Demonetisation is unlikely to help the Indian economy and address the issue of corruption, but the move shows that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is ready to take “tough and decisive” action, a prominent journalist said here. “I do not think that demonetisation would help the economy. But this (demonetisation) has shown that (Prime Minister) Modi is bold and he can take bold decisions,” Adam Roberts, who spent six years in India as the South-East Asia correspondent of the Economist.
Roberts was addressing an audience at Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a top think-tank here, during the launch of his book “Superfast Primetime Ultimate Nation: The Relentless Invention of Modern India.” Responding to a question, Roberts challenged the notion that demonetisation has been successful in addressing corruption. “It just indicated boldness that as the Prime Minister, Modi is ready to take tough and decisive action,” he said, adding that demonetisation is also unlikely to bring in digitisation.
Roberts said that Modi as the chief minister was successful in cracking down on corruption and making the bureaucracy efficient. “He is doing the same at the Centre, but he does not get very far beyond the slogans,” he said.
Given the current political situation in India, Roberts said no political leader in the country is in position to challenge Modi.
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“Also, no regional leader or a successful Chief Minister like Nitish Kumar from Bihar are in a position to bring the opposition parties together on one platform against Modi,” he said.
“I do not see anyone there right now to stand up to the Modi Government or challenge the BJP machinery,” he said, adding that there is no doubt that until Congress gets a political leader, there would be no “national challenge” to Modi.