One Year of Modi Government: A Look Back
It has almost been a year since Narendra Modi assumed the post of India’s Prime Minister. During the year, his administration has taken plenty of steps – some of which have been lauded for their potential to create a positive impact from the perspective of the country while some have not been so popular. While criticising Modi, it needs to be taken into consideration that it is not entirely possible to bring about a drastic improvement in the lives of people in a country as huge as India. So before further ado, come let us take a look at all the positive and negative aspects of the Modi regime in the first year of his reign:
Positive Steps taken by Modi Government in First Year
Following is a list of the various positive decisions and achievements of the Modi government till date:
- Bringing back Indians stranded in Iraq during the ISIS crisis: In the recent crisis surrounding the ISIS militants in Iraq there was worldwide uproar about how civilians had been held captive. The INS Mysore ship was deployed by the Indian Government led by Narendra Modi in order to bring back the Indian nurses who had been working over there.
- Bringing out the IB Report on NGOs: The IB Report has shown that protests organised by NGOs, who are financially backed by other countries, have led to an assumed loss of 2-3% to the national GDP in the last few years. Now, it is mandatory for NGOs to seek permission from the Ministry of Home Affairs before they can receive the foreign funds.
- Improving the railways through various reforms: The government has started a new website for the railways and this has helped IRCTC achieve improved levels of performance. The rail budget of 2015 also needs to be credited for the same reason as it has tried to make sure that railways is economically in a better place and has a greater impact on the national economy as a whole. Experts have also praised the way the government has tried to bring in private capital by way of partnerships.
- Imposing fines on Reliance: Narendra Modi’s government recently slapped an INR 320 crore fine on Reliance Industries. Modi also said that the rules cannot be different for various people. This restored a lot of credibility to his government.
- Increasing height of Narmada dam: This was done so that people, who live in that area, have more water to drink as well as for irrigation.
- Health facilities for poor: The government has taken a major step by making X-rays, CT scans and MRIs free for the economically disadvantaged sections. This facility will be available at all government hospitals.
- Planting trees along national highways: 200 crore trees will be planted in the one lakh km area covered by the national highways of India. This is also expected to generate employment for young people. Same schemes are also being planned by the national administration and they will be implemented in the state highways and roads in various districts and villages under the MNREGA programme.
- Steps taken to bolster defence: Building roads and infrastructure in Arunachal Pradesh is a major step in this regard. Posts are also being built in this area along the border shared with China. The Karwar naval base at Karnataka has also received an extension of two billion US dollars. Government is also looking to set up a new radar station at Andaman and Nicobar Islands so that the Bay of Bengal area can be properly monitored.
- Superb foreign policy: Narendra Modi has been following an exceptional foreign policy that has endeared India to countries across the world. Till date, every foreign visit undertaken by him has been highly successful. Under him, foreign policy of India has received new dimensions thanks to the levels of popularity he enjoys among people of Indian origin in other countries. Modi is highly popular in countries as diverse as Nepal, the US, Australia, Japan and Bhutan. It is expected that this scenario will help India attain the sort of international prestige it has always wanted but never really had.
- Encouraging economic growth and entrepreneurship: According to several financial experts, several steps have been taken by the Modi government to make sure that more people are encouraged to become business owners. The stock market has been performing consistently. This is an indication of the decent health of the Indian economy. Nirmala Sitharaman, the Minister of Commerce, has brought about several changes so as to remove the legal issues that hinder investments and other operations of entrepreneurs.
- Doing away with the Planning Commission: While many have criticised the way the Planning Commission was ended, many experts have also agreed that it had become a relic of late having not much use or practical purpose. The fact that people like Arvind Panagariya and Professor Bibek Debroy are being included in the Niti Ayog is refreshing and also assures people. Now the states have a greater role to play in the planning process and they also have larger slices of resources to work with.
- Decent and realistic budgets: While the 2014 budget was highly ambitious one and probably resulted from not taking proper stock of the financial situation and capabilities that had been inherited, the 2015 budget was very realistic in nature. Steps were taken to bring about economic growth – incentivising it was a major decision – and doing away with tax evasion.
- Dealing with the power crisis: Piyush Goyal, the Union Minister of Power, has been taking a number of steps to deal with supply and power issues pertaining to power distribution and generation. Nitin Gadkari has also been credited with bringing about innovative plans for ports and road transport.
- Other reforms: The Ministry of External Affairs has also done away with the second verification done by police officers when people renew their passports. The government will also set up 660 crisis centres for dealing with rape cases. These will be named Nirbhaya centres. Kisan mandis are also supposed to be set up so as to counter food inflation.
Some other steps have been taken. These include, making it mandatory to monitor 3,206 units in 17 industries that are known to be critically polluting ones and strengthening the electronic media monitoring centre.
Setbacks Faced by Modi Government in First Year
There have been several areas, however, where the Modi Government has not done as well as it would have liked. When Modi became the Prime Minister he had started a number of ambitious projects like Clean Ganga and Smart Cities programmes. Interestingly, both these plans are yet to get off the ground due to various reasons such as administrative, financial, conceptual etc. The Supreme Court has time and again pulled up the national administration for being unable to start the Clean Ganga programme.
The government has also been unable to achieve much headway in terms of modernising the railways. The super fast trains are yet to be seen and privatisation has not happened to the extent that the government would have liked. Even though provisions have been made for making it more effective, they haven’t matched public expectations.
The ‘Make in India’ programme is also facing problems of dependency on various states. It can primarily be described as a remodelled version of import substitution. It is basically a process whereby a country addresses the imbalances between its import and export.
The Land Acquisition Bill has been a major setback for the government as well. It has caused many people, who were ardent supporters of the Modi regime, to be disillusioned with both the leader and the administration in general. The biggest issue with this bill is that it has affected the smallholders as well as the landless farmers, who are the most helpless section of the agrarian population of India. It has also given the opposition the much-needed ammunition to attack the centre. The results of the elections in Delhi have also hit the party’s image hard – questions have also been raised regarding the continued efficacy of Modi that worked so spectacularly during the 2014 parliament elections.
There has been some controversy regarding some steps taken by the Modi government that have been deemed to be religiously motivated by many people. There has been an increase in attacks on religious institutions such as churches and rape cases have also increased around the country. So, evidently the law and order situation leaves a lot to be desired.
Yet another ill-advised decision was to try and curb the power of the judiciary, one that did not reap the intended dividends. Modi has also not been able to bring about many reforms in the labour market. However, experts have also stated that they may not be that easy to achieve.
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