PERFORMANCE AUDIT-MODI 1st YEAR

Modi’s moto during his election campaign was minimum government and maximum governance. He won the election promising good times (acchhe din) which meant freedom from poverty, corruption, jobs for all and a good standard of living for all Indians. He made a number of promises, more than the number of countries he has visited so far.

If I can recall correctly, his most important five promises were recovery of back money from abroad, complete eradication of corruption, jobs and houses for all, absolute control on prices and tax rationalisation. In the past one year, the economic policies of Modi Government have been directionless so far. As rightly said by Arun Shourie, Government is more concerned about managing headlines than putting policies in place.

Thanks to the confusion over retrospective taxation, the foreign institutional investors are shying away from India. Key manufacturing and infrastructure sectors are showing signs of stress. Against 4.2% growth rate in infrastructure sector in 2013-14, the figure has been 3.5% in 2014-15. This is seriously affecting job prospects.

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The Government has, in fact, fared worst in job creation. Once the leverage of oil price gone, the market realities are out in the open. The Modi Government has no control over prices. On the black money issue, the Government has been embarrassed much thanks to their rhetoric not matching with their competency.

On improving the ease of doing business in India, the Government has been caught in a trap, some structural and some of its own making. GST which was brought by the UPA, has been the only tax reform measure of recent time. Noncommittal towards implementation of the Direct Tax Code shows the lack of willingness of this Government to bring a transparent tax reform system in place. On the external front, foreign policy of Modi Government is limited to foreign visit of Prime Minister. Much hype, no substance.