The soundness of your politics can be seen from how impressively you manage to sweep the people, your listeners, off of their feet. Politics is a game of intellect, after all. By that definition, one would argue, Prime Minister Modi is a good politician. His command over words is a mystery to none. Even before the NDA government took command in 2014, Modi was a popular man. His speeches and rallies are always packed with eager fans, breaking off into applause time and again.
However, as the 2019 Lok Sabha elections come knocking at our doors, one question seems to catch the limelight about this man of gifted words. Are our Achhe Din here?
NaMo in 2014
On 16th May, 2014, results were declared for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The turn-out was 66.38%, the largest ever in the history of Indian general elections. The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) won a sweeping 336 seats. BJP alone won 31.0% seats. It was the first time since the 1984 General Elections that a party had enough votes to form a government without any alliance. And so, India got its 14th Prime Minister- Narendra Modi.
In its manifesto, Bharatiya Janata Party presented a 50-point promise. Major promises that caught attraction were about building the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya, repealing of Article 370 (the article grants autonomous status to Jammu & Kashmir) etc. While many from the opposition considered the former an effort to spread the Hinduism agenda, BJP maintained that it was an act of promoting our “cultural heritage”.
In the ongoing tenure, the government has taken several steps in an effort to fulfill the promises made.
A brief report card of schemes
Since the beginning, the current government has always presented itself as a protector of the common Indian people. One of the most notable schemes for the same was launched in 2015. Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna aims to expand and provide access to financial services across all sections of the society. Under this scheme, zero balance account facility has also been provided. As of November 2017, 307 Million accounts had been opened under the scheme.
Women empowerment has been another mentioned agenda for the NDA government. Sukanya Samridhi Account Yozna (2015) and Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yozna (2016) are two initiatives for the same. While the former is a deposit scheme for girl children, the latter works to provide deposit free LPG connections to women below poverty line (BPL).
In September 2014, the government launched the much hyped about “Make in India” initiative. The movement covers 25 sectors of our economy, allowing 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Subsequently after the launch, Japan and India announced a combined “Japan-India Make-in-India Special Finance Facility” worth US $12 billion. In the financial year of 2016-17, India received FDI worth US $60 billion. Several states have started their own initiatives, like “Happening Haryana” and “Magnetic Maharashtra” following Make in India.
In the Modi government’s anti-corruption initiative, there has been a significant focus on turning the country towards a cashless economy. Digital India is a campaign launched under the same, aiming for digital literacy among Indians.
The people’s take
The Forbes 2018 list of the most powerful people has ranked Modi on number 9. The prime minister has gained himself a large following- both online and offline. In an online poll conducted by the Times group, 71.9% of Indians stated that they will vote for Narendra Modi again in the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Rahul Gandhi got 11.93% of votes for the same.
People, however, stood sharply divided on the issue of demonetisation. 22.2% of the questioned people consider it the biggest failure of the NDA government. 28.30% people felt that the government has failed in its promises of employment generation, while 14.28% were not satisfied with the Kashmir policy. The stats are in response to the question about the biggest failure of the Modi government. When asked if individual lives have improved under the Modi regime, 55% people said yes.
Despite the popularity of Modi among his devout followers, there have been some continuous questions raised throughout the tenure.
The freedom of press
In the World Press Freedom Index of 2018 by Reporters Without Borders, India was placed at 138 out of a total of 180 countries. The index ratings take into account factors like press autonomy, self-censorship etc. In the rankings, India was just one step ahead of Pakistan, and falling behind the war-struck Afghanistan.
Rana Ayyub, an Indian journalist released her book Gujarat Files in 2016. The book talked about the infamous 2002 Gujarat riots, and includes alleged interviews claiming a connection of bureaucrats and politicians with the incident. Ever since the book released, the journalist claims to have been under constant attack, reaching as far as rape and death threats. Consequently, the United Nation’s Human Rights body issued a statement asking the Indian authorities to provide protection to Ayyub.
In a recent controversy, two major journalists from ABP news channel, Managing Editor Milind Khandekar and Punya Prasun Bajpai quit the organisation. Bajpai, in his show Masterstroke had covered the story of a Chattisgarh woman who had claimed her earnings had doubled under the PM’s rural schemes. In the show, Bajpai had questioned the authenticity of the woman’s claims, inviting several criticisms from the ruling party. Weeks later, Bajpai left the organisation. Before the resignations, many people reported blackouts in the network at the time of the show’s telecast. Opposition including AAP and Congress have spoken against the incidence, considering it a hampering of Press Rights.
With Supreme Court once again considering the legal status of Section 377, the government faced harsh criticisms for its silence on the issue. The Section of the Indian Constitution essentially deems homosexuality illegal, hence making it a redundant law in the eyes of many. Several politicians from the right-wing party have openly spoken against the LGBGTQ+ community, Subramanian Swamy notably. Earlier in July, the BJP MP called homosexuality a threat to national security, receiving backlash from many.
In 2016, during the times of the Orlando gay nightclub shooting, PM Modi had tweeted, expressing his condolence to the diseased. However, there was no mention of the community. Over the years, the Prime Minister has not come up in full support of queer rights, which many express strong discontent towards.
As the country gears itself up for the upcoming elections, there is a divide of opinions among people. While some believe Modi is our country’s best hope, others, including opposition see the NDA rule as an end of democracy. However, whether or not our Achhe Din have arrived, will become clear when the country gives its final verdict in 2019.
Read More …………
One Year of Modi Sarkar
2 Years of Modi Sarkar
Top Programmes Launched by Modi
Pradhan Mantri Yojana
Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY)
Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY)
Atal Pension Yojana
MUDRA Bank Yojana
Garib Kalyan Yojnaye
Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana
Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Scheme
Jan Dhan Yojana
Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana
Clean Ganga Project
Make In India
Why is Mr. Modi Silent on Scams?
Top Five Programmes Launched by Modi