The historic electoral victory of NDA Government or MODI (The victory in the 2014 elections was undoubtedly ascribed to Narendra Modi alone as a decisive mandate to uproot corruption and make India a development-oriented nation) in 2014 elections was a clear sign of hopes people reposed in him and by extension in the political party he represents. The mandate was unequivocal and unprecedented with a thumping majority. The last three years have seen major breakthroughs and transformations that seem to be game-changer for both the Indian economy as well as aspirations of 1.3 billion Indians.
When the Narendra Modi government assumed office, the political environment was rancid with massive UPA corruption scandals and allegations of massive black money plaguing the system. Thus, an objective litmus test of the achievements and limitations of the present government remains apt to evaluate the performance of the Modi government. The article will peruse the highlights of major sectors in order to bring out the performance.
Sector-wise Performance of Modi Governement
Agriculture is the backbone of the Indian economy which still provides employment to about 60% of the population, needless to mention about how quintessential the growth of this sector is for the overall development of the nation.
The Modi government has given due emphasis for the betterment of this sector. The crop insurance scheme namely Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (official website ) launched in 2016 has helped achieve record production in the current Kharif season. It has relieved lakhs of small and marginal farmers from the risk of crop failure. Focus has also been made for Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) of the subsidies in order to reduce the leakages and to weed out false beneficiaries. It has led to savings to the tune of thousands of crore rupees for the official exchequer besides ensuring targeted delivery of the benefits.
Another initiative ‘Electronic National Agricultural Market’ (eNAM) (official website ) has led to institutionalization of agricultural market in an electronic format to help the farmers decide the best price for their crops and the scientific practices to realise the dream of ‘One nation, one market’.
The agricultural sector in India is mainly limited to rural India. The construction of the road under the Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojana (official website here & here) is an attempt to connect rural and urban India. It has been going on war footing. The pace of the daily road development for the highways to connect the far flung rural areas with the cities has been an impressive 133 km/day from the abysmal 74 km/day under the UPA regime.
The Pradhan Mantri Ujwala Yojana (PMUY) (official website here) has been another success story for the rural India with more than 2 crore BPL households already been provided LPG cylinder gas connections for cooking. It will also result in improving the quality of life for millions of women working in toxic smoke-filled fuelwood kitchens. The scheme is said to have played a pivotal role in electoral victory in Uttar Pradesh for the BJP. The government has also increased the financial penetration for the rural areas through Pradhan Mnatri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) (Official Scheme of government is here) which saw an unprecedented 28.76 crore beneficiaries attaining pivotal financial inclusion to the banking sector.
Urban Infrastructure, Social Sector
The main mission of urban development has been the ‘Smart City Mission’ (official website here) to develop 100 cities across the nation. It will be implemented in three phases with government providing essential funds for establishing world class infrastructure for the cities. It will help in solving the problems of waste management, transit system and urban governance. The cynosure of the present government has been the ‘Swatch Bharat Mission’ (Rural mission official website here) which aims to mark a sea change in the garbage disposal habits of the people. It has been a resounding success with celebrities, sportsmen, cabinet ministers along with the common people ushering in new behavioural changes for a cleaner nation. It has also culminated in construction of toilets in rural and urban areas for eradicating the menace of open defecation. The mission has borne results with three states namely Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Kerala already being declared as Open Defecation Free (ODF). The trust has also been given to the Beti Bachao and Beti Padhao Yojana (official website ) for highlighting the importance of the girl child in the society.
The government has also tried to rectify the problems of the medical sector by enacting the Mental Health Bill, 2016 for calling upon the various stakeholders to accept their responsibility in improving the sector. The government has also launched the Indradanush Scheme to ensure Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) for the communicable diseases for the children till the age of 14 years. The Indian Medical Systems (IMS) under the AYUSH Ministry is also being promoted to boost employment and to provide medical access to the common folks. The international influence of the PM Narendra Modi has been instrumental in promoting Yoga at the global stage. The world has come to recognize this cultural heritage of India with the United Nations declaring 21st June as the International Yoga Day. The government is also working on skill development for the youth to increase employment. It has started various schemes to provide skill certifications and vocational training to the people to increase their employability.
To increase the efficiency of this sector, among other initiatives; one of the most important is making India Digital. The Modi government has been successful in promoting the ‘Digital India’ in order to boost the digital services culture in the nation. It has tried to link the public services with the Adhaar Card of the people to develop national database for improving the quality of the facilities. The thrust to the Digital India is expected to aid the national (?) to about 1.5% of the GDP annually. It will also curb the use of black money and the fake currency to putrefy the system internally. The usage of the Unified Payment Interface (UPI) and the new BHIM application for the digital transactions is being pursued.
Earlier the growth of digitalization was slow but with the historic decision of 8th November, 2016 to demonetise the currency notes of denominations ₹500 and ₹1000 it led to the exponential usage of digital means. The decision has proved to be the surgical strike against the hoarders of black money by making their unscrupulous cash worthless. The people of the nation supported the government wholeheartedly by suffering in long hours of queues and disruptions in an effort to purge black money. Demonetisation has preceded with the Income Declaration Scheme of the government to declare the unaccounted cash by paying penalty for the same. The demonetisation has proved to be most pivotal policy decision in decades with the public and banking officials supporting the government in spite of poor management and planning on part of the government. However, the fight against black money has also not been able to reach a conclusive destination with no attempt being made to bring back the cash stashed abroad in the foreign banks and also the majority cash being deposited is confusing. There were also numerous cases of indulgence of officers and corruption.
The government is to be credited with the passing of the Goods and Service Tax (GST) law which is being seen as the greatest tax reform for the nation. It will replace the present complex and flawed system of indirect taxation with a streamlined and transparent regime. It will also eliminate the regional disparities in the tax rates and will boost the investment by increasing accountability in the system. The novel regime will commence from 1st July, 2017 and is set to revolutionise the Indian taxation system. The Jan Dhan, Adhaar and Mobile (JAM) trinity is expected to divert the nation to a path of economic prosperity in the coming years.
Defence and Space Exploration
The present government has encouraged the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in its endeavours to herald space research. ISRO has enabled our nation with the distinction of the only nation in the world to send the unmanned spacecraft to both Mars and Moon in the very first attempts. It has also unveiled the new geospatial technology NAVIK to be an indigenous geo-positing system to replace the US based GPS at cheaper rates. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully built Tejas as the indigenous light combat aircraft. The Agni V missile has boosted India’s inter-continental strike ability in league with our assured second strike capability in the event of a nuclear escalation. The resolute surgical strike across the Pakistan border to retaliate the cross border infiltration has boosted the morale of the defence forces. The conclusion of the Japanese Nuclear Deal as well as the membership of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) has established India’s paramountcy in international diplomacy.
The present government has undoubtedly achieved tremendous feats in the three years of working, but the same has also been dotted with many problems which need to be corrected in the coming days. The government has not been able to decipher the mystery to the Maoist problem with the recent days witnessing an escalation in the hostilities by the insurgents. The state of Jammu and Kashmir has also been reporting unrest for want of a permanent political solution. The government has woefully failed to rectify the relation with China. The dragon nation has been consistently blocking India’s membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and India’s UN resolution on terrorism. The upcoming Maritime Silk Road and One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative of China is designed to circumvent West Asia to emerge as the global superpower is bound to disturb the government in the near future.
The Road Ahead…
The three years of the working of the Modi dispensation is dotted with many bright spots and has propelled the nation to a higher growth trajectory. The use of digital infrastructure, Smart City Mission, Swatch Bharat, Make in India, etc. have heralded a sea change in India’s perception and economic standing in the world. The government has also won the critical public mandate on demonetisation and surgical strikes to endorse them as national achievements. But the government has not been able to cure the problem of black money, China’s belligerent attitude, terrorist attacks from Pakistan and corruption in electoral funding which is bound to perturb the Modi government. The massive problems of poverty, unemployment, poor health infrastructure and food security need to be the focal points. It will be in the best interest of the nation that the Modi government is able to build upon its terrific track record in the next two years and propelled the nation to greater echelons of progress and economic development to realise the motto of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas”.
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