While India has made significant economic progress since the 1991 reforms, it has not been able to create matching state capacity capable of governing a 21st century economy. At one level, this has also restricted India’s growth potential.
It is in this context that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement that we cannot meet 21st century challenges with 19th century administrative systems becomes important.
It’s not that the need for change in the administrative system was not felt before, but successive governments failed to give it the necessary importance, largely because of political reasons.
But the Modi government is not bound by many compulsions predecessors faced and is perhaps best suited to initiate change.
It is possible this will be a long process and results may not be clearly visible in the current term, but this should not stop the government from doing something which could be truly transformational.