Out of my mind: An alphabet for Indiahttps://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/out-of-my-mind-an-alphabet-for-india/

Out of my mind: An alphabet for India

S is for Swachh Bharat but not Sakshi Maharaj. We need more of the former and much less of the latter.

India, Afro Asian Conference, Make in India, Bundung conference, Sakshi Maharaj, Arun Jaitley, UPA government, Narendra Modi, Modi China visit, IE column
M is for Make in India. This is yet to be fleshed out and realised. But the idea that domestic and foreign manufacturers should use India as their base is innovative.

A is for the turn to Asia, with visits to China, Japan, South Korea, Mongolia, Singapore. It has not been thought of since Jawaharlal Nehru went to Bandung for the first Afro-Asian Conference. It is a different, much more powerful Asia now.

B is for the Treaty with Bangladesh. Not only was the Land Boundary Agreement unanimously passed (a tribute to the parliamentary skills of Sushma Swaraj) but was also a great achievement for all political parties.

C is for the absence of any corruption scandal for the whole year, contrasted with the UPA government. It is amazing to think how different this is from the time not just under UPA 2 but also since 1947. Recall that Feroze Gandhi was the first to point out the corruption in Nehruvian India.

D is for bringing deficit under control despite the dubious inheritance from P Chidambaram’s interim budget. The BJP did not criticise UPA 2 for the mess it left behind. Arun Jaitley took it on the chin and got deficit under control.

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E is for the efficient elimination of fuel subsidies. The government smartly took advantage of the fall in oil prices. Petrol consumers deserve no subsidy either on redistributive grounds or environmental ones.

F is for FDI liberalisation in insurance, defence and other areas. Despite differences and indeed misunderstandings among parties, good sense may yet prevail in harnessing FDI for the welfare of the nation.

G is for the GST Bill, which should be passed unanimously by both Houses of Parliament after a decade of discussion and consultation; it is also for GDP growth, which is higher than the last three years of UPA 2 and is one of the highest in G20 countries.

H is for winning Haryana.

I is for getting inflation down.

J is for the Jan-Dhan Yojana.

K is for the peaceful elections in J&K, with the formation of a coalition government.

L is for the good luck of lower oil prices.

M is for Make in India. This is yet to be fleshed out and realised. But the idea that domestic and foreign manufacturers should use India as their base is innovative.

N is for NITI Aayog, which replaced the obsolete Planning Commission. It is still an idea which has to prove its usefulness.

O is for the overseas Indians who received the PM with such enthusiasm in New York. In Canada, we saw it again, and when the PM comes to the UK, we will see it multiplied manifold.

P is for Parliament, which has despite many adjournments worked harder this year than during the past five years.

Q is for Quantitative Easing, which when reversed will cause exchange rate volatility for India. This is not the government’s fault. It is part of being globalised. If you shun globalisation, you end up like North Korea.

R is for the efficient rescue missions in Yemen and Nepal.

S is for Swachh Bharat but not Sakshi Maharaj. We need more of the former and much less of the latter.

T is for the arrival of a prime minister who can talk to the nation (unlike his predecessor, honest man though he was, trapped among some very low colleagues) via Twitter and Facebook and Mann ki Baat, and who can speak in Parliament as often as necessary.

T is also for the improvements in train services promised in Suresh Prabhu’s Railway Budget.

U is for the unusual experience of the total absence of leaks and inside gossip from the government, which has left TV channels starving for topics for their news panels.

V is for Vikas as in Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas.

W is for the weather, which can inflict unbelievable harm, be it from unseasonally early rain, excessive heat, delayed monsoon, and which unsettles the best laid plans by the people and their government. After 60-plus years, most of it under Congress rule, India has to fear monsoons.

X is for the power of voters, who know never to give a blank cheque to any party, to vote differently in the general election as against state elections and who may spring even bigger surprises later.

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Y is for the young of India, who are waiting for the delivery of better prospects as soon as possible.

Z for zero tolerance of corruption.