An open letter to Modi

about 9 days ago
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Dear Modiji,

First and foremost, congratulations on completing 100 days and let me say at the onset that these have been one of the most action packed 100-days of any Govt reinstated to power.

You did get the attention of the entire world and showed once again that you are not afraid to rock the boat. Irrespective of all that which you do later, demonetization in the first four years and now removing Article 370 from J&K is what you will always be remembered for. Well, ‘demon’ did not go too well and we are still to believe it was done to root out black money since it is back with a bang and with more vigor.

We give you full credit for taking the bold step of 370 – this was long pending and it took guts to do what you did. But now what lay ahead? Almost 40 days are over and J&K is still under shackles; the question in everyone’s mind is – what happens when all shackles are removed?

When there was a genuine slowdown all around the world in 2008, you did not accept the Manmohan Singh justifying that it was something happening all over the globe and not triggered from within in India. But today, you say that the slowdown we see now is cyclical, even the auto sector, you say is a phenomena seen all over the world. So this is what we say is not right – you cannot take umbrage under terms like “cyclical” or “global phenomena”; this was not acceptable to you in 2008 so how can you give the same excuses today? And sir, this slowdown is indeed triggered off by factors from within.

Modiji, let me tell you with all humility that this is not cyclical. You and your party remained in a denial mode for too long; you have started working now and are trying to improve demand and consumption but the sad truth is that it is all too little and too late. Nine months of a fiscal in a slowdown mode will have much deeper impacts.

Lets accept the fact that the economy is in shambles; you provided mere band-aids of big bank mergers, did away with all that was unpleasant in the Union Budget but the FIIs have still not come back; and the bandaids have not stopped the bleeding. Unemployment; we know you might be hating this word the most, sadly continues to remain your Achilles heel. Given the trauma in the auto, textile and tea sector, unemployment is only going up.  

You most certainly have emerged politically stronger in last 100 days. Modiji, given the mood on the Street and the despondency among people, the first 100 days are nothing to celebrate about. Instead it would be best to dedicate the next 100 days to spurring up the economy, within the limited fiscal space that you have. The focus should be on what you can or will do over the next 100 days as it will be after all a run-up to the Union Budget of FY21.

You have the courage so its best to deal with the crisis in the banking and NBFC sector, realty and governance issues with a heavy hand. If problems are fixed or even if targeted solutions mooted, the markets and moods will revive on their own.

Currently, whatever you are doing is simply not enough. People have become skeptical and unless they start seeing money in their pockets once again, not through welfare schemes and waivers and doles but through proper employment, this sense of unease will not go. Today we do not know if we should spend the money or save it because of the uncertainty ahead.

Modiji, you seriously need to work on generating employment and getting the private sector to invest in the country; concentrating on FPIs and FIIs alone, as you can see is not working.

It is a tough job, running this diverse country of over 1.3 billion. We thank you for keeping it safe from terror attacks and giving it a sense of security. Hope the next 100 days are less about politics and more about economics or else what looks like a domestic challenge today will become a political challenge in the months to come. As you keep on saying it yourself, let us make it “India First.”

Thanks and wishing you the best for times ahead.

Regards

Ruma Dubey

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