, 15 tweets, 6 min read Read on Twitter
In @time, @ianbremmer, an influential writer, calls Modi “India's best hope for economic reforms” (time.com/5586417/hope-f…).

Modi has been anything but a reformer, much to the disappointment of millions of Indians including his supporters. Do read my thread. 1/n 👇#TimeMagazine
Bremmer starts with the headline of India as the fastest growing large economy. What he does not say is that India’s GDP data is under a cloud. Gita Gopinath, Raghuram Rajan & others have raised concerns about it. There is a raging debate about this in India. 2/n #TimeMagazine
Does Bremmer know that the government’s revised GDP data shows that the economy grew fastest when Modi embarked on a mindless recall of currency notes (aka demonetization). Does that sound like credible data in a country where cash transactions dominate? 3/n #TimeMagazine
Underlying indicators of economic health, e.g., consumption, investment, & trade, are weak. The rural economy too and, as Bremmer notes, a jobs crisis is brewing. Tech & innovation trends will make things more difficult for India for the foreseeable future. 4/n #TimeMagazine
Bremmer cites a growing tax base and revenues as “historic accomplishments”. He may not be aware that the government is facing a revenue shortfall of INR 1.6 trillion (USD 22 billion) in FY18-19. This could push the fiscal deficit from 3.4 to 3.9% (or more). 5/n #TimeMagazine
Besides, dodgy accounting and intra-governmental transactions are manipulated to meet revenue and expenditure targets. Modi is not the first to do it but then why then call him a reformer? 6/n #TimeMagazine
GST (indirect tax) is a reform gone wrong. After stonewalling GST when he was in opposition, Modi as PM got it through parliament. But this GST is hugely complex, rates are high and revenue below expectations. Implementation challenges are the stuff of legend. 7/n #TimeMagazine
On infrastructure, the govt has had to spend more bcoz private investment is down. Why? Because “reformer” Modi did not focus early enough on repairing the troubled banking sector. New hotspots (NBFCs and Mudra NPAs) have now emerged. A crisis is coming. 8/n #TimeMagazine
But, yes, public investment has helped in the past as well. Bremmer says Modi took electricity to Indian villages. What he doesn’t say is that 97% of Indian villages were electrified before Modi took over. Speed of rural road building was even faster earlier. 9/n #TimeMagazine
The biometric Aadhaar was a Congress innovation but, under Modi, has assumed troubling aspects. Data privacy & rise of a surveillance state are real concerns. Yes, there was a big push on financial inclusion. But Modi is building on past work. Not new at all. 10/n #TimeMagazine
I have praised Modi’s efforts to build awareness about a cleaner India. But there is more propaganda than actual work. For instance, there is no health reform but a nice sounding insurance scheme that has inadequate funding & serious implementation problems. 11/n #TimeMagazine
One of Modi’s greatest failures has been neglect of the education sector. Without more focus on health & education, India has little chance of creating good jobs. Instead, Modi has promoted an anti-intellectualism that vilifies India’s versions of Ian Bremmer. 12/n #TimeMagazine
Bremmer asserts that Modi is more popular today because of his “reform accomplishments” & “appeal to Hindu pride”. Hindutva has damaged India’s social fabric & will make it impossible to have a thriving economy. Strife & progress don’t go hand in hand. 13/n #TimeMagazine
Modi wants to do what Putin has done. Help a few oligarchs & use their resources to accumulate political power. No wonder “reformer” Modi brought in a political finance law that is a legalized kickback scheme. Bremmer should read about India’s *reformist* electoral bonds. 15/n
Bremmer is dismissive of the Opposition. But coalitions in India have a decent track record. India is too big & diverse to be ruled by one man. It is for a reason that Modi, despite BJP’s control over media & resources, is on the verge of a historic defeat. End.🙏🏽#TimeMagazine
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