The nation was eagerly awaiting the Prime Minister’s Doordarshan address on December 31 unlike his statement on November 8 this year.
Even the PM’s worse critics had anticipated some announcements that would bring some relief to the hardships and miseries the common man have been facing for the last 50 days. The specifics of the economic gains aimed through note ban as well as extensive economic programs that could counter the severe financial crunch post demonetisation were also expected to be included in his speech. But even the hardcore Modi ‘Bhakts’ who backed the PM were totally let down by his speech as well as promises. The disappointment over the failure of realizing the depth of the note ban crisis was reflected in his words. The speech was a futile effort to convince the people that his government has been successful in overcoming the aftershock of the economic downfall post demonetisation. What the PM’s failed address on the New Year’s Eve says without saying is that the year 2017 wouldn’t be a not-so-good year for the Indians.
The people who were expecting some announcements easing the monetary restrictions, got some budgetary promises, just like the Opposition mocked. A majority of them had already been decided and announced. The scheme to provide financial aid of Rs 6, 000 to pregnant women for their delivery, vaccination and nutritious meals was earlier passed by the Manmohan government in 2013 as part of the National Food Security Bill. The scheme hadn’t been implemented by the Modi government until now. The scheme to combine the RuPay credit cards and Kisan Credit Cards, as the latter wasn’t beneficial, was also announced by the Finance Minister earlier. The concession in housing loans is expected to aid in reviving the construction sector. The poor availing these allowances could however be hindered by the economic downfall in the agricultural, trade and small scale sectors as well as the crisis created by deflation. It’s also doubtful as to how far the tax relief given to small entrepreneurs would be implemented in the present financial scenario of intensifying income-decline. There are criticisms being raised that a majority of the PM’s promises put the banking system into jeopardy. For the revival of the economic sector, it was essential to revoke the monetary restrictions of the banks immediately. Moreover, to provide specific details of the availability of cash was also required in order to boost investments. At least, the specifics of the amount of black money and counterfeit currency eradicated should have been revealed. If the PM’s address included such information, it could have at least justified the agony and market loss of the last 51 days. Modi, who describes note ban move as a ‘shuddhikaran’ (purification) drive, didn’t give any indication of new schemes to curb black money as well.
The whole process of the note ban move bolsters the allegation that the present governing system in India has almost transformed into an autocratic presidential system, a sharp change from the inclusive governing system of parliamentary democracy. The Ministers at the Centre as well as their portfolios have become irrelevant. All the decisions are made and announced by the Prime Minister alone. It’s also the joint responsibility as well as the characteristics of a Parliamentary democracy that has been made ‘value-less’. Despite of the value of the Parliament as well as the RBI hitting a low, the PM having the nerve to face the people with hollow articulations, reminiscent of Don Quixote who was engaged in the destruction of imaginary rivals, is only due to the disunity of the weakest Opposition in the history of India. Just like the social analysts pointed out, Modi is lucky as he is still holding the office of the Prime Minister even after leading the economy backward by a decade and the idiocy of causing the deaths of many, overtly and covertly; for getting an Opposition that lets him make bogus and illogical speeches repeatedly; and also because India has no trustworthy leader who can carry the fuming country on his shoulders.