A college in India was notorious was rampant cheating/copying during exams. The college trustees appointed new principal to get their house in order. The new principal installed CCTV cameras, ordered impromptu checks on exam halls during the exams. This led to a huge drop in instances of copying & expulsion of several professors on charges of aiding the students. The students who were used to carrying chits/bribing the professors to help them out were caught unawares. As expected the pass percentage of the college for that year fell drastically. The media hounded the new principal & the trustees seeking an explanation for the huge drop in pass percentage. Now if you were the trustee would you sack the principal for singularly being responsible for the huge drop in pass percentage or would you stand behind your principal for doing the right thing & assure him of your support? This story is based on a whatsapp forwards being circulated since the last one week.
There is a famous saying ” Every country deserves the politicians it gets”. This couldn’t be closer to the truth. India – a country where barely 2% of its citizens pay income taxes despite being a $2.5 trillion economy. A country where the SME’s, traders, jewellers & real estate agents who have a turnover way above tax exemption limits dealt mainly in cash & never gave bills on purchasing items or even houses from them. CA’s too were in cahoots with them & exploited several loopholes in the tax policies to ensure that their clients paid minimum taxes. while the salaried class had no option, but to pay taxes the business class on the other hand paid no income taxes & ended up saving more. The businessmen drove better cars, wore better clothes, spent their cash on gold, real estate & trips abroad whereas the salaried class toiled hard to earn a decent living. The common refrain of the erring traders & businessmen being “Why should we pay taxes? What has the government done?” It didnt help that the government at the state & federal level were also corrupt & the politicians were interested in gobbling the money collected for infrastructure & welfare. But truth be told, the tax evaders were using such perverse as an excuse to evade taxes.
Nobody likes to pay taxes. But if we want better amenities, better infrastructure & lesser poverty, we all have no option but to pay taxes!
Disgusted with the filth of corruption, red tapism spread by Congress & other secular parties, the country gave the public mandate to Narendra Modi – the three time CM of Gujarat, famed for his Gujarat model of development. It was a well known fact that Modi was not corrupt & was solely responsible for huge FDI inflows into the state. While several critics argued that Gujarat was already a prosperous state even before Modi took over, one cannot overlook the fact that it was Modi who put Gujarat on the global map. Gujarat is now home to several manufacturing units. Several Indian & international brands now have their HQ in Gujarat. His business friendly policies & removal of red tapism made him a darling of the business community in India & abroad. It was the youth of the country who came in droves to the polling booths to vote for this charismatic leader, who vowed to put the country on path to greatness. Narendra Modi won the general elections with a thumping majority.
While the first few years were utilized in order to set the base for his flag ship moves, he launched his most ambitious schemes in his second & third year. He launched Jan Dhan in the first year, which enabled the poor to have a bank account. All subsidies were now deposited directly into the bank accounts of the poorest of the poor. This wiped out the middlemen who used to pocket the money for themselves. Several businessmen questioned as to when “Achhe Din” will come in the first few years. This despite recording world beating growth figures of 7.4%. Instead of congratulating Modi for his achievement, his critics questioned the metric behind the record growth. what they failed to see was that the world took notice of India’s growth & India became the favorite destination of investment for foreign investors. Post ensuring that almost all Indians now had a bank account at a time when Modi’s popularity was unprecedented thanks to surgical strikes on Pakistan, PM Modi launched his flagship scheme – Demonetization. 86% of the country’s cash ceased to be legal tender. The holders of black money were running helter-skelter to deposit their cash. Several bank employees helped them bury their cash in banks in return for a commission. Over night several agents who could help “take care” of excess cash came into the picture. While several of the fraudulent agents & bank employees were caught, the jury is still out when it comes to saying how many got away. While the public at large supported this landmark move – a move aimed at reducing corruption & black money. A move which despite short term challenges, had long term benefits, the mainstream media went on a rampage decrying the government for this sudden move. Several economists bemoaned the fact that the move was totally uncalled for & would damage the economy. Social media was abuzz with urban citizens who personally did not have to undergo hardship, but were “pained” by the plight of the poor, who had to stand in line for several hours to get their cash deposited. The opposition parties, who had the ground under them pulled away by PM Modi, openly criticized the move & scheduled protests. They were used to hoarding their ill gotten wealth in cash, for election campaigning & other purposes. But surprisingly, the protest had a bizarre turnout & the BJP ended up winning the subsequent UP state elections by a landslide. What the media – who too used to hoard money received from politicians for carrying out hit jobs on rival politicians & other such despicable acts & the corrupt politicians failed to see what the poor were overjoyed by the move. Not only did they admire PM Modi for being true to his word, it was a case schadenfrauede – the german word for joy one gets when they see the other person in trouble. The rich who kept getting richer by evading taxes, were now falling at their feet to help them keep their money. Even more unexpected was the fact that the country grew at 6.9% despite such a huge move. it was a foregone conclusion that the BJP would win again in 2019 general elections.
8 months post demonetization, the Modi government implemented RERA & GST. RERA was a much required move to regulate construction activity in the country. it must be noted that several citizens lost crores of their hard earned money by relying on the fake promises of builders. The builders who lied through their teeth on posession date, permissions, amenities, final carpet area etc were now answerable to a government body. Any deviation from their commitments, would attract a steep penalty & or even a jail term. While the real estate market which took a beating due to demonetization & ban on cash transactions above 2L was pained even more. But the citizens who were earlier scared to invest in property & were sceptical of builders could now invest freely without worrying about the consequences. Thanks to GST, the tax evading traders, businessmen etc too had to report their turnover & pay taxes.
While even a 10 year old can tell that GST has huge long term benefits especially when you consider the huge surge in tax money – which would reduce our deficit & fund several infrastructure projects, what got the knives out was that the GDP growth fell to 5.7%. While may experts attributed the fall in GDP growth to the fact that several traders & business were destocking their products due to GST, the media & opposition would have none of it. The citizens of the country too joined the chorus of mainstream media & opposition parties. they blamed the Modi government for destroying an other robust economy due to illogical moves like demonetization. A dullard politican like Rahul Gandhi – who couldn’t frame a sentence on his own when it came giving public speeches, saw his twitter base increase by 1 million followers. Traders & businessmen were also disgruntled by the issue faced in the GST software. What the government didn’t see coming was that traders & corporates alike waited for the last few days of the month to key in their details on the GST software, which ended up crashing the GST server. The opposition blamed PM Modi for not doing enough to create jobs. Rahul Gandhi even went on to ask PM Modi to abdicate his throne & leave it to Congress to set the jobs situation right in six months time. The fact that his govt was in power for 10 years & was notorious for low growth rates, policy paralysis, was one of the fragile 5 economies is lost on him. People have forgotten that in spite of no structural reforms the GDP growth rate was 4% during UPA2 regime. Raj Thackeray – a leader of party with just 1 seat, who has not built anything of repute or something which would be of help for the common man is now attacking the BJP over the incident at Elphinstone station & has threatened to stall the Bullet Train project.
While people voted for Modi – solely on the hopes of corruption, black money & red tapism getting eradicated, what they did not want was them getting troubled. India largely suffers from schadenfrauede. They love to see corrupt politcians & rich businessmen suffer. All will claim to be patriots, but a handful of them will ever go out of their way for the sake of their country. Change should happen swiftly, structural reforms be damned. They will heape priases on other country’s development & cleanliness, but will never pay taxes & shamelessly litter on the streets. You lay a finger on them & they will cry intolerance. If you make their plans go haywire even by an inch they will start scheming against you. Cleanse the system without hurting us, seems to be the message. Do not take risks. Do not invest in projects like bullet trains – which will develop the Mumbai – Gujarat industrial corridor, which will create 20,000 jobs, bring in Shikansen technology which we can then use to export to to other nations & improve India image on the global stage drastically. Instead just keep repairing & improving the existing infra. Ours is a country where municipal corporations or state bodies stop road projects or any other major construction work around elections in order to not antagonize the voter base. It is totally lost on us that roads, flyovers, metro trains, bullet trains are for our benefit.
Which brings us to the ultimate question – “Does India truly deserve an extraordinary PM like Narendra Modi” – a politician who keeps his word. Doesn’t eat & neither does he let others eat ( Na khaoonga, na khaane doonga). has no heirs. Is not scared of losing power due to executing “risky” moves like demonetization, RERA, GST, Aadhar-PAN linkage etc or is it better of with the swathe of ordinary politicians we are used to – who barely keep their promises, who come from humble backgrounds & retire with acres of property, billions in wealth, push their sons/daughters into the forefront once they hit puberty & never take decisions which would inconvenience their votebank in any way.
Your vote in 2019 general elections will decide it once & for all!