Three Years Of Modi

“The government belongs to all the people of the country, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, from Kutch to Kamrup,” Modi said on May 16, 2014, in Vadodara after the BJP won the Lok Sabha election three years ago.

“It is our responsibility to take everyone along. A government cannot be of just a few people; our mission will be ‘sabka saath, sabka vikas’,” he added aiming for an inclusive growth.

In a landslide victory, the BJP had won 282 seats in India’s lower house of parliament, over the 272-seat mark needed for a majority and the NDA alliance led by the party won with 336 seats. It was for the first time in the last three decades that a single party had won a simple majority in the Lok Sabha. The magnanimous victory laid the foundation for a strong government.

It has been three years since Narendra Modi took over as the Prime Minister. As leader of the government, a marked shift in leadership and style of governance compared to the earlier UPA regime is apparent of him. It is evident from his manner of functioning that the policy paralysis, that plagued the UPA-2 government, has gone of late.

Most governments with a stable majority or in the alliance are afraid of the three-year mark. In general, it marks manifestation of anti -incumbency, piling up of charges of corruption or fatigue against the ruling regime. Astonishingly, these three years of Modi government has been more an assertion on the condition of the opposition and less about what PM has done or what will he achieve in next two years. The opposition is virtually absent from the popular discourse.

An online survey conducted by a citizen engagement platform LocalCircles, as reported in India Today, shows that almost 61 percent people are satisfied with the performance of the central government.

The Modi government has come out all guns blazing in last three years, with key initiatives such as Make in India, Housing for All, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and Jan-Dhan Yojana, among others. The passage of the GST bill and power and banking sector reforms have also been seen as big drivers of the economy, while the demonetisation drive was one of the brave policy moves in Independent India.

Swacch Bharat Abhiyan was a restructured version of the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan started by the UPA regime. The difference though was the ability of Modi to popularise the movement by nominating eminent personalities from diverse fields as its brand ambassador. Jan –Dhan Yojana, India’s biggest push for financial inclusion, has so far, managed to open 21.43 crore accounts, which have mobilised Rs 35,672 crore deposits.

Rating agency Moody’s has said that The Make in India initiative has borne fruit which is signalled by an increase in the FDI; showing a strong investor interest. India’s current account deficit is now more than covered by its FDI inflows.

The Demonetisation move was the boldest one with almost 86% of the currency in the form of 500 and 1000 rupee note, being wiped out from the economy. It was a move against the black money hoarders and aimed at bringing back the unaccounted money back to the economy. A 50-day window was given to the people for exchanging the old currency with the newly designed 500 and 2,000 rupee notes. An instant public anger appeared against the mismanaged and unprepared banking system. Irrespective of the widespread anguish and household turbulence, an optimistic sentiment grew in favour of the decision; the huge mandate for the BJP in the recent UP elections served as a referendum on the decision.

The Pakistan policy has been dilly – dallying a little bit. We haven’t taken a single strong measure to isolate Pakistan; surgical strikes won’t deter a country which doesn’t even claim the body of its slain soldier. Though, the recent drubbing for Pakistan at the International Court of Justice as it stayed the hanging of Kulbhushan Jadhav was a big diplomatic win for India. Cross-border terrorism has been an area of concern; Pathankot attack, Uri attack and the recent beheadings of two soldiers at the LOC are just a tip of the iceberg.

The government has failed to earn a rating upgrade for the economy. Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramanian has criticised rating agencies and raised questions over their rating methodology, but India’s rating remains just above junk level. In spite of its efforts to ease the difficulties one faces in setting up of a business in India, the government has failed to improve the ranking. As per the World Bank, India stood at 130th slot on ease of doing business which drives away the investors. The Government aims to break into the top 50 of the list in a few years with an improved policy.

A major setback for the government has been its inability to bring about reforms in the Education and Health Sector. No major decision has been taken in this regard in the past three years other than the budget cuts for the Health ministry and the revision of the NCERT books.

These three years have been packed with some welfare schemes from the Government like the Pradhanmantri Krishi Yojana, Atal Pension Yojana and Beti Bachao Yojana which targets all sections of the society. Not only has the government been able to keep a tab on corruption, but also it has taken some tough decisions to curb it. Besides, the so often foreign trips by Narendra Modi have seen new projects being started on Smart Cities and Bullet Train. Moreover, Planning Commission was scrapped to make way for a NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog, a new approach for our economic strategy. The Bilateral ties with many countries have improved due to the Government’s effort in recent years.

For a country as huge and diverse as India, three years is too short a period of time to evaluate the performance of the Central Government.

Meanwhile, the opposition is in a disorganised state; hunting for both an issue and a leader, leaving Modi to become the unchallenged leader of the country.

For now, the intent is right and looks they are moving in right direction. How much India develops in the next two years, only time will tell?

Ayush Harsh

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