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An Insider's View Of The Modi Tenure

The Modi magic; The Rafale saga all over again and how the World Bank gears up to cope with climate change concerns

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Narendra Modi has probably been a publisher’s delight for the unique selling quotient of tomes bearing his name and profile on their cover. Views on the Prime Minister swing from  those drenched in cynicism (like Congress leader Shashi Tharoor’s The Paradoxical Prime Minister – Narendra Modi and his India, or S. Nihal Singh’s The Modi Myth) to those dripping adulation (Narendra Modi – The Man. The Times by Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay and The Man of the Moment – Narendra Modi by M. V. Kamath). Some impartial viewpoints do exist, penned by aloof outsiders like the British writers Lance Price (The Modi Effect – Inside Narendra Modi’s Campaign to Transform India) and Andy Marino (Narendra Modi: A Political Biography).

As the Modi government prepares to seek a mandate for a second term, comes an insider’s view of its tenure (Narendra Modi – Creative Disruptor – The Maker of  New India). Author R. Balashankar, is a former Editor of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) mouthpiece, Organiser and a former convenor of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Intellectual Cell. A political activist though he is, the author’s credentials as a commentator are extremely strong, as an academic, journalist and columnist. So let us presume that he knows what he is talking about when he says, “For both Modi and the Opposition, the electoral battle for 2019 will be more difficult than the one they fought in 2014”. That election was easier for the BJP because Modi was like a “whiff of fresh air” in a political quagmire of  “family fiefdom” and corruption, writes Balashankar. But the moot question is: will the Modi magic work again?  
— Madhumita Chakraborty

The Rafale Saga All Over Again
A report in The Hindu saying that the Defence Ministry (MOD) had written to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) complaining of “parallel negotiations” with the French over the Rafale deal, now rekindles the  controversy over the €7.87 billion pact for the fighter jet. The report raises questions over the government’s plea in the Supreme Court, where it had categorically denied gerrymandering the deal.

The MoD had not been able to close the deal over a decade, necessitating revoking of the clause on strategic partnership in an intergovernmental process. The Chief of Air Staff,   Air Marshal B. S. Dhanoa, has said that the IAF, which is the end user, had been part of  ‘‘the process of the negotiation”. The PMO simply tried to close the deal before Prime Minister Modi’s visit to France. The MoD’s concerns about the negotiations (sans middlemen), therefore, sound like little more than the usual bickering within the bureaucracy.    
— Manish Kumar Jha

Climate Change Concerns

The World Bank Group’s  Action Plan on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience ramps up direct adaptation climate finance to $50 billion between FY21 and FY 25. This financing level  is more than double that achieved during FY15- FY18. The World Bank Group will also pilot new approaches to increasing private finance for adaptation and resilience. The cause for concern in the South Asian region are “increased flooding, increase in heavy precipitation and a serious outcome of one third decline in per capita crop production”.  A bugle blowing, indeed!  
— Prabodh Dubey

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