Dear Mr. Narendrabhai Modi,

You will be pleasantly surprised to note that this is not yet another letter that tells you how to do your job. Not because I don’t want to. Ooh, I do. I tell a lot of people like RBI chairmen and SEBI chiefs how they should work, and I have no pangs or regrets about. But there’s a difference. I tell them that stuff because I am either critical of a policy they adopted, or believe they should address something specific.

In your case, Mr. Modi, I have nothing in either department. You haven’t yet got a policy that I can criticize specifically and offer my suggestions. And you already know that current deficit thing, that fiscal deficit thing, that employment thing, that pakistan thing, that inflation thing, and all these other things on your plate. I won’t bore you with the details today (1); that it seems is the job of the media nowadays, and who am I to step into their exalted shoes.

I’m writing this open letter because it is fashionable to write open letters. Today, to you. Because you’re famous! Maybe the thought process is that if I write a letter to a famous person and he actually reads it and my goodness, mentions it in a speech…that would kinda make my resume a lot stronger than it is.

That’s pretty much the main reason. If you should find this attractive enough to make me finance secretary, I would thank you and then run to the hills because I’d be scared like hell for my country. (What does a finance secretary do anyway? Note down inflation? In shorthand?)

The other reason I’m writing this letter is that I’m seriously surprised you got this many seats. I figured you would win. But not by this much. This should embarrass me, but it doesn’t. Because I don’t believe in predictions, and largely run with the trend. You are the trend and you have trended big time. I didn’t think you would, but you did, and did many technical analysts proud enough to call you a “Breakout from Resistance”. So yeah, that. And Congratulations.

What I would like to see – and I have no idea if you can help me – is a lot less of your importance. You say less government, more governance, so yeah, let’s do that. But here’s this drip:

  • The government owns 70% of the banking system
  • The government owns all of the railways
  • The government owns a behemoth loss making tax payer funded airline
  • The government owns fertilizer companies, oil companies, telephone companies, a TV channel, radio channels, and even stakes in private companies.
  • The government owns too many industries like coal and minerals and liquor distribution.
  • Mumbai and Delhi are 60% of all the deposits in the country. And for good measure, since private parties need to set up where the government is set up.

If the one thing you do is to seriously change this statistic by the time you are done, I promise you this:

I will not write you an open letter again.

Please accept my best wishes. It’s been a long time since the country I live in has inspired me with its vision for a great future. I am told now that this is it. I am told now that you’re the hero. All we need from you is to ensure, by the time you’re done, that we don’t need another one.

Regards,

Deepak Shenoy

P.S. (1) To long time readers: Only for this post, folks. You’re going to suffer my fancy charts for a while.

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