Every Indian has some opinion on the one year of Modi government- it ranges from encomiums to brick bats, some justified, others concocted out of political compulsions. But everybody seems to agree that the Narendra Modi government has been functional all these 365 days; and that is no mean achievement, testing it on the touchstone of dysfunctional previous government allegedly comatose and policy paralyzed. Let us see who got what from the Narendra Modi led NDA (National Democratic Alliance) government in 2014-15 May to May.
Got back its dignity and respect. It can no more be treated as a weak nation. It is rightly recognized as a great nation by the world’s super-powers. They have paid respect to the nation as a strong one and growing economy.
Their faith in the constitutional scheme of governance restored. Their despair gone. They feel safe, secure, confident, hopeful and cooperative. They trust their Prime Minister now. They stand empowered for the first time. They are bank account holders today. They can no more be cheated of their hard earned money by defrauders. You can never experience the pain of losing your money unless you keep it with somebody for you and being told that it has already been adjusted towards loan servicing against the earlier debt when you need it in emergency or for use. The usurers are eager to extend another loan. All a jugglery of words and calculations which the lowest man in the pyramid does neither understand nor is capable of doing so. It brings the ugly practice of usury to an end by a single stroke of Narendra Modi government launching the Jan Dhan Yojana under which every citizen is empowered to open a bank account even with nil deposit. It has already crossed 100 million accounts and deposits of rupees 150000 million. Now these citizens, labelled as poor or BPL (Below Poverty Line) families or other categories, will get all kinds of subsidies directly in their bank accounts, e.g. pension, cooking gas subsidy and all other similar social security assistance. Corruption was rampant in every social sector programme as not even 10% funds reached the target groups. Even bogus beneficiaries were a common phenomenon. Corruption eradicated by one healthy programme addressing all the needs of the people.
The poor have been extended insurance cover for a nominal sum. It is understood that already more than 700 million citizens have got themselves insured and everyone is going to benefit from it as awareness increases. Along with life cover, a separate scheme for accident insurance has also been launched successfully.
It needs to be noted that these programmes have benefited the largest number of ordinary citizens, whose income ranges from zero to10 US $ per day. That translates to approximately 65% of the population. Moreover, it serves the citizens without any segregation in terms of caste, creed, gender, region, education, economic stature or anything else. Another significant change brought about by these people oriented schemes is that they have empowered women as never before. Imagine the farmer or labourer woman operating a bank account and in control of her finances, unlike previously when all her income would be taken away by her husband who will drink her daily earnings away or family members. Imagine such a woman using her credit card! Imagine the woman receiving money sent by her husband or children working at some distant place in her own hands without the corrupt postman deducting his unlawful service charge which is common in the countryside and in metros like Delhi, where they open even registered letters and see the amount of the cheque to calculate their service charge. She would need nobody’s help and records will ensure that there is no breach of trust. Let me give a small anecdote to illustrate the point. A village strong man left his cow to the care of a poor farmer while going for a short pilgrimage. The farmer tends to his cow for about a month. The owner returns. He takes away his cow along with a calf of the farmer. The farmer remonstrates. The strong man tells him that it was delivered by his cow in his absence and takes them away. In Hindi it is said like this: Uday Singh ki gaaya, ganth kaa bacchaa bhi le gayi. Until the British codified it as an offence, breach of trust was a common practice for the powerful and influential. The initiatives of Narendra Modi have brought about Structural Changes in the economy with a far reaching positive impact which will be difficult to reverse. It is like the initiation of the end of licensing for setting up industries in India by Rajiv Gandhi in 1985, which could not be reversed by subsequent governments but only enlarged. Ordinary Indian women are going to feel empowered in real sense for the first time because of Narendra Modi. They have been income generating members of the family so far who were not allowed to dispose it off according to their judgement. But a household runs well when the mother earns and uses the income to meet the priority needs of the family, such as nutrition/education/health over liquor.
The government is not hostile to entrepreneurs, but promotes industry and business. The adversarial attitude of the bureaucracy putting roadblocks in approval of proposals for setting up new industries or expansion or diversification of existing industries is gone. The Narendra Modi led NDA government has sent the right message to the bureaucracy to act facilitators for development and economic growth rather than acting stumbling blocks. Emphasis has been rightly placed on skill development and upgrading products to world class so that Make In India succeeds with an aplomb. Inflation has been checked, prices behaved sensibly in the absence of collusion of government with hoarders and black-marketers. Foreign exchange reserves are reassuring and CAD under limits. Interest rates are likely to fall soon as a result of these initiatives. FDI is coming and developed countries are keen to invest under the Make In India programme as also government to government negotiations. The port, highways, waterways and railways development will prove as beneficial as the setting up of giant core industrial undertakings in the public sector by the visionary Jawaharlal Nehru and computerization by another visionary prime minister Late Rajiv Gandhi, who also initiated the economic liberalization process in 1985. Critics of Narendra Modi may ignore the effect of these programmes of a visionary Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, as they had done in the case of Rajiv Gandhi by giving credit for economic liberalization to Late PV Narasimha Rao & his Finance Minister Manmohan Singh. History has been written: nobody can forget Nehru or Rajiv; so none will be able to do to Narendra Modi.
The weather has destroyed thousands of acres of crops which were about to be harvested this year causing terrible losses to the farmers. The NDA government has reached out to the distressed farmers, compensating them for losses and giving them market support for their remaining produce. The government is working on bringing out a permanent solution to the farmers’ woes to end their misery and distress ending in several suicides. India attaches the highest importance to agriculture, as it has changed the scenario here similar to what industrialization had done to Europe. Economic initiatives devised for all will benefit the farmers for the first time. Perennial indebtedness is a curse of the Indian farmer and starvation the most inhuman of all causes for death among the poor, especially women. Hopefully, they will become things of the past if the government succeeds fully in its endeavours, which it will, irrespective of the opposition blocking progress in the Rajya Sabha and some states. But the common good of the common man will force all political combinations to either support Narendra Modi or adopt his programmes. There is no scope for anyone to go back or reverse the process.
The biggest achievement of the people of India has been the restoration of the Constitution of India, which had been compromised to an extent where the country became a butt of ridicule not only domestically but internationally too. Chroniclers of the constitutional History of India will not be able to ignore the horrendous sabotage of the constitution whereby the office of the Prime Minister of India was reduced to a proxy! Nobody dared to challenge this patently unconstitutional arrangement. Can any outside body have the authority to decide on issues, policies or executive matters outside the Council of Ministers in the country under its constitution? Can such a body be funded from the Consolidated Fund of India or the Contingency Fund of India without being answerable to the parliament for 10 years? Can such an unconstitutional body go without being accountable to parliament or people? Can the expenditure of such a body remain beyond the reach of the Comptroller & Auditor General of India or if examined by it, go without any questions asked for 10 long years? Such naked violation of the constitution had reduced the theory of Rule of Law to a mere a fable. It was subjected to further humiliation by the amendment to the Office of Profit list: that continues without any amendment so far. It led to horrible trust deficit between the government and the people. It was aggravated by open corruption of historic proportions by ministers, officers and businessmen. What was being whispered among the better informed individuals soon became public when the C&AG of India exploded the scam in his report which said that auction of airwaves caused an estimated loss of rupees 1,76,000 crores to the exchequer and coal to the extent of 1,86,000 crores. The citizens could stomach no more; enough was enough; and Narendra Modi was entrusted the reins of power to clean the mess and restore the government as per law established and not through any unconstitutional authority’s proxy. Narendra Modi is nobody’s proxy. The decadent system is dead and the constitution restored to health. The law is supreme in India.
Arraigned for being rightist, fundamentalist, communal or reactionary, the party under Narendra Modi has undergone an experience of perception and vision for the first time. Intimidated, insulted, ignored and ridiculed for long, the party has learnt its lessons to grow from an only opposition party to be a ruling party. The scale of perspective and vision of Narendra Modi, his success in winning friends from American President to the Chinese President and French President, Prime Ministers of Australia, UK and others, his charm over the PIO, NRI and generally the people of the countries he has visited, his quick response to disaster management in the country and neighbhoring Nepal, his people friendly economic schemes fulfilling the party’s best agenda of Antyodaya or reaching the last man unserved by the system have blunted the opposition within his own party from old guards and rivals for office and won him new friends, His greatest achievement for the party has been a corruption free one year of governance. The BJP prides in nothing more than its anti-corruption agenda and Narendra Modi has proved it to the party stalwartsvthat he has delivered and shall continue to deliver success on this front. The people are sick of corruption and even if its means creating very powerful enemies within and outside India, Modi stands by his promise to the people that he will neither take nor allow others to take bribe (na khaunga, na khane doonga). At the same time, he has succeeded in chastising his over-zealous party workers, who have been reared on a solid diet of religion (not different from the Christian or Muslim outfits), and made them improve their horizons. The jarring notes have reduced considerably. Slowly, they will grow up. The party has showcased its talent by making the ministers speak at important public for a and TV shows. The PM has entrusted his ministers to explain the government’s achievements to the people and all of them have done a fantastic job. It is a feather in the cap of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Narendra Modi. If it continues to grow like this and improve fully, it will give the governance that people have been looking for since 1967 when they first experimented with change of governments in 9 Indian states, failed and again experimented after a decade by changing the government at the centre; failed again and changed the government after almost another decade; failed and again changed the government at the centre after another decade! This time, they seem to have got the man they had been searching: Indian to the core, modern to compete with the best, clean as snow, devoted to serve the country, capable of taking the country to new heights, making every Indian proud of being an Indian. The BJP ought to work hard on these achievements of a single individual, make its members understand such a vision and attitude, grow from narrow to comprehensive citizen, contribute to his efforts to build a strong India of people’s dream and put no hurdles in his way. If the BJP does that, it will be remembered. For this to happen, the party has to assimilate modernity and sanitize the ills of tradition. Even Lord Vishnu took more than one Avatar. Why can’t our dead customs and traditions be not buried forever. The lessons not learnt from the challenges posed by the birth of Buddhism or Jainism or Sikhism and the shrinkage of territory and loss of freedom for millennia should be taken seriously. Narendra Modi has brought the opportunity for that change- adopt it. Let every Indian get the best modern education so that each one gets equal opportunity to be prosperous. It is for the first time that the leadership has moved from north to west. The east and south are already contributing. Accept the change; be the change; make the change.
One year is too small a time period to judge any government. It is not my intention to be unduly adulatory. Neither would I like to be unnecessarily critical. But there are times in the history of man when emergency operations have to be carried out. India was going down at a speed which was bound to prove fatal. The people of India chose Narendra Modi as their savior in such critical times. He has lived up to the people’s trust. By his performance in the first year of his tenure, Shri Narendra Modi has justified the people of India in their judgement of the criticality of the situation and the potential of the man of their choice. He promises acche din (or good days) ahead and we trust him. Best wishes Prime Minister, we are with you.