If I were to issue a report card to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the year 2016, I would call it the year of good governance.
By now it should have become clear to everybody as to how much damage has been done to the government machinery in India by bad governance, corruption, shadow economy and parallel government. Could it have happened on such a monumental scale without replacing the Rule of Law by the Rule of Corruption? Millions of rupees in denomination of 500/1000, the complicity of Bank Managers in trying to subvert demonetisation and failure to perform their duties honestly by the authorities paid for checking malpractices over 7 decades, are all evidence of compromising governance on a wholesale basis. Could such horrendous crimes have taken place if the Revenue authorities were doing or allowed to do their duty? Could black money and black economy have prospered to such monumental levels had the administration been run on the basis of the laws of the land?
Treating a few symptoms of the malaise would have failed once more had the operation this time not been comprehensive and well coordinated. If one thing goes to the credit of Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, it is curing the whole system comprehensively. Now it has attained such a tremendous public approval that no one will dare again to play with it and ruin the gains. It is now no more a person centric but a structural reform that is going to stay and guide proper and transparent governance in India for decades.
Only the beneficiaries of the corrupt system are the disgruntled lot these days. They are making specious claims of inconvenience to the poor and loss of jobs, economic losses and fall in GDP, even a dark future for the country. They are evoking all round public ridicule. People are waiting for the crooks to be convicted and jailed.
Gone are the days for the rent seekers. People had grown so hopeless that they came to accept, though most unwillingly, corruption as the only way of life. From admissions in schools to setting up a small business or running a charity- nothing ever moved smoothly without propitiating these abominable creatures. They were there in every walk of life paralyzing normal activity. In the process they came to accumulate tons of illegal wealth. Now they have been suddenly made poor by demonetisation- it being their predicament that they can neither disclose their assets to the tax authorities nor hoard it anymore as the high denomination currency is no longer legal tender. It will be a crime punishable with a jail term and fine after March 2017 for anybody to hoard these currency notes above the modest limit prescribed for numismatic purposes only.
Many have simply thrown millions into the gutter or the river and others have burnt it. Those who could save whatever little they could make use of the tax window kept open by the government, deposited it in their bank accounts. Only the tax evaders, who had lawful means of earning, availed of this opportunity.
The drug pushers, terrorist groups, smugglers, criminals, bribe takers and all other tribes of criminals could hardly muster the required courage to face the law and resorted to destroying the currency or just kept enigmatic silence. May be they are dreaming of converting it in legal tender after a few years with some help from their friendly bankers. That explains the below expectation disclosures and seizure of large quantity of undeclared currency, bullion or real estate assets. Scores of them are in jail already and others are bound to face the music before long. Nothing can stop Prime Minister Narendra Modi now.
One of the arguments advanced by the partners in the crime of corruption is that it is not going to achieve the purpose of curving black money, fake currency or terror funding. There is no logic in it. Indian currency had been demonetized earlier too: from 10000/5000 to 1000/500. Now it is 2000/500 in high denomination. Had it been the only effective instrument of eradicating corruption in India, the 10 years of the UPA I & II government should have achieved it comfortably. On the contrary, those 10 years witnessed corruption reach historical levels. The Narendra Modi led NDA (National Democratic Alliance) government had begun its term with the setting up of the Special Investigation Team on Black Money under a retired Judge of the Supreme Court of India. It has established its credentials well. It has initiated several other programs essential for facilitating functioning of a transparent government. Financial inclusion was one such program which brought about 350 million persons in the banking system for receiving all government benefits, like cooking gas subsidy, direct into their bank accounts. It eliminated large scale corruption of misappropriation of these subsidies by fake beneficiaries.
Millions of families voluntarily surrendered their subsidized gas cylinder entitlements on a call from the PM to financially strong citizens not in need of subsidy to do so, leading to a saving of about 350,000 million rupees.
The government has been tirelessly working on empowerment of the people ever since. The visible signs of these policies and programs yielding palpable results are the wholehearted public support to demonetization and the opposition’s failure to mount a united assault on the government in collusion with a section of the media hostile to Modi & his government because they were the biggest beneficiaries of the corrupt governments for the past 70 years. Corruption makes the ministers and bureaucrats highly vulnerable and the journalists and media houses mint money by blackmailing them.
In the last 30 months of the Modi government, they have not been able to make a single charge against the Prime Minister or any of the Ministers or bureaucrats.
Good governance reduces the opportunities of corruption. The incorrigible types can be taken care of by the penal provisions of the law. If the government institutions are restored to good health, delivery of quality service to the people can be assured. For this, the centre and states have to work in tandem.
It is now for the people of India to ensure that they elect responsible governments in the states so that they serve them well. State machinery comes in direct contact with the common man, be it school or hospital or police or supplies of essential commodities. These services have been disrupted greatly by the corrupt regimes and only those governments in the states will be able to cure the system, which work in harmony with the government of India under Narendra Modi.
A country of 1.25 billion was held to ransom by just a 125 crooks who stole all political power with the help of black money. They thought they had established their rule forever. But they have been proved wrong by the inherently honest Indian people in just 50 days. These Indians have converged in a single persona, that is, of Narendra Modi. Truth is the only virtue they cherish in their heart. They value honesty. They are always ready to make any sacrifice for the establishment of these virtues. They believe in Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas. They are self governed and need minimum governance. But the government they need is an honest government functioning in a transparent manner.
Narendra Modi has won the people’s trust. For the people of India he is a leader endowed with the right qualities of leadership: visionary, decisive, honest, knowledgeable and farsighted.