But to endure his success as an orator par excellence, he is someone who takes honest feedback in the right earnest.
Having delivered an unusually long I-Day speech in 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi almost cut by half the duration of his speech today. That didn’t though prevent it from being yet another power packed performance.
As he delivered his shortest I-Day speech (55 minutes), Modi signaled that he is a good listener too having favourably received criticism over the duration of his speech last year.
But did the cut in duration this time result in him missing out on some key issues facing the nation?
He by and large stuck to his script: Kashmir, demonetization, GST, apart from his favourite themes like Swachh and Swastha Bharat, did get a fair play.
Yes, he did allude to #NewIndia by #2022 riding on aspiration and power of millennial India.
There though might be a reason for disappointment at India Inc for meriting almost no exclusive mention in the speech. Modi’s signature projects like Make in India, Ease of Doing Business, and Digital India didn’t find any mention (not even in terms of their success so far).
The argument in favour of skipping them might be that these flagship schemes are already up and running. But given their intrinsic linkage to employment potential in India sharing a review with the nation might have been in order.
The Modi government in 2014 raised tremendous hopes on mitigating the job scenario. Three years down the line this remains a key challenge, especially if India were to not allow its demographic dividend slip into a demographic liability.
Prime Minister remained silent on two key transformative schemes – Startup India and Stand up India. Again, both these schemes are linked to harnessing the demographic dividend.
He did allude to his favourite mantra – we need job creators and not just job seekers – but a review and a definitive road map ahead would have perhaps instilled greater confidence in restless young India.
Prime Minister is absolutely right in his vision when he says that India needs to build the entrepreneurial spirit to realize its full potential. But such ambitious projects (underlined in his landmark initiative Startup India) need to be accorded top most priority in terms of execution (from initiative to finitiative).
The huge positive push evident in posting three ministers to drive the Micro, Small and Medium Ministry (MSME) has yet to bear full dividends. Good in intent but the ground reality has to be mapped in the context of two big ticket political economy decisions that seem to have rattled (at least in the short run) the fledgling small business space in the country.
The big business non-performing assets drag has unfortunately cast its ugly shadow on small business as well, making it yearn for funds as never before. The advent of demonetization and GST (both historic economic reforms in the medium and long term) also has had a negative short term impact on the small business sector.
A word of encouragement recognizing the role the small business can play in shaping up the overall economic growth vision of the country during his I-Day speech would have probably helped improve the ground sentiment.
But having seen this government’s resolve to get the SMB sector off the ground, there is no doubt that Modi would leave no stone unturned to make this happen.
Actually, what matters most is policy intent and action on the ground, rather than a mere cosmetic sentiment playing slogan.
#NewIndia envisioned by the Modi government has to see small and medium business as a key plank for achieving the twin objective of generating employment, entrepreneurship and energy to the overall economy.
Image Courtesy: PIB