Prime Minister Modi proved once again that Indian voters consider him the harbinger of change. He is perhaps today considered by the electorate as the prime mover to usher a better future across large parts of India including its most populous state U.P. He is tech savvy to have visualized the impact of demonetisation and digital India, economically knowledgeable to usher in development schemes by the hundreds, and unusually hardworking like the proverbial donkey, unlike most of his intellectual and academically oriented predecessors
Demonetisation and Jandhan: Banking The Unbanked
Mr Modi set the ball rolling on 8th November 2016 by announcing the demonetisation of 86% of India’s currency in circulation with just a 4 hour notice, a move that caught both the nation and the opposition unaware. The move was neither unplanned nor unmediated as asserted. Since Mr Modi took over in 2014 he ensured that 25 crores ( 250 million ) unbanked Indians get to open zero balance accounts. As per PWC the unbanked population in India dropped by a humongous 57% from 557 million four years ago to 233 million in 2015. Demonetization gave him the chance to usher in digital payments en-masse and despite the cash shortage, everyone even the Jandhan Account holder, had hope for a better future that would ensure the flow of convenience banking through the mobile phones.
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The PM possibly took a leaf out of one of the iconic thinkers of yesteryears Professor CK Prahalad the author of The Fortune At The Bottom of The Pyramid. Prahalad a decade ago had espoused that market economics could remove inequality faster than dole based socialism. In 2004 C.K. Prahalad extolling the virtues of banking India’s unbanked millions wrote “the total market for credit in rural India is Rs 15,000 billion ( now mostly done by moneylenders, at 100% maybe). The banks have just scratched the surface with Rs 40 billion. Even if the organized sector only got to Rs 10,000 billion and reduced the interest rate from 100 percent to 20 percent, you can calculate the income generated for the poor.”
Development is Donkey Work:
Winning is the easy part of politics, but delivering and executing development projects is really donkey work that needs to be done. The Prime Minister by his continued hard work has established a credibility that he has the ideas to bring change and the will to do the hard work needed for change. Be it Swachh Bharat or Namami Ganga, Make in India, Skill India or Digital India, there are many game-changing projects on the anvil. They all need to be worked on diligently to bring about change in a nation that has clearly not lived upto its potential in the last 70 years. The corruption free governance of Mr Modi and the effort and the emphasis on development has changed the electoral narrative from Mandal-Kamandal to development. Be it Akhilesh or Mamta Bannerjee or Nitish Kumar, all opposition leaders are also today talking of development, though they oppose Mr Modi tooth and nail.
The 68 year old Mr Modi is the live-wire behind each of the Central Government flagship projects. He is seen tirelessly traveling abroad to ensure better foreign relations and bring more foreign investment. When elections are around Mr Modi can be witnessed crisscrossing across the nation relentlessly addressing political rallies like none other leader young or old. Not only did the PM address 24 rallies during the 26 day campaign period in UP, but made his senior leaders like Amit Shah and Rajnath Singh address over 100 rallies each in a high voltage campaign that literally pulverised the opposition. Taking on Akhilesh Yadav’s taunt about the Donkey’s of Gujarat, the Prime Minister went on to extoll the virtues of the loyal, hardworking beast which endured him to the masses. No wonder the Modi Magic crafted a land slide victory that may help him to get the numbers in the Rajya Sabha to usher in the changes.
By- Sandip Sen