Why Modi helping Adani and a Ambani is more fantasy than fact

But nothing of the sort occurred. As of today, it is only the Tatas, Mahindras and L&T in the Indian private sector that have some meaningful role in the Indian defence business; the Ambanis (both the brothers) and Adani are behind in the race,

But nothing of the sort occurred. As of today, it is only the Tatas, Mahindras and L&T in the Indian private sector that have some meaningful role in the Indian defence business; the Ambanis (both the brothers) and Adani are behind in the race, despite the widely-held perceptions that under the Narendra Modi government, they are ruling the roost.

Perceptions are very different from facts. But then perceptions matter more in politics than facts. If Gandhi will be considered, the entire demonetisation scheme of the Modi government is limited to the advantage of the big businessmen in the state. In nearly every public rally which he addresses, he makes it a point to emphasise how Modi’s is 'suit-boot ki sarkar' (a government that caters to capitalists).

On his part, Modi too does not save just one public platform in the country showing his concerns for the poor. He points out his various pro-poor schemes like starting the Jandhan accounts, Swachh Bharat, Make in Clean-Ganga and India projects. That these are ambitious schemes and as are badly executed and that the majority of these are projects whose results will come after, not earlier, are different matters entirely. However, the point is that the Modi government isn't a pro- authorities that are affluent that the likes of Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal accuse it to be.

It's against this background it is fascinating to determine the data compiled and brought out by the BJP, as reported in The Times of India, “ to nail the claims the NDA dispensation is 'Adani-Ambani ki Sarkar.' It is said that loans worth Rs 36.5 lakh crore, granted to various corporates between 2005 and 2013, were waived off during the two consecutive periods of the Congress-led UPA government under Manmohan Singh. Refuting the recent allegations of waiving "bad loans" to a couple of corporates, the BJP has provided data that says that ratio of "bad loans" had increased by 132 percent from 2005 06 to 2013 14. According to BJP representative Shrikant Sharma, Vijay Mallya group's accounts had been frozen by “SBI after he failed to repay loans of over Rs 1,450 crore in 2012. Nevertheless, Mallya was given loans of Rs 1,500 crore... Adani, Ambani and Mallya were not produced in the past two-and-half years...these are as old as the Congress party and have been thriving when Rahul Gandhi was not even produced. Consequently, Congress owes more explanations about how these groups flourished if they'd a tainted heritage."

There are virtues in the BJP-data. Take for instance the case of Reliance’s heavy and costly investments in the Krishna-Godavari basin to take out gas. Let's refresh our memory how the Manmohan Singh’s oil minister Veerapa Moily had decided to increase the petrol price $8-8.4 against the then current cost of $4.2 per million British thermal unit merely few days before the UPA government was voted out in 2014. In contrast, the Modi government has imposed fines on the Reliance worth thousands of crores (first Rs 14000 crore and then added Rs 2500 crore for “under-production”; and Rs 10311.76 crore for “taking out gas from state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd’s deepwater block in the Krishna-Godavari basin for seven years”. These penalties can be lawfully challenged by the business, but the point is it is not easy to fathom how the latter is imposing a company perceived to be close to the Modi government fines, one after another? And worse, now there are reports the India will probably cut the price of natural gas by about 18 percent from $5.05 per million British thermal units the authorities set when it first rolled out the formula in 2014, in what will be a tremendous drawback for explorers like Reliance.

Talking of the Adani group, its promoter Gautam Adani has presented enough evidence to the press in the past three years saying his infrastructure empire grew underneath the Congress government following the liberalisation of the nation’s economy. He got barren and non-agricultural acreage in Gujarat and developed ports in Gujarat led Shankarsinh Vaghela and by Chimanbahi Patel beneath the Congress governments. According to him, in his business, he's got cooperation from every one of the authorities irrespective of whether or not the BJP or any other party leads them.

Incidentally, the market capitalisation of both Reliance and Adani group has been adversely impacted; after Modi became Prime Minister, in fact, the Adani group has allegedly seen a steep drop of 51 percent of its market capitalisation. But that hasn't made either the Reliance (directed by Mukesh Ambani) or the Adani group defaulter on the interest payments on their bank loans.

What all this indicates is that the systematic way understandings are being developed about the “nefarious nexus” between the Modi government and business is unfortunate. These perceptions are far from the reality. In the process, such understandings do great harm to the nation’s development. Creation of riches by the business is not a crime; rather it is vital for the advancement, jobs and help the poor as long as it's created transparently and under the tax regime.

But then what should we do to cope with the willful distortion of facts and outright lies by the politicians? There is no simple answer to this question in a competitive democracy such as ours. In my considered view, the media could make a little beginning to recall the specific situation. One is told that some European publications carry characteristics such as “PolitiFact” or "Truth-O-Meter" that has a range from "True" through "Mostly True" to "Largely Bogus," "False" and ultimately, "Pants on Fire." The Washington Post has a routine feature. But then, you can find criticisms, justifiable to a certain extent, against these attributes. The argument here is that a journalist or analyst is in choosing facts, subjective. For example, one may simply like to observe by blowing off the similar treatment of Narendra Modi, just how much truth Rahul Gandhi is saying. The converse is accurate.

But doing something is better than doing nothing. And it is rather possible that when some subjective person separates facts and another person that is subjective does the similarly with Modi, there will likely be some “balance” between the two sets of facts and fictions.