Social media is running abuzz with criticism against Prime Minister Modi for his non-Hindu pleasing actions. Such is the level of frustration of some otherwise loyal Bhartiya Janta Party supporters that they have vowed to not vote for PM Modi in the 2019 elections. While the Prime Minister may not have struck the right chord with these Hindu voters, his tenure is full of achievements which have helped grow Bharat into a force to reckon with. Below are a few pointers that highlight the positive changes the NDA government has managed to bring since 2014.
- Bharat’s financial inclusion efforts have won recognition from the World Bank as the Global Findex Report shows that of the 51.4 crore bank accounts opened from 2014-17 globally, a whopping 55% are from Bharat. Today, there are 31.44 crore Jan Dhan bank account holders, and deposits in these accounts have crossed Rs 80,000/- crore. Government’s life & accident insurance schemes have also been successful and widened the social security net.
- The government has been appreciated across the globe for the success of ‘Ease of Doing Business’ motto – last year, Bharat jumped a phenomenal 30 spots to secure a place among the top-100 countries on World Bank’s ease of doing business ranking list in 2018; this is the highest jump any country has ever made in this ranking.
- While the jury is still out on demonetization’s impact on corruption, it has led to sharp improvement in tax compliance and widened our tax base.
- The nation has reaped the benefits of Direct Benefit Transfer, with the needy gaining the benefits directly into their bank account without any middleman.
- With GST on Goods, the consumer is, overall, paying lesser than what they did through the earlier tax regime.
- The inflation rate is as low as 4.5% on average, despite NDA inheriting an inflation rate of ~ 10%.
- Big ticket corruption has been drastically reduced, despite desperate Opposition attempts to manufacture issues like Rafael deal where none exist.
- Though there is no policy that has been directly ‘stock market friendly’, its the economic reforms of the government that have helped businesses to grow and made sure the investors reap the benefits of the well performing business.
- Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016 was introduced to tackle the ever increasing NPAs (non-performing assets). It has empowered the banks to dispossess defaulting promoters and sell assets to recover money. That is how Punjab National Bank is recovering it’s money from the famed defaulter Nirav Modi.
- Banks have been forced to conduct proper audits for the first time, revealing the true scale of the NPA problem created by crony capitalists during the UPA era.
- Since coming to power, NDA has been building infrastructure – which includes roads, ports, airports and waterways.
- The recently inaugurated Rs 7,900-crore fourth terminal at JNPT is another feather in BJP’s colourful cap. The ground breaking for the terminal was done in 2015 and has been built in a record breaking speed.
- There has been an unprecedented push for highways in hitherto neglected North East and border areas.
- The 135 km world-class Eastern Peripheral Expressway — expected to provide major relief to Delhi from vehicular pollution — is set to be completed in a record time of 500 days as against a sanctioned target of 910 days.
- Railways is undergoing modernization with organizational restructuring, introduction of new technologies, station re-development and focus on passenger amenities.
- Electricity has reached newer places across the country – 18,452 un-electrified villages now have electricity, while the Saubhagya scheme to bring electricity to over 4 crore powerless households is also on track.
- The most notable achievement being the electrification of the world-famous Gharapuri Isle, home to the UNESCO World Heritage site Elephanta Caves.
- The government has also invested more in renewable energy than in fossil fuels.
- There are ambitious and clean electricity plans for 2022, where the government aims to generate 175 GW of renewable energy.
Wide availability of cooking gas
- Due to the Ujjwala Yojana, nearly 80% Indian households now enjoy access to clean cooking gas from 56 per cent three years ago. And 80% of the poor households who are signing up for the scheme are getting refills – this simple step has brought about a mini-revolution in health and lifestyle for millions of women.
Defense & Internal Security
- Bharat finally gave a befitting reply to Pakistan through Surgical Strikes under PM Modi’s leadership. Security forces now enjoy a freehand to respond to Pakistani ceasefire violations.
- There have been no Islamist terrorist attacks in the nation outside of the border states of Jammu and Kashmir & Punjab.
- Even the Naxals are being tamed who suffered much with demonetization. Number of districts affected by Left-wing extremism dropped from 75 in 2015 to 58 in 2017.
- Taking a firm stand against China, Bharat didn’t back off in the Doklam stand-off.
- Defence procurement has been fast tracked & regulations eased. The recent Def Expo 2018 shows the kind of paradigm shift in military-industry-academia that is underway to bolster indigenization.
- Bharat entered the MTCR (Missile Technology Control Regime) in June 2016. And it also made the 42nd member of the Wassenaar Arrangement, a global grouping which regulates and controls the transfer and access to conventional weapons and dual use technologies. This year in January, Bharat also joined the Australia Group, a multilateral export control regime (MECR) which aims to prevent spread of chemical and biological weapons.
- Under the Swachh Bharat Mission, rural sanitation coverage has improved from 38% to 80% and the aim is to drive behavior change as well to ensure the nation is open defecation free (ODF) by this year end.
- The BJP government recently rolled out Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection Mission, providing a cover of up to Rs 5 lakh per family annually for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization, benefitting 100 million families.
- Mission Indradhanush, currently in its 4th year, immunizes all children under the age of 2 years, as well as all pregnant women, against seven vaccine preventable diseases.
- 3,000 Jan Aushadhi Kendras have been opened across the country and more than 800 medicines are being made available there at an affordable price.
- MBBS seats have been increased to about 68,000 in the present 479 medical colleges and new AIIMS and medical colleges are being opened across the nation.
One Rank One Pension
- Despite the furore, the NDA government managed to restore OROP back for the Army, which has been hailed by the army personnel.
Rising International Stature
- The government has signed pacts with countries such as Switzerland, Mauritius, Singapore, in a bid to curb black money laundering.
- PM Modi’s constantly-under-the-scanner foreign visits clubbed with various initiatives have brought a lot of positivity to Bharat’s global image.
- Bharat has started a new initiative to connect to Central Asian countries and Europe through Chabahar port in partnership with Iran & Afghanistan.
Improving Government Services
- Passport services have been improved by leaps and bounds. The process is faster and hassle free.
- Digitization has reduced scope of corruption and red tape in the common man’s dealings with the Government.
This is not to say that everything is perfect. Given the size of our country and the serious nature of challenges we face, there is a long way to go yet on the job front, in education, law & order, women’s safety etc. But it can be safely said that we are now on the right track.
What changes if NDA doesn’t come back to power?
If UPA-3 (or some other Third-front coalition) comes to power in 2019, the nation will definitely witness a sea change, for the worse. Taking various things into account, here are some pointers as to what you can expect if such a scenario unfolds:
- In the name of ‘coalition dharma’, we will again witness the appointment of unethical ministers in ‘juicy’ portfolios like telecom, highways, railways, defence etc.
- The wheeler-dealers & durbaris in Lutyens’ Delhi will be back in action again, cutting deals, controlling access to ministries, planting stories for the highest bidder.
- Given Congress’ past record, the business and banking environment may just be conducive enough for many more Vijay Mallyas and Nirav Modis to resurface.
- The extra-constitutional NAC (National Advisory Council) will be re-constituted to decide key policy matters while elected parliamentarians play second fiddle.
- Reservation for Muslims & Christians might become a reality after a Constitutional amendment, under the guise of secularism and federalism (state Governments such as Telangana are already demanding this).
- Fringe anarchists like Jignesh Mevani, Hardik Patel, Umar Khalid, Kanhaiya Kumar might get fast-tracked into ministerial positions.
- China & Pakistan will be happy as they will again have a Government that is sympathetic to their ‘concerns’. We can expect more Sharm-el-Sheikh type capitulations.
- Illegal Rohingya immigrants will be settled in even greater numbers in sensitive places like Jammu, while attempts to provide citizenship to persecuted Hindu/Sikh minorities from Pakistan and Bangladesh will be stonewalled.
- Further, Hindus in Jammu, Bengal etc may face another Kashmiri Pandit like ethnic cleansing, only there may not be any uproar – nationally and internationally.
- Major cities in the nation will again play host to serial blasts. Radical Islamist socio-political organizations like PFI, AIUDF, AIMIM, JeI, JuH, Raza Academy will again be mainstreamed. More Zakir Naiks will emerge.
- ‘Saffron terror’ theory will be revived, and more Hindu leaders with grass-roots impact will be implicated in false cases. Any Islamist terror attack will be explained away as a ‘reaction’ to ‘saffron terror’ & ‘excesses of the Modi era’.
- Attacks on Hindu festivals and traditions will intensify with the activist-lawyer lobby back in full swing. Scrutiny of foreign-funded FCRA NGOs will stop, once again giving a free hand to #BreakingIndia missionaries and other special interest groups.
- Control over Hindu-run educational institutions will tighten…after crippling Hindu-run schools through RTE, we might see attempts to wreck the higher-education sector too.
- Passing the draconian Communal Violence Bill (CVB) – holding the ‘majority’ (read Hindus) responsible for all incidents of communal violence – will be high on the UPA-3 agenda.
- All independent social media handles, digital media outlets critical of the Congress ecosystem will be selectively targeted – it will be a brutal attack on freedom of expression, all under the guise of ‘maintaining peace and harmony’.
- One good thing is that the negative India-specific noise in Western media regarding intolerance, minorities/women under attack etc. will cease – unless some incident occurs in a BJP-ruled state.
- CBI will again become a ‘caged parrot’, judiciary will be shown who is boss, Padma Shris and other civilian awards will again become a source of patronage.
- Newspapers will be filled with news about scams, terror attacks, governance crisis, gossip about ministerial appointments and intra-Government factionalism.
So whatever your gripe with Modi government (and some of the criticism is indeed justified), the developmental work done by this Government and the scary proposition of a UPA-3, means the choice in 2019 is a no-brainer. Narendra Modi is the best option we have!!!
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