Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Crackdown Commences

Illicit wealth in India has three major forms - cash, gold and real estate. For all these forms, Modi and the Government of India gave people a decent chance to come clean, no strings attached and no questions asked.

Through the land acquisition bill (read more about that here), the Government of India (hereafter referred to as GoI) offered politicians a chance to earn upto 4 times the value of their land AND ensure said land was used for infrastructure and welfare projects. Through the gold monetization scheme, GoI gave hoarders the chance to give up their gold for equivalent value AND earn interest on it. Through the Income Declaration Scheme, GoI offered holders of Illicit cash the chance to come forward and convert it white with no threat of prosecution and just a few financial penalties.

All three of these schemes received not only a muted response but also vociferous opposition. Political parties from NCP in Maharashtra to TMC in West Bengal ganged up against the Central Government. They created a ruckus in parliament, gave moronic statements to the press, halted the functioning of the legislature, sat on dharnas and even colluded with known anti-national entities to portray the Central Government in a bad light. They tried to rake up irrelevant distractions like Modi's suit and make a big hullabaloo about non-issues like castes and reservations. Jats, Patels, Marathas . . . the list of hitherto influential and politically "connected" communities suddenly clubbed with the "aam aadmi" started feeling the pinch. 

Since 2014, I've been watching Modi function and being an "assal operations" guy, I can relate to his efficiency and his result-oriented approach to problem solving. His first priority was building the right team. He did that by cherry-picking people like Parrikar, Swaraj or Prabhu (amongst others). Next was building short-term, mid-term and long-term goals and a comprehensive strategy for execution of those goals. He did that through the formation of NITI Aayog and by providing initial funding to their plans through auctions of readily available resources like spectrum and coal. Then came a strategy to deal with opponents and his method of creating regional satraps is one of those strategies. Waiting to see how that plays out but there's a plan in place and going by the recent bypolls and municipal corporation election results in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Maharashtra, it's definitely working.

With all these building blocks in place, GoI is hitting back against dishonest politicians and criminals who've abused the system for so many years. And how! No more "Mr-Nice-GoI"! Demonetization is just the first nail in the coffin. I'm sure there's more coming. As days go by, I can see dishonest politicians/criminals, nefarious elements of our caste-ridden psyche and other scheming/conniving power-brokers scurrying for cover. And boy am I enjoying the show!

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