The India That Might Have Been (Part 6)

India Rising

By the end of the first year, the engine of prosperity had started humming. The elimination of hundreds of regulations and high taxes unleashed the long suppressed entrepreneurial energy of Indians. The virtuous cycle of prosperity and poverty reduction started kicking in. The dependency of people on the government reduced; they realised that their future was in their hands. The Indian Dream was born; hard work could create a better life in a few years. This was a big change from years of dependency on government handouts, which while it gave immediate relief had led to long-term stagnation.

As Prime Minister, he became the communicator-in-chief. He travelled across the nation, selling his idea of New India with his Nayi Disha agenda. Freedom was a new phenomenon for most and took some getting used to. “You mean I don’t have to ask for permission? I don’t need a licence?” was a common refrain he heard. Every such comment brought a smile to his face. He listened to those who were fearful of the changes and told them that the cost of freebies the government had handed out all these decades had been their future. They had paid for every free grain and drop of water – many times over. The “perpetually planned poverty” schemes of the government only kept the politicians and their parties in power; they did not enrich the people.

Through his regular explainer videos on social media, frequent press conferences and weekly town halls wherever he went, he got the key message across: We are going to leave you alone, so you can get rich. This was counterintuitive to a nation used to being commanded from the top. And yet, as people everywhere have shown, when left free they rise and prosper. Incentives work, and there was no greater motivation than creating a better tomorrow for themselves.

Day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, he hacked away at anything and everything that came in the way of freedom and prosperity. He wanted a second-term to ensure that the revolution kept going and the good work of the past five years was not undone. When elections came in 2019, his simple questions to people were: Are you better off now than you were five years ago? Do you want to go back to the bad ways of the past which caged you or do you want to stay free and get rich? The resounding success in the elections gave him the answer.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.

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