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  1. Modi has worsened some problems, so it is right to criticise him, but don’t make UPA paragon of virtue

Modi has worsened some problems, so it is right to criticise him, but don’t make UPA paragon of virtue

One newspaper, gleefully (?) pointed out that, at the 100th rank in 2017, India was worse than even North Korea and Bangladesh. Other rankings, such as the latest World Press Freedom Index, put India’s rank at 136th out of 180 countries, just three ranks ahead of Pakistan, another sign of the damage done by Modi.

By: | Published: October 17, 2017 5:24 AM
A forty-five point fall in India’s ranking in the Global Hunger Index, roughly since Narendra Modi came to power, has been the talking point over the weekend, the laughing point actually, given how Rahul Gandhi used this to pour scorn over the government’s performance. (Reuters)

A forty-five point fall in India’s ranking in the Global Hunger Index, roughly since Narendra Modi came to power, has been the talking point over the weekend, the laughing point actually, given how Rahul Gandhi used this to pour scorn over the government’s performance. One newspaper, gleefully (?) pointed out that, at the 100th rank in 2017, India was worse than even North Korea and Bangladesh. Other rankings, such as the latest World Press Freedom Index, put India’s rank at 136th out of 180 countries, just three ranks ahead of Pakistan, another sign of the damage done by Modi. Indeed, the write up accompanying the new rank by Reporters Without Borders, was titled, “Threat from Modi’s nationalism” and read “with Hindu nationalists trying to purge all manifestations of ‘anti-national’ thought from the national debate, self-censorship is growing in the mainstream media. Journalists are increasingly the targets of online smear campaigns by the most radical nationalists, who vilify them and even threaten physical reprisals … Journalists working for local media outlets are often the targets of violence by soldiers acting with the central government’s tacit consent”.

How worried should we be about India’s deteriorating growth/social environment? It is true the government doesn’t take criticism lightly, and resorts to what are alt-facts when, while responding to poor jobs-creation, it talks of converting “job-seekers into job-givers”. Modi has condemned vigilantism by gaurakshaks, but given this continues in many BJP-ruled states, you would expect more action from a concerned government. And given how the animal trading rules that put an implicit ban on slaughter of even buffaloes—by not allowing such animals to be sold in animal markets—were the fallout of the gaurakshak agitation, surely Modi should have ensured they were changed by now? With senior appointees talking of swadeshi economists being better than videshi ones, and celebrating the exit of Raghuram Rajan, it is natural to think government policy is one of hounding out critics. The discussion on demonetisation, similarly, continues to be one of denial and about black money—of which, so far, precious little has been caught—instead of the havoc it wrought and the informal sector’s ability to survive it. There has been no real discussion on what caused the slowdown, just talk of how growth fell to 5.7% many more times under the UPA. And those who criticise the government face a barrage of abuse on social media—Modi didn’t condemn Gauri Lankesh’s murder and following some on twitter who celebrated the murder of a “bitch” encourages such behaviour, but it is a stretch to say this had the “central government’s tacit consent”.

Criticising Modi is valid for these reasons, but there has to be some perspective. The economy is in trouble, but with investment falling and both banks and corporates reeling under a twin balance-sheet problem, only the naïve can think it would have done much better even under Manmohan Singh and P Chidambaram—and we are not even talking of the various reforms Modi has undertaken. The Global Hunger Index, it turns out, changes its methodology and, from time to time, doesn’t include many countries that have done well on the index—adjust for this (see graphic) and India’s rank has improved a bit under Modi. The index (goo.gl/xt786p), in any case, is flawed since the poor rank is not due to lack of food, but due to sanitation-led diseases that cause poor nutrition.

The Press Freedom Index, apart from the problems mentioned earlier, is better than during the UPA years—since it fell from 106 out of 167 countries in 2005 to 140/180 in 2014, does this mean journalists were also being bumped off during the UPA period with the “central government’s tacit consent”? While the Press Freedom Index talks of using 124A and other sections of the law “to gag journalists” under Modi, keep in mind the UPA didn’t strike off the sedition law (124A) either and many people were arrested under Section 66A of the IT Act for posting tweets or cartoons or jokes that various state governments considered offensive during the UPA tenure.

What of criticising the government’s policies for which, many complain, Yashwant Sinha was ripped into by senior ministers; would this have happened under the UPA? Certainly the UPA under Manmohan Singh looked a lot more open to criticism, but if MPs/MLAs/ministers genuinely had a voice, it is surely odd few publicly railed against the massive corruption of that period? If so, the A Raja telecom loot would have been stopped, there would have been statements condemning senior ministers who prodded banks to give loans to the likes of Vijay Mallya, and coal mines wouldn’t have been given free to the chosen few… The loot was so brazen, even in the face of a detailed CAG report on it, Kapil Sibal expounded a zero-loss theory. Certainly, it is true Sibal was mocked, but that’s because there was a detailed CAG report that gave all the facts. So, if a charge is made that journalists don’t go after Modi the way they did with Singh, a major reason is that no such scam has come to light. If the party faithful/ministers seek to shield Modi each time he is accused of something—from demonetisation to encouraging anti-Muslim activity—surely the same applies to the way UPA ministers shielded Sonia and Rahul Gandhi? Criticising Modi for not being open to criticism or for not taking enough action against communal activity is valid, but while doing so, it is important not to paint a Golden-Age-of-UPA picture.

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  1. S
    sa
    Oct 30, 2017 at 8:11 pm
    Lollz.. another presst!tute singing for his supper
    Reply
    1. K
      Kiran
      Oct 31, 2017 at 12:19 pm
      Says another comment- ute?
      Reply
    2. S
      sunder
      Oct 30, 2017 at 12:09 pm
      Editor how much amount did you receive from the corrupt Congress to rig these figures.But even if it is true you can vote for corrupt Congress in 2019 a democracy everyone has a right to criticize a ruler but the media should not become a peon of a corrupt Congress who had ruined this nation.From Nehru to Sonia all have ruined this country and all are against the Hindu.Nehru in the name of Secularism and Sonia for her anti hindu stance.(Read Pranabda's book you will agree with me)I know you may not publish but that does not bother me.This is for you only.And yes to correct my on comment Sanjay Gandhi was not anti Hindu.
      Reply
      1. K
        Kiran
        Oct 31, 2017 at 12:21 pm
        Ummm.... Just a highlighter.... the Article is not Pro-Congress... In fact, it's Anti-Congress....If you read it closely, he says this - If the current administration has faults, then fault-finding Modi is not wrong. But dont think that what Congress is saying is right at all.... Just an FYI..
        Reply
      2. D
        Dilawar
        Oct 28, 2017 at 3:09 pm
        This article is expected by bootlickers of dynasty after all have to pay off for the money given by master congi a traitor of isi and ies
        Reply
        1. Anthony Mathias
          Oct 28, 2017 at 2:24 pm
          In the matter of telecom loot and Kapil Sibal statement that there was zero loss. The answer is that whether 2G spectrum should have been auctioned or given as start up spectrum to new entrants. The existing companies ie., hutchinson, Airtel, BPL and one other company were given start up spectrum and were operating. These companies were to hold the spectrum for 10 years which was made to 20 years by Pramod Mahajan and was again brought to 10 years by Kapil Sibal. The theory instead of upfront payment for spectrum the companies would pay the Govt an amount per call. What was wrong with this method. Did you want a system where the existing companies would have an advantage over new companies in as much as the new companies if they purchased spectrum would have a higher cost per call in as much as they would have to compete in the same market at same prices offered by the existing companies. The Govt would not loose any revenue in as much the govt would recover this revenue per call.
          Reply
          1. Anthony Mathias
            Oct 28, 2017 at 2:07 pm
            The Raja telecom loot was limited to Rs.200 crore, for which the case is pending before the court. TI am of the opinion that the amount was taken for pushing DB realty sponsored company up the line in the first come first served system. But if you look at the facts of the case DB realty gave a loan odf Rs,200 crore to one company owned by DMK chiefs wife and the loan has since been paid back hence the case against A.Raja would fail.
            Reply
            1. Mallikarjun J Iyyer
              Oct 26, 2017 at 3:13 pm
              kudos bro! for putting in perspective supported by facts. Many years of malgovernance, I rob, you (hood wink) well still i dont mind though my business in the govt. was just for power and livelihood. Govt. wants to change by being chowkidar or what ever it is to streamline things- GOOD THOUGHT none will contend or is worth contending. What boomerangs is lowering sentiment over government/governance is that presumption that we have one of the beST IT publickeyinfra. whereas post '14 we are gradually only attaining adequacy and unlike netherland and technology acceptance with basic illiteracy rampant, leave digital. Compounding this are legacy process just hitchhiked on IT platform w/o thought to improving user exp. for example, take aadhaar, process one has to undergo is not better than pillar2post legacy exp. and only actors have changed. This digust is being reasoned as unemployment/jobcreation, etc. sunilbhai pl talk to NAMO na! Min. governanceche. Maxjmum complaincecha. GoodGov?
              Reply
              1. R
                Reader
                Oct 17, 2017 at 10:41 am
                A centralized and inter-linked biometric database like Aadhaar will lead to profiling and self-censorship, endangering freedom. Personal data gathered under the Aadhaar program is prone to misuse and surveillance. Aadhaar project has created a vulnerability to identi-ty fraud, even identi-ty theft. Easy harvesting of biometrics traits and publicly-available Aadhaar numbers increase the risk of impersonation, especially online and banking fraud. Centralized databases can be hacked. Biometrics can be cloned, copied and reused. Thus, BIOMETRICS CAN BE FAKED. High-resolution cameras can capture your fingerprints and iris information from a distance. Every eye hospital will have iris images of its patients. So another person can clone your fingerprints and iris images without your knowledge, and the same can be used for authentication. If the Aadhaar scheme is NOT STOPPED by the Supreme Court, the biometric features of Indians will soon be cloned, misused, and even traded.
                Reply
                1. R
                  Reader
                  Oct 17, 2017 at 10:38 am
                  A centralized and inter-linked biometric database like Aadhaar will lead to profiling and self-censorship, endangering freedom. Personal data gathered under the Aadhaar program is prone to misuse and surveillance. Aadhaar project has created a vulnerability to identi-ty fraud, even identi-ty theft. Easy harvesting of biometrics traits and publicly-available Aadhaar numbers increase the risk of impersonation, especially online and banking fraud. Centralized databases can be hacked. Biometrics can be cloned, copied and reused. Thus, BIOMETRICS CAN BE FAKED. High-resolution cameras can capture your fingerprints and iris information from a distance. Every eye hospital will have iris images of its patients. So another person can clone your fingerprints and iris images without your knowledge, and the same can be used for authentication. If the Aadhaar scheme is NOT STOPPED by the Supreme Court, the biometric features of Indians will soon be cloned, misused, and even traded.
                  Reply
                  1. R
                    Reader
                    Oct 17, 2017 at 10:38 am
                    UK’s Biometric ID Database was dismantled. Why the United Kingdom's biometrics-linked National Identi-ty Card project to create a centralized register of sensitive information about residents similar to Aadhaar was scrapped in 2010?? The reasons were the massive threat posed to the privacy of people, the possibility of a surveillance state, the dangers of maintaining such a huge centralized repository of personal information, and the purposes it could be used for, and the dangers of such a centralized database being hacked. The other reasons were the unreliability of such a large-scale biometric verification processes, and the ethics of using biometric identification.
                    Reply
                    1. R
                      Reader
                      Oct 17, 2017 at 10:37 am
                      The US Social Security Number (SSN) card has NO BIOMETRIC DETAILS, no photograph, no physical description and no birth date. All it does is confirm that a particular number has been issued to a particular name. Instead, a driving license or state ID card is used as an identification for adults. The US government DOES NOT collect the biometric details of its own citizens for the purpose of issuing Social Security Number. The US collects the fingerprints of only those citizens who are involved in any criminal activity (it has nothing to do with SSN), and the citizens of other countries who come to the US.
                      Reply
                      1. s
                        siva8315
                        Oct 17, 2017 at 9:31 am
                        good days ahead for INC and RAHUL GANDHI courtesy BJP and SHAH
                        Reply
                        1. X
                          xyz
                          Oct 17, 2017 at 9:26 am
                          Nothing wrong in saying India ranking in hunger has fallen. Please remember Modi and Shah use the new GDP method to derate UPA.
                          Reply
                          1. Tushar Kanta
                            Oct 17, 2017 at 7:37 pm
                            There is nothing new in the GDP method, except it covers more industries (from the interview of Raghuram Rajan with Economic Times) and a change of base year to 2011-12. When Congress came to power, they changed it to 2004-05. And read the part where it says, lot of countries were not included in the previous report (44 countries as per my knowledge). And how has it worsened, when India has scored higher points than before?
                            Reply
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