Calling out the Perennial Negative peddlers
There has been a concerted effort for the past two decades by a section of self-anointed thinkers to defame Prime Minister Narendra Modi. A section of the Indian and foreign media is also known for its bias against PM Modi. From personal attacks to policy disparagements without any logic, he has faced it all. But true to his working style, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has always worked hard and proved their fake charges wrong.
The tragedy has been that that the dislike of this section of the old regime for PM Modi often translates to hating the vision of Bharat itself. Even rightly using the word ‘Bharat’ instead of ‘India’ made them accuse PM Modi of renaming India. Logic derides these hordes, for Bharat has the imprimatur of the Constitution as well.
However, Prime Minister Modi has shattered every fake or manufactured narrative set against him. Though in the last two decades scores of such narratives have been propagated and then conclusively demolished, for the purpose of this article, let us examine just five myths that PM Modi has broken.
First, that PM Modi is not up to the task to meet the G20 leadership summit challenge in a complex world.
The latest obsession of the ancient regime observers was preconceived notions of G20 failure, as if they were praying for the government to fail on the global stage. They thought that in a polarised world, India under PM Modi leadership would not be able to produce any positive outcomes. The absence of Xi Jinping and Vladmir Putin further added to their comfort. Secretly raising toasts for failure and casting aspersions on the success of India’s G20 Presidency was their job until a few days ago.
While on the one hand, The Guardian’s pessimism was adverting of the end of globalisation; on the other hand, the Washington Post was predicting bad weather for the G20. France 24 too forecasted a sea of troubles for India’s G20 Presidency.
But despite the naysayers’ prophecy of doomsday for the G20, the outcome has clearly silenced them all. The New Delhi Leaders’ Summit Declaration was adopted in a remarkable breakthrough under PM Modi’s leadership, as all the members of the G20 reached consensus on the opening day of the summit itself. The New Delhi Declaration, running into 83 paragraphs, was adopted with “100% consensus on all developmental and geo-political issues without any footnotes or marginalia in the text”. It was a big achievement in the times of a multipolar world that the message of “One Earth, One Family, One Future” echoed amongst all the countries.
Similarly, there were questions about India’s commitment to the cause of the Global South. Yet by helping the African Union join the ranks of the G20, India has not only emerged as a champion of the Global South, but it has also strengthened India’s position at the global stage.
But the G20 historic success is not just one-off. Associated with it, let’s examine the second myth, that PM Modi is generally not adept at foreign policy and would flounder when faced with a difficult situation.
In the Russia-Ukraine conflict, India consistently stressed the significance of all concerned parties engaging in constructive dialogue to seek a resolution that safeguards sovereignty and upholds global norms. India has resolutely maintained its autonomy over strategic decisions throughout this war. Probably India is one of the few countries that is heard both in Russia and in Ukraine. In fact, PM Modi’s formulation of “Today’s era must not be of war” has become the global buzzword.
Similarly, the way PM Modi has managed the Middle East foreign policy is nothing short of remarkable. It is one foreign policy area where self-proclaimed experts, who mocked the Prime Minister, had given up as an unattainable goal. But what was unattainable for the ‘experts’ has been made possible by PM Modi as the just concluded India- Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor testifies.
This is neither the first nor the last time that PM Modi has outdone himself. His decision-making and leadership qualities would soon feature in B school’s syllabus. He is adept at converting difficult situations into remarkable opportunities. His policies, which were initially criticised, have been proven to have a far-reaching positive impact on India.
Third, that PM Modi does not understand economic policy and would therefore be unable to deliver.
One of the biggest examples of the naysayers’ doubting PM Modi is when the Jan Dhan Yojana was launched. Many critiqued the financial inclusion initiative; some even went so far as to call it ‘populism gone berserk’.
But only a myopic understanding of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policies could have led to such conclusions. Today, the policy initiative of the Jan Dhan Yojana is instrumental in ensuring financial inclusion for all. By banking the unbanked, this scheme has catapulted Bharat from its financial inclusion rate of mere 25% in 2008 to over 80% of adults by 2022. This is such a remarkable achievement that now the World Bank has advocated it as a model worth emulating for other countries. As of date, over 50 crore Jan Dhan bank accounts have been opened, of which 27 crore are financially empowered women. This has resulted in mass social revolution in India is and another feather in the cap of PM Modi.
But consider what PM Modi did with Jan Dhan Yojana subsequent to every poor getting a bank account. The Aadhar enrolment, providing every person a unique identification number, earlier mired in intra-government turf wars during the Congress regime, picked up pace after 2014 and was linked to bank accounts. This ensured Direct Benefit Transfers (DBT) to beneficiaries by avoiding leakages by eliminating middlemen and corruption. Till date, about Rs.2.3 lakh crore of savings have been ensured by direct transfers of over Rs.31 lakh crores through DBT. It demolished the Congress’ theory which assumed that out of every 1 rupee spent, only 15 paise could reach the poor. Now the adage is “one rupee spent; one-rupee benefits for the poor”.
No one can forget the jibes about GST, but “One Nation, One Tax” has formalised the Indian economy like never before and is truly a game changer.
Fourth, PM Modi’s vision of Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) and his belief that Digital can transform the lives of the poor.
Many so-called experts, speaking in clipped accent, mocked PM Modi’s vision to promote a digital economy. Citing the example of the poor vegetable seller, a well-known politician even questioned the very wisdom of going digital and banking on mobile connectivity when he said “there is neither infrastructure to charge the mobiles nor the education for the poor to use digital”. Now our heart swells with pride when the German Minister uses UPI to make payment to a vegetable vendor. In the last 7 years, India, under PM Modi, we have succeeded in creating an ecosystem that has made India a world leader in digital payments. Indeed, India’s model of DPI has become a model for the world to emulate. Digital is in fact one space where PM Modi has been a transformative visionary.
Fifth, PM Modi’s ability to handle the complex challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic – both on the health front, as well as the economic front.
There were many obituaries written about the Indian economy during COVID. Few even suggested discarding fiscal schedule since India was in a lockdown. Many insisted on managing the COVID impact by recklessly increasing the supply of money, a model followed by many Western countries. But the government recognised the negative impact it would have on the economy. The easy path was shunned for a more difficult yet pragmatic approach to dealing with the COVID economic crisis.
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PM Modi ensured, through pragmatic policies and proactive actions that the Indian economy not only survived the onslaught of COVID but also became the ‘World’s Bright Spot’. We are today not only the world’s fastest growing, large economy but have also managed to keep inflation at moderate levels. No other major democracy has been able to manage this feat.
PM Modi has broken many stereotypes and many opinions. His tenure is an example of calling out the shams and silencing his critics through immense hard work and commitment for the cause of our nation. He remains the loved and respected Pradhan Sewak of Bharat.
The writer is Union Minister of Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs & Food & Public Distribution and Textiles, Govt. of India. Leader of House in Rajya Sabha.
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