2 Years of Modi Rule: Good, Unimpressive and Bad
Assessment of two years of NDA government rule in India has been a trending topic. Giving in to popular demand I am writing this blog on the topic. Since no country can remain uninfluenced by nature and the prevalent world situation India, the performance should be seen in the context of the circumstances. Here is my assessment of the Modi government: “2 Years of Modi Rule: Good, Unimpressive and Bad”
Major Circumstances: 2014-16 Beyond Control of Government
Salient natural and manmade circumstances, beyond the control of any government which affected the performance of Modi government are essential to note in evaluating the performance. These are enumerated below.
The El Nino effect caused two drought years in India which adversely affected agriculture resulting in practically no growth in the sector, caused poverty and rural strife, increased farmer suicides and kept rural demand at a low, thus lowering aggregate domestic demand and adversely affecting the growth of the other two sectors as well.
Oil and Commodity Prices
Low commodity prices in the world, particularly oil (India imports 75% of crude oil needs) were a boon for India. It reduced the import bill and improved the balance of payment situation.
World Economy- Bad
The poor state of the world economy affected India adversely as the export earnings remained down. Remittances from NRIs were also impacted.
Conflict in West Asia
The ongoing conflicts in West Asia resulted in evacuation of Indians and adversely affected remittances from NRIs.
GOOD IN TWO YEARS OF MODI GOVERNMENT
Reduced Corruption at Top
The biggest achievement of the Modi government has been the reduction in corruption at the top. Spectrum auction, auction of coal mines, defence procurement and infrastructure contracts have been free from corruption.
Reduced Size and Cohesion in Government
At 46 members, himself included, the NDA’s council of ministers is 35% smaller than that of UPA-II. There is greater decisiveness and cohesion in the present Indian government. It implies greater efficiency and credibility within the country as well as abroad.
42% of Taxes Devolution to States
Modi government deserves credit for devolution of 42% of taxes to the states, thus strengthening the discretionary role of states in India.
Evacuation from Yemen: “Opertion Raahat”
More than 4500 persons were successfully evacuated by the Indian Air Force and Navy from Yemen in 2015. This was good work by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Defence Services.
Jan Dhan Yojana
Anyone can now open an account in a bank, thanks to “Jan Dhan Yojana”- a financial inclusion scheme. The scheme entered the Guinness Book of World Records for the maximum number of accounts opened in a week. The scheme is a big boost in moving towards direct subsidy transfer.
The government saved Aadhaar from turning into a white elephant by passing the Aadhaar Bill through clever manipulation to overcome the Congress hurdle. The Centre’s Digital India and host of welfare measures rely on Aadhaar. It is good for India.
LPG Subsidy Reforms
All persons earning above Rs 10 lacs per annum are barred from LPG subsidy. The amount saved is being used to give over five lakh new LPG connections to those who still use firewood or kerosene stoves for cooking.
India-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement
“India-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement” is great for improved relations with Bangladesh.
OROP for Defence Services
The government may not have been fair in grant of OROP but it will still be a credit to the Modi government that it resolved a 40 years old issue.
At a time when bankers were grappling with huge rise in non-performing assets and government eyeing to create more entrepreneurs, amending the existing law was necessary. This has been done and is good for Indian economy.
Increase in FDI
in 2015 India overtook China and the US as the top destination for Foreign Direct Investment. In first half of the 2015, India attracted investment of $31 billion compared to $28 billion and $27 billion of China and the US respectively. This is proof of great international approval for Indian government.
The current pace of road construction of 20 km per day is the best ever. The focus on Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) has also been very effective. The impact of PMGSY has arguably been more than MNREGA in poverty alleviation. The effort in infrastructure improvement will add to GDP and increase employment.
Power is a vital part of infrastructure and essential to achieve growth. During FY 14-15, a capacity addition of 22,566 MW has been achieved which is 127% of the target of 17,830 MW. Private sector contribution accounts for 59% in the total capacity addition during FY 14-15. The problems in coal mines allocation has been resolved. Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) is the financial turnaround and revival package for electricity distribution companies of India (DISCOMs).DISCOMs in the country have accumulated losses of approximately Rs. 3.8 lakh crore and outstanding debt of approximately Rs. 4.3 lakh crore (as on March, 2015). A comprehensive plan prepared will resolve this problem in the country in approximately two years.
INITIATIVES TOO EARLY TO JUDGE
Swachh Bharat Mission
Swachh Bharat mission got wide public support. As of now, apart from making toilets not much else of value has happened.
Make In India
The project to make India the manufacturing hub of the world is much needed and good. The government is taking efforts by easing foreign investment norms, revamping labour laws and cutting down the red tape. India has conducted road shows abroad and the PM has visited several countries to gather support. Many multi-nationals have pledged their support. It is still early to consider the project a success.
Planning Commission to NITI Aayog
The government abolished the Planning Commission and came up with a think-tank approach to economic strategy. The efficacy of the NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog remains to be seen.
A slew of insurance schemes namely crop insurance for farmers, Atal Pension Yojana for the unorganised sector, affordable health insurance coverage, and the Jan Aushadhi Yojana for retail sales of generic drugs were introduced in the last two years.In addition, the government has re-launched Kisan Vikas Patra and introduced a PPF-equivalent for girl child, the Sukanya Samriddhi Scheme. The success of these schemes remains to be seen.
Modi invested much energy in improving relations with Pakistan. Efforts have failed because of Pakistan’s attitude.
Corruption in Politics and Black Money
Conduct of politics of BJP and NDA is fuelled by black money like other parties, except AAP. Hence promises of bringing back black money have proved to be false.
GDP Growth and Unemployment
GDP growth is being highlighted as a great achievement. However, I see it as unimpressive considering the state of rural economy and no improvement in unemployment.
BAD IN TWO YEARS OF MODI GOVERNMENT
The imposition of President’s Rule in Uttarakhand, and victory of Harish Rawat in the Supreme Court-monitored floor test, was extremely shameful for the BJP government.
Promotion of ‘Hindutva Agenda’ and Divisive Politics
Murders of rationalists and attacks on minority community by fringe right-wing elements may not be limited to the BJP-ruled states. The Centre as well as the PM’s refrains from condemning such attacks shows their complicity in the acts. Bihar elections saw the dirtiest side of divisive politics. Promotion of “Love Jihaad”, “Ghar Vapsi”, beef ban and dropping of charges against the Malegaon accused indicate that it may be difficult for minorities to get justice in India.
The RSS promoted ‘Hindutva agenda’ led to the suicide of Vemula in Hyderabad University, sedition charges against students of Jawaharlal Nehru University and the FTII students’ strike. Other such efforts to lower the influence of Nehruvian and leftist thought from education have shown Modi government in poor light.
Anti-India protests flared up in Nepal after trade movements through the border were not allowed for many days. Nepal called it “India’s blockade” as it followed protests by Madhesis. All of these happened within a year of the Himalayan quake, when Nepal thanked India’s help in rescue and rehabilitation. India could not prevent Nepal from moving closer to China.
GST /Land Bill
The government is unable to pass the GST Bill in Rajya Sabha. Touted as the biggest tax reform in Independent India, the government is unable to bring consensus. Same is the fate of Land Acquisition Bill, which has been given up by the government.
Women’s Reservation Bill
The bill seeking one-third representation for women in Parliament and State Assemblies is an almost-forgotten topic now. Cleared in Rajya Sabha in 2010, the Bill is pending in the lower House, in which the BJP enjoys comfortable majority.
Conclusion: 2 Years of Modi Rule: Good, Unimpressive and Bad
Considering the droughts and the world economic situation the overall performance of the government can be considered as fairly good. There is energy and purposefulness in planning and actions and we hope that government will focus more on development and employment generation and refrain from promoting the ‘Hindutva agenda’ and playing divisive politics in the balance tenure.