Barring his most bitter critics, the widespread view seems to be that Modi, who turns 64 on September 17, is proving to be a prime minister the country has lacked in recent decades - strong, decisive and pro-active.

His Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) certainly thinks so.

"Modi has taken bold decisions and has provided the direction on which government policies will unfold in the months and years to come," said BJP spokesman G V L Narasimha Rao, who interacts closely with the veteran politician.

"There is a sea change in the last three months in the way the government functions," Rao shared, comparing it with a decade of Congress rule.

"Modi has empowered the bureaucracy and given a clear direction to the political leadership."After presiding over Gujarat for 13 long years, Modi created history in May when he led the party to a stunning electoral win.

The BJP became the first party in three decades to get a majority of its own in the 545-seat Lok Sabha, crushing the Congress to a humiliating 44 seats.

Although Modi formed a coalition government after being sworn in on May 26, it is Brand Modi that still stands out. Some of his decisions are plainly visible.

Besides giving a new direction in governance, the government has started on the gargantuan job of financial inclusion of 1.2 billion Indians, to eradicate what Modi calls ‘financial untouchability’ from the country, embarked on the difficult path of judicial reforms, displayed the will to hike rail fares and axed the decades-old Planning Commission, formed a special team to retrieve black money stashed abroad, set up a portal for citizens to directly interface with the government, and come up with a ministry of entrepreneurship to promote citizen-driven growth.

 Confidence has returned, time for action: India Inc

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi completes 100 days in office next week, the overall sentiment of India Inc is one of optimism, as the reversal of a perception of policy inaction with several meaningful steps on economic reforms have made the climate conducive for fresh investments and growth, stakeholders said.

These 100 days, although a short span of time given the five-year tenure that an elected government in India is normally entitled to, has seen some brisk action in areas such as hiking foreign equity caps in defence and insurance, which are clear signals of a return of the liberalisation era that was started in 1991 but perceivably lost steam in recent years.

The stock markets also gave a thumbs up to the policy initiatives, with two key indices touching all-time highs, even as rating agencies that were on the brink of downgrading India's sovereign ratings at the beginning of the year, today speak about revival and higher growth trajectory for the economy.

Similarly, foreign funds, which were hesitant onlookers at the investment opportunities in Indian stocks till April, are back in business as net buyers. This sudden surge has already seen these funds investing $26 billion this year. If this pace continues, 2014-15 could well turn out to be a record year for inward foreign fund investments with $50 billion.

Modi has told ministers to curtail all wasteful expenditure and virtually banned foreign jaunts. All policy decisions are vetted. Do's and don'ts have been issued to ministers and officialdom.

Different ministries can no longer work at cross-purposes. And Modi the politician - who rose through the ranks after having once sold tea at a small town railway station in Gujarat - turned the customary on August 15 Independence Day speech to connect with the people like no Prime Minister ever did, underlining, among others, the basic social and civic values of cleanliness and hygiene.

In what has taken most Modi watchers by surprise, the Prime Minister has shown a keen interest in foreign policy that saw all SAARC leaders, as well as of Mauritius, fly to New Delhi for his inauguration.

He has made quick trips to Bhutan and Nepal to repair ruptures in relationships, taken a strong stand on Tamil rights in Sri Lanka, and is determined to step up ties with not just Japan but also China and US , although Washington had shunned him for years on account of the 2002 Hindu-Muslim riots in Gujarat.

Despite Modi's popularity, the BJP has suffered reverses in recent Assembly by-polls, from Uttarakhand to Bihar. One ally, the Shiv Sena, has taunted the BJP. With four states going to the polls this year, the BJP is under pressure to show that the Modi wave of May was not a fluke. Not everyone is impressed with Modi's 100 days.


Critics underline that there has been a spurt in communal riots since Modi took power, that some BJP leaders have poured venom against Muslims, that the annual budget unveiled in July was not reform-oriented as many thought it would be and, contrary to expectations, there has been no big-bang economic policy announcement.

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