The chief minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi’s hyped video address reflected a narrow vision of a small time politician surrounded by equally small-minded people who don’t understand the national character of India. Modi began his speech that was telecast live in USA and India reminding the listeners that he was speaking on the auspicious occasion of Mahashivaratri, the great Hindu festival when people revered Lord Shiva.
Then he picked up a progressive topic of global warming expressing his concern over the deterioration of the environment we live in. He said that Hindu deities were associated with a plant or an animal.
At this point the listeners got very confused. What was the message Modi wanted to give? Will he build one temple for each of 84 crore gods and goddesses to reduce pollution? Does he understand that development of renewable energy was the only viable way to reduce global warming? Modi didn’t delve into the issue, may be because he is too busy allowing big industries to open plants in his state without any oversight. No wonder some industrial house, which might have been favored by him, withdrew their support to Wharton India Economic Forum because WIFF refused to invite Modi as a keynote speaker. Modi was jubilant about winning the state election for the fourth time. “After a few years doing the same job one gets used to it”, he commented in his address then quickly diverted to claiming that his heart bleeds when he sees a poor man and he feels depressed when a girl child is deprived of education in rural Gujarat. Then he pointed out that development was the only answer to all problems. Modi is hooked to the word ‘development’ so much that he forgot to add another word, ‘sustainable’. Someone should ask him if building highrise buildings were the proof of real development? Or handing over government land to big industrialist at throwaway prices or keeping the labor cost cheap in the state were the real proof ? One recalls him saying that he ensured that manufacturing plants continued to produce during recession. He made it possible by making sure that workers’ wages didn’t rise. In fact ‘Development at a social cost’, is the Modi Mantra.
He is the guardian of the rich who pays lip service to the poor. Modi picked up the provision of Rs 1000 crore in the union budget of India for skill development for the youth and tried to prove that the Congress led government didn’t care about the younger Indians who made the bulk of India’s population.
To prove his point Modi said that he had earmarked Rs 800 crore for the same purpose in the state of Gujarat. Modi can’t fool the world about a variety of provisions for the youth and women in the union budget presented by India’s finance minister, Mr. Chidambaram. Some of which are as follows:
1. In addition to allocating Rs. 1,000 crore for training youth to boost their employability and productivity, National Skill Development Corporation will be asked to set the curriculum and standards for training different skills. Trained youth who pass a test at the end of training will get a monetary reward of Rs.10000 on an average. This initiative is likely to motivate 10 lakh youth.
2. To provide greater support to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), the refinancing capability of SIDBI is proposed to be enhanced from Rs. 5,000 crore to Rs. 10,000 crore per year. SIDBI will also be provided a corpus of Rs 500 crore to set up a Credit Guarantee Fund for factoring.
3. It is proposal to set up India’s first Women’s Bank as a public sector bank.
Other than reiterating his development mantra all that Modi could do was to ask for ‘forgiveness for his mistakes’. He said, “People are very forgiving. If you do good work they will forget your mistakes.” What mistakes he was referring to? We don’t wish to go into his past, which is well known.
He should realize that some scars are not erased by plastic surgery. Modi seems to believe that he was the unchallenged leader of tomorrow. Well, he is yet to be accepted by the hawks of his own party. Secondly, he needs to look outside his shell and see the diversity of the huge nation called India. Modi paid tribute to leaders like Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel apparently wishing to gain wider popularity. He talked about ‘Nation First’ but he is not able to develop his vision beyond Gujarat.
He forgets that Gandhi toured the entire nation before plunging into politics and Patel traveled to far-flung states to unite India. It is not comprehensible for Modi to understand the democratic and complex nature of India, which is a kaleidoscope of diverse ethnicities and cultures.