How PM Modi failed to prove 'hard work' is better than 'Harvard'

Ashok Upadhyay
Ashok UpadhyaySep 21, 2017 | 18:40

How PM Modi failed to prove 'hard work' is better than 'Harvard'

There are people who think hard and then there are people who work hard. And both are equally important and make equal contribution to the society.

A theoretical physicist can think up solutions and can come up with theories and answers for the engineers to build their machines. But, sadly, there is also a third type - people who do not care for either, people who believe in building castles in the air, who do not care too much about the truth as long as there is enough hype. And it's that hype which justifies their existence.


At an election rally in Maharajganj, during the last Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took a dig at the critics of demonetisation - mainly Mamnohan Singh and P Chidambaram. 

He said, "Well-known intellectuals from Harvard and Oxford, who have been at key positions in the Indian economic system, had said the GDP would go down by 2 per cent, some others said it would go down by 4 per cent."

Without naming anyone, he went on to say, "On one hand, there are these intellectuals who talk about Harvard, and on the other, there is this son of a poor mother, who is trying to change the economy of the country through hard work." Without elaborating, Modi said, "In fact, hard work is much more powerful than Harvard."  

Former finance minister P Chidambaram did his MBA from Harvard Business School in the class of 1968, while former PM Mamnohan Singh, an economist, obtained his doctorate from the University of Oxford.


Modi made his comment because of two reasons. Firstly, India’s Central Statistical Office at that time stunned many critics of demonetisation by declaring that India’s economy grew by 7 per cent in the three months ending December, despite the note ban shock.


Secondly, speaking in the Rajya Sabha on November 24, 2016, Manmohan Singh dubbed the demonetisation exercise "organised loot and legalised plunder". Globally respected as an economist, the former PM cautioned that demonetisation could bring down India’s GDP growth by a massive two percentage points.

However, RBI data indicates that demonetisation has failed to flush out black money. Nearly 99 per cent of the scrapped notes have re-entered the country’s monetary system. Latest data released by the government, shows GDP growth during April-June slumped to a three-year low of 5.7 per cent from 7.9 per cent in the same period a year ago. It was 6.1 per cent in January-March.

On September 18, speaking to CNBC-TV 18 on the country's GDP growth, Manmohan Singh said, "Both demonetisation and the GST have had some impact. Both would affect the informal sector, the small scale sector. The sectors today are responsible for 40 per cent of GDP." 

Today, Indian economy is in bad shape. Savings are being ruined. Jobs are down, growth is down, investment is down and exports are down. So far it seems Manmohan Singh is having the last laugh.

But this is not the first time when "Harvard" seems to have edged out "hard work". On May 26, 2014, when the Narendra Modi government came to power, the price of the Indian basket of crude oil was at $108.05 per barrel. It fell by around 60 per cent to $43.36 per barrel by January 14, 2015.


In 2015, Modi’s rivals, particularly the Congress, said that Modi is plain lucky as the prices have come down.

In February 2015, while addressing a public rally for the BJP for the Delhi Assembly election, Prime Minister Modi sought a majority for the BJP by presenting himself as a “lucky” person as he ridiculed his rivals for giving all credit for his “successes”.

Mocking his rivals, Modi said, “Ok, let’s accept that I am lucky, but you have saved money. If Modi’s luck is benefitting the people, what can be more fortunate? If because of my good luck, prices of petrol and diesel get reduced and common man saves more, then where is the need for bringing someone who is unlucky?”

Here too he was hitting out at his predecessor, who he often holds responsible for many ills of country. 

Two years later, PM Modi’s luck seems to have taken reverse turn. His government has dealt a blow to the common man by increasing the Central Excise duty 11 times in past 3.5 years - 133.47 per cent on petrol and 400.86 per cent on diesel. While the international crude pil prices have come down by more than 52 per cent since Modi took over, petrol prices in India are at a three-year high. Does this mean PM Modi’s luck is no longer benefitting the people or his government is not letting the people reap its advantage?

The question is if the PM Modi's luck is of no use to his people - how much longer will the people allow his luck to be of use to him and his party only?

Last updated: April 29, 2018 | 18:08
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