Prime Minister Narendra Modi, many top leaders in the party have maintained, sees himself as a mentor and motivator above everything else. In his early days as pradhan mantri—prime minister—he famously said he was the country's “pradhan sevak”. Not that any one expected him to brush aside the fact that he was the prime minister as well.
Much has been written about his tenure in South Block. One aspect that stands out, however, is the way his government has built its policies, programmes and institutions over apt and appropriate acronyms. And much of these are said to be influenced by Modi's own communication style.
The UPA gave NREGA—National Rural Employment Guarantee Act—which became MNREGA when they added Mahatma Gandhi's name to the employment guarantee scheme. But this acronym suggests nothing; it is just an abbreviation many know.
But the NDA under prime minister Modi has come up with a clutch of Hindi words that are acronyms suggesting what they really mean. The National Institution for Transforming India, that is located in the Yojana Bhawan where the now abolished Planning Commission, has become NITI Aayog. Niti in Hindi means policy. And NITI Aayog intends to transform India by changing policy and plan priorities.
MUDRA, which means a hand gesture, stands for Micro Unites Development and Refinance Agency. There are the Mudra Banks that give out loans at low rates.
Pragati in Hindi means progress. Easy for anyone to remember. For Modi and his government, it symbolises his effort to fast track clearances, and is an acronym for Pro Active Governance and Timely Implementation.
Most of the schemes of the present government would have such names. Not just names. Most of the suggestions and instructions put forth by Modi as he motivates government staff are abbreviated thus. Remember his 5 Fs formula for cotton growers—farm to fibre, fibre to factory, factory to fashion, fashion to foreign?
On June 16, the prime minister inaugurated a two-day conference of income tax administrators in the country. As he urged them to get people friendly, and firmly said there was no trade-off between tax enforcement and a friendly way of doing it, he tossed the word RAPID at the gathering of officials who ranged from freshers in the Indian Revenue Service to the chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes. R for revenue, A for accountability, P for probity, I for information and D for digitisation. That was his mantra and message to them as he asked them to collect revenue with full accountability and probity, armed with information that should all be digitised. Hopefully, now the tax collectors of the country will be RAPID in their work! And never forget what the prime minister wants of them.
Whether they get motivated or not, what cannot be overlooked is that Modi has communicated. Simply and beautifully.