In the 10 days that I have been in India, I have traveled quite a bit. First was a road trip from Mumbai to Nashik to see my younger brother. Then a day trip to Ahmedabad/Gandhinagar. Three days ago I came to Kolkata and I’ll return to Mumbai on Tuesday 25th October.
I always talk to fellow travelers. I do this with a specific objective: to understand what the people I meet at random feel about India. On the flight to Ahmedabad from Mumbai, I was seated next to an executive who works for a major multinational corporation. The conversation turned to ease of getting things done in India. I wish to preserve the anonymity of the person and so I will call the corporation Giant Multinational Firm (GMF) which is involved in a wide range of industrial activities globally.
GMF wanted to set up several manufacturing operations in Karnataka. They faced several hurdles but after a great deal of hard work, were able to acquire land. It took them seven months. But they continued to face troubles from the government machinery. Finally they realized that since they did not wish to compromise on their business practices, they would have to abandon their plans to set up shop in Karnataka.
They decided to check out Gujarat. The CEO came down from the US to meet with Shri Narendra Modi. Within four days – not months – they had acquired the clearances; within a couple of months, they had acquired the land; and even before their facilities were completed, rail and road connectivity was ready. The Gujarat government was serious about doing business in Gujarat and Shri Modi was the main driver of the state’s success.
Economic policies matter and are a function of the objectives of the policymakers. If the objective is to industrialize the state, the policies would be friendly to business; but if the objective is to maximize personal gain, naturally then corporations would have to choose whether or not to give in to the demands of the government officials to be able to do business.
The objective of the Narendra Modi government clearly flows from his objective. He is squeaky clean and does not tolerate nonsense. He is not in it for the money and does not tolerate corruption. Good corporations like that and Gujarat is the undisputed leader when it comes to industrial growth and economic development. Which brings me to a question: Why do some people hate Modi so much? Note that I write, “some people” and not just “people.”
Some people have it good in a corrupt system. They don’t want this personally profitable game to end. They understand that if Modi were to be nationally successful as he is regionally today, their game would be up. It’s their self-interest which makes them hate Modi. If Modi had threatened my interests, I am certain that I would have hated Modi as well. But as it happens, my interests and Modi’s interests are exactly the same – namely, to see that India becomes a prosperous country.
If you want to make a list of people who are more interested in their own welfare than the welfare of India, simply make a list of those people who hate Modi. The list would be long and illuminating. Topping the list would be the Congress and the Nehru-Gandhi clan. It would have leftist “intellectuals” and foreigners in positions of power in India. It would have the usual bunch of pseudo-seculars, columnists and TV talking-heads.
Some people in high positions hate Modi because of what would happen to them if Modi ever becomes India’s leader. But there’s another constituency which loves Modi. These are the average guy on the street who is sincerely interested in India’s prosperity – and naturally so since his own destiny is tied to India’s. I meet these people and am gratified by their support of Shri Modi.
The person sitting next to me in the Mumbai-Kolkata flight was categorical in his support for Modi. He was a deputy general manager for a government of India enterprise and was on his way to Assam on work. Without revealing my opinion of Modi, as usual I asked him who among the present leaders would he like as the PM of India. Modi, he answered. Why? His answer, “Because of his integrity, dedication and intelligence.” I agreed.
But Modi is more than that. He is a true nationalist and would defend the nation against all threats, domestic and foreign. His relationship to India is that of a son for his beloved Mother. Vande Mataram.
The first comment below by Sanjeev Sabhlok to this post prompted me to write another post in reply to that comment. Please read “Modi Will Rescue India from its Enemies.”