.

      But the problem is that when voters fall for the propaganda of fascists and vote facsists to run the country, then democracy has no chance.

      Donald Trump, the darling of racist white Americans famously said: “I can stand on Fifth Avenue and shoot someone dead and nothing will happen to me”. And given the extenet to which Republican politicians have obsequiously toed the Trump line, I am pretty sure that they will bend backwards to defend that bigoted charlatan.

      Exactly the same thing is happening in India. Modi can egg on the lynchings of Muslims, wreck the economy, weaken the already weak unity of India, stir religious strife and still, the middle classes will vote for him. Indians want a “benevolent dictator”. And in Modi they have a man who is fast becoming a dictator with neither benevolence nor development to show for it. Therein lies the tragedy of Indian democracy.

  11. Shekhar Gupta is missing schmoozing with the powers that be of yesteryears. Those were glorious times for the Lutyens mafia.
    Alas, Modi has kicked out all the dalals from corridors of power, and therefore Mr Gupta goes into a sulk.

    • Mr/Ms Mandal: When you pontificated:

      “Modi has kicked out all the dalals from corridors of power”

      did you not forget the many crony capitalists who bankroll whoever happens to be in power in Delhi ? And that they are very much alive, kicking and kickbacking?

      After all, the one constant in Indian politics, both at the Centre and in the States is the nexus between the netas, crony capitalists and various criminal outfits who supply muscle power. Thus, bankrupt Anil Ambani with many NPAs to his credit wins the contract for Rafale maintenance. Needless to say, Anil Ambani is yet to demonstrate that he can manufacture even a screw to the exacting tolerances of the aviation industry. And then you have the Adanis.

      Not to forget the brilliant, opaque system of BJP financing called “Electoral Bonds”. And then you have land allotments to gomutra magnate Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali web of companies. And then you have Surat based trader Laljibhai Patel who purchased Modi’s monogrammed suit for a large sum of money and in turn has been rewarded with government land for building his sports club. And then you have the regulatory changes at Telecoms Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) that favour Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Group.

      The list is endless Mr/Ms Mandal. Noteworthy though is the large number of Gujarati dalals who seem to benefit from their proximity to the 56 inch chested Gujarati.

      Bottomline: There is no major difference between the Congress, the BJP or any other political party in India. Netas and Dalas exist in a symbiotic relationship to each other. Alas, that symbiotic relationship also entails a bloodsucking, parasitic relationship that preys and punishes the people. Particularly the poor.

      Not that I expect people like you who suffer from tunnel vision exacerbated by saffron tinted glasses to comprehend that.

  12. “The Modi ” wants to make life easy for individuals, businessmen . But Mr. Modi wants to catch all the Bad Apples in society, Thinking that it is possible to have clean and honest society. The result is a hotch potch of policies. e.g. Encourage manufacturing in India . But create new policies regularly for car manufacturers which makes their business difficult, encourage electric vehicles and reduce market of oil based cars. thereby reducing incentives for new car manufactures. For individuals make electronic process for e filing, but make the ” SAHAJ” IT form more complicated.

  13. The shameless BJP-IT-CELL stooges, whose primary profession is to watch P.0.R.N. and side-by-side tweet about the glory of Modi, are under the impression that their “noble” leader is going to pay them even after he goes out of power. They can display their gimmicks only as long as he carries any credibility. They think nobody knows who they are. They will surely be thrashed once the BJP goes out of power. As it is, the BJP is not only running out of ideas, but also running out of money now. Any reparations they try to undertake is likely to be a failure and will become another debacle in the long line of debacles exhibited over their tenure.

    • Mr/Ms RS: I fully agree with the thrust of your article.

      But it is highly debatable whether the RSS ideology of Hindutva that Modi and his saffron acolytes like Adityanath, Gadkari, Jawadekar and other non-termites have tried to foist upon the nation can be termed as an “agenda of social reform” as you do in your post. RSS espouses ideas like “Akhand Bharath”, the disbanding of secularism and the remodelling of India along the laws of Manu and the putrid, fascist ideas of Golwalkar & Savarkar. Indeed, the RSS tried to thwart many progressive reforms introduced by Nehru such as preventing child marriage and raising the age of marriage, transforming India into a non-secular Hindu Rashtra, prevention of widow re-marriage and so on.

      Social reform is not what the RSS stands for but the creation of some sort of Hindu Caliphate. The RSS stands for regression and a harkening back to a time when in the fantasies of the RSS ideologues, there was just only one religion in Akhand Bharat, viz. Hinduism. And just as the Islamists want to set the clock back to the times of Prophet Mohammad, the RSS wants to set India back to 200 Ad or thereabouts. Indeed, I wouldn’t be surprised if they tried to bring back Sati.

      An “agenda of social reform” is as far away from the RSS ideology of Hindutva as possible.

        • On the contrary, this post identifies India’s problem : the RSS. Modi and his acolytes idea of reform is ‘cultural reform’, that is Hindurva,

      • In fact, in the first BJP govt. of Vajpayee, there was the sati of Roop Kanwar. The VHP called it restoration of a noble Hindu tradition.

    • ‘They will surely be thrashed once the BJP goes out of power.’

      After the Nazis were thrown out of occupied Netherlands, France etc., the collaborators became overnight resistance fighters. I expect Arnob to make that switch.

      However, more seriously, Congress and opposition do not have a plan to clear out our Nazis from India. That is, they should have a plan to dismantle RSS, probe their funding, and ban their marches, drill and hate speeches. They do not even realise that the RSS is India’s core problem. The Allied powers had a plan to weed out collaborators and de-Nazify Germany, which they implemented. Then, Germany and Europe recovered. In the case of India, outside countries cannot do this for us, Indians have to do it themselves.

  14. Very balanced article. But blaming Bureaucrats and of all people Rahul Gandhi for botched land reform? Modi came with RSS agenda of social reform, people took it as economic reform and now that is unravelling

    • I think people were won over by Hindu communalism (you politely called it the RSS agenda for social reform), and did not understand economic reform.

      Communalism is powerful and is easy to sell. They are good at it. People put aside economics for it.

  15. The ultra-blind supporters of Modi have nothing worthwhile to say about these so called “reforms” and have only earned the reputation of being foul-mouthed defenders of a failed dispensation. Their only job is to Glorify MODI !!!

    • Well said Mr Govardhan Das !

      Bhakths are slowly transforming India into a Hindu Pakistan right under our very noses. In Pakistan, you usually get lynched by frenzied mobs if someone alleges that you have “insulted the Prophet”. Somewhat similar things seem to be happening in India – you are simply not allowed to question the decisions taken by Prophet Modi. Questioning Prophet Modi invokes the wrath of the paid hordes from the BJP IT Cell and the many middle-class devotees of the Modi religion. As is so evident even in these columns.

  16. Modi loves to look at the magic mirror and ask, “Mirror Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?”….and when he hears the words Modi! Modi! Modi! again and again and again, his ego is pumped up. Over the last six years the only “reform” we have seen is his pumped up ego.

        • Who the hell was speaking of Rahul Gandhi here ? The only mention of Rahul Gandhi comes in yet another puerile rant from none other than yourself …

    • He puts on his suit and pratcises his theatrical speeches in front of a mirror. His job is only that – how do to get his audience wildly enthusiastic. It centres round Congress, Rahul, Nehru, Muslims, Pak etc. He does pronounce Hindu frustrations, so many Hindus fall in love with him. Like Germans were captivated by Hitler and Goebbels who could articulate German frustrations.

  17. I think Gupta ji has tried to strike a balance between being a modi critique and at the same time soothing modi supporters by placing blame squarely on bureaucrats. He certainly changed his posturing towards modi post 2019 victory as to ensure his financial viability. But, Shekharji also had to ensure that he sound like a liberal left leaning indian intellectual. Gupta ji is trying to be neutral, which I think is welcome, but it should not be tried rather it should be natural. I agree with this article, but Shekharji had made one principle mistake. Its not Modi’s ideas,,,, there are many reforms actually implemented by Modi, but yes economic ones have not given any conclusive outcome so far. So one cant say that Modi is not a good economic reformist, but outcome is not upto the mark. But did reform materialised when Narsimha was PM in tenure, did privatising telecom bore fruit while Atal ji was PM. So we got to wait for multiple economic reforms to prove itself in coming time

  18. why to blame Beaurocrats when a brainless and arrogant PM at the helm ? what are Modis idea? Demonitisation? when somebody told him that through Demonitisation he can get 3 lakh crore to govt kitty ( as per affidavit submitted to SC ) he foolishly introduced the same without any after thought and we are suffering.

    • Mr V.O.Harindranathan: I fully agree with your observations.

      That “somebody” you refer to and who was the original impetus for demonetisation was a quack called Anil Bokil who runs an NGO in Pune called Arthakranti (arthakranti.org). Bokil, who is no economist convinced Modi that removing Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes would stop black money. And true to his ideology, PM Modi rejected the advice of trained, highly respected economists like Dr Raghuram Rajan, Dr Arvind Subramanian etc. and went ahead with this loony scheme virtually bringing the country to a standstill.

      Demonetisation gutted the informal economy where 82% of India’s labour toils. It devastated the farm economy and the livelihoods of many agricultural workers. In a cash based economy like India, most transactions ground to halt. Banks were no more in the business of banking for more than 2 months as they had to collect old notes, disburse new notes, keep ATMs running and so on. And yet, none of the predicted benefits were attained. Most notes were returned and the % of fake notes was negligible.

      Worse still, the Modi government did not understand the difference between stocks and flows. Black money generation is a continuous process and removing the stock of black money at any given point in time does not stop new flows ! Indeed, capital flight to safe havens in the West increased. And within a few weeks, brokers emerged who helped the rich launder black money into white using the Jan Dhan accounts of poor people. Paradoxically, demonetisation was a great enabler of money laundering and whitewashing of black money to white !!

      But the biggest blow from demonetisation was its timing. At a time when oil prices were low, there was demand in the global economy for Indian exports, China had stumbled and India was poised to replace China and even Brazil in many markets, India was busy committing economic harakiri. And the informal sector of the Indian economy is yet to recover from this man-made, nay Modi-made shock.

      No wonder trained experts in many fields refuse to work with the Modi government. Dr Raghuram Rajan, Urjit Patel, Arvind Subramanian and many others have quit. They have been replaced by RSS apparatchiks and yes men. Jai Hind.

      • And as Kejriwal asked on day 1, how does removing Rs 1000 and replacing with 2000 note reduce black money ? It speeds it up after some time !

  19. Why do you targeting Modi Govt, He made lot, for instance opening bank account for all.
    My personal experience was, my mother in law was getting old age pension by cash throw post office, delivered by postman. Every moth he visits her and giving only 970 rupees instead 1000 rupees. So he takes 30 rupees as commission. Think about his commission in that month if 1000 persons gets old age pension in that particular postal area.
    After opening bank accounts, she is getting no less one paisa.
    Like this so many we can lineup. You fuck go and pock your bloody nose somewhere.

    • Its time for you to tak up MANREGA Job…It is the most suitable job for ur understanding about “Reform”

    • So, the govt provides her only Rs. 1000? Is that called a “reform”? Can she buy a gas cylinder with that money? A sensible govt would have done better! It is pity people cannot see through the nefarious misdeeds of the ruling govt.

      • I’m sorry will you give me more regularly? If yes then i will vote for you if not please shut up

        • Are you his mother-in-law? So, you will vote for the person who pays you more money?…then that’s not called Democracy. You are the kind of scum who destroyed this nation. It is obvious that people who question the misdeeds of the ruling govt are forced to “shut up”. You don’t have to ASK us to, every time. Uncouth BJP IT Cell-hooligans like yourself are better off bootlicking your Saffron Master. Keep pandering to their bogus propaganda until you realise that they dont have any more money to pay YOU. You ought to use your common sense before shooting off a brainless comment.

    • Mr K.Dakshinamoorthy: Whilst it is heartening to hear that your mother-in-law is able to get her pension without paying a commission due to her having a bank account, you omit many more details about this anecdote.

      You do mention that the postman visits her and charges Rs 30 to transfer her the pension. But that raises a few questions:
      – Is there a bank within walking distance of your mother-in-law’s house ?
      – What would be the cost of travelling to the bank to get cash? So if she travels say 2 times a month to get cash from the bank, wouldn’t it be greater than Rs 30? After all, most businesses in India, especially small ones still operate on cash don’t they Sir?

      Fact is Mr Dakshinamoorthy, India is a highly unbanked country with very few branches in rural areas. And one of the reasons for the failure of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) is the remoteness of banks from many villages, farming and tribal communities. Additionally, financial literacy is poor, even in the educated classes and cash is king. All this resulted in many PMJDY accounts lying dormant and unutilised. Also noteworthy is the fact that NO private banks are interested in catering to the banking needs of rural India simply due to cost overheads and poor returns.
      Hence, you cannot generalise from your mother-in-law’s experience to the rest of India. Anecdotes are not averages or aggregates.

      As they say:

      “One swallow does not a summer make”

  20. Bureaucrats know that Modi’s actions are to support crony capitalism while trying to appear socialist. They also know that in reality, he practices electoral authoritarianism.

    Bureaucrats in PMO think they have power and there is fear among other bureaucrats. First group takes crazy decision being invincible and other set of bureaucrats keep evaluating thing being anxious. After all, “Procrastination is the lazy cousin of fear. When we feel anxiety around an activity, we postpone it.”

  21. The problem with Modi’s governance is that everything is highly dependent on the bureaucrats, and in fact guided by bureaucrats. Hence, you end up with unfriendly laws and rules, which put off the public and investors. GST is the best example of such law in the throttle grip of bureaucrats. Every change in law complicates the matter and throws up more problems. He has some good ministers like Nitin Gadkari, Piyush Goyal, Ravi Shankar Prasad. But, entire initiative has been snatched away from them and held by the PMO. To put it simply, the political vision is lost in this Government. This centralised governance is a failure and slow to respond to urgencies.

  22. Shekhar sir we consider you as someone who respects good and fair journalism your analysis of blaming the babus for the poor economic reforms implementation is no where near the truth and you had stated that you are giving an alayby to Modi bhakts to say so . Is it not contradictory to applaud the decision making ability of the PM when it comes implementation of demonitization and lockdown and blaming the bereucrats for the poor or nil implementation of economic reforms.its not that we feel happy if you critisise Modi government for no reason but only expect truth

  23. What reformer? RSS wants us to tale back 5000 years. And you say, not a reformer? Come on Guptaji.

  24. Modi… A reformer… WTF… We didn’t vote for him thinking he is a refomer… We gave vote for him to feed our bigotry… Development is just a byproduct for many of us “if at all there is any”

  25. Mr. Gupta, it’s interesting that in your analysis you omit all the PMs of the Gandhi-Nehru family, despite the tenure of their rule. You also conveniently omit that the reforms of the 90s came on the back of the same above PMs that had banned things as basic as the drycleaning equipment in the first place. You give no importance to the catalytic impact of the Soviet bloc changes. And the lack of internet and social media that enabled the emergence of a lead, curated narrative. So either you are journalistically challenged or logically wanting.


    There have been attempts to deflect the blame for the abysmal, yes abysmal record of the Modi government on many domestic fronts, particularly the economy on the calibre of the bureaucracy. In characteristic Donald Trump fashion, when things go wrong, the fault is someone else’s and when things go well, usually schemes done by previous governments, Modi inserts himself in the limelight to get the credit. And when things go down the drain, Modi retreats and the Jaitleys (RIP), Nirmala Sitharamans, Sambit Patras and a host of other flunkeys are paraded forward to justify loony, absurd schemes like during demonetisation. And the diehard Modi bhakths who religiously believe that their Messiah is infallible, will do everything to pin the blame on everybody except the Messiah. “His intentions with demonetisation were good” the bhakth will assert assiduously.

    But what about schemes, statements and policies of the Modi regime that evoke the wrath of foreign powers and endanger India ?

    Take for instance BJP’s avowed anti-Muslim stance, forgetting how that Quisling Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi spins it. Amit Shah calls Muslims termites, Tejaswi Surya insults Arabs and Muslims, Kapil Mishra vows to shoot Muslims, Adityanath endorses the rape of dead Muslim women and so on. Predictably, governments in the Middle East where Indians work and send much needed remittances home take notice and protest. Foreign Minister Jaishankar then has to work the phones to placate enraged governments in the Middle East.

    Can the bureaucracy be blamed for this BJP self-goal ?

    On 5th Aug 2019, Amit Shah spoke in the Parliament about changes in the status of Jammu & Kashmir. Shah mentioned in his speech* that the entire Pakistan Occupied Kashmir and Aksai Chin, the area that China annexed in 1962 would be recovered. That message did not fall on deaf ears in China. Once again, Foreign Minister Jaishankar had to travel to China to clarify matters and mollify the Chinese. Apparently with little luck as later events show.

    And today, China crosses the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and occupies chunks of Indian territory. Clearly, 56 inch chested Gujaratis do not evoke much fear in China.

    Can the bureaucracy be blamed for this BJP self-goal ?

    BOTTOMLINE: PM Modi’s and the BJP’s pandering to and appeasing of Hindutva forces in the country is a deadly game fraught with many dangers. The adityanaths , Amit shahs , Tejaswi Suryas and their ilk might gladden the hearts of bhakths with their anti-Muslim, “akhand Bharath” ideas. But that deadly ideology would affect the territorial integrity of India. And also cause economic ruin.

    *See analysis by former Ambassador K.P. Fabian at ref: bit.ly/2zaysUl

    • Give it a break, mate. You have already earned twice your daily wages from your interjections. You can continue next week.

      • Mr/Ms Mandal: Again, unwanted, unasked for advice that makes me wonder whether you are a gaurakshak who has overdosed on gomutra. In any case, your puerile rants remind me of the aphorism:

        It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt.

  27. It’s not the bureaucracy but the team of illiterate uneducated members that’s running the Union Government of India. Modi is just a dumb, brainless opportunist who knows nothing but delivering speeches in Hindi. His speeches are hailed by the super-dumb super-opportunist section of the Indian populace. This guy (Modi) is the face behind whom the BJP & RSS are pushing their propaganda which they strongly believe will work in the long run. The BJP & RSS are heading for a massive massive failure!

  28. Would you like dinosaur and stone age advisor to advise you? Shekhar Gupta is vintage brain. Family loyalist.

  29. Does the govt do reforms for the sake of media or does it have to do reforms where it is genuinely needed? Having held the broom to clean up corruption in higher echelons in the 1st tenure and bringing a closure to the long pending national security issues, Modi would do well to focus on
    a. Agricultural reforms
    b. Judicial reforms
    c. Higher education reforms
    d. Police reforms

    The factors which led the bureaucracy to reform themselves in 1991 exists in all these areas. Populace is suffering because these four are still in pre-independence era. Not doing reforms in these areas will make Modi look like what Shekar ji has written.

  30. Dare not to speak against mr modi he is reforming a country in a way which is not understeble by the paid and fake journalist like u where are your words during last sixty years of poverty

  31. Dare not to speak against mr modi he is reforming a country in a way which is not understeble by the paid and fake journalist like u where are your words during last sixty years of poverty

  32. Many of the guys that sat in the first bench went on to become bureaucrats. The ones right after them became entrepreneurs creating jobs. Now the first benchers are hindering our progress, for the second benchers and the rest. Bureaucracy is the biggest cruelty on a democratic nation.

  33. The story does have merit, particularly the observations on the quality of present lot of bureaucrats.

  34. PMO concentration of power and his lack of consultation and an environment of fear has been the undoing for the economy so far in Modi’s India. The bureaucrats cannot really be blamed since they represent the political leadership.

  35. the so called most powerful and decisive PM couldn’t get his handpicked bureaucrats to do his biding… Are we read this as a satire? Have guts to blame the big guy for the failures

    • Mr Nishant: Does that matter ? Shouldn’t you be holding the man who now holds the reins of power accountable? Or is it tantamount to blasphemy to question the Delhi University alumnus who rules – yes rules – over the country like an Indian version of Idi Amin?

      In any case, Dr Manmohan Singh left the economy of the country in pretty good shape. Under his astute leadership, India successfully weathered the 2008 global financial crisis that unleashed havoc on most countries. Indeed, an objective analysis will reveal that on 11 out f 15 indicators of economic health, the worst of the MMS period was actually better than the best of the Modi period, see ref: bit.ly/2Uhm38p

      Admittedly, Dr Manmohan Singh was hobbled by the fact that he presided over a wobbly coalition, corruption was more visible and the true reins of power were with the Gandhi family. Those onerous constraints notwithstanding, the Manmohan Singh period did not witness economic mismanagement and economic harakiri of the type the Gujarati Delhi University alumnus has heaped upon the country. Trained, top notch economists called the shots on economic policy, not a quack like Anil Bokil of the Pune based NGO Arthakranti (arthakranti.org) who persuaded the Delhi University graduate to demonetise.

      As the Renaissance Italian political philosopher Niccolo Machaivelli (1469-1527) said:

      “The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him”

      • “The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him”

        The principal ruler is a walrus in Nagpur who wears khakhi knickers and says he can moblise his drill men in 3 days to help the army at the LAC. India’s downfall stems from this walrus only. The rest are his appointees.

        He has appointed a dutiful chai wallah with a forged degree, and a pogrom in his bio data, to be the PM.

        The chai wallah then selects the rest of the cast as per his intellect :

        Smriti Irani, 10th standard pass, was appropriate for Education, to fire IIT Directors and VCs of universities.

        Sushma Swaraj was shadow foreign minister, for visiting countries where Modi did not want to go.

        Amit Shah, fake encounter specialist, is HM in charge of concentration camp programme, but talks about foreign policy and Aksai Chin.

        Health Minister believes in Covid pappad.

        Sitaraman, defence minister for a short period, was employed to make a speech saying Rafale was not a scam. Now she is the clueless Finance Minister who says she does not know about onion prices because she does not eat it, and an Act of God has sabotaged her 5 trillion promise.

        A Yogi who dresses as the next Vivekananda, and who puts doctors who saved children from Japanese encephalitis in gaol for upstaging him in healthcare, hopes to be the next PM.

        You also need a method to estimate the intelligence of the subjects who select such rulers and are proud of them.

  36. Sir are you saying the strongest motivation the senior most bureaucrats across decades in India have is personal – that they feel humiliated abroad, or don’t want to give up powers they’ve suddenly grabbed?

    Where is their training, the responsibility of a civil ‘service’, the gandhi talisman we all read on every textbook?

    Do you really think our civil service is this vain, or you’ve just simplified it for a lazy write-up?


  37. Modi’s bootlickers will promptly defend Modi no matter what. Perhaps the only organisation that continues to function properly is the BJP IT CELL. That is because those foul-mouthed personnel continue to receive a handsome salary, albeit at the cost of the tax payer. Considering the BJP’s numerous misdeeds over the last six years, it is obvious that the ruling govt is forced to defend itself in such a low manner. Congress looted India in 60 years, while the BJP looted double that sum of money within a matter of six years! Now that’s called progress!…isn’t it?

  38. In politics it is often seen that those in the Opposition benches do not see eye to eye with those on the Treasury benches. After all they need to come back to power after the five years term if not before. Audio, visual, print media, have also in a similar way backed either the ruling or the opposition. It is truly difficult to find an unbiased report and this is obvious because the Houses that back the audio, visual, print media choose the personnel who will toe their line … meaning back up the treasury or the Opposition ranks . The article above smacks clearly of a bias towards the Opposition; except for the valuable inputs provided, of the Oppostion role during their tenure in the Treasury. Hence this article on a scale of 10 would fetch just 3 marks

  39. Your views are out of line. You have to exercise caution. There is only one PM before Modi who could be classified as reformist who ended license Raj. All others were Nehru lap dogs after his death.

    • Mr Hari Sud: Rubbish !

      The first steps towards dismantling the licence Raj and opening the Indian economy to the world were taken by then PM Narasimha Rao and implemented by then Finance Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. All subsequent governments, including the Vajpayee led NDA, the 2 incarnations of UPA under Dr Manmohan Singh and even the Modi led BJP have all continued that policy trend. Albeit with reform being predicated and secondary to their own political survival.

      Fact is, regardless of the PM or political party in power, crony capitalists have always influenced governments to give them special exemptions from competition, influenced the extent of foreign ownership in ind, preferential treatment during tendering and so on. No Indian political party – barring possibly AAP – can function without a symbiotic relationship to financiers from the large corporate players. Indeed, the BJP under PM Modi has its preferred set of “dhokla” cronies !!!

      As someone once said:

      “Every 5 years, the masses vote in the government; between the 5 years, the classes tell the government what to do”.

      Applies very much to the 56 inch chested Gujarathi graduate of Delhi University too Mr Hari Sud !!

        • Criticising the political party in power does not necessarily translate to endorsing another party. Get that into your skull will you ?

  40. Dear Reader
    As we all know critics always welcome by Modi Govt. But some people loby who only try to defame particular persanality for their own personal interest, nothing will come out as natural. And this what this article written for. This Darbari and designer journalism never help country, not in India even, if they get opportunity they will do to defame india in front of world

  41. Quite an inane logic trying to blame the bureaucrats. The same set of bureaucrats, if anything more conservative, were present during the times of PV and Vajpayee. Those PMs had competence to get things done. Current situation is akin to नाच ना जाने आँगन टेढ़ा. A great example of how spineless most of media has become

  42. How did Modi win 303 seats? Answer:
    1. Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi
    2. Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana
    3. Swach Bharat Mission
    4. Ujjwala Yojana
    5. Mudra Loans
    Who implemented all these welfare schemes efficiently? The bureaucracy? Or ThePrint?

    • PM Modi won largely due to the vagaries of the first-past-the-post (FPTP) electoral system that India and many former English speaking colonies have inherited from the British colonial masters. Most other democracies in Europe and elsewhere use a proportional system of elections whereby votes polled translates and corresponds to seats won in the legislature. Thus, in the 2019 elections, despite the BJP winning just 37% of the votes, it gets a disproportionately large number of seats in the Parliament.

      For sure, this is the system in vogue in India and the legislative outcomes from the electoral process need to be respected – no questions asked, no ifs and buts. But to claim that people voted for him due to schemes that never reached many, never had the intended benefits and were actually enablers of money laundering and other scams is taking it too far.

      • BJP won because of tampering voting machines….nothing else. No sensible person would have voted for them even after Demonetisation. The Common Man is not that foolish.

        • That can’t be ruled out either Mr Sooraj !

          These days, there has been a paradigm change from the physical booth capture technology of the past to the more sophisticated “ballot capture” technology. Aided and abetted by EVMs !

        • Really Sooraj? , and your yes man below killi is clapping and dancing? Effing idiots both of you.

          • Mr Baba kan: Whilst your ability to abuse is outstanding, your ability to argue is, a different story. And a pathetic one at that.

            Alas Mr Baba Kan, you intellectual impotence cannot be treated by the Viagra you have been prescribed for a different type of impotence !

  43. Article headline is not correct. You can’t blame there are lot of reforms now if states does not ask states. Not a single media question state why they are not adjusting their laws to pass center reforms. Center put things as a nation now if state does not adopt go and question them ask ministers. In a state there is handful of ministries who work and reform remaining enjoy their power. Who can question them. This article is a clear Paid article!!!!!!!!!!

    • Mr Nag: So when things go well, Modi should get the credit, and when things go badly, the states and the bureacracy and everyone but Modi should get the blame? That is the very definition of a blinkered, blind bhakth!

  44. The bureaucrats have fallen in line. The problem is with the edifice of bureaucracy…the methods and the maze of rules…even our Constitution of 1950, unfortunately, has more than 100 amendments!!!!

    Let me illustrate – the maze of rules unattended for decades after Independence. After leaving a salaried job at age 50, like SG, I became an entrepreneur and, unlike SG, founded an MSME in the manufacturing sector. I played by the rules. So I thought, until the concerned “Inspector” did not renew my license. The reason – my MSME did not maintain a register which recorded and certified that all my workers were wearing tight clothing at work every day – a bit of paraphrasing here; but I suppose you get the drift.

    These rules, clauses, notes and notes to notes will take decades to decode and change. I will recommend that India sit down and draft all together new rules for business!!!

    • Col Kl Viswanathan: I am afraid your cure:

      “I will recommend that India sit down and draft all together new rules for business!!!”

      will be worse than the original disease !

      Simply because you will now have the old rules and the new rules and there will nothing more than misrule!

      Take for instance the renaming of houses in the street in Madras where my parents live. All houses now have an “old number”, a “new number” and a “revised number”. Letters and correspondence ought to reflect all 3 to be sure of areaching people in that street. Indeed, almost every house I know of has an “old number” and a “new number” dutifully painted on the door. In addition to the name of the house, usually a short piece of text.

      But even more dangerous with generating new rules is that you may end up paying double baksheesh.

      As Oscar Wilde once said:

      “A bureaucracy expands to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy”

      • Hi Kili,
        Thanks for the the reply.
        New rules means all old rules are OUT, without ambiguity… Once the new rules for a “subject” is introduced no more referring to old rules….That part may not be difficult
        Yes, it will take some action to draft the new rules. But then anything will entail some bold and defining actions…without ACTIONS there can’t be results. Blame games will never take us forward

        • Romba thanks Col KL Viswanathan avargale !

          To re-iterate, my limited point is that new rules in India may not necessarily replace old rules. For instance, during demonetisation, nobody knew what rules applied and the rules depended on whom you asked. And the baksheeshphilia of the average Indian babu is such that he can use your ignorance of the rules and his authority to get you to cough up money. When the bureaucracy is not honest – rules old or new – only cause more nuisance for the average citizen and a business opportunity for the babus.

      • This Colonel is a duplicitous Hindutva type living safely in the US, and he is always making not so subtle excuses for Modi’s failures.

        Just study his last line : ‘Blame games will never take us forward’.

        It means ‘don’t blame Modi’.

        This Colonel wrote that Modi is running very hard to catch up for the lost time of 70 years of Congress rule. In other words, we must give Modi a carte blanche permanently, and not assess his performance, and when he refers to the last 70 years of lost time, he is not playing the Modi blame game !

  45. “…because his bureaucrats lack the motivation to push…”

    I read up to there, and gave up.
    You see, according to Gupta, it is all about the “bureaucrats,” and only about the “bureaucrats.”
    Kaash, if only we had better “bureaucrats”… India would then truly be “saare jahan se accha…”

  46. well the article was pretty balanced. im a fan of bjp and modi but very disappointed by the economic performance, where all the sectors have suffered. remember the hyped up nuclear deal. what is the status of it. does anyone remember about it. same is the case with so many promises. the gdp growth rates have gone for a toss. i was so pumped up when the govt came to power and assumed that we would reach dizzy heights. instead what we have is a cow fight, tu tu mein mein, and complete failure to deliver on economic promises. to blame it on bureaucracy is to say that we have already accepted our loss and thats about it. we cannot do anything more than this. so is that why we have voted bjp–more than 350 seats, to blame on bureaucracy. are you trying to say that the country is beyond redemption in such a case. political will can do wonders shekar ji, our modi sarkar needs to regain its capability to execute rather than the blame game. i would rather put the blame on lack of a good team of ministers under the present govt. there’s practically no administrative experience
    i wish we had a logical interpretation of the article by the ones giving feedback as well, instead of bulldozing anyone opposing modi as anti national, yellow print, etc. , i’m sorry to say that you are doing a disservice to yourselves by being in denial. and please dont blame Covid for the current state. we were in a bad shape much before that.

  47. Narendra Damodardas Modi is the only PM of India who is able to bring reformation in the economy of the country. He had some problem and the problem is not simmilar to the problems faced by his predicessor 40 years ago. He can do the change and will do in time.

      • Mr Killi, let me ask you this? Do you want Rahul Gandhi to be the PM and magically expect every thing to be hunky dory?

        • Mr Babakan: Where have I said that Rahul Gandhi should be made the PM ? Nobody is ir-replaceable in this world and certainly not an incompetent man like PM Modi. And even if you think that he is the best PM that India has had, what do you think will happen if PM Modi suffers from ill-health or gets incapacitated in some way? Do you think that India will come to a standstill? After all, isn’t your mentor and role model Yogi Adityanath waiting in the wings to take over from Modi?

          And then, are things really hunky-dory under the Modi regime as we know today? An economy that was run into the ground thanks to spectacular incompetence, Chinese occupation of Indian territory provoked by termite man Amit Shah’s claim that India will recover Aksai Chin, the spectre of Indian workers in Muslim countries like UAE being sent back due to Islamophobic statement by BJP politicians, lynchings of innocent Muslims, a botched response to the COVID crisis, extravagant vanity projects like the Sardar Patel statue, a bullet train to nowhere, an expensive Central Vista project in Delhi, 2 expensive Boeing 757 aircraft to ferry the PM …

          Meanwhile migrant workers face the prospect of starvation and loss of livelihood. But then, cows and the well-being of India’s most expensive PM are what matter to gaurakshaks like you.

          SHAME ON YOU !

    • I am reading in comments that Modi did reforms but there is nowhere written which reforms. Please enlighten me.

  48. This article is the start of building a classic case taken from corporate boardrooms to cover the leaders and blame the team.

    • Socialism is a refined word, not worthy of the likes of Modi!…….. Modi would be best classified as a TYRANT.

      • Indians are the most undisciplined , self aggrandizing people in the world. Forget Modi , if GOD becomes PM no change will happen. May it is time for the Coronavirus to do its job.

  49. Good one, Shekhar Gupta. While you’ve alluded to the lack of grey cells in the bureaucracy, what about the absolute scarcity of the same in the political leadership of today? Don’t you miss the astuteness of Narsimaha Rao? The calm confidence of Manmohan Singh? The readiness-to-see the other picture of Vajpayee and his ability to rein in the divisive influences of the RSS? All we have today is an electioneering juggernaut where, starting from the prime minister himself, promises that would carry that particular election are made but seldom kept. Their desire to leave a political legacy is just not matched by their intelligence and therefore, gets wasted in projects like erecting the tallest statue, importing technology for a bullet train while the Indian Railways is desperate for measures to improve the safety and comfort of the common passenger. Reforms like the triple talaq bill, CAA, NRC, Removal of Article 370 etc. have been bulldozed through and have caused more grief rather than improve the lives of the citizens. The trolls that a comment like this would attract is symbolic of how low our political discourse has fallen. In times past, it was a pleasure to hear our prime ministers speak, not to mention read tones like “Discovery of India”! If this continues for the next four years, this era would be rated worse than the UPA II!

  50. One is reminded of the old adage: A bad workman always blames his tools.
    Journalists are meant to speak truth to people in power, not try to become apologists for a prime minister who behaves like an autocrat.Why blame bureaucrats when all the government and this PM is interested in is in managing newspaper headlines and Public relations. Look at When a prime minister talks, it is politics and what he actually does is policy.This prime minister is very good at talking and hence his popularity; but pretty poor at policy. It is the job of journos like SG to expose this dichotomy ,but instead tries to offer fig leaves.
    Which bureaucrat is to blame for the twin disasters of demonetisation and GST? Which bureaucrat is to blame for the rocky relations that India is currently having with all its neighbours, even Nepal? Which bureaucrat is to blame for calling a lockdown with less than 4 hours notice in a continent sized country like India without even speaking to state governments who were supposed to implement it? Which bureaucrat is to blame for the Delhi riots which where clearly triggered by the rabble rousing aimed at minorities by the PM and his cronies with an eye on Delhi elections? Which bureaucrat is to blame for a very botched response to the pandemic which has seen cases balloon to 10000/day despite a lockdown which has brought the economy to its knees its knees and caused deaths of hundreds of migrants?
    The truth is this PM is not a democrat.He has surrounded himself with ‘yes’ men and and women who will never tell him the truth.Look at what happened to people of integrity like Raghuram Rajan and Urjit Patel.The closest he resembles of past PMs is Indira Gandhi ,who was also very powerful, but surrounded herself with a kitchen cabinet full of yes men and achieved very little as a consequence..He is not a reformer in any sense of the term and the only thing he is good at is coming up with good, but meaningless slogans and acronyms like make in India and atmanirbhar(like Indira Gandhi’s Garibi hatao, but pretty much useless at everything else.
    Barking dogs seldom bite.People like MMS/PVNRao/ABV were not very good at PR,but had the good sense to know what is good for the country and would surround themselves with people of integrity and calibre. The current occupant of the PM’s office has none of these qualities and will blunder on from one disaster to next till people of India wake up and smell the coffee.

    • An outstanding, apt and hard-hitting comment Mr JaiPrakash ! Arguably, one of the best summaries of how disasters in India are more Modi-made than man-made. These were all preventable and reflect the sheer incompetence of the PM and the Hindutva coterie around him. Not the bureaucracy per se.

      But alas, the middle-classes will continue to support this autocrat even as they lose their purchasing power and their political freedoms. And in any case, most members of the middle-classes – though not all – do not care for the plight of their servants who hail from the poorer parts of India. Thus, the many maids and drivers that dutifully made the life of the middle-class sahib and memsahib a dance on roses have disappeared. But how many from the middle-classes have questioned the wisdom of Modi’s sudden lockdown that essentially was a death warrant to many migrants?

      Arnab Goswami supplies them with enough fuel to stoke their latent anti-Muslim feelings and Amit Shah convinces them Muslims are termites. But then, with a paid media singing praises to this all-knowing, jet-setting Delhi University alumnus despite the economy tanking and Chinese annexation of grabbing Indian territory, nobody in the middle-class sees anything wrong with the Gujarati Messiah.

      Sad but true.

      • You seem terribly frustrated. If only we could dispense with the people — that would be real democracy according to you. Luckily yours is a minority view.

        • Mr/Ms Mandal: Well thanks for the response and the unasked for diagnosis that labels me as being “frustrated”. When I need to see a doctor, I will find one who is not a quack – thanks, bit no thanks though for the free analysis !

          Nowhere in my original post do I say that people should be dispensed off. Indeed, my post argues against the gagging of the press and the putrid phenomenon of paid media that the Modi regime promotes. And a free press that I argue for is indeed one of the facets of democracy isn’t it Mr/Ms Mandal ? And isn’t democracy not a device that has institutional safeguards such as respect and equal rights for majorities as I argue in my post?

          I argue for the rights of the many millions of poor migrant workers condemned to death by slow starvation by the Modi regime. Protecting the poor and vulnerable is also an important feature of democracy.

          I strongly suggest you see a shrink. And in the interim, stop being an amateur shrink – you stink at being a shrink !!

      • Kili, You forget the land China took when MMS was in power. Selective memory! . I was impressed with you initially, but Now I realize that you are hot air.

  51. For the sake of blaming modi……every move of modi is apposed ….wether it is good for us or not…nobody thinks……stop blaming every move of modi….

    • Nobody would care to blame Modi if he had behaved himself….and conducted himself like a responsible Prime Minister….I’m sure you know what that word means. As of now, nobody would entrust even a job of a “chowkidar” to such a person.

  52. Modi is only a man of Jumlas. He never had any inclination for hard work needed for implementation of ideas. There are tens of big ideas rotting in the back-burner from his previous term.
    His style is too predictable now: borrow a good idea from someone else, wrap it up with his own jumla, broadcast it to the world as a great new brain-wave coming out of his supersonic intellect, leave it to his Mantris or babus to follow-up; and then move on to the next Jumla.
    His only motto is to take complete credit of all good that is happening in the country. And he has paid media and trolls sitting in his lap to do just that.

    • very aptly put!…..we are living in sad times….if Modi had any self respect, he should have resigned by now.

      • So that Pappu, your Charasi-in-Chief becomes PM? None of the morons who are commenting here realize that none of the Congress members who actually are qualified will never get a chance to become PM, the Italian wali will make sure of that

  53. The last para made my day! yes, Modi has failed or rather the politically correct thing to say is Modi has been let down 😀

    Policy reform shows the problem of not having confidence in Ministers but putting faith in the Bureaucrats, this has been called out multiple times by the author, no one seems to be paying attention. If a one man show, it is easy to discern what priority take precedence, rest, you can always do tomorrow.

  54. Sir,
    His Gujarat prospered because of Manmohan Singh’s reforms.
    He took credit for that and hence has no idea of what economic reforms are.
    Just an arrogant man got dissillusionedd with power.
    He was best at his Fundamental agenda and he knew that very well and is implementing that meticulously.
    Economics is not his cup of tea.

  55. Shekar’s last paragraph is ridiculous. It is not the fault of the bureaucrats of different hues. Mr Modi does not like to have competent (and hence perhaps questioning) civil servants around him. If only he learns to seek their advice, suggestions and queries , trusts and gives them a better elbow space, most will deliver.

  56. The reviews are more interesting than articles. It reflects how difficult it is to “Once own Idea”,
    Once you buy Idea of either Modi is good or bad, you start identify with idea or thought process. Any different views is seen as attact on once self.

    I think time come we should see Politics from Indian point of view rather than Pro Modi or anti Modi lense.

  57. The titles/headlines interspersed in the article are also clear indicators of the mindset of Shekhar and co. and you can’t expect anything better or delivered with a positive mind, favourable the least.

  58. Shekhar Gupta you’re paid to write against Modi.Anyway it makes no difference to aam junta of what you write in purchased media print. Opposition jobless circulate fake news about the govt.Now defunct congress cannot shake the confidence of us in Modi govt.

  59. When the headlines are predecided the articles can’t have neither positive nor better words. And Shekhar Gupta is perfectly and honestly true to the salt feeded to him by his masters whosoever ………

  60. Mr. Gupta, when will you realize that India is tired of your mostly unwarranted criticism of PM Modi?
    The PM is not perfect, no one can be, after all we are all human. However there is widespread acceptance in India that PM Modi is patriotic, highly competent, is a good leader and above all, is an honest man. He is trying hard to bring the change and development that India needs for rapid progress.
    It is time that you changed your narrative Mr. Gupta.

  61. The answer simply lies in demonetisation , it was a failure and to my thought if it would have been a success it would have been biggest reform after 1991 . but it failed completely nobody questioned it . modi or his team knows how to sell anything to Indians but like the congress bjp is internally not reformed to bring reforms.

    In India the very courage to reform is not there in any party . modi has done only one thing brought the term of development in election campaign.

    • You are only partly right. Many people think demonetisation was a good idea, implemented badly. The advertised idea was to curb black money cash transactions and fight corruption. But how will that happen by replacing 1000 with 2000 notes ?

      The purpose of demonetisation was to exclude the opposition in the UP election. It did not matter if the economy was derailed and jobs were lost. Hindus find it difficult to believe Modi is that cynical.

      The majority did not question it because Hindus had believed Modi was Mr. Honest slaying 70 years of Congress corruption. He asked for 58 days. After 58 days, Hindus continued believing him.

      Hindus can be galvanised to fight for Hindu-Muslim communal issues, but they are largely docile over development and social issues. They accepted how migrant workers were treated; even the migrant workers accepted it.

      It is like Dalits accept their subjugation.

  62. Modi hater Librandus confusion on reformist PMs list is no different from their confusion of secular PMs or performing PMs. Except Modi hater Librandus who else is interested in creating confusion on Secularism, intolerance, performance, nationalism and now governance reforms and making these words meaningless. Modi hater LIBRANDUS believe that they have the absolute right to decide on the reformist PMs list. They also believe that they had the monoply on defining what actions are reform and what actions are not reforms, who is secular and who is not, who is intolerant and who is not,….

  63. Funny all the bhakts yelling about Shekar being biased and writing essays about it, cannot name a single significant economic reform that Modi has successfully implemented. Shouldn’t be that difficult, go on, give us one substantial economic reform he has implemented successfully – it has been after all 6 years since the most amazing PM has been in power.

  64. The mandate of 2014 could have started the process of changing the naseeb and taqdeer of all Indians, including the poorest. The mandate of 2019 could have taken the process forward. As for the bureaucrats, they cannot take even a restroom break without written permission, in triplicate.

  65. One of the best analysis that I have read in a long time. It is not so complex. Lets consider only economy related laws. What does Modi government have to show? – GST and IBC. Now let Modi government ask itself this question that how does it compare with 1991 liberistation or Vajpayees privatisation. The answer will be obvious. Better than Manmohan Singhs, but not better than others . The proof of pudding lies in eating and 10 years of total power is a very long time to judge yourself on the basis of the output only ie GDP growth. Dont judge yourself based on inputs ie Laws created. History will only judge you by the output. Self Introspect, dont get fooled by cheerleaders, the government is no where near the best government that could have been there, atleast in economic aspects. Government needs to be miles away from those who are praising it exponentially, they are all fooling this government.

  66. In economics, as in sports, it is the finisher who wins matches. Modi is not a finisher, never was.

  67. Seriously Shekar… How long will you suck up to and defend the omissions and commissions of a gutless, visionless, imagination less road side gutter politician like Narendra Modi ? Why dont you call a spade a spade man… Narendra Modi is a wimp running India into a gutter…. and you are blaming the bureaucrats….. Ten years later when we look back and assess who are the people who mollycoddled a lumpen regime you will be in the front row along with Subramaniam Swamy, Surjit Bhalla, Arnab Goswami, Rajeev Kumar, Amitabh Kant…. Shame on you….

  68. The points made in this article are spot on. But the reasons for them are not fully so.

    Yes, Modi has spelt out some bold ideas. And yes, they’re all implemented terribly. Why?

    Why, when you’re coming up with new, smaller notes during demonetisation, didn’t you realise that ATMs needed tinkeing before they could dispense money?! Who would know that? Only someone who has working knowledge of ATMs. So it’s clear that there was no one with such expertise in the team that implemented notebandi. Nor was anyone in the banking sector consulted. And more importantly, the practical, ground level implementation was not thought through – the common factor in all of Modi’s ‘reforms.’

    Take a look at CAA-NRC. Nobody, even the ruling duopoly know how exactly the NRC will work out, or under which conditions a person will be included or excluded. That gives rise to speculation, rumours and protests. It’s clear that again, the practical aspects of implementation were not planned at all. The Assam NRC threw up a lot of Hindus as illegal immigrants, and so to protect their vote bank, they came up with CAA. They also felt that a lot of Bangladeshi Muslims had spread across India, so came up with NRC to catch them. Or perhaps they just wanted to eliminate Mulsims who don’t vote for them. But together, CAA-NRC is a bomb on the poor as well as Muslims, an aspect they did not consider, or ignored. If CAA-NRC is implemented, it will cause the same hardship to the common man as Demo and the lockdown did.

    So it’s obvious that Modi & Co simply think of an action (Mostly to checkmate a rival, manage headlines, or gain votes) and then announce it a hurry. They do no think it through, and plan to wing it when it comes to the implementation. In such circumstances, what is a beauracrat supposed to do?! The failure of the reforms is due to the muddled thinking at the top. In addition, there’s not enough people with different experiences and expertise in the implementing as well as ideation teams.

    The recent agricultural and labour reforms are also likely to go the same way. They wanted to do something to manage the bad publicity due to the suffering of migrant labour. So they annoumced these in a hurry. When you suspend ALL labour laws, aren’t you throwing the baby out with the bathwater?! Wouldn’t the right thing to do be to scrap the clauses you don’t want and add or strenghten the clauses you want?! But that takes time, effort and a keen focus on the details. It also requires involving a lot more people. Many, like Raghuram Rajan or Urjit Patel, were discared because they had an independant opinion and voiced it. If you’re surrounded by chamchas, you’ll only learn about issues when it’s too late.

    Modi needs to add more people into his inner circle, and include different, dissenting viewpoints too. Else, as the author rightly pointed out, all the reforms will only amount to wasted opportunities. And considering the agricultural reforms, that would be tragic!

    As for the land reforms, I’d say that Rahul Gandhi saved Modi from electoral defeat. Ask a poor farmer if he’d prefer to face poverty in an urban slum or on his own 1 bigha, and you’ll know why! Nandigram is an example of what could have been.

    • Why just blame Rahul Gandhi for Modi’s victories. Voters like you also have a good share of Modi’s success at elections. You and Rahul Gandhi and others like you live in their make and believe world can’t defeat Modi.

    • Subin, excellent and correct points.

      You have pointed out the poor planning for implementation – for example the calibrating the ATM machines for the new notes; or designing the new note to fit the existing machines.

      Likewise, the mess created when NRC was tried in Assam.

      However, the problem is not just on the implementation : it is the so-called ‘bold reform ideas’. The problem is they all stem from an inherent wickedness taught by the RSS. That is the root of the problem. Wickedness was behind demonetisation – the purpose was to get the upper hand in the UP elections by having control of the money supply, and starving the opposition of funds. For that, destroying the the economy is not an issue for them. Likewise, CAA-NRC when taken together aimed to declare say 30% of Muslims as non-citizens and put them in concentration camps – that is an RSS driven desire. India was heading for civil war, Covid saved India – temporarily.

      Wickedness is the driving force. In some ways, it is a grace that Indian inefficiency gets in the way of implementation ! Otherwise, if we had the same wickedness of the Nazis and German efficiency, it would be even more catasthropic !

      Indian inefficiency for implementation of a good reform idea is a problem; the same Indian inefficiency may save India when the reform idea is wicked !!

  69. Modi will never be comparable to any Indian PM , All of our previous PM’s have basic intellect ( some were very very smart ) . This one clearly knows he doesn’t have that. See any of his actions and talks !!!!

  70. Well, let’s face it. India whether one likes it or not, has never had great PM’S like Lal Bahadur shashtri or Nehru. Great Presidents yes, at least the furst three. Presidents,. Politics, nOT statemanlike behaviour, is the order of the day. A waste of time evaluating qualitiesof PMs in tough times like these. Let’s wait and see.

  71. Decision making is a complex activity when it impacts over 130 crore citizens, diverse in multiple ways. These call for wide deliberations with experts from relevant fields. It calls for a thorough planning, a well designed process of implementation, risk & impact analysis, a review process etc. unfortunately we seem to have failed in following up on these basic norms. The 4 hrs notice for demonitisation, underprepared GST implementation, March lockdown again with 4 hrs notice without any solution or even thought for lakhs of migrant labourers in transit, having already initiated their journey, are some of the examples. In fact the crux of migrant problem adversely affecting crores of them has its genesis in the way first lock down was implimented. Even after having announced this, it could have been managed better by steps like special transport arrangement for those stuck in transit. State Govts too were taken by surprise and were at a loss on designing a structured solution for managing the issue. Delayed action of arranging travel when we were close to or in midst of community spread of Virus. Even today, after months of time, we have not been able to upgrade minimum infrastructure requirements.
    The worst part is that we don’t seem to be learning from our failures and continue to repeat the same mistakes. Nation will have to bear the adverse impacts & pay a heavy toll.

  72. Mr. Modi in theory is a wonderful Prime Minister. But the reality is different because it is never the idea but the implementation that is important.

    Mr. Modi and his ministers have shown that they do not have the foresight and strategical planning to to take an idea to its finish point. The important question should be if it is because of a lack of talent in his team or the fact that you have to focus on implementation without getting distracted by politics and the fawning of his fanbase.

  73. A reformist has a Vision. Narendra Modi has delusions and hallucinations. A reformist spends his time listening to experts. Narendra Modi spends his time talking down to experts. A reformist has his feet on the ground. Narendra Modi has his feet in front of a mirror. A reformist deep down has a desire to serve the society, and from that derive his own ego satisfaction. Narendra Modi deep down has a desire to serve those who serve his ego, and from that derive some more of his own ego satisfaction. So, in computer jargon, a reformist works by a flow chart, Narendra Modi works in a do loop. I hope you more or less understand what I’m trying to say.

    • Sweden’s PM has listened to experts on Corona virus and followed their advice. Do you know how the experts have become prisoners of fake data and killed numerous lives in Sweden? Only stupids would argue to blindly follow the advice of experts. If Modi haters are not stupid, what are they?

      • @dev . don’t rush in like a fool. Only time will tell whether Swedish expert was wrong . Let the pandemic play out and we know the mortalities everywhere. It is little premature to sit on judgement .

        • On this specific issue of the pandemic, I have a fear that India might top all the charts. And who can deny that Narendra Modi has been at the helm! None other than his own party has been TomToming it.

          • That will be the fault of the smart Indian public. Better not to have a lockdown so that 600 millions Indians would have been decimated. At least India would have got a fresh start. Pity

          • Mr Sanjiv Bhatla. I completely agree with the thrust of your arguments.

            When it comes to blame for the COVID fiasco, I doubt the PM will be there to accept his sins of omission and commission. Indeed, in keeping with tradition, the wily PM will ensure that somebody else will become the fall guy.

            For instance, when demonetisation was proven to be a disaster of massive proportions, Arun Jaitely (RIP), Nirmala Sitharaman, Sambit Patra and a host of other flunkeys were paraded in front of TV cameras vigorously deflecting the blame from Saint Modi. And the hordes of blinkered, middle-class Modi worshippers and Modi cult members who were not affected by demonetisation jumped on the bandwagon zealously protecting the PM from any criticism of his self-goal.

            BOTTOMLINE: When things go well, and credit has to be accepted for the work of previous PMs, Modi will be there to receive the accolades. When things go south, everyone but Modi will be blamed. Thus the PM escapes both responsibility and accountability for his actions. Not very different from Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un.

  74. Its 8nteresting to note not a single commenting supporting the article which ultimately makes it biased! When the majority people elected him for a second term, proves people like his administration! Why do we punish criminals ? To save other innocent and as a warning to others to reform. Even ex PMs could do nothing to stop corruption. Atleast there is purge. Loans go directly to farmers accounts. Many reforms are there. Demonotisation was a reform. Who will deposit the black money into accounts? It got rotten. Pakistan could not input fake currency n pelting in J&K stopped! Now pakistan is trying to input fake currency through other countries. Article 370 removed, J&K now open n integrated. Some, error might be there, but we have one hell of an efficient PM. Masses support him and love him, that’s what matters!

  75. The author needs to get real. Modi is no reformer in the sense of giving up discretionary powers of government. No point in blaming bureaucrats. They are selected by the government in power and take their cue from it. This is a government that wishes to occupy the commanding heights of every aspect of life in India. The only reason it hasn’t done so is because of a lack of capacity. The intent is there. If it was/is serious about reforms there was nothing to stop it from Day 1. Making excuses about Rahul’s June is just that an excuse. The reality is that the government has tasted blood Viz excessive and uncontrolled power with zero accountability and is not ready to give it up.

    • Dear Sekhar Gupta, Do not blame the bureaucrats. Power stems from the top and stops there. P V Narasimha Rao was the real reformer. He gave the ideas and freedom to Dr Manmohan. He collected ace bureaucrats around him , gave them mandate and saw to it that his diktats were executed. He was truly passionate about brining the country to the fore. Narasimha Rao was a genius., original thinker and a politician who understood the needs of the poor. He was clear that what India needed was generation of massive employment opportunities for the Indian youth. He was very clear that what India needed was infusion of foreign investment on massive scale. He was very clear that “minimum government” with “maximum governance” in real sense of the word was the need of the hour – not as an empty slogan. In the first three years of his tenure, people at large talked only about economy and forgot caste, community, religion or language. Narasimha Rao would have taken India to dizzy heights but for the nasty politics played by Madam Sonia who undermined him from the bottom because she was jealous of him – that a non member of the Nehru Dynasty was stealing the thunder. In my opinion he was the only reformer prime minister though credit must go to Dr Manmohan too for his brilliant execution of His Master’s Ideas. ak pattabiraman, chennai

    • Excellent comment Mr Vish !

      Bureaucrats cannot be blamed for Modi’s self-created, hare-brained schemes like demonetisation, a flawed GST, a violent anti-Muslim stance that jeopardises India’s standing abroad, a callous attitude towards migrants, the backing of pseudo-science, the squandering of the nation’s meagre resources on vanity projects like the Patel statue, bullet trains, 2 new heavily customised and extremely expensive Boeing 757 planes to fly the PM, an unwanted reconstruction of government buildings including the PM’s Residence in Delhi, multiple foreign trips, the funding of bizarre “cowpathy” projects and so on. And to that list one must also add the BJP’s funding of its Göbbelsian propaganda wing, the infamous BJP IT cell.

      You hit the nail on the head with your statement about uncontrolled power with zero accountability. As the British Liberal Party politician Lord Acton (1834-1902) succinctly put it:

      “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”

      That quote applies to perfectly to the Modi-Shah duo. As it did to former PM Indira Gandhi and her out-of-control son Sanjay Gandhi.

  76. Mr Shekhar Gupta, you have lost all creditability as a Fair & unbiased Journalist when you wrote an Article advising fellow Journalists to write Fake Stories,Fake News against an elected Prime Minister for the purpose of defeating him. Other day, You allowed a Retired Lt Gen to write a shabby Article against Indian interest when India & China are at logger head at Border. This shameless Retired high ranking Officer who openly asked Army to revolt against Modi if he get elected in 2019 election. How you can allow such a nuisance man to write sensitive defense related article in your website ” The Print” ? How to believe your expressed opinions in the present Article is true or fake opinion? You have openly advocated to spread Fake news & your opinions in the Article could be part of Fakery.

    • Mr Pandurang Kamath: Why don’t you go and immerse yourself in Arnab Goswam’s hot air if you do not like what The Print publishes. In any case, since the bulk of Indian media is paid media, or more precisely BJP Paid media, you surely have a lot of choice to hear Göbbelsian Modi propaganda don’t you sir ?

      And then, where is the fake news in this article? Should media only write articles extolling the virtues of the Godhra man?

  77. One take home point – bureaucracy likes complexity, and many of the rules are complex. The problem with complex rules arethat they are difficult to follow, knowingly or unknowingly. A simplified bureaucratic approach is needed. But will it come? The power or bureaucracy is through complexity of rules and regulations that one is not able to follow, and then approach them for clarification and rectification. I agree on ideas A+, and a lower grade of implementation due to confusion, knowing stonewalling or demoralization.

  78. Simple, all his actions so far have benn detrimental to the intersets of the members and cronies of the past dispensations.
    At least for the time being they are the list makers. The Bureaucrat-economists are used fot giving respectability to reform ieads but are twicked at the last minute to accomodate the vested interest.

    • Sitting in BJP IT cell and under the watchful eyes of Amit Malviya , your role is abundantly cut and clear. It appears Modi has become Bharat. Any one who writes anything contrary to the abject and nefarious designs of RSS cahoots or Andhbhakt of Modi Shah combine is anti nationalist! Remember support your Nation Always but the govt Only when it is doing Right things. That is nationalism.

  79. If not Narenrabhai Damodardas Modi…then no other prime Minister or leader in THE WORLD can feature in any list of reformists..Thats all what i have to interact on this article

    • Opinions any can have. If you have a point support it with bare facts otherwise better you silk and keep quiet.

    • Please name one important economic reforms he did in past 6 years except bankruptcy code and GST (mismanaged). All his reforms are inspired by politics and populism

  80. Why blame the bureaucrats? why this convoluted logic of blaming on the Generation after 1982?This is
    just another version of blaming the millennials.the Modi Govt has actively sought to undermine the
    administrative services,the random and repeated shunting and shuffling, bureaucrats being made
    scape goats for any mistakes – real or notional( remember S.C Garg shunted after the budget)silencing of IAS associations,lateral entry etc.
    Why is Mr Gupta so actively trying to shift the blame on those who are powerless?Shouldn’t the buck stop on top?

    • Dear Guptaji,

      As per my knowledge there was no reform by UPA 1 and UPA 2 , in fact UPA 1 survive because of world growth story started in early 2002 and halted because of GFC of 2009. UPA started rackless spending starting from 2008 to 2012 which gave us high inflation years and artificial growth.
      I think Modi do not understand correctly Indian ‘jugadu’ system while going for demonetisation, his clear intention was to clean bank NPA by getting couple of hundred crores in black money which did not happen because of poor implementation and BJP party corruption.

  81. Guptaji,
    Your Saturday columns are reserved exclusively to bring down Modi / his stature / popularity in one or the other way. And you fail miserably in it.
    Your daily ‘cut the clutter’ is juvenile where you struggle to read into the research efforts of your newly joined no-experience interns where insights are lacking. Equally horrendous was your efforts to show the rankings based on impact of Lancet and NEMJ in medical journalism again and again not even once mentioning that these scores were out of a possible score of 100.
    Your digital media venture ‘ThePrint’ is full of mediocre trollers not journalists.
    Best of luck.

    • How about writing a GREAT article of say 300 words. Print would publish it, I am sure!

    • Aren’t you yourself one of the trollers ? Presumably paid by the BJP IT Cell ?After all, apart from abusing the Print, you do not make any attempt to even counter-argue. But then, I guess your mentors Babu Bajrangi and Praveen Togadia did not teach you to marshal facts and argue did they ?

      So just scoot back to your shakha and insert your lathi into whichever orifice best aids some circulation to your atrophying brain

      • Facts!
        1 ->Every Saturday National Interest column is proof.
        2 -> Every Cut the Clutter appearance is proof. Have u watched Najam Sethi? or his Sethi Se Sawal? Guptaji can’t even read properly his own notes forget remembering them.
        3 -> Jyoti, Ruhi, Shivam… countless examples of trollers.

        I see countless trolling of comments by you here and Ulta Chor Police ko Dante.. of course as usual with below the belt language. Shame on you.

  82. Sir ji
    He is still serving as PM wait till he departs .
    Then only he will be evaluated amongest his peers.

    • His history is being written on a day to day basis, as his style of governance unfolds. He is there just because of TINA factor. All his big decisions have been expedient. The vision keeps shifting, if there is any at all.

  83. Rather than attribute Vanaprastha wisdom to the 1991 set, I would suggest that the collapse of the Soviet bloc gave them an anti statist foundation.

  84. Shekhar sir, also selected the babus(the perfect whipping boy) for modi government’s failure.
    It is the government of the day that punishes for any contrary view(former finance secretary), hounds the honest officer and wants to satisfy everyone.
    It is the PMO that want to spoon feed the country. It craves for power. When made radar statement, it tells how much he enjoy control.
    PMO is in love with adventurism, and showmanship that is leading to impatience with policy, good officer(inability to nurture) intolerance to any critical view.
    When highest political leaders craves for power why a bureaucrat will give power, and in return do what political boss want.
    So, reasons for this mess is
    1-Excessive centralisation.
    2-Intolerance to any critical view, seeks yes man as major quality.
    3-Adventurism with policy.
    4-Wants to satisfy everyone( swadeshi lobby, reformist lobby) .

  85. Because anytime they bring a Policy the whole opposition comes out together along with liberals and fascists supporters who have to just oppose anything that is shown to them.

    So the time gets wasted in explaining things to those nincompoops.

  86. Guptaji, your article is both brilliant and pedestrian at the same time – brilliant for its insight into the bureaucratic mind, pedestrian for delving into Modi sarkar’s poor economic record.
    The reason for inability to get the economy humming is that a) economic activity requires participation from Indians – ordinary Indian workers, businesses, industrialists, professionals should be able to trust the govt to ensure that they are going to make money – fairly and consistently. b) It also requires the govt machinery to trust it’s citizens that left to their own devices they will be able to deliver the goods so that govt coffers are replenished well and spending on social sector, healthcare, defense, public infrastructure will grow adequately.
    On both counts this govt has been found wanting right from Day 2 of the first Modi sarkar. The difference between Rao, MMS/Sonia and Vajpayee govt and Modi sarkar is the former 3 govt had a light touch so trust level was higher – this sarkar has created a fear factor and as Aamir Khan says in 3 Idiots – Fear is not good for the grades, sir. Prof Viru Sahsrabuddhe could reform himself, the ability of Modi sarkar to itself reform and understand this lesson is crucial.

  87. What bloody rubbish…?
    To the writer of this article –
    Are you blind/deaf or don’t have enough brain to assess/analyze what our PM is doing?

    • It would be great to hear from you. Can u please list few reforms which has impacted the common man yet please.

  88. When the core part of narrative is to prove Modi as a failure and its obvious that Shekhar Gupta wants to prove that repeatedly then we have such bogus judgemental articles like this one. Shekhar Gupta himself admitted post 2019 election victory of Modi that the media was in denial about Modi governments achievements in his first 5 year tenure. He said toilets had been made, electricity had reached every household, gas was made available to those who used wood as fuel, corruption had come down etc etc. That video is still available for all to see. So Gupta knows well why Modi was elected back in 2019. So since he cant harp on that he uses the words ‘reforms’ which is a very conveniently way to flog any politician. In criticising him almost everyday through his vehicle The Print, Gupta and his ilk forget that people want a honest doer at the helm of affairs in this country. Not someone like from the Gandhi family who comes with an assurance of big ticket corruption. People have burnt their fingers under their misrule. Gupta expecta that the rot of 60 plus years can be remedied with a magic wand. With demo many corrupt politicians saw their cash turn into waste paper. The source of money can now be traced. This was the achievement but by constantly telling lies and giving lopsided opinions this Lootyens media gang often tries to create the narrative that everything Modi is doing is bad. First Gupta should talk of reforms in his own profession. Today most journalists are not only highly superficial and incompetent but they are highly corrupt too. They take money from leading industrialist and use their names to promote their own blogs, you tube channels etc. Here they pedal their own opinion as some sort of universal truth. Its not some honest, unbiased joirnalism at play here. Hence when. Gupta pontificates there are very few takers. The corrupt still continues to be seen as the most corrupt while the doer still continues to be seen as the most hard working doer.

  89. Opposition for the sake of opposition thy name is shaker Gupta and yellow print journalism.

  90. The greatest mistake has been the replacement of Planning Commission by Niti Aayog. It must be noted that honesty and transparency do not suit a capitalist system mostly.. On the other hand these traits could have promoted Public Undertakings to new heights. If we wish to succeed, we will have to copy China. Sidelining of engineering graduates has caused great damage. The M.B.A culture has killed innovation.

  91. We cannot always be in stone age. If bureaucrats of 1991 faced issues , so do of today. Author has actually offered an excuse for why Govt is not able implement. Simple put it on bureaucrats. A very mundane analysis offering no remedy but an excuse.

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