Modi can’t fix India’s gaps by himself

Source:Global Times Published: 2014-5-25 23:53:01

Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is sworn in as the 15th Prime Minister of India on Monday. His win has been endowed with transformative significance by public opinion both at home and abroad. India's economy is expected to embark on a road of reform and Modi will promote infrastructure development as he did when serving as chief minister of Gujarat for 12 years, which has become a strong aspiration of India's mainstream society.

Such an aspiration is based on the facts listed below. First, the BJP has won the biggest general election victory in India for two decades. Not only has Modi taken up the post of prime minister but the party itself has also comfortably made up a majority in the Lok Sabha. Therefore, the new government is thought to possess unprecedented power. Apart from this, Modi's success in Gujarat has greatly encouraged Indian society and the public pin their hopes on Modi to apply his experience in managing the far western state to governing the whole nation.

The result of the election has infused unprecedented confidence in India's society, bringing about a buoyant stock market and an increasing exchange rate of Indian rupees to US dollars. That the most influential groups of India are talking about him is certainly valuable for a large developing country.

Meanwhile, a general election will not change India but only serve as a good beginning at most. Skeptics and prudent observers have listed a great deal of issues largely untouched in the election. For instance, they hold that India is blighted with an astonishing wealth gap, deep-seated social differentiation, severely insufficient industrialization, the absence of a momentous social revolution, and a stringent caste system.

Many say that there are two Indias in reality, the India of the elite and the India of the masses. It seems that the two Indias can open up to each other in the Parliament but they are almost isolated at the grass-roots level.

The real challenge facing New Delhi is that its good economic plan lacks a solid social foundation.

Though India boasts a population nearly as the same size as that of China, its electricity output is just one fifth of China's.

Due to the highly decentralized politics of New Delhi, a prime minister with economic ambitions is far from enough by himself. India needs to make up for a number of gaps by measures from road building to literacy campaigns.

Modi must spare no effort to create a lever to govern an Indian society that is fraught with myriad conflicts. This will test his ability to metamorphose from a local minister into a national leader.

Currently there's no sign that Modi will take a tough attitude toward China and making a smooth transition in India's peripheral foreign policies will be the first test for his governing capacity.

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