This time I would not start with those positive words describing Mr. Modi’s way of leadership. Rather, it becomes binding, or for that matter much-reassuring for me to mention the ‘Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna’ in the very beginning of this article that will aim at presenting a fair view of talked-about 100 days of governance. Almost 75 million households will benefit under this scheme by January 26, 2015, which sets a new meaning of financial inclusion. What the past governments could not deliver, the Modi-led CG has done it within 3 months. Mobile Banking via National Unified USSD Platform under the same scheme will be a new classification of an extensively technology-driven nation. With the unveiling of an interactive portal, mygov.in, citizens are made a part of governance. And that’s not all. Let’s see what all we have attained.
Assessment of first 100 days of Modi-led union government appears soothing since the vicious circle which the former government had developed was far more problematic than it appeared to the common man. However, the new leader very well comprehends that until the base of our economy and society is toughened, successes like stronger Indian currency, lower CAD, better work prospects, and abolition of poverty can never be realized. Inclusion of new vaccinations to further lessen the IMR, new schemes for pregnant women, and groundwork for new healthcare scheme are those little works that remain unnoticed, however, are the supporting pillars of any country. Yes, a few tasks like apt plan of action for augmentation of agriculture, gas, power and environment sector, and matters related to higher education and Kashmir still seek PM’s heed.
The first quarter of FY 2014-15 has witnessed growth rate of 5.7 per cent, which is the highest if compared with the results of former nine quarters. Till April this year almost every Indian knew the coming in of Mr. Narendra Modi, hence the market and entrepreneurs were motivated to rely on the Indian economy, post a long duration of setbacks and uselessness. World Bank has projected India’s growth at above-5 per cent for the current FY and above-6 per cent in the FYs 2015-16 and 2016-17. While going through an article in the ET, it felt overwhelming to note that 80 per cent of CEOs have made new investment decisions and a larger chunk is gearing up for hiring new employees. And, almost every of the CEOs have relied upon the new PM’s caliber.
New talent; get ready to fly if you have that potential. The FM has set aside INR 10,000-crore venture capital fund for start-ups in his very first union budget. Understanding the vitality of new ventures and the need of boosting the spirits of raw entrepreneurs, along with possibility of bringing in new employment prospects and technology, the measure is something that the former FMs could not realize. Also, an INR 200-crore fund is to be managed by ICFI for Dalit entrepreneurs. Investment of USD 3 billion in just a time period of 24 hours and that too in the sphere of e-commerce justifies how much trust does foreign players have placed in the Indian market. If the government takes this further by easing the regulatory milieu, expect miracle.
I believe 100 smart cities, hike in tax exemption limits, 5 new IIMs and IITs, 4 new AIIMS, Kisan TV, National Rural Internet and Technology Mission, Free Drug Service and Diagnosis Service, and the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Yojana were some basic needs that the former governments could not address; however were paid heed to in the union budget 2014. The proposal of Ultra-Modern Super Critical Coal Based Thermal Power Technology will augment the power sector for sure. And the fund set aside for the river Ganga can be seen as a wise step towards reviving the roots of Indian heritage, along with addressing the issues of drought and unclean drinking water. Expenditure Management Commission for food/fertilizer subsidies was much-needed. Let me also add to this the India-Australia civil nuclear deal for supply of uranium to India.
An all-new Skill Development Ministry with special focus on sports and youth affairs, pacts with Japan with respect to Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Railway, ship-breaking yard in Gujarat, roads and road transportation sector, and other significant investments can be termed as milestones. The PM while addressing a joint press briefing with the Japanese PM urged for collaborative and peaceful endeavors from Asian nations and also took a tough note of China’s past illegal intrusions. Rest, the doing away from unproductive Planning Commission, mantra of less government and more governance, and measures like self-certification of documents can be added to the list of rewarding actions undertaken by the new government. Backing of Indian farmers (WTO meet in Geneva) and widespread change in government working are other hits.
Abolition of Group of Ministers for fast track governance, inclusion of roads (in rural areas), national highways and railways in the Union Budget 2014, fund set aside for ‘Digital India’, Nirbhaya Centers and restructuring of Madrasas, new Metro cities, business friendly processes for wind and solar energy sector, ease of availing loans for higher education, and toilets in every household are some notable successes/ plans of the new government. PM’s 3 Ds (Democracy, Demography and Demand), HIT (Highways, Information and Transportation) approach with Nepal, 3 S (Skill, Scale and Speed), and B for B model with Bhutan are more than promising. Bilateral dialogues with SAARC countries and 12 other nations, progress of Indian currency, decrease in CAD in the first quarter, and cheer in the automobile sector add to our viability.
Indicative reforms are what that not much analysts pay attention to. In this context, I refer to the persona and intellectuality of the Indian PM, which attracts the responsiveness of leaders and citizens from around the globe. Though most of the Asian nations enjoy democratic political setup, their politics revolves more or less around dominant families. The rise of Narendra Modi, a common Indian man, has given all Asian residents an apt reason to cheer. His words ‘Make in India’, followed by his speech in Tokyo ‘India has now turned to a red carpet economy from a red tape economy’ say it all. Foreign investors are much more self-assured than ever to spread arms in India. Yes, Mr. Modi’s words count and are banked upon. Be it his 68th Independence Day speech or his simple and honest admiring of Japan, he alone is enough to bring revolution.
It is also important here to compare the deliveries of India’s present leaders with that of our former ones. More than 3000 days of power, celebrated ministers, and two consecutive terms were the pluses with which the Congress could have taken India to an added hierarchy. But the irony was that the ministers and even their chosen head, the PM, had nil controls. The present government has changed this and is serving the nation rather than ruling Indians. Gone are the days of delays and words. Swift execution is the new strategy. PMJDY and PM’s dialogues with multiple nation heads in just a few months are the evidences. And for Congress now, it is even more harmful to claim that the present government policies are the continuation of the ideas of UPA-2. As if they were, why was the Sensex bearish and inflation bullish during their ruling?
Expectations from the Modi-led CG were many and the government worked hard to deliver results. However, not all that was anticipated is attained. Foremost, the central assistance fund, which is disbursed to the states by the Planning Commission, is now looking for government’s new and quick directives. Secondly, for almost every of the government-funded programmes, states are to play the implementation role, which demands agreeable states-center relations and the same does not appear an easy task. Reduction of subsidies and deficits, and focus on GST and DTC are still looked for. MGNREGA, the Land Acquisition Bill, Food Security Bill, and privatization of Public Sector Units are other prominent areas that need special focus.
Pakistan and China haven’t still changed their ill-behaved approach, which the voters of the 2014 general polls expected would be taken care of competently by Mr. Modi. Yasin Malik, the Kashmiri separatist leader, was allowed to meet Pakistan High Commissioner in New Delhi; the CMs of many states were allowed to retaliate owing to the cases of hooting; and food inflation and unlawful stock-piling of basic goods are not paid proper heed to. It needs no mention that Indians wanted magical renovations in social, economic and political spheres when they relied upon Mr. Modi, who recently has cited the same fact in one of his speeches. However, when all of us know that the economy was shattered to the core when the Modi-led CG took over; let us afford plentiful time to the new squad of administrators to bring in thriving and stable changes.
Opposition- Will anyone assess their first 100 days too? A race to unite against the BJP (RJD and JDU collaboration, Mulayam’s invite to Mayawati, Mamta’s soft corner for Left) is just what the opposition parties are contending for. And the most aged of all, Congress, has nothing except accusing the government for communal conduct and succession of their policies. When the aim of all political groups is ‘nation-building’, Congress should be contented if their policies, in case they are, are being implemented. Having put all labors in fetching the post of leader-opposition, Congress disremembered that the accountabilities of opposition are much more than just giving news-bites and blocking even the good deeds of the ruling party. Remember, real democracy is unattained if the opposition, which too gets same powers from the public, remains unreliable.
My writing will be unfinished if I miss to mention those reassuring words that could have come only from the present PM of India. “As parents do we ever ask our son where he is going? A rapist, after all, is someone’s son.” “If you work 12 hours, I will work 13, and 15 if you work 14 hours. “Someone asked me do we still have snake charmers in India? I said that we used to play with snake, but now we play with mouse (quoting India as the best software hub)”. “Optimism is within me and only an optimistic man can bring the long-awaited optimism in India”. “Being a Gujarati, business is in my blood and I believe that the same strives for apt milieu to boost.” “Elimination of poverty cannot be attained without getting rid of financial untouchability.” Last and the most optimistic, “I am not Pradhan Mantri, I am the Pradhan Sewak.”
‘One India, Unsurpassed India’. An all-new and vibrant mantra given by the Indian PM while quoting the achievements of government during 100 days life, pride, action, and speed. Not all is that he includes in his feat. For the new PM, the PMJDY, inclusion of INS Vikramaditya and INS Kolkata in the Indian Navy, enhanced relations with SAARC nations, India’s stand at the WTO meet, harmless return of Indian nurses and fishermen from overseas, labor and judicial reforms, and implementation of transparent environmental clearances are the most countable. Approval granted for increasing the height of Narmada Dam and setting up of SIT for bringing the black money stashed abroad are much near to the heart of Mr. Modi. As the PM says, every Indian must walk and rise together believing the nation is built only when all go hand in hand.