Modi: Modernizing India

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In an announcement that caught many by surprise, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the government would discontinue its two largest currency denominations in an effort to battle corruption, unreported income, and even terrorism. The move is indicative of a leadership style Indians have come to expect: taking bold and transformative, even if risky or unpopular, policy stances that drive at the heart of India’s core issues. As the leader of the world’s largest democracy, Modi needs such risk-tolerant and transformative measures to deliver on the promises he has made to India’s growing, aspirational electorate.

Modi’s rise to the top began as an outsider. The son of a tea seller, he became interested in politics at an early age, joining Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) a Hindu nationalist paramilitary volunteer organization. Later he joined the fledgling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a political party offshoot of the RSS. In 2001, he became the Chief Minister of the Indian State of Gujarat, where he would develop the leadership style and policy patterns that would carry into his role as Prime Minister.

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