OBVIOUSLY, the White Paper issued by the Narendra Modi Government on the comparative performance of the ten years of its two-term regime as against that of the two-term regime of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government, had the purpose of offering to the common people a resume` of its own achievements. In other words, the purpose was to insist upon the popular mindset the fact of what it loves calling ‘pro-incumbency’ factor weighing in its favour. The sense of legitimate pride in this exercise is easily visible -- and has a particular importance as the country is gearing up for the Lok Sabha elections in the ensuing summer. When the official notification for the Lok Sabha elections is only some weeks away, this exercise is expected to have a major impact on the electoral considerations by the voting public. The document may prove useful in making a detailed comparison -- for record.
The time-frame of the UPA regime was actually something that needed a detailed consideration, all right. For, it was in the second term of the Government led by Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh that India was described to have been afflicted by “policy paralysis”. In other words, nothing actually moved the manner in which it was desired or expected. Decision-making was slow and implementation down to almost zero.
That led to a terrible slow-down of developmental activity, no matter the official propaganda. Though Governments elsewhere did not say so openly, India had almost become a subject of mockery around world capitals, thanks to its lethargic approach to almost every issue that came up for consideration.
As against this, the mood and method of the Narendra Modi Government has been quite the opposite -- decisions are made fast and implemented faster. The Government appears to be in a hurry to get things done and establish a high-achievement record. ‘We do not only make plans, but also implement those. We do not just lay the foundation stone for projects, but also inaugurate the completed project within the given time,’ Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi has said time and again. The document certainly appears to bring out this difference in a pronounced manner.
The purpose of any such document is to create a permanent record of how things were and suggest a point of view on issues of importance beyond narrow time-frames. The Narendra Modi Government’s White Paper will certainly serve this purpose fully. What matters most is the sense of fulfillment which the Modi Government is enjoying on account of its general efficiency and overall approach to developmental and governmental processes.
There is no doubt that the White Paper reflects all this.
The White Paper, in other words, offers a story of how the Government functioned in the past twenty years -- divided in two segments of 10 years each (covering two tenures of the Manmohan Singh and the Narendra Modi Governments). Seen from that perspective, the importance of the exercise is immense not just from the political point of view but also for the sake of official record. It will give the people of today -- as well as those in distant future -- how things were managed at the highest level and how the country progressed under different political dispensations.
The White Paper will also have a good light thrown on the style of functioning of Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi and his team. The general sense of urgency and alertness have often marked Mr. Modi’s Government. That was rather not the case with the previous regime. The White Paper will bring this difference out clearly. For the common people, there will be a lot to learn from that document.