Modi's achhe din are as real as his degree

Kamal Mitra Chenoy
Kamal Mitra ChenoyMay 07, 2016 | 14:49

Modi's achhe din are as real as his degree

The summer of discontent is upon us. There is a terrible drought because of the poor monsoon in 2015. This year, apart from the drought, there are many forest fires in Uttarakhand and high food inflation.

The furore over the AgustaWestland helicopter deal, which was never finalised, has been overtaken by the Rafale fighter deal at $50 million per plane. With PM Modi's intervention, 36 aircrafts were agreed upon, but there was no agreement on the price, which was substantially higher than that of competitors including Russian and Swedish aircraft.

The coup de grace was the relative silence about the Panama Papers scandal examined by an International Consortium of Journalists, for which PM Modi sidelined the Enforcement Directive which he considered slow, to be replaced by 15 picked persons.

There is a terrible drought because of the poor monsoon last year.

Though Amitabh Bachchan claimed that four foreign offshore investments in his name were fraudulently stated, no action at any stage has been taken with clear results leading to a major return of black money to India.

It should be remembered that the PM had promised a lot more black money while campaigning for election.

The promise of massive job creation has also turned out to be hollow. Barely one lakh jobs have been created leading to increasing unemployment. Even in the education sector costs have risen greatly. The annual fee of Rs 90,000 at IITs of has been increased to Rs 2 lakh, a more than 100 per cent increase.

The emphasis in education was supposed to be on nation building but now has become profit for the institution, and a waning dream for the less privileged. Education for the rich? To be followed by foreign universities coming into India.

Countries like the UK do not give student visas the way they did earlier. Their fees for Indian students are much higher than those of foreign students in India are likely to be.

More seriously many of these decisions have been taken without any public debate. India subsidising foreign education? Is this a core aim of Bharat Mata?

What about economic growth? The government initially spoke of a over 7 per cent growth rate. This is likely to fall because of widespread drought and excess demand for an underfunded MGNREGA, where there is excess demand for rural employment, with rural wage payments coming in more than a month late on the average, despite finance minister Arun Jaitley's earlier predictions.

Late wage payments often lead to the rural poor migrating to other areas, where they do not get the official minimum wage rates, thereby weakening the entire edifice of subsidised rural employment.

HRD minister Smriti Irani's degree certificates have been missing for three years.

Nobel laureate Angus Deaton argues that India's growth rate is likely to be significantly less than predicted for reasons given above.

On the other hand because of unpaid excess rural demand, poverty is likely to rise. It is perhaps time to question the jettisoning of the Planning Commission, and it's replacement by the skeletal NITI Aayog. Not all new changes are for the better.

Can the NITI Aayog immediately collect all the data for the impact of drought in Gujarat where less than 50 per cent of the population have access to the Narmada Dam water? Where has the much ballyhooed Narmada water flooding the dry plains of Gujarat gone? No plausible official explanation is forthcoming.

Shocking or amusing is the "education of politicians" story.

According to the Delhi University, HRD minister Smriti Irani's degree certificates have been missing for three years. Irani has no explanation why she does not have copies of her own BA certificates. If she lost them, why didn't she apply for replacements?

An education minister who can't look after her own educational certificates? Of course, she did claim after a week's visit to Yale University, that she had got a Yale degree.

Even PM Modi's degrees have caused surprise. His MA degree is on "Entire Political Science"! What does that even mean? There is no "Incomplete Political Science"! His father's name on the duplicate degree is also wrongly spelled, but that is a relatively minor issue, since spelling mistakes are known to occur.

Journalists in Gujarat are eagerly awaiting information on PM Modi's BA degree. All this became possible because Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi CM appealed to the CIC for information.

As the Chinese would say, we are in for "interesting times."

Last updated: May 10, 2016 | 18:50
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