Narendra Modi’s relentless pushing for his ‘Gujarat model of development’ might have many cheerleaders amongst the business classes and the corporate bosses, but it might just have few takers when it comes to the political and governing classes of India. The Gujarat CM, who’s outshining everyone else within the political firmament with the million-watt incandescence of his high-impact rhetoric on ‘less government, more governance’, is preaching from the pulpit of his efficiency-oriented managerial methods of governance, which he now wants to impose on rest of India. It might be rather charitable of himself, according to Modi, but the fact remains that such superimposition of corporatised practices might not bode well for the democratic and pseudo-federal fabric of our ‘secular’ state. Although, Modi’s Gujarat model of development has been really successful in his home turf, the bitter truth is that all that growth and advancement have been erected on bloodied foundations of the 2002 pogrom. In addition, Modi’s ironhanded dealings with the workers’ unions within his own state could be seen a striking parallel of the unceremonious way in which Muslims have been treated in Gujarat under his chief ministership.
Though economic reform measures at the Centre with an explicit emphasis on trade and industry, along with deregulation at state level, considerably benefitted Gujarat, whole-scale and extensive deregulation, as often offered up by Modi as a panacea for all the fiscal health problems of India, is not the right way to go. In a multilevel federal democracy, the state represents the middle level between the central government and the local bodies. Whole scale deregulation has the potential to rob the local bodies from reaping the benefits of an effective reform process, that is both free from the clutches of bureaucratic inefficiency, as well as from the profit-mongering sharks of private sector, which usually have the tendency to monopolise and wipe out competition. Immoderate deregulation in mineral rich states such as Bihar, Chattisgarh, West Bengal and Odisha can lead to severe environmental and habitat damage, as is evident from the bauxite mining scams perpetrated by transnational corporations in two of these states. Further, giving foreign direct investment a free hand and divesting the crucial public sector units can render Indian economy highly vulnerable to the shocks and awe of the global financial turbulences. Ironically enough, the domestic industry considers the Left bastion as a safety valve from the onslaught of supergiant multinational corporations, that have already gobbled up several of the painstakingly homegrown industries, particularly in the textile and pharmaceutical sectors. While no politically aware citizen can condone Congress-led UPA’s mai baap culture of doling out pre-election sops, a zany voter and a would-be entrepreneur knows that Modi’s growth story has shunned out many equally legitimate beneficiaries of India’s development.