Almost a year after Narendra Modi’s historic win by a stunning majority at the parliament, when he managed to capture the dreams and imaginations of the billions of Indians; it is now time to assess whether he stood the tests of time and fulfilled all the claims in his party manifesto.
What has Modi got right so far?
Let’s discuss the hits today and keep the misses for another.
Narendra Modi’s reign for the past one year has gathered a mixed response from all spheres. While some sections have been quick to indulge in fault-finding – criticizing the rise in food prices, extensive centralization of power and funds at New Delhi, insecurity among the minorities, lack of sternness over certain issues of land and labour reforms, frequent International visits, the lack of transparency in Governance and Modi’s newly adopted way of communication i.e. tweeting over talking etc…- some other sections from the business and commerce sector observe that there is no evident change in the investment plans as yet.
While the rest either applaud the achievement of his administration in improving the macro drivers of the economy and give him due credit for the absence of infamous scams (which was an unfortunate regular with the UPA government).
A handful like the Business Stalwart Ratan Tata believes that the NDA must be given some more time before being judged, because after all, the BJP- led NDA government came at a time when India was dealing with the curse of deficits, loans, scams ,rampant corruption, increasing nepotism and poor governance, or simply put, a lack of a strong leadership. There is certainly no doubting that the Modi-led government had a hefty task at hand.
Here are the 8 best things for which the Modi government must be given its due credit.
1. Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana
The PM’s Jan Dhan Yojana planned to include the millions of masses of the country into its shade so that every household can avail of credit, insurance and pension facilities. The plan ensured that every household has at least one such bank account.
The scheme has received overwhelming success with two states – Kerala and Chandigarh- and three union territories – Goa, Pondicherry and Lakshadweep- receiving complete financial inclusion.
2. Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan has literally swept the nation like a wave with public offices, public areas and people’s spaces being cleaned periodically. This one of the kind initiative has gained much support from all sections of the society and media for its sheer novelty and impact.
3. Improvement in macro-economic factors
Though some may call this coincidence good luck, Modi has to be given his credit for the stark improvement in many a macro economic factors; such as a control over the double figured inflation figures, fall in the customer price inflation to less than 5%, a drastic cut in the current account deficit on trade, fall in the commodity prices (including crude oil prices) etc…
Some have termed it as Modi’s good luck! But what is a Prime Minister’s success in governance, policy-making and administration without a little bit of good luck? Powerful actions have to be supported by good stars.
Having mentioned the above, the improvement in the macro economic factors has in no way improved production, employment or sales figures. Clearly some good luck has not been enough in reviving the economy.
4. Foreign Policy Building
Lately criticized for his frequent international travels and diplomatic visits, Modi has proved once again that he is man with a clear agenda. Unscathed by criticism, he has been on some rigorous diplomatic outings for the purpose of foreign policy building.
He has emphasized on the need to have cordial and friendly relations with India’s immediate neighbors like Nepal and Bhutan. Modi has also successfully managed to push his agendas in collaborating with Japan. So much so, Modi has also successfully won favorable reviews on his talks of harmony and collaborative development with China. Though the road is going to be long and tedious with China, a small dwindling light can now be seen at the end of the road.
The Prime Minister has also taken a firm stand regarding Pakistan’s approach in tackling terrorism and border attacks. This will perhaps be the first of its kind in the history of the country, when a hard and definitive stand has been taken despite pressures from separatists and fundamentalists from Kashmir.
5. Introduction of #MakeinIndia scheme
The Make in India scheme was an initiative that was started to promote innovation and investments in the country. The current Modi-led government has always stressed on the importance of development and the need to promote technology and innovation.
6. Small size of Ministry
The Government has adopted a no-fuss and ‘less is more’ outlook within its ministerial framework. History has very often proved that “Too many cooks spoil the broth”. The downsizing of the cabinet has proved to be not only cost-effective, but also a very sensible method of reducing non-planned expenditure, thereby ensuring higher performance efficiency and delivery.
7. Dissolving the Planning Commission, EHoMs and GoMs
The dismantling of the 12th Five-Year Plan, the nine Empowered groups of ministers (EGoMs) and the Twenty-one groups of Ministers (GoMs) has won Modi a lot of admirers. The idea has been welcomed as a courageous move forward.
8. Focus on Development, Policy implementation and Reforms
The focus now has clearly shifted from policy making to policy implementation. There is no doubt that better economic reforms are the only way to ensure stability as well as consistent progress. With no need for approval from any coalition partners, due to a clear majority win, the party has been prompt with selling stakes of sick PSU’s, encouraging Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), identifying infrastructure as a key concern, promoting smart cities, E-Governance, setting up of the “Diamond Quadrilateral” project, initiating Ganga cleaning and restoration work etc…
The Government has also recognized the need to embrace technology for better and smarter governance. The Modi government is cashing in on the IT revolution and the labour force in the sector to digitize the country and its resources since a Digital India will aid in better visualization, documentation of assets and resources, fool-proof policy and decision making.
All the above listed achievements have managed to give Modi the required leverage to gain credibility of his role as a Prime Minister. It is for all the above reasons that Narendra Modi has caught the fancy of not only the country, but also the world.
Here is hoping that the rest of the NDA’s reign addresses the areas in which it has not yet touched upon and the unfulfilled ‘India Shining’ story takes full-fledged course at least now that the ‘Honeymoon Period’ is well beyond over!