Brand Modi in Place, Third Year Onwards the NDA Government to Be in Action Mode
On this day, two years ago Narendra Damodardas Modi was sworn in as the Prime Minister of India after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) secured a decisive mandate in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections on its own. It was for the first time in the past three decades that a political party had won such a massive victory, signaling an end of coalition era at the Centre.
As the Modi government steps in the third year, its performance on key parameters such as economy, infrastructure, social sector, foreign policy, national security is naturally being assessed. A number of surveys have given a thumbs up to the Modi government which assumed office at the end of Congress-led UPA government’s term that had come to be identified with policy paralysis, scams and corruption. The promise of “Acche Din” (Good Times) for the people injected a new hope and fuelled high expectations towards which the Modi government will have to work tirelessly in the remaining part of its term.
If Mr. Modi has been able to revive and given a much-needed thrust to India’s foreign policy and put the country on a strong footing in the comity of nations in all international fora, he will now have to tighten the screw on implementation of the government’s schemes and programmes on the domestic front, taking States along in delivering the Centre’s schemes so that all citizens benefit from them. The initial period of catchy slogans and theme-songs is getting over and the people will start judging how programmes like Make in India, Digital India, Clean India, Skill India, Start up India are performing.
In an interview to the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, Prime Minister Modi countered the criticism of his government having failed to initiate “”Big Bang”” economic reforms, by asserting that he has actually undertaken the maximum reforms. But, he added: “”I have an enormous task ahead for myself.”” He said that the government has opened up more of the economy to foreign investments and made changes to curb corruption, fill gaps in rural infrastructure and make it easier to do business. “”Today, unlike before, India is not standing in a corner,”” Mr. Modi said.
His senior Cabinet colleagues took to the social media and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who holds the key to implement measures that will ensure a steady and good economic growth of India, said decision-making has been accelerated and Indian economy has gained credibility. Mr. Jaitley said that Indian economy was the fastest growing in the world. If financial inclusion by launching Jan Dhan bank account scheme has scored high with nearly 22 crore bank accounts, it is the job sector which has remained lacklustre as well as rising prices of essential commodities which still remains an area of concern. On the brighter side, the matters of governance like auction of coal blocks, spectrum and FM radio were handled well with care, growth has remained just above 7% and India’s foreign exchange reserves have touched an all-time high figure of 360 billion US dollars. The Modi government has preferred to continue the schemes of the previous government like Aadhar card, and guaranteed rural employment scheme. It has liberalized FDI rules but the country’s position on the scale of ease of doing business globally has only improved marginally.
On social front, the Modi government has attracted criticism for choking dissent, handling prestigious educational institutions in a flip-flop manner and doing precious little to inspire the confidence of minorities. It is only the slogan “”Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas” under which the BJP leaders and ministers taken refuge rather than emphatically coming out with their plans and welfare measures to take the minorities along and making them a stakeholder in the governance and development of the country.
If the BJP has relied heavily and solely on the communication skills and oratory of Mr. Modi, it is now in the third year that the Brand Modi needs to be further consolidated and Team India takes it upon itself to take the implementation and delivery to the last mile. It will be for Mr. Modi to keep the fringe elements in his party in check and ensure that his rebooting the governance model and brave attempts to overhaul the system yield desired results. Communal and social harmony, internal security and employment generation are other areas where the Modi government would have to toil harder. If citizens have endorsed Brand Modi and seen India rise and being heard on global platform, they would look forward to seeing the government meet their expectations. Mr. Modi knows the enormity of the situation and, hopefully, move the government machinery in top gear so that it embarks on an action-oriented, mission mode journey over the next three years. He will also have to axe the non-performers, rabble rousers and fringe elements.