What the experts think of the Modi government’s track record

Mint’s resident columnists on what they believe are the defining moments of the Modi government in the past one year


The Modi government’s most defining moment in the past year is, in my judgement, its continued commitment to the modernization of the Indian economy and the affirmation of a “cooperative/competitive federalism” model. Such slow and steady incremental reforms will eventually lead to a wholesale transformation of the Indian economy.

—Vivek Dehejia, professor at Carleton University, Ottawa

Appointment of a Banks Board Bureau, the announcement of the Hydrocarbon Exploration Policy, the Dadri incident and Bihar election results were all defining moments. I would choose Award Wapsi because it exposed left-liberal hypocrisy and intolerance that exists in the country and their readiness to destabilize the country in pursuit of their goals.

—V. Anantha Nageswaran, Singapore-based independent financial markets consultant

The defining moment for this government was the acceptance of the crucial role of MGNREGA in poverty alleviation and social inclusion by the Prime Minister in February this year. Acknowledging the role of some of these crucial social safety nets in a non-partisan manner should be the hallmark of good governance in a country like India.

—Himanshu, associate professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University

Modi’s surprise invitation to Pakistan’s intelligence agencies to visit Pathankot. This was unexpected for most who loved but did not fully understand him. It revealed his strengths—being well-meaning, open, pragmatic. And his weakness—a lack of depth. More such things will be uncovered in time as an instinctive genius encounters a complex world.

—Aakar Patel, executive director at Amnesty International India

Mr Modi seemed clearly pleased with his waxwork model, and probably saw that sculpture as an honour; although, how it adds to his reputation, at home or India’s stature among foreign governments and investors, is unclear. That narcissism, and his waxwork-like silence over campus unrest, are defining moments.

—Salil Tripathi, a writer based in London

With the exception of relations with Washington, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s bold foreign policy initiatives—be it “Neighbourhood First”, “Act East”, “Think West” or SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the [Indian Ocean] Region)—have been stymied by systemic weakness; it is like a gleaming Ferrari powered by a spluttering Ambassador engine.

W.P.S. Sidhu, senior fellow at the New York University’s Center on International Cooperation.