It was 2014. I had just entered XII Class & being Political Science student and an awarded citizen ( though not voter), I was glued to the swearing-in ceremony of Mr. Narendra Modi. His emergence to the helm of the nation was not so palpable and seemed just like a strong wave of the ocean, which makes its presence felt far & wide. The tall pledges made that day are now to be analyzed as that term has finally ended and the majority government has been sworn again.
What have we achieved in these 5 years?
From 142 ( 2014 ) to 77 Rank (2018), the ease of doing business has seen a marked improvement. For this, govt has worked astoundingly well on various parameters like those of dealing with construction permits, getting electricity connections, etc. Though the official claims of rural sanitation coverage up from 39% in 2014 to over 98% in 2018 are surely dubious to some extent as put forward by various independent agencies, yet Swachh Bharat Mission has surely tried bringing about a wave of changing behavior towards sanitation. With highway construction rate of 27 km a day in 2017-18, it highlights how govts can enhance efficiency substantially if they have the commitment to undertake it. These areas have seen the most recognizable growth but there are some other areas where this govt tried making inroads though not much successful.
Sliding back Development: Areas Where Government Policies’ Had The Opposite Impact
Even though varied objectives of demonetization have been highlighted, not even a single one of them was fulfilled with more than 99% of cash coming back to RBI. Not only its objectives remained unfulfilled, but it also caused varied trauma to common people for no fault of theirs. Small businessmen & unorganized sector workers suffered the most and those who were to be caught got away through illicit channels. We all had become so cash strapped that queues in front of ATMs were not to vanish until two complete years from the dreadful day of 8th Nov 2016. And, how government & BJP leaders equated this misery with patriotism was a slap on our faces! Though GST do has benefits on some accounts, what it has done to small traders and businessmen is beyond even correction now. The input tax credit is not allowed for traders, who are not registered on GST portal, leaving those in small & unorganized businesses unprofitable as registered businesses would not trade with them. Though I fail to understand impossible demand of opposition of one tax bracket for all goods & services, there is certainly the need to simplify the process on ‘n’ number of counts, which if I start listing the article would become an economics thesis. Mudra loans, which are given without much introspection, could create a blemish on already debilitating condition of Indian banks as pointed by renowned economist Raghuram Rajan. Though projects like Sagarmala & Skill India have been excellent at the policy stage, I fail to find any convincing empirical pieces of evidence to highlight its achievements. Finally, it is important to highlight that many of the policies were just replicas of earlier ones with of course changed ‘saffron’ names. Soil Health card scheme has failed to create trust among framers about its recommendations as highlighted by Niti Ayog. It would be better if I don’t highlight here the agonies of farmers as they have been seen across India when our food provides marched so long distances to make their voices heard. To end the discussion on failures, it is poignant to note that we have dropped from 117 (2015) to 140 (2019 ) spot among 156 countries in World Happiness Index that too behind Pakistan ( the weaknesses of which Our PM has highlighted from the ramparts of Red Fort even).
WHAT WORKED IN 2019?
With so many miseries inflicted on common man, everyone was speculating Modi’s return but with lesser seats before 2019. But, WAIT !!! Then, happened BALAKOT and entire mathematics weighed in favor of BJP. Those rationalists who were asking for pieces of evidence, those liberals like me who believe in the more peaceful world order, those who were highlighting on the govt’s inability to modernize armed forces were simply labeled as ‘anti-national’. A contest is often lead by BJP-RSS duo to grant CERTIFICATE OF PATRIOTISM. I think I could even receive Bharat Ratna but this certificate would not make to my wall of fame ever. Modi tried to engage people with their age-old fascination ‘PAKISTAN’, that is how the second march to RCR 7 was made possible. Even though Election Commission warned BJP against asking votes on basis of the army’s actions, how could have BJP stopped as this was the sole plank they now possessed.
DIVISIVE PROPAGANDA AT ITS PEAKS !!!
Though opposition was also too much involved in ‘low’ politics, when Our Prime Minister gets deeps into it, we feel at least the position should be respected. I as was most political activists surprised to see the spectacular performance of BJP in West Bengal. Does this performance even worth praising given the amount of violence & divisive politics that unfolded? I leave it to my readers …..
‘All The Best ‘
It’s rare that majority govt returns. We are happy to have onboard a stable govt for another 5 years. I wish our PM starts working more diligently, cut on his foreign visits a little and undertakes ‘Kam Ki Baat ‘ along with ‘Man Ki Baat ‘. Govt should try purging the existing lacunas in the current policies and help the potential of the nation to flourish to its full extent. As now BJP has got hold over major states of India, I think it should leave the divisive policy for 5 years at least and let govt work. I urge opposition to stop creating unnecessary hurdles in Parliament as your work is only to let development happen and not delay it. I urge the govt to reconsider its radical approach to J & K and follow Atal’s vision in its truest sense.
Lastly, I wish All the Best to Modi Sir. We, the Indians irrespective of your caste, color & religion, are here with you to take policies to the remotest parts of the country.