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Letter from the Editor

EducationWorld March 2024 | Letter from the Editor Magazine

Dilip Thakore

The imminent completion of the second term of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-dominated NDA coalition government in New Delhi and the prospect of General Election 2024 scheduled for this summer have aroused a flood of comment relating to its track record in political, societal and economy management.

In general, the party under the charismatic leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has received high marks for political strategy which has ensured that the PM’s public approval rating is way ahead of actual and potential rivals. For economy management also, the PM’s record is good. The opposition Congress Party’s contention — led by former Union finance minister P. Chidambaram — that average GDP growth during the decade of Congress-led UPA coalition rule (2004-2014) averaged 6.8 percent against 5.6 percent of the Modi government doesn’t make allowance for shutdown of the economy during the Covid-19 pandemic years (2020-21) when the country experienced negative growth.

On the whole, the record of the BJP on the metric of economic growth has been good, especially since the Modi government has exhibited firm resolve to proceed with the liberalisation and deregulation of the Indian economy initiated in 1991 by the Congress government led by visionary Prime Minister Narasimha Rao. On the other hand during the past few years notwithstanding the utter failure of its Nehruvian socialist model which shackled the high potential post-independence Indian economy for over half a century, the Congress leadership — especially Nehru-Gandhi dynasty scion Rahul Gandhi — is still beating the socialist drum.

But although the Modi government’s political and economy management — as also its dangerous infusion of religion into the political discourse — has attracted a flood of media comment, curiously the government’s track record in education management and development of the world’s largest child and youth population — sine qua non — hasn’t received the media and academy attention it should have. In this EW election-eve issue, Managing Editor Summiya Yasmeen presents the most thorough and detailed assessment of the BJP/Modi government’s human capital development record ever. It’s mandatory reading for the small but growing minority who have grasped the reality that unless we transform India’s 500 million children and youth from liability into high-performance assets, all is lost.

And against the backdrop of lakhs of farmers staging an indefinite protest on the Haryana-Delhi border, we present a detailed feature on a subject I have been nurturing for almost half a century — the national imperative to cut our fellow citizens who live miserable lives in rural Bharat a better deal. It’s not a Himalayan endeavour. All it requires is a few policy tweaks and willingness of the prospering urban middle class to pay fair prices for agri-produce. Let’s just do it.

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