What makes Narendra Modi different?
It is obvious for anyone to ask what is different about Narendra Modi from others. When you meet him your gut feeling tells you, this man is different. But when you go beyond your gut feelings and look at the history of independent India you can list a number of objective factors that make him outstanding. Here is a leader who has both power and passion. We have seen political leaders who had visionary thinking and we have seen some leaders who had an eye for the details, but Narendra Modi can do both. While his eyes are focused on the stars his feet are firmly on the ground. Here we will make an attempt to look some his qualities which make him different and make him standout.
A mass leader:
He has reached to the people in a manner that very few politicians of India have been able to. This is not a political bondage but an emotional chord which Narendra has been able to develop with the common man. His fan following ranges from the urban intelligentsia to the rural masses, among the old and the young, men and women, within India and outside. A large number of people among the Gujarati diaspora spread across continents adore him. He has innovatively used latest technology and social media to connect with a wide range of people across India.
Obsessed with development:
There is one constant thought in Narendra Modi’s mind- development. To quote an example, just a month before the announcement of Gujarat Assembly elections a few years ago, he had undertaken visit to Switzerland to attract investments in the State. Similarly, in 2012 an election was approaching but Narendra Modi went to Japan in a visit that generated tremendous economic and cultural cooperation between Gujarat and Japan. Obviously, for a politician, getting re-elected and returning to power becomes a priority almost a year ahead of election. For Mr. Narendra Modi even during the year of election, flow of investments in the state was more important than the political work.
A scientific approach to problem solving:
The success in Gujarat is due to the approach of Narendra Modi towards any problem. First he sees the problem – not in isolation in its entirety. He spends long time in understanding the problem from all possible angles, because he knows that a problem well understood is half solved. He is an excellent listener. Then he thinks of a solution. He does not take ad hoc steps or looks for a short cut or cosmetic changes. He thinks about permanent and long term solutions with a futuristic vision and transformation from the roots. Then he works out a road map – with clear targets and milestones, objectives and monitorable indicators. It is then that he works out the implementation mechanism.
He chooses not only the right process, right agency but also the right persons. Last, but not the least, he has the capacity to monitor, and follow up. He is not a management graduate, but his wisdom and innovations surpass what is taught in management schools.
His experience of intensely traveling the length and breadth of country in general and in Gujarat as CM makes him understand the problems at the grass-root level and his global exposure as the party general secretary and wide reading give him the right perspective and vision to find solutions to these problems.
Projects with massive impact:
As a strategist he can think of and implement projects at a very fast pace, the results of which have been seen in Gujarat. At times he looks impatient to see the results. While in the rest of the country interlinking of rivers is still an issue under debate, he has successfully inter linked a dozen rivers of the state with a result that water can be seen flowing in the rivers which had dried long back. Similarly laying down 300 Kms. long spread canal in just three years and making water available to the hitherto water scarce parts of the state under Sujalam Sufalam, laying down 56599 K.M. of new transmission lines and 12621 transformers across 18,000 plus villages and 9,681 hamlet-suburbs in just 30 months under Jyotigram, creating statewide water and gas grids, connecting all the villages through broad band under e-gram vishwa gram are all examples of fast implementation of projects of massive scale.
Big and small, both are beautiful:
A master at visualizing and implementing large multi million projects, he does not ignore smaller solutions and local technologies either. He says: “Science should be global, but technology local’ In the water sector, he popularized local solutions like bori bands (putting sand and stones in empty gunny bags and checking the water flow through such bags) and farm ponds. While he looks forward to global expertise in seminars during Vibrant Gujarat Summits, also encourages and respects the experiments and experience of local farmers, accepts suggestions from government employees and regards ideas and opinions given by common man through hundreds of emails and letters that he receives daily.
Separating administration from Politics:
He is an objective decision maker. He does not mix political requirement with administration prudence. Even after being reminded of political consequences of an administrative decision he takes the side of objectivity. This is what helped Gujarat administration standing up on its feet and working with professionalism and as per global best practices. A good number of organizations of Gujarat Government have bagged ISO certification which is normally not a requirement for the state machinery.
Understanding the pulse of people:
Mr. Modi belongs to backward caste and hails from a backward region of his home state of Gujarat. In his young age, he faced several problems which a common man faces, particularly problems relating to water and electricity. Having got an opportunity to do something on these fronts, he has aggressively and strategically planned and designed systems to take a call and solve these problems.
All inclusive growth:
He is often criticized for paying more attention on major industrial and infrastructure development and over looking backward regions and backward sections. There can not be a bigger fallacy than this. When he implements Jyotigram Yojana across the state, he does not choose particular area or particular section, it is all inclusive. When he lays state wide gas grid they are not taken to a particular part of the society, they are all inclusive. Announcement of major schemes like Van Bandhu Yojna, Sagar Khedu Yojna, Garib Samrudhi Yojna, UMEED are targeted particularly towards the disadvantaged people; but even these schemes do not exclude any other section of the society of the regions. He works for 55 million Gujaratis.
People’s participation in administration and development:
Having grown up and worked among people, he firmly believes that people are the real change agents. He says that the real fruits of any developmental programme can be cherished if it is converted into a Jan aandolan- people’s movement instead of government’s development programme per se. In a lighter vein he says “Is there a Government resolution directing people to assemble at temples at midnight on Janmashtmi ?”
He therefore, involves people in development programmes, as a strategy. The success story of creation of lakhs of water harvesting structures across the state and Krishsi Mahostavs and Kanya Kelvani Yatra for girl child education in Gujarat can be counted as classic examples of his capacity for converting Government Schemes in to mass movements with people’s participation.
Making Governance easier, effective and transparent:
He has been saying “Least governance is the best governance”. With this objective he has used information technology to make the administrative processes simple and effective. The state which has been nowhere in ITES & e-governance in 2001 is now rated as the best e-governed state. This is not to benefit Information technology industries but to make life of common man comfortable while he deals with the government. One-day-governance centres have been set up in most of the important offices of the state, which provide documents and certificates in unimaginably faster time. Now he is taking a step forward with computerization of all the Village Panchayats and with broad band connectivity. E-governance renders transparency too.
Policy driven governance:
Narendra says that “My government does not run on whims and wishes of any individual. Our progress is reforms driven , our reforms are policy driven and our policies are people driven” This approach gives his officers a clear cut direction, confidence to take appropriate and quick decisions and lends transparency and uniformity in the system.
Redressal of Grievances:
Common man’s grievances are being attended to with utmost sincerity. His personal involvement in attending to the grievances through Gujarat’s ‘SWAGAT’ programme, that has set the right tone and sent a message across the machinery. He has not only ensured that the administrative machinery deals with such grievances objectively and sincerely, the systems to physically ensure the same have been set up with use of modern technology. The underlying philosophy is that not the Chief Minister alone but the entire machinery should be made responsive and accountable to such grievances of the people.
Narendra Modi has shown novel ways to address several problems facing the people and administration which the experts in administration and management could not think of all these years.
Undertaking post earthquake reconstruction by involving peoples’ committees and involving the officers in the post earthquake reconstruction as sensitized individuals rather than rule bound officers is the first example of his novel approach experienced by the state. Other examples include using modern tools to expedite administration of justice like video conferencing between courts and convicts in the jails, setting up Evening Courts and Nari Adalats, creation of people’s committees to manage water resource allocated for drinking and irrigation purpose, Chiranjeevi yojana (tying up with private gynecologists for delivery of BPL women), roaming ration cards, soil health card and many more.
Nothing for himself:
People who are in power are often charged with nepotism and favourtism which they do to their relatives. Narendra Modi is far away from any such charge. He also enjoys an image of fairness and integrity which in the process make him over look his own personal interests and those of his near and dear ones. It can be perceived as a negative trait in the personality of a common man but for a statesman, it contributes to the society. Even his worst critics accept the fact that the extent of corruption in the state machinery has gone down at all levels.
As per the norms, gifts received by Narendra Modi in his capacity as the Chief Minister are to be deposited in toshakhana, they are then auctioned and proceeds deposited in state’s treasury. Not only this, he found a novel way for utilization of these funds. The proceeds are diverted to Kanya Kelvani Nidhi, a fund dedicated for education of girl child. The result is that, influenced by such a dedication of their beloved leader, the people now felicitate him cheques worth lakhs of rupees for the fund.
Doing things differently:
The model of Governance which Narendra Modi has evolved in Gujarat is based upon performance not appeasement. When it came to fixing rational electricity charges, he went by the professional advice given by the Electricity Regulatory Commission. Even in the midst of farmers agitation, he did not buckle. Instead he assured the farmers that he understands their requirements. They need water too and not only electricity. In the following years, he implemented surface water schemes like Sujalam Suflam. Now the farmers can get water for irrigation in much lesser costs because the water tables have risen up. A large number of encroachments were removed during the Urban Year. A large number of electricity thefts have been caught and people booked. No agitations and no bad blood. People know that its for them in the long run. There are several such examples. His objectivity and professionalism, personal integrity and empathy for the common man separate him from other politicians of the country and the world. His conviction of purpose and sincerity have made him popular leader not only in the State of Gujarat but also in the country. Adjudged as the Best Chief Minister of the country for the fourth year in a row and also the chief minister with longest tenure in Gujarat, he has proved that “Good Governance is also Good Politics”. Not only that, he has been a trend setter in the paradigm shift from appeasement politics to developmental politics.
These are some of the traits that make Narendra Modi different and a change India eagerly awaits!