Modi style of governance - Part 1

Modi mantra, Modinomics, Modi style of governance, Modi model: are few of several terms used to describe the way mystery man Modi works. Within a week of his taking over PM seat, can we decode it? Let us try.

Invitation to SAARC nations

Many of us thought that when Modi invited SAARC nations to join his swearing ceremony, the 2000 year old tradition of Bharat Samrat is back, when he orders his subjects to pay salaami at his Tajposhi. I wonder the kings bowed to Samrat just out of fear or also because of cultural and economic allegiance. Indian subcontinent holds one-third of world population, all growing up fast. Trade, Commerce, Tourism of religion and culture is the need of hour, but it is holding up because of not-so-smooth political boundaries and political leadership. None of former PMs got serious on this. Modi has. It shows his knowledge about India's history and culture is indepth.


Why did Nawaz Sharif attend? Reason is simple. India needs Modi. Pakistan needs Modi too.

Nawaz sharif is no Shivrajsingh Chouhan or Jayalalitha to take his country on the path of development. He is old school politician, who knows to sway public but doesn't know how to give them jobs. Strong ties with India not only fuels trade and commerce (like they grow cotton, we run mills), but in time he also learns how to develop Pakistan like India is doing.

And we have common enemies too. Did we forget absence of anti-India or pro-Kashmir rhetoric in last Pakistan elections? Army, ISI and Taliban (common enemies now to both India and Pak) is not Sharif's cup of tea, and frankly he'd gladly let Modi handle them and root them out while he looks the other way.

This is not just relevant for Pakistan but Srilanka, Bangladesh and Nepal too. All are facing internal dissidence, lack of development and poor masses. We are branches of same cultural roots. Of course Modi is PM of India, but he can be leader of SAARC too. He can guide sister nations to grow together. 

Empowerment of staff

It was the colonial legacy that officers worked as servants to the political post holdres. Modi sees bureaucrats not just with respect but having equal standing in business of governance. He has employed several ways to check this imbalance.

Have a look at this press conference about important meetings held by SAARC heads with Modi. Neither Modi nor even Foreign minister cared to brief media about it in person, given the grand nature and significance of the event. It was delegated to the Foreign Secretary Sujata Singh, accompanied by a spokesperson.

While popular format in US, India is yet to come terms with this level of governance. It serves several purposes.
  1. It lacks political rhetoric. It avoids unnecessary fodder for media, and often used as red herring by opposition to the core governance issues. Congress spokesperson used to do this job, often mixing governance details with congress' political agenda. No more.
  2. It exposes secretaries to people and media directly, thereby putting huge public scrutiny over their conduct. This will also improve their credibility among people. 
  3. Politicians are really not good government servants, and they are worse spokespersons. They lose crucial details. 
  4. Govt. is composed of both political and bureaucratic class. Then why should officers be left out of public gaze and accountability? Let them face the music too. 
  5. Politicians often hog limelight for governmental solutions and claim its theirs. they also needlessly get personally involved in projects of which they have little capability or understanding. This gives officers their due attention and fame. 
    1. One bombshell Sujata singh dropped was that "secretaries of respective nations will figure out how to handle kashmir and other problems". This has been unheard of. Political class has always shown overzealous interest and taken undue credit for Kashmir solution.
Not allowing ministers to follow nepotism and providing incentive schemes for workers are some other interesting news worth a read on this topic.

Recognition of Uprightness and Talent

Appointment of Ajit Doval and Nripendra Mishra has given a strong signal down the bureaucracy: Raj of sycophancy is gone for next five years and get up your toes to perform or perish. A clear partisan congress rule had clearly divided officers to stand behind them (and even indulge in corrupt / illegal practices to help them retain power). Congress would reward them with post-retirement benefits like governorship (MK Narayan) and quasi-judicial posts (like CEC and CAG). Those with uprightness (like coal secretary Parekh who is facing the music of CBI in coalgate scam) and talent (Ashok Khemka who has been transferred umpteen times) are ambushed and ignored. People would malign politicians and bureaucrats with same brush of corruption, loot, low morality etc. Those dark days will see some light in future.

This is not a subtle point. Narendra modi has given a direct hotline to all secretaries if their ministers show tantrums (remember A Raja of 2G fame?). A proposal is under wraps which will secure babus of their actions unless proven in court in graft cases (mere suspicion or chargesheet wont do). Work hours have crossed all time high, and even luxury of joint secretaries have been withdrawn.

In part 2, we will see how Modi is using his new set of ministers to achieve his goals.

Swaraj Bharti
Shaurabh Bharti

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