Given that the rate of unwilling and premature departure from the principal administrative services is close to zero, it would appear either that those manning the system are perfection personified or that accountability is almost totally lacking. Fortunately for any government that is in office, the attention of the media flits from issue to issue, and hence even after assumptions made turn out to be faulty, that fact gets no attention. Fortunately for India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a pragmatist, who does not stand on formality. When the GST was rolled out at the stroke of the midnight hour, it was pointed out by a very few that the rates were too many and too high, and the bar for enrolment in GST too low. It is a reform the full rigour of which is meant for large corporations, and certainly not for small enterprises. These need a much lower tax rate and a very simplified system of compliance than is the case with GST even after PM Modi ensured that tweak after tweak was carried out by North Block. In the case of demonetisation, the manner in which the then Governor of the Reserve Bank of India stood by while much of agriculture and small industry got drained of liquidity has put that worthy in pole position to secure the title of the most problematic RBI Governor ever. Fortunately, soon after the fiasco caused by his refusal to ensure liquidity during the bold reform announced by the Prime Minister, the RBI Governor saw the writing on the wall and called it a day. It has clearly been an uphill battle for even an expert administrator such as Narendra Modi to ensure that the gargantuan machinery of government function in a manner that meets his exacting specifications. Every step forward has had to be crafted under the prodding and supervision of the Prime Minister. Which is why there needs to be a high level of accountability for errors made. So deeply is the fiction ingrained within the system of governance in India that the PRC is not what it in fact is, which is a superpower bent on changing the status quo by throwing the rule book to the winds. In the border disengagement talks, the first approach concerned a sector where India, thanks to its armed forces, had a strong position. After negotiations with interlocutors, a decision was taken to withdraw from the Kailash heights in the expectation that the PLA would reciprocate the gesture by withdrawing from the positions it had illegally and aggressively occupied in Gogra and Depsang. At that point in time, it had been pointed out by a few that such an assumption was likely to be a grievous error, and that once the PRC secured an Indian withdrawal from advantageous positions, it would itself hold on to the positions it held in the other sectors. Thus far, there seems no indication that such a pessimistic assumption is incorrect. Who were the policymakers who advised that the disengagement process should begin from the sectors where India held the initiative? Who were the individuals who confidently asserted that the PLA would reciprocate the gesture by the Indian side of withdrawal from the Kailash heights? They need to be held accountable. Ultimately a country and its leadership are respected for the Comprehensive National Power that is possessed by it. India is given respect because it is close to being the third biggest economy in the world, after the US and China. In order to abolish poverty, over a generation there needs to be double digit growth. If the PRC could do this, why not India? The difference between a 4% and a 9% rate of growth is smart policy and efficiency in implementation. The anticipation is that 2021 will witness a 9% rate of growth that will increase to double digits by 2023 at the latest. Rewarding achievement and fixing responsibility for failure are essential in such a process. Given the fact that the Opposition benches seem bereft of leaders who can even remotely compare with the Prime Minister, it is likely that the BJP’s winning streak will continue. What is important to remember is that winning elections is not the ultimate objective of a government. That objective is the securing of security, stability and growth. Winning elections is not the goal but the by-product, for the country needs faster growth in order to ensure that the demographic dividend does not become a nightmare of tens of millions of unemployed youth and falling incomes. The middle class must grow in size and in income, while the pool of the poor shrinks proportionately. Central to such an outcome is the policy process and its implementation. Essential to the effectiveness of that is accountability and a system of punishment and reward. The Prime Minister’s Office will monitor performance in its usual accurate manner. What is needed is to ensure that each assessment is matched by accountability. The best must rise, the bad must be put aside. Only this can ensure that India come close to the potential this country has, as a consequence of its talented and resilient people, who are the masters who place even the most powerful individual in office as (in the words of the PM) the Pradhan Sevak.