Report Card of Modi Government: An objective mid-term review

It’s been more than a month since the Modi Government crossed the halfway mark of its 5 year tenure. The first half has seen frenetic activity with a slew of initiatives and programs from the Government’s end to achieve the twin task of Good Governance and Inclusive Development. At this juncture, it would be worthwhile to conduct an objective assessment to review whether the Government has been able to walk the talk of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas”. The talking heads on TV and the armchair experts in newspapers generally do not perform the task of reviewing objectively as they are too blinded by ideological biases or other such compulsions. So, I take it upon myself to undertake this activity as objectively as humanly possible. A simple yet effective approach would be to simply list the hits and misses of the Government and let the reader decide.

Positive steps taken to improve the economy:

1. Infrastructure Development through Government expenditure in Roads, Railways etc

2. Financial Reforms like GST, Indradhanush and Bankruptcy Code

3. Impetus to Sanitation and Cleanliness through Swach Bharat Abhiyan

4. Power reforms like UDAY and increased outlays towards electrification

5. Curbing black money through demonetisation

6. Encouraging start-ups and entrepreneurship through Start-up India, Skill India and Digital India

7. Enabling Financial Inclusion and access to credit to SME’s through Jan Dhan Yojana and MUDRA

8. Enhancing Macro-economic stability by
a. Reducing fiscal deficit and current account deficit
b. Maintaining stability of currency
c. Retaining high GDP growth in a tough global environment

9. Improving prospects of Agriculture sector through investments in irrigation as well as Agri Insurance

10. Encouraging Manufacturing and FDI through Make in India albeit with mixed results

Areas where there is a large scope for improvement:

1. A deep focus on Education as India still lags behind in many indicators of education

2. Specific and Direct Poverty Alleviation measures as India is a predominantly poor country

3. Investing in basic healthcare and Nutrition as
a. India has the worst Infant and Maternal Mortality Rates amongst all G20 countries
b. Nearly 48% of women in India are Anaemic
c. 1/3 of all malnourished children in the world reside in India

4. Taking steps to mitigate the increasing congestion and pollution in major urban cities. Smart Cities is yet to make a substantial impact

5. Providing Access to clean drinking water as
a. 75% of the population do not have access to drinking water on their premise
b. 67% of the population do not have access to treated drinking water hence exposing themselves to contamination
c. 75.8 Million people live without any access to clean drinking water

As can be seen above, the Government has taken concrete steps to improve development in many areas like Infrastructure Development, Sanitation, Electrification and Financial Inclusion. The impact and outcomes of these steps will be visible in the medium to long term. Yet, there are some other important areas where more work needs to be done. The areas which have been overlooked mostly belong to the social sector like Education, Healthcare and Environment. It leaves the impression that the policymakers subscribe to the Trickledown Theory of Economics which suggests that the wealth generated by upper classes of society will eventually trickle down to lower classes thereby lifting them out of poverty. A renewed focus on the bottom of the pyramid in the second half of the term would go a long way in reducing poverty substantially.

Overall, the Government has indeed performed admirably in terms of development but may have fallen short with regards to Development for All or the literal translation of the word “Sabka Vikaas”.

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