Your front page report “Ready to pay price for reforms” (December 1) is heartening. Finally, India has a Prime Minister with the courage to publicly admit that he is “willing to pay a big political price for ushering in systemic changes in the country". His courage of conviction should be a matter of pride for all Indians. If, in the past, we have failed to bring in major big ticket reforms in the country, it was only because no politician — both at the Centre and in the states — was willing to take risks. Almost every leader’s first priority is to ensure his/her re-election for another term in office; and so they all play safe, taking action only after more than adequately covering their back and ensuring that their actions will not annoy any part of their vote banks.
In Modi, we are lucky to have a leader who hasn’t hesitated in bringing about patently controversial changes about which he — and his government — were convinced were for the ultimate good of the country. I am sure they were aware of the anticipated backlash and the possibility of hurting huge sections of society that could go against the PM and his party, and even vote them out in 2019. The fact that knowing all this they went ahead speaks volumes about his good intentions and tremendous courage and confidence in his own decisions.
Unfortunately, the malady — of playing ultra safe — extends to the bureaucracy also. This was a reason for what was labelled as policy paralysis — a classic case of combination of inaction on the part of both the political leadership and the official machinery. As your editorial “Reversal in trend” points out, with healthy improvement in GDP growth, the national economy may well have bottomed out, and yet, it is too early to start celebrating. You have rightly cautioned about the strong “headwinds”.
Despite all the problems yet to be tackled, the Prime Minister’s bold admission is a great morale booster.
Krishan Kalra Gurugram
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