Two Years of Modi Government
As Modi government nears completion of two years in office, the analysts are out to identify the hits and misses and give their verdict. The pulse of the nation gives an indication that people are both optimistic and anxious about the future. Here’s a timeline of major issues and developments in the domain of governance that gave both bouquets and brickbats to the NDA government.
Weekly Roundup 11 – 17 April 2016
- Union Cabinet approved signing of a MoU between India and UAE on cooperation in preventing and combating Human Trafficking.
- PM Modi launched “Gramoday se Bharat Uday” Abhiyan in Mhow, Madhya Pradesh
- PM Modi launched e-NAM (National Agriculture Market)
Weekly Roundup 4 – 10 April 2016
- PM Narendra Modi launched “Stand Up India” initiative in Noida. He distributed 5100 e-rickshaws to beneficiaries.
- Union Cabinet approved increasing the framework agreement between Exim Bank of India and a consortium of Iranian banks led by Central Bank of Iran for financing the purchase of goods and services from India to Rs. 3000 crore from Rs. 900 crore.
- Union Cabinet gave its ex-post facto approval to Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) signed between India and Sweden on Technical Cooperation in the Railway Sector
- PM announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs. 2 lakh each from PMNRF for the next of kin of those who lost their lives in the fire in Kollam, Kerala. He also announced a solatium of Rs. 50,000 to those who have been injured in the Kerala Temple fire.
- PM Modi directed high- level review of drought situation in Bundhelkhand, Vidharbha and Marathawada
Weekly Roundup 28 March – 3 April 2016
- PM Modi, along with Belgian PM Charles Michel, remotely activated the 3.6-metre optical telescope called ARIES located at Deosthal, Uttarakhand
- He met a team of scientists from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory in Washington D.C. Dr. France Cordova led the team and explained the significance of India for the future of the LIGO project
- Modi met Canadian, British, and Japanese PMs on the sidelines of NSS (Nuclear Security Summit) 2016. He also addressed Indian community in Brussels.
- Modi paid a two-day official visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from 2-3 April 2016.
Weekly Roundup 21- 27 March 2016
- PM Modi and Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina jointly dedicated the second cross-border transmission interconnection system between India and Bangladesh.
- Union Cabinet approves signing of a Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) between India and Lithuania for cooperation in the field of agriculture.
- Union Cabinet revised cost estimate of the Mangadechhu Hydroelectric project in Bhutan.
- The government approved extension of tenure of the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis beyond 31.3.2016 for three years.
Weekly Roundup 14 – 20 March 2016
- The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) completed a special cleanliness drive under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.
- PM Modi met Afghan President Ashraf Ghani to discuss steps on enhancing bilateral cooperation in multiple areas.
- PM Modi addressed World Sufi Forum which was convened by the All India Ulama and Mashaikh Board to discuss the role of Sufism in countering rising global terror
Weekly Roundup 6 – 13 March 2016
- After a major hue and cry over the Budget proposal to tax 60% of Employees Provident Fund withdrawal on retirement, the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley rolled back the provision.
- The Cabinet approved the Rs 8,000-crore scheme to provide free cooking gas connections to women of poor households.
Weekly Roundup 28 February – 5 March 2016
- After spending more than a fortnight in Tihar Jail, the JNUSU President Kanhaiya Kumar was released on bail. He launched an attack on the government making himself clear that he didn’t want freedom from India, but freedom in India.
- Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented his third Union Budget announcing measures to support small tax-payers and start-ups. He announced a slew of schemes and income tax exemptions.
Weekly Roundup 21 – 27 February 2016
- The Amnesty Government, in its recently published report, claimed that the Modi government is fuelling religious tensions in India. According to the report, the Hindu nationalist government led by PM Modi had failed to prevent incidents of communal violence.
- Ahead of the Budget Session of the Parliament, which started on 23 February, PM Narendra Modi called for constructive debates. He also invited Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for tea to break the stalemate over GST.
- The New York Times editorial blamed the Modi government for cracking down on JNU students. According to the editorial, the “authoritarian drift” has been stifling freedom of expression in the country.
- The BJP government set up a high-powered committee to examine the Jat community’s demand for quota in central jobs. The state-wide agitations had killed around 20 people and caused a financial loss of about Rs. 20,000 crore.
Month-wise Updates on Modi Government
Here’s a month-wise updates on the performance of the BJP government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
January 2016: 20th Month of Modi Government
The NDA Government launched the “Start-up India” movement on 16 January in New Delhi. The event was aimed at celebrating the entrepreneurial spirit of the youth in India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the formal launch of the initiative and unveiled the Start-up Action Plan.
In an ABP News-Nielsen survey conducted in early January, it was revealed that majority of the people of India rate Modi’s performance as ‘above average’. The survey also indicated that the NDA continues to remain popular among voters. The NDA Government unveiled the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana to replace the National Agricultural Insurance Scheme. This a pro-farmer Crop Insurance Scheme has been dubbed as the “biggest-ever government contribution to crop insurance”. Modi government reshuffled top-level bureaucrats and appointed 10 new secretaries to boost its functioning.
December 2015: 19th Month of Modi Government
Narendra surprised the diplomatic world with his last-minute decision to visit Pakistan and meet Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. That surprise visit, which has been explained as a masterstroke, was first by an Indian prime minister in more than a decade. Before the Christmas visit to Lahore, the Modi government signed 16 agreements in the fields of defence equipment, technology, security, infrastructure, and bullet trains. On the home front, both the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha witnessed disruptions over the passage of contentious GST Bill. In the same month, PM Modi laid the foundation of the Delhi-Meerut Expressway.
November 2015: One and Half years of Modi Government
The BJP suffered a shocking defeat in Bihar assembly elections with the Modi-Shah duo failing to win people’s support. The drubbing at the hands of Nitish-Lalu-Congress alliance gave opposition another scope to further corner the government and point out its demerits. On the foreign policy front, Modi’s UK visit turned out to be somewhat constructive with the government signing major deals with General Electric and Alstom to supply India with 1,000 new diesel locomotives. Both India and the UK signed $18-billion deals on energy, defence and development.
October 2015: 17th Month of Modi Government
PM Modi launched a full-throttle election campaign ahead of the Bihar assembly polls. He was seen addressing four rallies in a single day to brighten the BJP’s prospects of winning the elections. What came a surprise and also harmed the government’s image to some extent was the report published by Moody’s Analytics — the economic research and analysis wing of Moody’s Corp. In the report, Moody’s raised concern over controversial comments from various BJP members. It suggested that the Modi must reign his members or else it will run into the risk of “losing domestic and global credibility”.
September 2015: 16th Month of Modi Government
PM Modi’s visit to Ireland saw some significant developments with the government seeking a more liberal visa policy to accommodate Indian firms. Modi also sought Ireland’s support for India’s UNSC bid. His quick visit to Ireland was followed by another important visit; this time it was the US. He not only made a strong pitch for Digital India by meeting the CEOs of top IT companies at Silicon Valley but also addressed the UN General Assembly. Back in India, the Modi government announced the introduction of ‘One Rank, One Pension’ scheme. It was a 40-year-old demand of military veterans and their widows for equal pension for the same designation. September 2015 also brought cheer when data revealed that India had overtaken China and the US as the world’s top foreign direct investment destination.
August 2015: 15th Month of Modi Government
The Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY), which was announced by the government as the biggest financial inclusion initiative in the world, completed its first anniversary on 28 August with media reports stating that the initiative has been successful as more than 17.5 crore bank accounts were opened under the scheme within one year. It is also in August that Modi became the first Prime Minister to visit the UAE in 34 years. During his visit, he pitched for $1-trillion investment. Meanwhile, the ex-servicemen stepping up agitation on ‘One Rank One Pension’ and launched a fast-unto-death campaign demanding early implementation of the long-pending scheme.
July 2015: 14th Month of Modi Government
Other than the launch of Digital India Programme, which aimed at empowering the citizens digitally by ensure that government services are available to the citizens electronically, the entire July was mostly dominated by developments in bilateral ties. Modi made some swift moves during his visit to Central Asian neighbours. In Kazakhstan, he signed five key agreements, including a contract for supply of uranium. While in he was in Kyrgyzstan, the Modi government announced a new security cooperation agreement and planned an anti-terror pact. With Uzbekistan also, the government signed a pact on procuring uranium. India also went into pact with Turkmenistan in the field of defence and tourism.
June 2015: 13th Month of Modi Government
After the Modi government completed one year in office, the nation seemed divided on the question: Has the government been a success? While some pointed at the dipping inflation, improvement in growth rates and tighter control on spending, others highlighted slow clearance of big-ticket reforms. People of India remained excited about the promises by Modi and felt that it’s unfair to judge a government in one year. On the 13th month of the government, it launched Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. Under this Housing for All scheme, the NDA government identified 305 cities and towns across nine states where the scheme will be implemented.
Smart Cities Mission was another initiative that was launched by PM Modi with an objective of urbanising 100 Smart Cities over five years. When it comes to foreign policy initiatives, Modi announced $2-billion line of credit for Bangladesh during his visit to Dhaka. The Land-boundary Agreement (LBA) was also reached. However, what worried the government was the series of protests held by ex-servicemen across the country in demand of early implementation of the One Rank, One Pension policy.
BJP government’s one year in office has been closely analysed and every move has been closely watched. Modi’s thrust on ‘Make in India’ initiative and bold and proactive foreign policies found admirers within and outside the country. On the development front, he did cover some grounds through Smart Cities initiative. However, there had been allegations of over-centralisation of decision-making process and slow breakthrough in reform initiatives. The Modi-government had to face criticism for polarising voters of the country on communal lines. The issues like OROP and Patel agitation for quota did push the government on the back foot.
PM Modi’s silence on the apparent rise of Right-wing religious fundamentalists and moral policing irked many. Ambitious schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Yojana, and Atal Pension Yojana were launched for the inclusive development of the people. However, crucial legislation such as the Land Acquisition Bill and GST didn’t see the light of the day.