Book Review : Marching with a Billion, Analysing Narendra Modi’s Government at Midterm

Do you remember the film Damini by Rajkumar Santoshi starring Sunny Deol? It has dialogue in the courtroom with the angry Deol shouting Tarikh hi Tarikh , Tarikh hi Tarikh ( Date after Date , Date after Date) as the judge mulls giving another date for the case involved.

Similarly, when one picks up to read Marching with a Billion – Analysing Narendra Modi’s government at midterm by Uday Mahurkar, one gets the feeling of Taarif hi Taarif , Taarif hi Taarif ( Praise after Praise , Praise after Praise). The author has followed Narendra Modi’s political career from up-close, right from his Chief Minister days in Gujarat to his becoming Prime Minister in 2014. And he seems to be in awe of Namo charisma and believes that Modi’s tenure as Prime Minister will be a boon for the country. And he is quite blunt in putting all ills of the nation on the Congress and the UPA – 1 and UPA – 2.

As the author analyses the Prime Minister Narendra Modi government in midterm, he plays it safe. He extensively uses government sources ( MyGov, the Modi government’s innovative digital platform for furthering the public’s participation in government) for Data to explain work and initiatives of the various ministries and compares the present dispensation with that of the UPA under Dr Manmohan Singh.

The author highlights in his own way the various schemes and programmes launched by the Modi government since coming to power. He rates the performances of cabinet ministers – Arun Jaitley, Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj, Smriti Irani, Piyush Goyal and many others.

The book basically analyses the Modi government’s three years in office against the backdrop of years of policy paralysis and corruption before Modi came to power, leaving him with a stiff salvaging job. Focusing on the key areas of government, like infrastructure, foreign affairs, power, the social sector, finance, digital technology and agriculture.
Mahurkar showcase the work the ethic and the style of functioning of the Modi government. Which believes in working 24×7 . It highlights the stupendous effort by the Prime Minister who brought in digital innovation and the uprooting of middlemen, which have resulted in an unprecedented level of transparency and a resolute assault on poverty.

The author points out the benefits of Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana. The achievements of the GST Bill , Make in India campaign, Start UP India, Digital India, the surge in FDI in the country. Modi had made numerous foreign trips with a motto of selling India and aimed at luring the investors to invest in India. The tricky move of demonetisation also gets a reference . It is seen a bold move aimed to tackle corruption and nail those who have unaccounted black money. Many thought that with the long lines outside banks of people waiting to exchange their old money and get new notes the BJP would face the heat at the Uttar Pradesh Polls . But to the surprise of the many critics and pollsters, BJP secured a thundering majority , demonetisation gamble had paid off.

The author amidst the highs also points out some of the shortfalls of the government in various fields subjecting it to criticism from opposition and a chance to introspect as to what went wrong .

All in all according to the author, If one asses the Modi government with an open mind, one can’t help but think that the foundation of new order are being laid that will ensure a cleaner delivery system, taking the fruits of development to the last citizen. His efforts for transparency coupled with visionary long- term governance measures match is promise of a new India in the time to come.

So will Modi become a great institution builder, a pre- requisite for becoming a nation builder? What will be the Long term impact of demonetisation on the economy be? This book written in a lucid manner, and attempting to give a clear picture as to what all Prime Minister Narendra Modi Modi intends to do in the years has managed to provide some answers.

RS 499

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