The India That Might Have Been (Part 7)

The Second Term

For him, the second term as Prime Minister was more about playing defence than offence. The changes had been done; it was about ensuring that they continued. The freedom he had brought to the people was still fragile; it had to be deepened and become ingrained. This needed time. Another five years and the memories of a mai-baap sarkar would be history. People would never again warm to a government that interfered in their lives and businesses.

Early in the second-term came the crisis that shook the world. Covid started raging through countries. Even as many nations shut down, he decided that any national lockdown would be disastrous for people, especially the poorest. He advised the elderly to exercise caution and shelter at home, and everyone else get on with their lives. With a population not willing to break the economic momentum that they were seeing for the first time in their lives, the people went about their lives with confidence in the healthcare system.

He could not stop all deaths and the successive virus waves. At times, some parts of the country were overwhelmed with medical emergencies. But he did not let the wheels of the economy stop because he knew that a restart and return to the status quo would be disastrous. The growth story was still fragile and any rash actions could set Indians back by a few years. The pandemic put a brief pause but did not substantially reverse the growth momentum. His belief in people was borne out. By letting people make their decisions, he had resisted calls for unilateral actions that would have devastated lives and livelihoods. The nation emerged stronger post the pandemic – the open economy ensured more investments and jobs.

After the pandemic subsided, he began looking ahead to ensure that the momentum of economic freedom was not lost. While per capita income had doubled in his first term and was on track to double again in the second term, India had a long way to go to catch up with the rich nations. Prosperity needed to reach every family. He restarted his travels and continued educating people, especially the young. They were going to be the builders of the New India; their work had just commenced. They needed to understand the power of freedom and markets. They needed to believe that tomorrow will be better than today. There was no room for complacency. The hard work ethic needed to continue even as incomes rose. Even as the age of superabundance beckoned, it would be the actions of Indian entrepreneurs that would create the “exponential” future.

The 2024 election victory had been a foregone conclusion. Indians had responded to their freedom. Innovations and new technologies built on each other, creating a better life for all. No one now looked at the government for anything other than keeping them safe and their borders protected – which is what it should have always been. Indians knew the world they were creating would lay the foundation for great prosperity and mass flourishing in the years to come, and no one wanted to change drivers mid-course. As a two-term Prime Minister, he had delivered on the agenda he had set out ten years ago. The electoral mandate was his for the taking.

Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.

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