Almost three years ago, when BJP came to power in UP with full majority, very few people in the political establishment had the idea that the party could choose Yogi Adityanath-head of Gorakhnath mutt as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. His appointment was criticized by the left-liberal establishment and many people questioned credentials of the saffron-clad priest as an administrator. Some people who were sympathetic to BJP but had a more modern outlook argued that Yogi Adityanath might be able to achieve the Hindutva project but would fail on Governance and political economy front.
A person clad in a saffron robe was not a CM material in the eyes of political pundits trained in Nehru’s socialist and secular Lutyen’s establishment. But BJP and RSS stood behind the man who was the first choice of the majority of the elected MLAs and Yogi was anointed as the Chief Minister.
But in the last three years, Yogi Adityanath has outperformed most of his contemporizes and counterparts on almost every front.
Yogi Adityanath is taking the political economy of the state as guided by Chanakya in Arthashastra.
According to Chanakya and many other economic thinkers of Ancient India, the rule of law and enforcement of contracts are most important for economic growth. In a state where wealth creators have no protection, businesses will not prosper and the region would remain poor.
UP faced lawlessness issue in the last three decades, especially when Samajwadi Party used to be in power. The Akhilesh Yadav government projected itself as investment-friendly and tried to attract investment but the first thing the companies seek to start and project in a particular region is the rule of law.
In the Akhilesh Yadav government, the state has registered a huge increase in crime against industrialists and rich people. The leaders of Samajwadi Party used to extort money from industrialists in the name of protection and party fund and many were killed in daylight because they refused to contribute.
Thread on Yogi government:
A few years ago, Uttar Pradesh, the state with 22 crore population, was known for lawlessness.
Murder of industrialists and government officials in daylight were everyday norm.
The people from other parts of the country used to mock UPwallahs, and
— Amit Agrahari (@amit_agrahari94) April 14, 2020
But after the Yogi government came to power, the first thing to get fixed was the policing system. The government made a good investment in policing and increased the budget by double digits.
With more emphasis on improving law and order criminals were eliminated in encounters and the corrupt leaders who extorted money from industrialists were put behind bars.
Once it got fixed, the government moved to the liberalization of the economy and efficient delivery of welfare measures. According to Chanakya, the state has no business to do business and it only needs to provide a protective environment and encourage businesses.
Now UP is one of the most efficiently administered parts of the country and ‘rule of law’ prevails in the state. Therefore, the industrialists have no qualms over investing in the state, which is not just being governed efficiently but the government is also providing various incentives for investment.
The Yogi government has organized various investor summits and expos in the last few years to attract private investment. And these events have been quite successful, with the promise of investment worth 4.68 lakh crore rupees in UP Investor summit and more than 70,000 crore rupees in the defence expo organized a few months ago.
UP has the existing capacity to replace China as ‘factory of the world’ with a population of 22 crores and young demography. With the outbreak of Coronavirus and anger towards China, the companies of developed nations which have manufacturing units in China are looking for other avenues.
The UP government has shown the most pro-active approach in the last few weeks to attract these companies and this has resulted in ongoing talks with many Korean and American companies over shifting manufacturing units to the state.
The UP government scrapped all labour laws except the essential ones in order to provide a conducive environment to the companies. “In order to boost existing businesses and attract new industrial activity to the state, certain relaxations will have to be given on a temporary basis. That is why an ordinance called the ‘Uttar Pradesh Temporary Exemption from Certain Labor Laws Ordinance, 2020’ has been introduced in this regard,” reads the statement by UP government.
Most of the people expected Yogi Adityanath to have a socialist approach towards the economy, but he went for the third way of political economy described in ancient Indian texts.
According to these texts, the material prospects are necessary for human life and the free economy is the best way to achieve this, but along with that, spiritual development of the society is also necessary. Yogi government is promoting religious tourism and constructing Ram Temple to ensure spiritual development of people.
However, according to Chanakya, the welfare of the poor people must be looked after by the people through ‘Daan’ and welfare must be a responsibility of the community, not the state. Therefore, schools, hospitals and other public goods need to be delivered through community initiatives.
UP has not yet reached in the stage where public goods can be provided through community initiative, but as the people get rich with the economic growth in the next few decades down the line, this would also start. And then the responsibility of just the state to deliver welfare measures will be lessened.
Yogi Adityanath is rightfully taking the political economy based on guidance by Chanakya and his government is providing a unique model of development for the state where along with the free economy and materialistic need, the government is caring about the spiritual development of the people, and this model should be called- Uttar Pradesh Model.