Narendra Modi Government: The Last Lap

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Numbers can often be strung together to tell a story but each number has a story of its own and it is best to let them do their own talking. Though most governments go into election mode in the last year of their terms, Narendra Modi’s government seems to be unaffected by this fact. This is primarily because the current dispensation of bureaucracy has mostly been in election mode the past four years no matter what, with the Prime Minister being personally involved in each and every state election.

The BJP has often fought its elections in the name of their Fire Brand speaker and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, often without declaring a Chief Ministerial candidate. Therefore, the electoral signals have been spread across the last four years of the government with some highlights of overwhelming wins in Uttar Pradesh but biting dust in Karnataka. BJP has been a sensation in the last four years mixed with some major economic reforms. The fifth year isn’t expected to be any different.

The Achievements:

  • Demonetisation:

November 8, 2016, is a date every Indian will remember as the Government announced that Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes in circulation would be withdrawn and new Rs.500 and Rs.2, 000 notes would be issued. The move was particularly targeted at reducing black money, though the narrative did change over the course of the year. The move sent shockwaves across the economy. Economic growth has subdued and several businesses have shut as the economy continues to recuperate from the shock. Though the currency in circulation has now grown steadily and the government is pumping new currency in the market.

  • GST: One Nation, One Tax

The launch of a new nationwide Goods and Services Tax (GST) in July, transformed India’s 29 states into one market with one tax rate. It further increased the ease of doing business. As pointed out by BJP, India jumped 42 places in three years to break into top 100 countries in the ranking, to comply with this. All the goods and services are taxed at one of the five rates: 28 percent, 18 percent, 12 percent, 5 percent or zero. Teething troubles are still being ironed out.

  • Bank Recapitalization

The Government had unveiled a massive Rs. 2.11 lakh crore, two year road map to strengthen the NPA (Non-Performing Asset) – hit PSU (Public Sector Unit), which included the recapitalization bonds which will be saving the local people or local loan taker from the state-owned lenders who extort money.

  • Air India privatization

In June, the government formally approved the privatization of the national airline and five of its other subsidiaries. Air India was promised a infusion of 50,000 crore but during the UPA government decided to bail out due to the losses it accumulated amounting to a debt of 52,000 crore. Of this, it has already received capital of Rs. 24,000 crore and is likely to stop capital infusion due to the decision of disinvestment.

  • Crackdown on shell firms :

Intensifying its crackdown on black money, the government has collated information about 5,800 shell companies which have nearly zero-balance accounts and saw nearly Rs. 4,574 of deposit post note ban and Rs.4,552 crore withdrawal thereafter.  The Indian Economy has been growing on a robust note of 7.2 per cent in 2018 and has accelerated to 7.4 as the result of the public investment and structural reforms but it had to face the sudden withdrawal of money due to the monetary policy adopted by India, a United Nations report states.

  • Sensex :

It is a known fact that the stock markets love Modi. The fact that the day Modi was elected, the Sensex rose 1,500 points and from that time it has always been a dream run as the market is on a record breaking spree. The BSE market capitalization is now more than $2 trillion.

  • FDI:

Is Sangh Parivar for foreign investment or against it? It is not possible to give a clear answer to this. While organizations like Swadeshi Jagran Manch have vehemently spoken against FDI, the BJP has been considered as a foreign investor’s darling as the FDI increase over last three years is proof. During the period under Modi, the country saw nearly $149 Billion worth of investment from overseas in comparison to UPA’s 2011-12 aggregate flow of $117 Billion, reports the First Post.

The Failures:

  • Poorly managed crisis:

Many of the Modi Government’s missteps have originated from the Ministry of Finance (MoF). Demonetisation was poorly executed. GST put in place unnecessary complex architectural problems for the people to understand as the new income tax forms require details never sought before, resulting into an alienated middle class, aggrieved traders and unhappy businessmen. All this would have a silver lining if tax collection rose sharply.

  • Government schemes stalled:

Many of the government’s schemes such as Make in India has been confusing. Private and foreign investors have reacted cautiously as the main focus was on the defense deals such as Rafale deal which was also stalled due to bureaucratic inertia. Some of the most important and ambitious projects have been works in progress, namely Aadhar, Swacch Bharat Abhiyan and Ganga Cleanup. These three critical missions suffer setbacks of their own.

  • A Broken list of Promises:

According to the Census taken in 2011, half the population of India was below the age of 25 and 65% was under the age of 35. The importance of creating employment opportunities in India cannot be over stated. While BJP promised to provide our country with 1 crore jobs (at an election rally), the government failed miserably in keeping this promise.

  • Number of Toilets built:

A flagship scheme of the Modi government, Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, has failed to live up its hype. According to an India Spend report in 2015, over one crore toilets were built during the time period of 2008-2009, compared to just 80 lakhs built across the country in 2015-16.

A Survey by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) in 2015-16 also highlighted the fact that for every ten toilets built under the Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, six of them never had any water supply.

  • Textile at its all time low:

Another key highlight of the BJP’s manifesto was its emphasis on textile market, a labour intensive industry which also employs around 100 million workers, directly and indirectly. However, it suffered a huge jolt, reported the Union Textile Minister Smriti Irani, as Textile Industry missed its revenue targets for 2016-17 by huge margin. This is due to the demonetization breaking the back of India’s textile industry, which was already struggling with the falling exports, low productivity and rising prices.

  • Political Discourse :

The BJP manifesto promised to “ensure a peaceful and secure environment, where there is no place for either the perpetrators or exploiters of fears”. However, it has been anything but that. From love jihad to gau goons to lynching to anti-Romeo squads, the list goes on and on. Discourse and critical thinking, which are essential tools when it comes to securing progress in a democratic society, have been forgone. Human Rights group Amnesty International flagged attacks by cow vigilantes, communal and caste-based violence against Dalit’s under the Modi Government as a major concern, in its 2016-2017 Annual Report.

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Article contributed by:

Arpan Chakravarty
Member
Cover Photo: PTI



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