If I have to analyse the speech delivered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, I would divide it into three primary parts.
In the first part, the Prime Minister focused on complimenting the citizens of the country. He almost made it seem as if some war just finished. He thanked the citizens and he did so in a manner that it seemed like a huge national effort. And that part, I must say, was well done.
The second part almost sounded like a budget speech. And one cannot say that it was a great thing. The content was somewhat flat. While, in a way it was like a budget speech but he stayed away from the big announcements, barring the one on maternity benefits for pregnant women.
Maternity benefits of Rs 6,000 is a big programme. But that apart, he just upped the limits of existing schemes. The programmes that he touched upon are ongoing ones.
The third part of the speech was peek into the future when he said that the battle against corruption would continue. But he said very little on that and there was no concrete announcement on future plans. What steps would the government take to tackle corruption? There was no announcement of the concrete steps that would be taken in the future. For instance, funding of political parties is something that needs to be looked into. Nothing was mentioned on this. Besides, there was no mention of when the cash withdrawal limits would be lifted. So the third part of his speech was the weakest.
(The writer is economist and chairperson, Centre for Economic Studies and Planning)
As told to Mahua Venkatesh