Narendra Modis years in office “have served as a refreshing affirmation that democracy can deliver public goods, economic development, and social sector services – and do so with transparency, equity and efficiency” and “he is far from done”, Home Minister Amit Shah writes in “Modi@20: Dreams Meet Delivery”, a compilation of essays by eminent intellectuals and domain experts that explore the fundamental transformation of Gujarat and India over the last two decades that Modi has held public office.
“The Modi government has deepened and renewed faith in democracy. It stands out as a case study that the democratic model can work and can bring about large-scale and positive transformation in a society of 1.3 billion people. There are obvious implications here for India and the world – where thinking people are constantly comparing and evaluating political and governance models,” Shah writes in the chapter titled “Democracy, Delivery and The Politics of Hope”.
This renewal of democracy has been drawn from “trust in Prime Minister Modi’s intent, abilities and wisdom, and admiration for his personal attributes. His integrity and incorruptibility are held up as an example within the society. He is offered as a role model to one’s children. Combined with his tireless, 24/7 work ethic, this has made him a folk hero for Indian families”, Shah writes.
“The belief that Modi will think of the best for my country, my family and for me is widespread and unshakable. This belief, in fact, is not limited to BJP adherents and Modi voters. Even among many who are disinclined towards our party – or indeed towards politics at all – there is acknowledgement of such qualities and of the sheer passion and velocity that Narendra bhai has brought to the Prime Minister’s office,” Shah maintains.
Over the past 20 years, in Gujarat and then across India, Modi “has been true to his ideals. He has established the BJP not just as the premier and largest political party in the world’s biggest democracy, but as the pan-Indian embodiment of national interest. Take it from me, but he is far from done. The decade has just begun. Watch from where it takes Narendra Modi, where Modi takes the BJP – and where the BJP and Modi take India”, Shah asserts.
Published by Rupa, the 439-page book has been edited and compiled by the not-for-profit BlueKraft Digital Foundation that declares its vision as: An aware India knows that transformation of governance cannot happen without the transformation of mindset.
With a Foreword by the late Lata Mangeshkar, who writes the Modi’s “passion lies in the fact that he wants the growth story to be meaningful for every person in our country”, the book is in five sections: Modi’s social impact, his political impact, his economic policy, the new paradigm of governance he has brought about and how India deals with the rest of the world under Modi.
The stellar contributors include External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Chief Economic Advisor Anantha Nageswaran, economists Arvind Panagariya and Surjit Bhalla, medical professional Devi Shetty, IT czar Nandan Nilenkani, banker Uday S. Kotak, agricultural scientist Ashok Gulati, psephologist Pradeep Gupta, authors Sudha Murty and Amish Tripathi, and double Olympic medallist P.V. Sindhu.
There has been a “comprehensively reshape” of foreign policy under Modi and Indian diplomacy “has learnt to be more responsive, effective, practical and ambitious”, Jaishankar writes in the chapter titled “Foreign Policy: Vision And Achievements”.
“In pursuit of his goal to make India a leading power one day, Prime Minister Modi has been as demanding of the Indian system as he has been unsparing of himself. His visits abroad are legendary for their punishing schedule; a five-day trip to Afghanistan, Qatar, Switzerland, the US and Mexico would probably rank among the toughest at that level, In his era, Indian diplomacy has learnt to be more responsive, effective, practical and ambitious. And this happened due to the exhortative and motivational efforts coming from the very top. If our profile is higher, responsibilities greater, delivery better and capabilities more recognised, much of the difference is due to leadership.
“Twenty years in the government have enabled Narendra Modi to comprehensively reshape our foreign policy. It is today much more integral to a larger agenda of national development. There is a strong emphasis on delivery and an even clearer commitment to the ease of living of our citizens. It has national interest at its core, but in a manner that is harmonized with global good. In short, it is the world outlook of a New India,” Jaishankar writes.
Modi “conducts himself strategically”, Doval writes in the chapter titled “Tackling Adversaries Through Strong And Effective National Security Policies”.
“His emphasis is on anticipating changes in the world order to formulate our strategy. His vision is to re-establish India’s prominence in the world order and utilize new geo-political alignments to suit India’s interests. He has given a clear mandate for proactive reforms in structures and processes, and applying Indian concepts to thinking and strategy. Taking a leaf from his experiences as Chief Minister and the importance of last mile delivery, he wants the tip of the spear to be made powerful – and future ready.
“Prime Minister Modi has enunciated his vision. He has shown political will to execute policies to achieve the goals envisioned and set by him. It is for future generations to take forward the strong foundations laid by Prime Minister Modi,” Doval writes.
This, in fact, is one of the biggest takeaways from the book.
(Vishnu Makhijani can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)