Millennium Post

Modi, Deng: Two of a kind

Modi, Deng: Two of a kind
He portrayed himself as Marxist-Leninist as a man of revolution. But, as a reformer, he opposed Mao’s egalitarianism and upstaged economic reforms with foreign capital.

Close on the heels, Mr Modi’s leadership is characterized by two factors. His charisma spurs as a man of honest swadeshi for better governance and at the same time, is characterized by fervent admirer of foreign capital to develop a modern economy. He portrayed himself as a man of economic reforms and a believer in socio-economic development through free economy. He opposed UPA’s ideology of development of economy through subsidy.

He believed that merely drawing road map for reform on the drawing board is not enough to give a real shape to the economy. Wary of UPA‘s failure, let down by the archaic bureaucracy at the implementation stage, he preferred to invoke administrative reforms before he upstaged the economic reforms. He banished administrative bungling which stifled the economic growth. He instilled a sense of urgency, holding the bureaucrats accountable, which the country never seen before. Immediately after becoming Prime Minster he issued 11 point directives. These laid stress on efficient and speedy decision making in a transparent manner. All departments were asked to reduce decision making to a maximum of  four layers.

In China, it was rigid ideology which stifled economic development. In India , it was bureaucracy which throttled the growth.

In late 1978, China ordered three 747s from Boeing Company, USA. In the same year, Coca –Cola set up its first factory in China. Modi’s lure for foreign investment began with inviting Suzuki Motor Company of Japan and other MNCs in Gujarat. He was the first Chief Minister to invite China to invest in Gujarat, despite China was glitched by security concern. His China craze spurred when Minister for Department of Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman signed MOU with her counterpart in China to set up industrial parks. He jumpstarted his FDI lure as Prime Minister when Finance Minister Arun Jaitley raised the FDI cap from 26 percent to 49 percent in insurance.

In 1979, China under Deng concluded that its legal system was insufficient and they were the abuses of Cultural Revolution. Accordingly, the Ministry of Justice was re-established. State judiciary courts were re-opened. Party leaders were enthused with the hope that strengthening of judiciary systems would protect the people which was lacking during Cultural Revolution. China invited well known lawyers from USA, Mr Alan Dershowitz, to give lectures on the law.

Modi revisited bureaucratic tangles, germinated by complicated and multiple laws. Under his 11 point directives, he asked the bureaucrats to weed out the files and papers, seeking unnecessary information and clear the projects within specified time, which were hitherto embroiled into inordinate delays. He asked to overrule the rules which were redundant.

As a drive to establish an era of a modern economy, injecting western culture of open economy, China under Mr. Deng Xiaoping sent students to foreign countries to study at the government expenses. In 1984, China adopted Patent Law. Religious freedom were restored. Nine hundred Protestant churches and ninety Catholic churches reopened. During Mao’s period, few members of the Party had formal education. Only twenty five percent of the Party members were college graduates. By 1984, half of the Party’s rank and file members were college graduates.

Around 180 newly elected BJP MPs were sent for training for improving their performance in the Parliament. The workshop imparted training to the first-time MPs on how to utilize services best in the interest of public. The curriculum included how to put good questions and what kind of urgent questions should be asked during Zero hour. They were given lessons on their public conduct
 Under Deng, free economy became the pivot for the growth of manufacturing activities. Demand and Supply became the ruling force for price determination. In 1985, price controls on several manufacturing items were done away. Industries could fire people more easily under Deng regime, which was almost prohibited under Mao.

Modi government eyed for a major overhaul of labour laws in the country. The noted economist, Dr Arvind Panagarya, a close Modi confidant, advocated the changes in the archaic Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, which will help in loosening the strict rules of firing. The Labour Ministry officials have begun preliminary works, talking with concerned government departments and labour unions.

Under Deng, Special Economic Zone (SEZ) became the main tool for advancement of economy. This was necessary to access to foreign capital and have spurting growth in the economy on export base. Four SEZs were set up during Deng regime. Thereafter, fourteen SEZs were set up in China. Mr Modi realized that SEZs could be the tool for growth in industrial production and export. In the Budget for 2014-15, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was emphatic for the revival of SEZs. 

In 1980, Mr Deng put the ‘Gang of Four’ on trial to ensure that the country was returning to the rule of law and asserted that the country needs fresh blood in the party for the reforms. Mr Modi juggled the opportunities to get rid of old BJP patriarch. He accomplished his desire by refusing Cabinet berth to old BJP members and appointed Mr Amit Shah as the BJP President. This ended the Delhi coterie of ‘Gang of Three’ – Mr. L.K. Advani, Mr Murli Manohar Joshi and Mrs Sushma Swaraj – who failed to deliver in two elections in 2004 and 2009.

Therefore, it will not be overreaching to infer that Mr Modi is stepping into the shoes of Mr Deng Xiaoping to bring second big reforms in the country after 1991. Mr Modi resorted to a comprehensive reforms to give better shape to the economy through better governance and economic reforms. In 1991, the country witnessed unbundling of License Raj, but without infusing administrative reforms.

This resulted the return of Babu ghost, which crippled the reforms. This time, under Modi, economic reforms will be accompanied by governance.                                                                           IPA

Subrata Majumder

Subrata Majumder

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