Listen: Sky high expectations for Modi's second term
"Narendra Modi begins, his second term office this week after a landslide election win Justice sing discusses, what he must do to live up to the hopes of the armies of young people voted for him with Amy Kasmin. And Stephanie Finley we begin with the voice of one young supporter. The world should know that India has finally woken up. We are not sleeping anymore. And now we know what a right, who is the right person who is good for India. We don't think on communal basis anymore. We don't vote on the basis of costs on the basis of religion now, we would for the wlob India for development we vote for India and not a particular party who has always ruled India like congress, Amy, the sheer scale of his victory has surprised many. What is your assessment of Mr. Moody's triumph? Look, I think the scale of Modi's victory is down to really multiple factors. First of all the opposition was really an utter disarray. I don't think the congress party has really truly recovered from the battering that it received in two thousand fourteen I think, in terms of leadership. They didn't have a very clear electoral strategy. They were completely destroyed. Other parties were factionalized. So the opposition did not offer any kind of convincing alternative to Mr. moody, on the other hand, you had the BJP, Mr. Modi's party, and then crew ably well, organized, highly tuned, and deeply resourced political machine. They had a great product and Mr. Modi, he's a charismatic strong leader highly conscious of his image. And then behind him. He had this incredible machine with all its resources, Mr. Modi's government over the last five years had started a lot of social welfare, schemes they estimate that two hundred and twenty million people benefited from one Mody government scheme or another, this included things like distribution of gas, cylinders to people who had previously been cooking, highly polluting, cow, patties, or would door charcoal. They opened. Rnc accounts for millions of people they delivered toilets or funding for people to build toilets. There was funding for building low cost housing. Other governments have also had a lot of schemes in the past, but these were probably delivered more efficiently. But then the BJP party machinery was absolutely astute in maintaining contact with all of those who benefited from any kind of government program, and then the party with its machinery, reminding people who delivered these benefits to them and overall, Mr. Modi, just really projecting himself as the confidence strong decisive, and really one and only leader for India against a weak and fragmented. An unconvincing position led to essentially a massive landslide that we've seen really a historic verdict the first time in decades that any leader has. Two consecutive single party majorities on their own. Stephanie, you were at the BJP headquarters on the day election results came out. Did you get a sense that people's expectations from Mr. moody will be even higher this time? So the mood was just euphoric at the headquarters thousands of people had come they were dancing playing music, and they were thrilled to be part of what they saw as a historic moment for mister Mody. And also for India in there is Mr. moody, Ken deliver what the congress has failed to deliver in India for so many years, and many people repeated the line to me that it's only Mr. Mody that can take India from developing to developed country. Most young people were very confident that Mr. Modi could deliver on his promise to create jobs, and they said that Mr. moody gave them the motivation to get. Job, not necessarily that he would create government jobs for them. But they did expect that Mr. Mody would create a booming business environment that would take India into the future and them along with it. So Amy huge expectations. Tell us water the key challenges before him, the astonishing thing really about this election. What came as a surprise to many as the fact that in two thousand fourteen Mr. Mody had campaigned on a promise of reviving economic growth, creating millions of new jobs to absorb the young people in the workplace. In fact, Modi's track record on the economy is pretty patchy. And right now, there is actually a lot that needs to be dealt with India's economic growth is slowing down in the last quarter for which we have the data. It was six point six percent. There are some people who think the next quarter could be even slower that some growth may come in under six percent. So growth is really full touring and growth is critical because it's with growth that you get jobs, which are so badly needed. There's also serious issues in the financial sector these things called non banking financial companies. They're not really banks. But they provide a lot of consumer credit, which is driving demand and keeping growth going, but many of them are very, very shaky. One is already collapsed, if others collapsed, it will have an impact on the banking system because around five percent of all Bank lending is to these nonbank financial companies. The government's finances are also not in very great shape. The government wants to try to step up spending to try to revive growth. But in fact, they don't really have the fiscal space to do so tax collections of come in, well below expectations, and their plans for accelerated growth will be hard to meet given the level of tax collection. So there's a lot of stored up trouble. Meanwhile, private companies haven't really been investing in the Indian economy either throughout the whole term of the Modi government, and the banking system also has still weighed down with heavy non-performing loans. The question is really, what is the Modi government planning to do about these problems, because we haven't seen any clear indications of how they plan to tackle these issues how much they feel the urgency of the situation, Mr. Modi's foreign policy is considered one of the main achievements of his previous tenure, what are the issues confronting Mr. moody on foreign policy, and trade fronts, Mr. Modena's reached out to leaders across the globe. He's tried to avoid taking sides in some of the rifts that have arisen in the international system. Particularly rising tensions with the US and China. He's reached out to. Chinese president Xi Jinping. He's reached out to Trump. He's reached out to Japan's Shinzo obey. His tried to indicate India's willingness to be friends with everyone. I think I see a few challenges ahead, though, under Trump. America is really forcing countries into hard choices. For example, India has traditionally good relations with Iran, but the US has pressured India and other countries to stop all their energy purchases from Iran, because the US wants to put the squeeze in Iran. The US for longtime been rather tolerant of some of India's economic policies that make it tough for American companies to do business in India, and are seen as favoring Indian companies in the past, the US was willing to tolerate some of that from India because they thought India's a democracy. We want to encourage India to rise and grow strong economically so that it can serve. Some kind of regional counterweight to China, but under Trump, it seems like trade is everything and Trump will be more concerned about a twenty billion dollar trade imbalance with India than the long term, strategic interests of a stronger India. So the US is putting a lot of pressure on India. And this is a kind of a friction point, and generally, I think India is going to find the US is pressuring India to take sides and it's likely to get tough with India, Hindu nationalist vision of India has often clashed with secularism enshrined in India's constitution often during the campaigning heard that the election, this time was about the soul of India. Do you see any serious threat to India's diversity, this time around the idea that defined the first years of India in the decades after its independence, really as are related by Mahatma gone? Bundy and then his political heir job, Lal Nehru was that India was by its nature, a diverse pluralistic, multifaith society. The state was to be secular in the sense of not having a religious identity and not preferring. One community over another alongside that idea husband, another idea championed by the RSS formed in one thousand nine hundred five that India is primarily a Hindu country, it is clear that the BJP has been heavily influenced by this second ideology. In fact, the BJP was formed by the RSS to promote these ideas and carry this message into the political sphere. The election campaign, had a lot of costal anti-muslim overtones for many in the BJP one of the. Mandates for the BJP who's been elected to the parliament is someone who has actually been criminally charged with involvement of a bombing of a Muslim burial grounds where at least six people, including a young child were killed many were quite shocked that the BJP would put up such a person who still awaiting formal trial in connection with this case in the wake of his landslide reelection victory. Mr. moody did make a speech where he talked about. We want to win over the trust of minorities of this country. We want to govern for all, but I think given the divisiveness of the campaign while Mr. Modena's clearly made the right noise. You know, these conciliatory comments about winning Muslims trust, I think it will take more than one speech to reassure minorities, that they will be protected, and I think that it will be the actions. Finally that will speak louder. Than a few words. That was Justice. Sing took it to Amy Kasmin how South Asia bureau chief, Stephanie Finley, South Asia. Correspondent in Delhi? Thanks for listening die. Forget, if you missed our recent episodes on the proposed merger between fear cries Renai, Russia's attempt to foster hyme grown industrial champions will European parliamentary elections. It can find them all on the usual podcast, baffles."