Thursday, Sep 19, 2019 | Last Update : 11:08 PM IST

View in 100 days: Fragile economy, shaky Oppn

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : Sep 7, 2019, 12:02 am IST
Updated : Sep 7, 2019, 12:02 am IST

The euphoria of the famous poll victory in May has ebbed. Bad news before Assembly polls in a clutch of states.

Two months after presenting her first budget, Nirmala Sitharaman had to announce many new decisions, hoping these would shore up the economy.  (Photo: File)
 Two months after presenting her first budget, Nirmala Sitharaman had to announce many new decisions, hoping these would shore up the economy. (Photo: File)

For Modi 2.0, at the end of the first one hundred days, the time that usually marks the point of departure from which critical evaluation may commence, many who call the shots are wearing long faces. Things have hardly gone well.

The euphoria of the famous poll victory in May has ebbed. Bad news before Assembly polls in a clutch of states.

Although RSS outfits like the Swadeshi Jagran Manch are desperately arguing that there is no moment of crisis, the Harvard-educated Swadeshi economist Subramanian Swamy says it is time to say goodbye to the five-trillion economy dream if policy changes are not quickly made. Dr Swamy’s views aside, there is no gainsaying that economic growth has dipped to five per cent in the first quarter of the year compared to eight per cent a year ago, and this is the lowest point in about seven years. This is bad news for India. The finance minister knows things are bad.

Two months after presenting her first budget, Nirmala Sitharaman had to announce many new decisions, hoping these would shore up the economy. Strange, these never occurred to her before. Hoping to straighten things out, the government has caused the merger of 10 banks. It has also taken the highly dubious step of extracting as much as Rs 1.76 crore from the RBI’s dividend and surplus account, expecting this would help kick-start the collapsed demand cycle, thus raise rapidly shrinking employment.

Even if some of these decisions are of questionable value, they have been taken in the desperate hope that the economy will be boosted somewhat. But the hardcore RSS-wallahs see no crisis. They seem to think that Hindu nationalism can trump the “dismal science” of economics in elections. And the government has indeed been energetic about fulfilling RSS's Hindutva dreams, delivering as it has on its 70-year-old plan for Kashmir. It is hell-bent on wiping out the “termites” of Union home minister Amit Shah's description through the NRC route in Assam. Kashmir and NRC are part of the so-called Muslim question in India. And this, RSS-BJP hope, might pull the BJP's chestnuts out of the fire.

Might there be a point here? Perhaps. If the Modi regime is gasping for breath on the economy, the Opposition, especially its largest component, the Congress Party, seems to be losing coherence. Its members are defecting to the BJP. A few senior leaders are singing the government's dubious tune on Kashmir. There is little organisational energy. Worse, there is the sapping of hope. Advantage government, by the look of things.

Tags: modi 2.0, subramanian swamy