Modi 2.0 expected to be torchbearer for big ticket reforms. But the Budget presented by Nirmala Sitharaman belied these hopes. Everyone expected structural reforms in Financial sector, Agriculture Sector, land and labour. she is almost silent on these reforms. The blame on Modi as ' Suit Boot ki Sarkar' in first term made them back foot. Modi in his first term brought amendments to 2013 Land acquisition act but could not succeed to get through in Rajya Sabha. Congress campaigned against Modi as if he represents 'Suit Boot Ki Sarkaar' and he is against farmers. Afterwards, Modi was very careful about his image in the public. That is why, observers are of the opinion that he is not attempting any big ticket reforms.
The $5 billion target in five years is a big and challenging task. If he has to achieve this task, invariably daring steps are to be taken. Unfortunately, the Budget did not reflect this desire in action. The first and foremost is reforms in Public Sector Banks and Insurance. The capital infusion of Rs.70,000 crores is a stop gap arrangement. It will not set right the ills in the sector. It seems that Government does not have clarity on the required reforms. The domination of bureaucracy on Public Sector is the root cause for the problems. This bureaucracy is not allowing to loose the the grip. Politicians, particularly during UPA regime were used by this bureaucracy and minted the money. Now also, the set up is being continued. To certain extent, political interference relatively came down but bureaucratic influence is still continuing without difficulty. Once structural reforms are being implemented, the biggest loosers are this group. PJ Nayak Committee recommended radical reforms long back but they were put in cold storage. Similarly, the case of Insurance.
Agricultural sector requires large scale capital infusion and participation of Private sector in big way. It is the top priority. What happened to it? Only slogans but not deep actions. Regarding Labour and Land related matters , Modi Government adopted different route. As there is big uproar from Congress, left parties and Media, they left these two issues to States. States which are dynamic and progressive who want to attract Capital and Investments decided to bring necessary legislation to the existing Land Acquisition Act passed by Parliament. Both the Telugu States and Maharashtra, Gujarat took lead in this direction. Similar is the case with Labour reforms. States like Rajasthan during Vasundhara Raje regime took bold steps to liberalise the rules so that it will not come in the way of investments. But it is not the solution . Already these States are far ahead to rest of the States. If due to political compulsions, Modi Government left these reforms to States, the same old story repeats. States in Eastern part of India like Bihar, Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh will not attempt any reforms in these sectors. So, investments will not come to this part. Again, West, South and to some extent North will dominate and Eastern part will remain backward. Then the dream of Modi will not realise and there will be two Indias , one economically advanced and second remains backward. It was what happened in 70 years of post Independent India. People expected change in the present status quo. Is Modi respond to 21st century thinking?