Mukesh Ambani about India Economy

India Will Be A 40 Trill-Dollar Economy By 2047: Mukesh

India will be a USD 40-trillion dollar economy by 2047 and ranked among the top three economies of the world, Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh D Ambani has said and identified Clean Energy Revolution, the Bio-Energy Revolution, and the Digital Revolution as “three game-changing revolutions” that will govern India’s growth in the decades ahead.

Addressing the convocation of Pandit Deendayal Energy University (PDEU) here on Tuesday, Mukesh Ambani said India is poised for an “unprecedented explosion in economic growth and opportunities” during the Amrit Kaal, the 25-year period to 2047 when India will celebrate the centenary of its independence.
He said the three game-changing revolutions will together transform lives in ways unimagined.

“While the Clean Energy Revolution and the Bio-Energy Revolution will produce energy sustainably, the Digital Revolution will enable us to consume energy efficiently. All three revolutions will together help India and the world save our beautiful planet from the Climate Crisis,” he said.

“I am confident that you, the students of PDEU, along with lakhs of other bright young minds from across the nation, will leverage these revolutions to enable India to meet its energy goals,” he added.

Mukesh Ambani, who is President, the Board of Governors of PDEU, said he was excited about the convocation ceremony.

“This batch of PDEU is graduating during a year that marks the beginning of India’s Amrit Kaal. In our tradition, Amrit Kaal is regarded as the most auspicious time to start anything new. And each of you is starting your professional journey in this period. As the Amrit Kaal unfolds, India will witness an unprecedented explosion in economic growth and opportunities,” he said.

“From a 3 trillion-dollar economy, India will grow to become a 40 trillion-dollar economy by 2047, ranking among the top three economies of the world in your working life. In other words, a bright future beckons you. Be ready to step out confidently when opportunity knocks on your door,” he added.

Mukesh Ambani said the university has made the students future-ready because it researches and teaches “energy with a very comprehensive perspective”.

He also had a word of advice for students, saying that in the era of 4G and 5G, there is no ‘G’ greater than “MataG and PitaG”.

“Today is your day. The arc lights are on you. But standing in the wings is your parents and elders… it’s a very special day for them too. They have waited eagerly to see you walk up to the stage and receive your graduation certificate. It has been their lifelong dream,” Mukesh Ambani said.

“Don’t ever forget the struggles they underwent and the sacrifices they made to bring you here. Their contribution to your success is immeasurable. Let me tell you something in your own lingo – the language of the youth. Nowadays, every youngster is excited about 4G and now 5G. But there is no ‘G’ in this world greater than Mata G and Pita G. They were, are, and will always remain your most dependable pillars of strength and support,” he added.

He said PDEU students were “bubbling with energy and enthusiasm”, “brimming with creativity and ideas” and “bristling with entrepreneurial spirit” and were equipped with the knowledge and the skill-set needed to design breakthrough energy solutions for 1.4 billion Indians.

“You have all the necessary ingredients to be the leaders India needs…And as leaders of India’s future, you should ensure our nation leads the global clean and green energy revolution. It is a goal each one of you should pursue in mission mode,” he said.

The leading industrialist shared three mantras with students to help them achieve success in this mission:

“One, Think Big. Be an audacious dreamer. Every great thing ever built in this world was once a dream thought to be impossible. You have to own your dream with courage, nurture it with conviction and realize it with bold and disciplined action. It is the only way you can make the impossible possible.

“Two, Think Green. The Clean Energy movement is about adopting a green mindset. It is about being sensitive to Mother Nature. It is about inventing means to harvest its energy without harming it. It is about ensuring that we leave behind a better and healthier planet for future generations.

“And three, Think Digital. In your mission of making India a clean energy leader, digitisation will play the role of a force multiplier. Technologies such as AI, Robotics, and IoT are powerful enablers of change. Use them to your advantage. These three mantras will be your astras in your mission of making India a global clean energy leader,” he said.

Referring to challenges posed by COVID-19, he said the period “was a trial by fire for each of you….indeed, for all of humanity”

“But remember, the finest sword is forged in raging fire,” he said.

Mukesh Ambani said the experiences in the past couple of years are “invaluable lessons no institution could have taught you”.

“They have shaped you into better professionals. They have made you tougher from within. They have filled you with the spirit of care and empathy.

“And they have taught you the importance of service to humanity with honesty and integrity. With these learnings in your kitty, no mountain will be too high to climb; no river will be too wide to cross. So roll up your sleeves and move ahead,” he said.

Referring to Hasmukh Adhia, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the University, Mukesh Ambani said he is “one of the finest financial minds India has produced”.

“The banking and fiscal reforms he formulated as Finance Secretary have changed the face of our financial system. Under his chairmanship, PDEU has become the first private university in Gujarat to be awarded the A++ grade by NAAC. The credit for this achievement also goes to the excellent faculty and staff of PDEU,” he said.

Referring to Tata Group chairperson N Chandrasekaran, who was the chief guest for the event, Mukesh Ambani said he “is a true inspiration to the business community and the youth of India”.

“Through his vision, conviction, and rich hands-on experience, he has scripted Tata Group’s spectacular growth in recent years. He has also led its forays into the businesses of the future,” he said.

Mukesh Ambani said he is particularly inspired by “the gigantic steps” the group has taken in the field of renewable energy under his leadership.

“If India has to become a renewable energy powerhouse, it is possible through the combined will and initiatives of many leading business groups working with the ethos of a national coalition,” he said. (ANI)

Read More: https://lokmarg.com/

Bright Spot In A Dark Horizon'

IMF Praises India As ‘A Bright Spot In A Dark Horizon’

The International Monetary Fund on Thursday praised India as a “bright spot in a dark horizon” due to the rapidly-growing economy even in these difficult times, adding that the country will leave a mark on the world for years to come during next year’s presidency of G20.

Addressing a press briefing, IMF’s Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva said, “India deserves to be called a bright spot in this otherwise dark horizon because it has been a fast-growing economy, even during these difficult times, but most importantly, this growth is underpinned by structural reforms. “

The top IMF official made this comment on the sidelines of annual meetings of the Boards of Governors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group (WBG) in Washington.

Praising India’s digital economy, Georgieva said that the remarkable success of digitisation in India is the digital ID that provides all services and support on the basis of “digital access.” She further added that digitisation is a huge factor in India’s success.

Responding to a question regarding her expectation from India while heading the G20 group, IMF Managing Director said, “The country (India) is now stepping into taking the lead on G20 from that position of strength which makes me strongly believe that we will see India leaving a mark on the world for years to come during next year’s presidency.”

The IMF top official said that India will leave a mark in the areas of digitalisation and digital money. She further added, “We know that we need regulation of crypto, we know that we need some more attention to cross border payments, we are proposing public investments in the infrastructure of the cross border payment platform.”

While addressing the presser, Georgieva said that India can bring more fairness to IMF. It has been a very strong voice and also financially strong, and could bring fair representation in IMF.

Talking about renewable energy, IMF’s Managing Director said, “India has really leapfrogged in terms of solar and other forms of renewable energy. So I very much look forward to next year and I am sure that it would make the people of India, the whole nearly one point four billion of them very proud.”

Answering a question about the G20 representative, IMF top official said, “India is the next chair of G20 and they are very committed to a strong quarter-based well resourced IMF and we might see more engagement that comes under their leadership.”

This praise for India’s economy comes as the country continues to maintain its position as the fastest-growing major economy in the world.

In its latest World Economic Outlook report, the IMF noted, “The outlook for India is for growth of 6.8 per cent in 2022, a 0.6 percentage point downgrade since the July forecast, reflecting a weaker-than-expected outturn in the second quarter (April-June) and more subdued external demand.”

In its July 2022 report, the IMF had pegged India’s GDP growth for 2022 at 7.4 per cent. The IMF’s latest projection on India’s GDP growth is lower than the 7 per cent growth pegged by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for the financial year 2022-23. (ANI)

How India Fares On Economic Indicators

Given even half a chance, politicians of all hues will indulge in breast beating. The country was witness to this once again when in the course of 2022-23 budget presentation finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman claimed India’s expected GDP (gross domestic product) growth of 9.2 per cent during 2021-22 would be highest among all large economies. This “sharp recovery and rebound of the economy is reflective of our country’s strong resilience.” In the meantime, however, the Manila headquartered Asian Development Bank in its recently released ‘Asian Development Outlook 2022’ report says India’s GDP last year ‘likely’ grew 8.9 per cent. Mark the word likely in ADB’s calculation.

Whatever 2021-22 growth is finally recorded, Sitharaman could always say in her defence that she presented the budget two months before the closure of financial year and she was only referring to advance estimates. A Trinamool Congress MP was certainly not fair in saying the FM was speaking with ‘fork tongued’ in making such a tall claim for the economy under her charge. No doubt she was boastful, for last year’s growth should ideally be seen against the background of GDP slipping 6.6 per cent in 2020-21. And the 2019-20 GDP growth was a dispiriting 3.7 per cent, very closely approximating the Hindu rate of growth coined by economist Raj Krishna.

The whole of 2019-20 when the bite of Covid-19 pandemic manifested in a series of deadly infections, lockdowns, supply chain disruptions and large-scale migration of labourers to their villages and small towns suffering in the process unbearable hardships was a washout for all economies and India was not an exception. Even while fears of new Covid waves remained throughout the year that closed in March 2021, any relief on that count was negated by high rates of inflation.

Retail inflation, as measured by consumer price index combined (CPI-C) was 6.6 per cent during 2020-21, breaching the Laxman Rekha or threshold level of 6 per cent. But with the revival of economic activities in the post Covid 2021, high inflation became a global phenomenon. For example, among developed countries, the US experienced inflation of 7 per cent in December 2021, the highest since 1982 and in the emerging economic bloc, Brazil suffered price rise of 10.1 per cent in the same month. Expectedly inflation at the rate of 6.6per cent became a source of major popular discontent leading New Delhi to take supply side measures and that tamed it to 5.2 per cent in 2020-21 till December.

But any comfort on inflation front unfortunately for the government and the masses proved short lived. Energy prices were already high when President Vladimir Putin sent his troops to Ukraine in an act of aggression on February 24. That sent oil and gas prices through the roof. As oil and gas and aviation turbine fuel invite very excise duty and also stiff levies at the state level, the two commodities not being covered by GST (goods and services tax), their prices are now greatly stoking inflation. Look at prevailing domestic LPG prices from PPP (purchasing power parity) dollar angle, truly reflecting the local currency’s purchasing power and the income level of average Indian, these are the highest in the world. As for petrol, we pay the third highest price only after Sudan and Laos. Indian oil marketing companies have started buying Russian crude at discounted rates.

As is to be expected, Indian buying of Russian crude has not gone down well with Western nations sanctioning the aggressor country on a growing number of counts. For example, the US has banned all energy supplies from Russia and the UK is working on phasing out oil and coal of that origin by yearend. Whatever sins Russia may be committing, India has deep political and economic ties with that country and the world is aware of that. India has served notice that it will continue to buy crude oil from Russia to protect its own economy.

In any case, fuel prices continuing to rise to new record levels are having an inevitable domino effect with food, edible oils and stationery prices getting revised periodically in sync. A survey conducted by the leading Bengali daily Anandabazar Patrika of families in the monthly income bracket of ₹15,000 to ₹45,000 about how they are coping with the sudden major spurt in inflation found one common answer that even after doing with less of every single item of food and other daily necessities, their savings are going for a toss. Some have lost the capacity to save. Others have started using up what they saved in the past. Experiences of families with identical income or even a little more in other parts of the country are either faring the same or even worse. If this is the condition of people with a regular income, whatever is the size, then think how badly the ones who lost their jobs during the Covid and never got them back or whose deep salary cuts are still to be restored are doing.  

ALSO READ: Modi Must Focus On Growth & Healthcare

Mercifully, the unemployment rate, according to the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), has started declining with economic activities slowly gathering steam. CMIE’s monthly time series data shows unemployment rate was down to 7.6 per cent in March from 8.10 per cent in February. Economist Abhirup Sarkar, however, makes the pertinent observation that even “this unemployment rate is high for India which is a poor country. Poor people, particularly in rural areas cannot afford to remain unemployed, for which they are taking up any job that comes their way.”

Even while the overall national unemployment rate continues to fall, the ranks of unemployed in some states remain worryingly high ranging from 14.4 per cent for Bihar to 26.7 per cent for Haryana. The accepted fact remains inflation has a negative impact on growth and real per capita income. Inflation is not neutral. In no case does it support growth. That is why on the occasion of release of monetary policy the other day, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Shaktikanta Das said: “In the sequence of priorities we have now put inflation before growth. For the last three years starting February 2019, we had put growth ahead of inflation in the sequence. This time we have revised that because we thought that the time is appropriate and that is something which needs to be done.”

Largely caused by Ukrainian war, the inflation outlook has worsened globally as also for India. RBI has revised upward its inflation forecast for 2022-23 to 5.7 per cent from the earlier 4.5 per cent. If the war persists and sanctions further tightened, raging inflation will not be doused. In fact, inflation here could very well cross the Laxman Rekha as the year progresses. If inflation stays this high what option could be there for RBI but to cut this year’s growth forecast to 7.2 per cent from the earlier 7.8 per cent. Inflation and growth outlook being so fluid, Das’ observation that “we are not hostage to any rulebook and no action is off the table when the need of the hour is to safeguard the economy,” is an important pointer to RBI monetary policy staying flexible.

Commodity prices across the board from oil to steel to aluminium and to copper have all significantly appreciated. This is particularly pinching for the micro, small and medium (MSME) sector, which has a share of around 30 per cent of GDP and provides employment to 111 million. High input prices have pushed up working capital requirements of the sector. Will that incremental financial accommodation be available from banks? Unlike large enterprises, most MSMEs don’t have reserves to fall back upon. New Delhi must see that the MSME sector having a share of close to 50 per cent of total national exports is able to walk through difficult times unscathed.

Industry as a whole has welcomed the government investing heavily in infrastructure projects creating demand for products of a host of industries. The combination of mega capital expenditure programme that hopefully will bring Indian infrastructure close to world class resulting in marked fall in logistical cost and supply side measures is the response expected from the government. Private sector too is not found wanting in announcing major investments and this is led by the steel industry with investment commitment of over ₹1,000 billion in new capacity building.

In the challenging circumstances, Indian farmers well deserve a pat on their back for agriculture and allied industries are expected to have recorded growth of 3.9 per cent in 2021-22 against 3.6 per cent in the previous year. There is no promise that the coming days will bring any relief. One may, however, see a silver lining in the Economic observation: “Despite all the disruptions caused by the global pandemic, India’s balance of payments remained in surplus throughout the last two years. This allowed the Reserve Bank of India to keep accumulating foreign exchange reserves (they stood at US$634 billion on 31st December 2021). This is equivalent to 13.2 months of merchandise imports and is higher than the country’s external debt. The combination of high foreign exchange reserves, sustained foreign direct investment, and rising export earnings will provide an adequate buffer against possible global liquidity tapering in 2022-23.”

Weekly Update: Healthcare & Growth Are Two Things Modi Must Focus On

The big bang statement that India’s budget could have made wasn’t made. I am talking about healthcare. India spends under 1.8% of its GDP on healthcare, an amount that is far lower than what it should be ideally. The inadequacy of India’s healthcare infrastructure could not have been demonstrated better than it was during the waves of the Coronavirus pandemic that swept across the country. Millions of people suffered as hospital beds and oxygen tanks were in short supply. Much of the havoc that got created and was reported about in the media centred around India’s larger cities but the fact is that the situation was far worse in rural and semi-urban India.

The latest budget could have addressed the healthcare crisis with more focus. For example, moves to educate, train and deploy more medical and paramedical service providers, particularly in rural India. As well as measures to ensure that there is more investment in expanding the number of beds that are available for patients. According to World Bank data, for every 1000 people there is just 0.5 hospital bed available in India and that compares rather badly to even other developing countries. 

Some analysts have commended the budget for its growth-orientation. Primarily this centres on the indication of the government’s willingness to trade off higher inflation rates (at least in the short term) with higher investments. A policy that accommodates higher inflation rates for future growth potential can be non-populist and in a year that will be marked by several important state elections that can be a risk for a regime (the Bharatiya Janata Party-led ruling alliance) that has an avowed objective to rule in every state. But the government appears to have taken that risk. Now, it is to be seen whether investment and, therefore, growth is spurred.

Economic growth has become an area of serious concern in India. A statistical analysis shows that between 2011 and 2020, India’s growth slowed down while inflation soared. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised that by 2025, India’s GDP would reach $5 trillion. That is most unlikely to happen. Pre-Covid estimates showed that it could be far lower, say, at $2.5-2.6 trillion.

Independent pre-Covid estimates for 2025 had touched $2.6 trillion at best. The pandemic has shaved off another $200-300bn. Post-Covid, it could be lower by another $200-300 billion.

Covid, however, has not been the only dampener for the Indian economy. Hasty policy decisions such as the rush to roll out the GST tax regime and sudden decision to demonetise the rupee hit the economy hard. India’s GDP growth was at 7-8% when the ruling regime came to power in 2014. By the fourth quarter of 2019-20, it was down to 3.1%. 

The situation is far worse on the employment side. Given the Indian population’s relatively young demographics, India needs 20 million jobs to be created annually. Under the ruling regime, the number has been much lower. In 2017-18, according to official estimates, unemployment was at a nearly 50-year low: 6.1%. Since then, a Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy (CMIE) estimate suggests that it might have doubled. Also, according to Pew Research, an estimated 25 million people have lost their jobs since early 2021 and nearly 80 million people might have gone back into poverty. 

India likes to compare itself with China, where the economy grew exponentially primarily because of a huge thrust on manufacturing and marketing. When the Modi government came to power, it unveiled the ‘Make in India’ policy to emulate the Chinese experience. By simplifying procedures and introducing manufacturing hubs where tax and other incentives were to boost manufacturing, the regime hoped that manufacturing would comprise 25% of the GDP. But nearly seven years later, manufacturing’s share remains at a paltry 15%. And the number of people employed in the manufacturing sector is down by half.

Consequently, exports have stagnated at $300 billion for the past 10 years with India losing market share to other developing countries, including tiny Bangladesh whose export growth, driven by the garments industry, has been significantly impressive.

Not all is bad, though. In basic infrastructure there have been strides. Under the Modi regime, India has been building 36 km of highways and roads every day. Under the previous government, it was barely 8-10 km. Installed capacity of non-conventional energy, mainly solar and wind, has doubled in the past five years and India will likely achieve the 2023 target of175 gigawatts.

More Indians have joined the formal sector for employment, although still too many (half of the nation’s workforce) are employed in agriculture, where productivity is low and where very little growth has taken place over the past 10 years.

There are many complex problems that policy makers attempting to boost India’s economy face. But if they were to focus on two of the most important ones they ought to be these: First, healthcare because India spends far too little on that sector. And second, boosting growth by encouraging investments. India’s latest budget attempts to do the latter. But will that be enough?

On a recent Sunday morning, the economist Kaushik Basu, a professor at Cornell University, tweeted tellingly:

“2016-17: 8.2%

2017-18: 7.2%

2018-19: 6.1%

2019-20: 4.2%

2020-21: -7.3%

These are India’s growth rates. 5 years, with each year’s growth less than previous has never happened after 1947. Sad. Let us not live in data denial, reducing everything to politics.”

Union Budget 2021-22

Watch – ‘Health, Defence Important; What About Inflation?’

Common people have given a mixed response to Union Budget 2021-22. While some feel that there is little effort to hold back rising prices in Budget, there are others who feel the financial document has kept its focus on two biggest challenges before the country: outside threat on border and inside dangers of pandemic.

Although relief to senior citizens is appreciated, rise in petrol price has been a big concern as it will only lead to overall increase in commodity prices.

Watch the full video here

Union Budget 2021

Watch – ‘Focus On Health & Infra In Budget Laudable’

LokMarg speaks to various financial experts to know what Union Budget 2021 has in store for Indian economy and the common people. While most of them agree that commendable provisions have been made in the financial document with regards to Healthcare, Sanitation and Infrastructure, more relief could have been allotted to businesses who had been affected the most by sustained lockdown amid Covid-19.

Overall, these experts feel the picture will be clearer once the implementation of these budgetary provisions come into effect. But for now, the Centre has shown good intention to pull the economy out of pandemic impact.

Watch the full video here

When Economics Nibbles At Politics

Two of India’s most credible voices spoke as if in unison on November 29 and 30 at events organized by major media houses. Their well-meant, well-timed warnings are that the economy is in bad shape, something the government of the day is doggedly denying.

The oft-repeated phrase, “it’s the economy, stupid!” comes to mind, but it will not suffice. Bad economic management has combined with widespread perceptions of fear in political and social arenas.

The TINA (there is no alternative) factor that had emerged only six months ago after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the alliance he leads won a bigger mandate than 2014 is sliding.  

Both, former premier Manmohan Singh and veteran industrialist Rahul Bajaj linked economic governance to a vitiated social climate. Fear, they said, was generated, not by those in power alone, but also by those who draw inspiration and support from them and act with impunity.

Singh’s warning was confirmed the very next day, doubly more than he had expressed last year. India’s gross domestic product (GDP) has fallen to 4.5 percent, the lowest in over six years, when Singh and his government, accused of policy paralysis, were in office. The GDP growth then was 8.5 percent. It had crossed ten at one time during his tenure.   

When Singh had last year darkly predicted a two percent GDP fall, then Finance Minister, late Arun Jaitley, had hinted at Singh’s going senile. Lawmakers and leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had been more direct in using harsh words.

Singh has been spared abuses this time – not that anybody in the government is taking his words kindly. The counter-response is only more resolute since the government apparently sees Singh straying into political arena by alleging that a “toxic combination of deep distrust, pervasive fear” is “stifling economic activity and hence economic growth”.  

More ire has been reserved for Bajaj, who has pierced through the bubble of India Inc.’s silence. To be fair, he was in the past critical of Singh’s economic management as well. And Singh, braving doubting Thomas all around in those early years, had been dismissive of that criticism. India’s entrepreneurial class is grateful to Singh, the reforms’ pioneer, whether or not they would admit it.

With formidable ministers Amit Shah (who is also the BJP chief), Nirmala Sitharaman and Piyush Goyal on stage, Bajaj spoke of corporates afraid to criticize government, of an environment of impunity for phenomena like lynching and of terror-accused Pragya Thakur’s political journey to Parliament with the BJP’s full backing and support.

The ministers, particularly Shah, denied or defended it all. He compared his government’s record with that of the Singh Government, of all things, on cases of lynching of Muslims and Dalits by vigilantes belonging to his party or its affiliates. Official figures prove his claim hollow. Shah has got to deny this since RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat who guides his party has decried the very term ‘lynching’ as something alien to Indian culture.  

While building its industrial base, the Bajaj family has a history of speaking up against the government of the day, especially that of the Congress. Rahul B. dared fellow-captains of trade and industry at the conclave to speak up, but none responded. Only leading woman entrepreneur Kiran Shaw Majumdar has taken the cue from Bajaj.

Come to think of it, India Inc. hails most Budgets and praises most finance ministers, as long as its purpose is swerved. It has always moved cautiously, sensing the political climate before speaking out on economic issues. In recent memory, the year 2013 was one such time when the Singh Government was besieged with political protests.

Behind this new churning, unmistakably, there is the Maharashtra factor. Sharad Pawar has sewn together government of an unlikely alliance of known ideological adversaries united to keep the BJP out of the richest state. His emergence, like Bajaj (incidentally, both have their respective bases in Pune) has confounded many calculations and put some life into a beleaguered Opposition.

New Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has taken some decisions responding to public concerns like environmentalists’ pleas against felling trees in Mumbai’s wooded area and has announced withdrawal of cases against the Maoists imprisoned under stringent anti-terror laws. The controversial Indo-Japanese Bullet train project, half-way through, is slated to slow down, if not ended. The latter two issues are bound to cause friction with New Delhi.

But he has compulsions. By reinforcing continued adherence to Hindutva that he shares with the BJP, Thackeray has had to keep future political options open. He cannot afford to shed his ideological moorings strengthened along with the BJP over the last three decades. Friction with secular allies is in store.             

Significantly, the BJP slide in recent elections is not because of, but despite, a weak Opposition. It remains divided and has nothing to offer to the people. The recent months have witnessed the rise of regional forces, Pawar being the best and the most promising of the lot. 

The Congress remains in deep slumber, as if running on autopilot. It merely reacts to events, unsure at times about its stand, only to be bashed back by the BJP and its voluble social media supporters. The Gandhis are seen as doing a holding operation, ineffective in office and indecisive about their own role, even as the party gets reduced to third or fourth position.

There are other fears surrounding enforcement of law to detect ‘outsiders’ or ‘infiltrators’. Everyone but the die-hard BJP supporters (read Shah supporters) think this would open the Pandora’s Box. Potentially, just about anyone among the millions who migrate for work or due to a natural calamity can come under suspicion for lack of documents that prove his/her domicile status.

The Modi Government faces long-term decline in economic growth. The latest GDP numbers merely certify what has been experienced on the ground for a long time now. What is striking about the slowdown this time is that it hits the most vulnerable sections of the population. Agricultural distress combined with the disastrous demonetization experiment, has hurt those that serve as the real economic engine.

How far the Singh-Bajaj-Majumdar observations reflect and impact the public mood remains uncertain. It would be premature, if not naïve, to expect anything radical. It is a long grind.

Truth be told, Modi remains popular among large sections and his government/party wield greater money and muscle power than all opponents combined.    

But message is clear: National pride and religion certainly have their own place. But people want jobs and basic necessities first, over everything else. To revive the economy, Modi will have to review the social and political ethos and philosophy. Nothing less will help him and the country.

The writer can be reached at mahendraved07@gmail.com