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Guest Column: Modi`s Cabinet : All the King`s Men and Women

Modi has ushered in the age of inclusive growth by forming a lean cabinet discounting dynastic politics and changing the ground rules of the political game, says Vineet Trakroo, CEO, Evolution Strategy Advisors

e4m by Vineet Trakroo
Updated: May 28, 2014 7:59 AM
Guest Column: Modi`s Cabinet : All the King`s Men and Women

As the sun set over the previous regime, in a glittering ceremony, the new PM and his cabinet was sworn in. The ceremony was blessed by an august gathering of neighbouring leaders, business men, actors, politicians, bureaucrats and religious leaders. Inclusiveness is what we see again.

The new team was welcomed with the peaking of the Sensex and correction of the exchange rate: now close to what it was a year ago. This was topped with the lowest inflation rate in last six months.

Suddenly it seemed, “Ache din aagaye” (the good days are here).

When BJP exited in 2004, in the same year it ran a campaign, “India Shining”, to build optimism in the economy. The optimism is back and so is the BJP. Many of the old faces can be seen again in the cabinet, an unfinished agenda expected to be taken up now?

The mood of the country has suddenly changed, every common man to businessman is confident of an optimistic future. Optimism is a requisite of a growing economy.

Narendra Modi the PM came to power for his leadership ability, but a leader is only as strong as his team. What we need are not great statesmen but people who can put back their vested interest and build a stronger nation. A leader's personal ethics and discipline will hopefully lead his team to deliver his vision of inclusive growth.

A stronger presence of the BJP in the ruling team and fewer coalition partners will add stability to the decision making process. The strength of the BJP in the Lok Sabha will help in not fracturing the ministries to please coalition partners.

Leadership skills of Mr Modi have been displayed by changing few ground rules of the game, thus simplifying some of the complexities created in the past by coalition politics.

o The size of the cabinet team has reduced by 30 per cent and the total team is lesser than 38 per cent over the previous regime. A lean team will have better access to the PM which should help in decision making.

o 17 ministries have been clubbed under 7 ministers, increasing the span of control for each minister who can now have a holistic view. Hopefully the buck will stop at one place and the usual games with files moving around different ministries won’t be played as before.

o This country is known for dynastic rule and the same had been followed till recently by senior politicians securing berths for their kin. This precedent was discontinued, thus making the system accountable and opening the doors for capable people to be included in the team.

o There are stalwarts with experience who dominate the cabinet rank, bringing experience in governance which will help in better execution.

o Our country where women are still to get their dues is now being ably represented in the cabinet with 25 per cent of the strength being women.

o Allowing dissent, a true leader doesn’t need sycophants but needs his team to stand up and speak. Modi has included senior members who may not have agreed to his point of view in the past.

o Rewarding those who took risk and stood up to a strong challenge in the election but may have lost.
Although the country’s mood is positive what is expected is short of a miracle. There are challenges which have existed in our country and some have been created.

Challenges

o India is often compared with China, although we are at least 15 years behind in terms of infrastructure. Infrastructure is our prime weakness. Creating the same and its effect on economy will take a couple of years. Whether its power, rail, water resources or roads. The finance for the same is another question waiting to be answered.

o A large section young population is unemployed. Job creation which will flow out of infrastructure development and investment by corporates will only start once these projects are cleared.

o Some of the old policies like mining are stuck in litigations with the courts. How soon can the new government address these issues will determine future growth.

o There is a tearing hurry to fast track developmental and industrial projects. The laws for land acquisition and environmental clearance will only make this difficult. Maintaining the ecological balance and getting development will be a big challenge.

o Keeping prices in check, with the threat of El Nino looming large, we may not find the necessary dark clouds which help in bring rain for our agrarian output. The trading community who has so far been a supporter may soon feel the heat with the new government expected to open up this sector or cut short the middleman.

o Graft has been part of our governing culture, the sooner we can shed this the faster we will grow. The benefit schemes for the poor have hardly reached the people.

There no dearth of money in India but dearth of intent. Although the challenges are many, there is nothing which can stop a strong government if it resolves to make the bureaucrat part of this inclusive growth.

We wish the very best to the new government and hope for the very best for ourselves.
 

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