ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Scrutiny of the Union Government’s Performance

Price of the Modi Years by Aakar Patel, Chennai: Westland, 2021; pp vii + 488, `699.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government recently celebrated its eighth anniversary. The ruling party and its leaders, expectedly, celebrated the occasion by presenting a list of achievements of their tenure. The opposition, on the other hand, claimed that these eight years were marked by misgovernance and policy fiascos. Analysing the performance of an elected government is an important task to which quips on social media and brash television debates do not do justice. This requires detailed and time-consuming research and the courage to let the facts speak. Aakar Patel’s Price of the Modi Years is one such attempt that strives to collate and discuss facts about the tenure of Modi.

Patel’s book is a journalistic take on India’s performance under the Modi regime. The book is divided into 13 chapters, other than the introduction and the conclusion, each focusing on different aspects of the economy, policy and politics. Patel discusses wide-ranging topics, from the issues related to integrity of official data, foreign policy, role of the media, the judiciary, and other institutions. The author also discusses major policy decisions, such as demonetisation, the goods and services tax, and COVID-19 management. Patel concludes that India has witnessed a transgression on several indicators of well-being during the Modi years and argues that the reason behind this is gross mismanagement and lack of attention to detail. The author argues that the Modi ‘‘brand’’ is very different from the ‘‘product.” Patel suggests the brand Modi is popular, revered and a hit with the electorate. The product, or the performance of the Modi-led government, on the other hand, the author argues, is dismal. What then explains the dissonance between the Prime Minister’s popularity and the record on governance? Patel attributes the electoral and political success of the current ruling dispensation to the politics of identity and polarisation, which gives the leader an immunity from accountability.

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Updated On : 19th Nov, 2022
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