India and Modi 2.0

We have a new Government…..well, not really. It’s the same Government re-elected. With a thumping majority. In the last blog, I wrote about some of the priorities that the next Government should work upon. Now that the whole world knows that it is Modi 2.0 that will run India for the next five years, some with hidden excitement, let me write a bit what do the common man (aam aadmi) in India want from Modi 2.0

Young Indians are most concerned about employment and career opportunities. With the charm of working in the West not holding the same appeal, thousands of well educated Indians want good employment opportunities that do justice to their qualifications. At the same time, they feel the need to have the opportunity to upskill themselves whist still working.

Women expect concrete steps taken for their safety and security. Thomson Reuters Foundation published a report in 2018 that India is perceived as the most dangerous country for women. India’s rise to this dubious distinction was driven by the perception about rising sexual violence in the country, Thomson Reuters Foundation. This report though was challenged by experts citing inconsistency in data of certain African & Central Asian countries. That said, the safety of women in India is still a distant target that Modi 2.0 must try and make priority.

Corruption. Some would argue that it’s the most important item on the table of Modi 2.0. I have no doubt that incidents of largescale politico-business corruption have diminished in the past few years. Sure, we had Nirav Modi scam and a few others, but I wouldn’t bet on the collusion with political class on these ones. That said, India continues to be among the most corrupt countries in the world, according to Transparency International. The international corruption watchdog released its closely watched Corruption Perception Index (CPI), which ranks 180 countries based upon institutional perceptions of public sector corruption on a scale of 0-100 (0 being highly corrupt and 100 being the opposite). In 2017, the CPI awarded India a score of 40, rendering it the 81st most corrupt country in the world. Ghana, Morocco and Turkey achieved the same score. Modi 2.0 must not only ensure that this term also remains scandal free but also make concrete efforts to eliminate or at least curb low level graft that can almost inevitably be found in every State and in every Government run institution, save a few.

Finally, make the Indian economy grow with reduced red tapism, more jobs and an all round growth across all key sectors. On the surface, India’s economy has been strong for the first half of 2019. According to Moody’s Investment Services, economic growth of approximately 7.5% is expected for 2018 and 2019. However, despite India’s optimistic outlook and recent stock market bull run, we still face deep-rooted, persistent challenges in 2019. The main problems are lagging socio-economic parameters and crumpling infrastructure. Despite economic growth, living standards are not improving by much. India’s population grows about 20% per decade, leading to problems that include food deficits, sanitation deterioration, and pollution. The Government must do everything it can to improve the standards of living at all costs. At the same, through innovative PPP models, the Government must continue to modernise its public infrastructure be it roads, highways, railway stations, schools, hospitals while maintaining emphasis on sustainable and clean development.

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