Expected and unexpected challenges have cropped up to test the Narendra Modi government during its first month itself. With the spectre of drought looming large, the next few months may be more testing for the government. However, despite some spurious controversies— such as the one that broke out over his junior minister’s comments about initiating consultations on Article 370 of the Constitution and the appointment of Nripendra Misra as principal secretary in the PMO that required an ordinance to change the telecom regulatory law—Modi has managed to convey a clear message that he meant business when he promised to deliver maximum governance through minimum government.
He began well by inviting the heads of SAARC countries to attend his swearing-in, thereby giving a clear message that good relations with its neighbours was India’s top priority. He gave the right signals to the bureaucrats by assuring them that he would stand by them if they took decisions in good faith and set the pace for a new work culture in the slothful bureaucracy. He took quick action on the price front. The Iraq crisis is far from over but the Modi government has shown a sincere and proactive intent to deal with it. He has set targets for his ministers for their first 100 days in office and injected a measure of accountability which was absent during the erstwhile Manmohan Singh government.
Modi’s move to express his views through a blog represents yet another break from the past and highlights his preference for using social media. Since assuming office, Modi has tweeted over 100 times. While he rues that he has not had the luxury of a honeymoon period, he will have to reconcile to shouldering the burden of public expectations. The stiff increases in rail fares and freight have got his government much flak and the general budget too is round the corner. Inflation needs to be reined in sooner than later. There indeed is much to do.