Is Narendra Modi believable
India's Prime Minister ModiHope bearers in the criticism
Disappointment. That is a word that is used over and over again in India these days when it comes to the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. These young Indians in a fashionable shopping center in the south of New Delhi also expected more from Modi. They are all young, middle-class and have chosen Modi because they promised decisive economic reforms.
"Inflation is high, the economy is not doing better either. Nothing has changed since he was in government," says one. One of the bystanders nods violently.
"Business is still bad here. The only thing Modi can do is make big speeches. That's why he was elected."
And a third adds: "I had such high expectations. But it didn't change anything. I was so hoping for educational reforms. And now I'm afraid that my children will be poorly educated."
Hartosh Singh Bal agrees with the young men, Singh Bal is a political analyst in New Delhi and a welcome guest on Indian talk shows.
"If you look closely at the past year, you will find that the Indian economy is positioned exactly as it was under the previous government. There were a lot of PR slogans, a lot of talk, but no real reforms."
"Comes and produced in India"
Singh Bal believes that Modi was still lucky. His predecessors from the Congress Party stood for mismanagement and crisis. Modi, on the other hand, benefits from the fact that the oil price has fallen, and also from the fact that the markets in Europe are flooded with money, so that many financial investors are also investing in India. Modi has launched a major campaign to attract entrepreneurs from all over the world to India. He wants to turn India into an industrial nation. The Prime Minister announced the appropriate slogan last summer: "Come and produce in India," he called into the microphone. Most recently, Modi made a stop on his advertising tour at the industrial fair in Hanover. "Promoting foreign investment is a task for all of us, for 1.25 billion Indians. This is a huge opportunity for corporations. My appeal to foreign investors is: Let us develop India."
In fact, the PR campaign has improved India's reputation - at least among foreign corporate executives. There should be less bureaucracy, less corruption, better infrastructure, a hundred so-called intelligent cities planned from the drawing board, more uniform taxes, India should become cleaner - all of these are promises that Modi emphasizes again and again. But even here there is a lack of substance, says Hartosh Singh Bal.
"What should 'Make in India' actually mean? And what does the reality actually look like? What kind of reforms are these that could make India an industrial location? And how do we ensure that we create enough jobs? There is no clear one Target size. "
One thing is clear: India has a young population, 50 percent of Indians are under 25 years old. Twelve million people flock to the job market every year. Modi sells that as a huge benefit. But to do this, he quickly needs companies that build new factories. Otherwise the so-called demographic dividend could become a demographic nightmare. Even Modi himself said this when he launched the Make in India campaign and reached out to India's most powerful business leaders:
"Well, if you as an industrialist think India is a big market - have you also considered that there must be people in this market who can buy your products? What if we don't manage to give our citizens more purchasing power Then all the great opportunities that India offers would be gone. "
Toilets instead of temples
Modi comes from a poor background. That is why he appears credible when he wants to turn poor people into consumers or when he emphasizes that building millions of toilets is more important than building temples. In India, 600 million people have no toilets. In his speeches he addresses many sore points, including the countless cases of violence against women - in his speech to the nation on Independence Day he stated:
"Parents, worried, ask their daughters who want to go out, where are you going? But do they ask their sons too? A rapist is always a son of some family. But we parents only ask our daughters, why not our sons too?"
But even so, Modi's government has not followed up words with deeds. Although the United Nations has called on India to finally make marital rape a criminal offense, the government refuses to comply. The marriage was "holy", it was said to justify. In India, too, most cases of violence against women originate from husbands or relatives.
And as far as Modi's environmental policy is concerned, he mainly focuses on his "Clean up the Ganges" and "Clean up India" campaigns, for which he himself picked up the broom for the photographers. His environment minister, on the other hand, called the dangerous air pollution in Delhi "old hat". The many alarming reports in the Indian media are part of a controlled campaign that aims to slow down India's development.
But Modi has a fundamental problem: He cannot govern. In the upper house, similar to the German Bundesrat, he does not have a majority. To do this, Modi would have to win a few more state elections, and that will become difficult as his voters' impatience grows, believes Hartosh Singh Bal.
"Instead of working with the opposition, he rules autocratically. He could have implemented some important reforms if he had sought consensus."
In New Delhi, the capital, Modi's BJP party not only missed a majority in the state elections in February - it even suffered a crushing defeat. An anti-corruption party that had long been written off, the "Little Man's Party", achieved a sensational 67 out of 70 seats in Delhi's parliament. A few weeks later, thousands of farmers protested on the streets of the capital against a land reform that Modi really wants to implement for his infrastructure projects. Modi wants to make it easier for investors to acquire land for factories or highways. Farmers fear that they will be expropriated or at least not adequately compensated. In the Indian parliament, in which Modi has a clear majority, the new land law was passed. But the reform is currently blocked in the House of Lords.
But Modi's own party, the BJP, is also sitting on Modi's neck, which primarily represents the interests of the Hindus, who make up the majority in India. Hardliners also gather in the BJP. The youth organization RSS, in which Modi's career also began, is considered to be right-wing and "Hindu nationalist". There were attacks on churches and mosques, anti-Muslim campaigns, and fears that it could be difficult for minorities in what is actually colorful India, where the coexistence of religions is a tradition. Many Indians blame the right-wing forces in the BJP for this. Modi himself has meanwhile made it clear that he rejects intolerance. Because the Prime Minister knows very well how important it is for his economic policy that India enjoys a good reputation. The headlines about burning houses of worship disrupt the "Make in India" campaign.
Many Indians have not yet given up the hope they put in Modi. Just like these young students:
"I think there is something going on here. And I like Modi for it. He does a good job," says a young textile design student. And her fellow student adds: "It's ridiculous to rate him so harshly after a year. I think foreign companies will come to India. One year is too short to take stock. After all, we elected him for five years . "
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