This summer the heat is really caught up not only with the weather but with the great election year. India is a multi-party democracy system; however, this election is clearly termed out to be in something like- Modi or not to be with Modi. The stage has been set and various people are trying to put various things about how Modi’s leadership. Among all the noises what you hear around you usually end up listening or reading two extremes- ones which say everything right and great about Modi Government or you hear everything wrong about it.
I believe irrespective of intentions- no government or leader can be 100% perfect and there are always going to be hit and some misses. I am trying to put all the Hits & Misses of Modi Government from my perspective by being as neutral as I can.
- Zero Corruption
The premise of 2014 Modi’s campaign was completely on anti-corruption drive especially after a series of scam which was unearthed from UPA 1 & UPA 2 era, so it was quite evident that Modi should walk the talk and I personally believe he did. We keep reading about various news where it has been highlighted that power corridor, top scale corruption, lobbying is completely stopped. This government has done a huge amount of public spending and not even single impropriety found to date. There was huge noise about Rafale Deal which was reviewed by the Supreme Court as well as CAG and no wrongdoing was found. This was a big change which was even acknowledged at several industry seminars and conferences by top corporate leaders.
- Swatchh Bharat Mission
Modi started a revolution where he involved the citizen of the nations on creating awareness and being part of cleaning our surrounding. He has taken up the issues of Open Defecation, River Restoration, Cleaning of the Ganges and Human Scavenging across the country at the municipal level. I am not saying that we have been fully successful on this but I see the sense of awareness around among people.
- Railways Makeover
This has been a great achievement of the Modi Government who has completely changed the face of Indian Railways. Over the ages, we always used to frown and look down on stations, coaches of Railways and in the last 5 years, we have seen massive transformations in all areas of Railways. Be it beautification of stations, providing quality coaches, Make in India Vande Bharat Express, Man, Reduction of Unmanned Level Crossing and roll out of High-Speed Bullet Train. The improvement in Railway Infrastructure is significantly visible.
- Achievement in Sports
This is one area which is quite least talked about in Media, however, I believe we have taken a huge leap in Sports in our country. We have more athletes and there is a huge push in promoting all sort of sports, which can be visible in our performances in Olympics, Asian Games, CWG etc. We certainly see huge improvement and awareness in sports and seeing India winning more accolades in sports which were not in its purview before.
- JAM & Benefits of Poor without Leakages
When I made my Aadhar Card way back in 2011 and for three years I was wondering what is this for? Mr Modi really gave Aadhar the meaning to it by linking it with Mobile and 31 crore Bank Accounts created with revolutionary Jan Dhan Account Scheme. The direct benefit model helped to benefit the real beneficiaries by removing middlemen itself save around 1.23 lakh crore in the last five years. JAM also gave the boost of schemes like Ujjwala Yojna (A gas connection to BPL family), Aayushman Bharat (World Largest Healthcare Scheme) and various scheme to Farmers and MNREGA labours. JAM also revolutionised Banking Industry with digital payment, UPI and made our life easier in terms of getting Passport, Verification for various other services.
- Public Infrastructure Boost & North East Focus
This has been a great achievement of Mr Narendra Modi which kept this pace of economy at the supreme level. Be it Road, Freight Corridor, Ports, Airports, Bridges, Railways, Housing for Poor, Toilets- the infrastructure development is unmatchable speed than ever. The Bharat Mala Project which was conceived by Mr Vajpayee is seeing its real shape today. Mr Modi also put special focus in the North East States which was fully neglected in the last 70 years by building highways, bridges and roads till border which was in shamble.
- Bankruptcy & Insolvency Act and Fugitive & Economic Offender Act
In India, we have never seen any corporate house had any fear of losing its ownership and punished for being defaulted in crores of money. Bankruptcy & Insolvency Act has given the teeth to Banks and Lenders to take ownership and recover money. We have seen now Industrialists are falling in line in terms of paying back to the bank or losing the assets. Mr Modi has highlighted Black Money and Economic Offense in a global forum and the new law has seized billions of assets across the world. This indeed a great achievement of government and its intention to clean up the system which used to allow these offenders on state patronage.
There are few more Hits which is quite talked about and that’s why I have not listed here.
This government has fared best in terms of Foreign Policy where our standing today as one of the Global Leaders who has been treated seriously by major Power. Mr Modi focussed on Foreign Policy from the time he has taken up the office of PM and which reflects the importance India getting today in International Forums and initiatives in Tourism, Trade Negotiation, Defense Deals, Yoga Day and many more.
This government really has taken care of basic needs of Indian Armed Forces from OROP, Accessories like Bullet Proof Jackets, Several Arms deals which were stuck for long such as Rafale, Missiles, Naval Ships and Make in India effort.
War on Terrorism & Naxalites:
This Government has been tough of terrorism and we have not seen a single terrorist attack beyond J&K and one incident in Pathankot. The government confidence and giving full support to armed forces has been witnessed in Surgical Strike and Balakot Air Strike where this government showcased that it will not take any attack lightly. We also see a huge drop in Naxal violence at an all-time low.
- No Conviction of Scamsters
This I consider is as the biggest failure of the Modi Government. The entire 2014 election was fought on the premise of Anti-Corruption mentioning list of scams like CWG, 2G, Coal Gate, Chopper Scam, Sharda Chit fund, NPA Loans, National Herald Scams, Money Laundering by few leaders, Robert Vadra Land Deals and not a single conviction or no one has been booked so far. In fact, in 2G Scam, A Raja got bail and court termed that scam never happened. The government had five years but made no progress to give feeling to the population that these scams happened and someone has been punished towards it. The kind of narrative Modi has built to book all the scamsters now can’t be hidden in the pretext of our slow processes in the investigation and judicial systems.
- Poorly Managed Demonetisation
I have supported the intention behind Demonetisation, but I believe this was not thought through in terms of its execution and final output. The government didn’t even consider basic details of how many no. of ATMs is in working condition in each bank, how these ATMs would get calibrated with new currency and the digital reach itself was not well covered to supplement the demanded cash which led to huge chaos and hardship for common people at the cost of nothing. The government kept on changing its narrative of outcome expectation of demonetisations like terror funding, fake currency, moving to digital payments, black money etc and at the end, we don’t know what we benefitted. The government final submission is the taxpayers got doubled, and few lakhs company got unregistered and lots of accounts are in red list where IT is still seeking details, but I feel somehow the government failed to convince people at large its real benefit besides there was quite big disturbance in economy and now the cash in circulation is still at a similar level.
- GST Implementation
Implementing GST in India was a milestone for this government however the structure of GST and the way it was implemented with lots of confusion on no. of filings, documents, systems being down and frequent changes in rules and procedures reflected that the implementation of such a tax reform at this scale was not planned properly. The main objective of GST to bring all those in ambit of filing tax return who never even bothered to do any paperwork in terms of invoicing, filing return, filing input tax credit etc., however, the in initial days of it’s launch GST filing was so complicated it really confused lots of small traders which was never used to such paper works. India is known for developing best of IT systems in the world and yet there were glitches on GST site, server breaks down, technical snags added to the problem.
However, I must appreciate the government being flexible here to simplify the process in time and review of multiple tax slab by kept on revising as per market needs.
- Transparencies on Data & Reporting
There was a standard way the government used to reports its statistical data to the public through various agencies. Modi government revolutionised and modernised the central agencies by the body like Niti Aayog and restructured PMO and implemented various schemes like Skill India, Mudra Yojna etc. which fuels economic growth and new nature of job creation. We have seen government now questioning agencies like NSSO, CMIE on their methodology and their age-old definition of real job or labour, but at the same time government never came up with the alternate method to capture these data in structure way to reflect real data on economy and jobs. This has created a lot of confusion on what’s the real data and who owns it in its true sense.
- No Smart City
This was a pet project of Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi to build 100 smart cities and some investment allocation along with identification and phased implementation started with huge fanfare. The five years was quite enough to at least build one smart city model however we have not seen one such great implementations and any effect on the ground. In fact, as per me, the urban infrastructure has been deteriorated in major cities across the country. Smart City could have been a great model to showcase how technology & infrastructure capability to service the citizen but somehow it reflects more on events and conference than in reality.
- Slowdown Private Investment and Export
This was the problem which was inherited to this government in the form of NPAs and high-interest rates which literally slowed down the Private Investment in most of the sector. The gap between public spending and private investment is quite high now and not improving. We see similar things in export where the growth is stagnant in the last five years. These are mostly because of external factors however government some way could not able to kick start it. The government failed to pass Land Acquisition Bill Amendments and Reform in Labour Law also made an effect on this. This also has a ripple effect in Job Creation & Industrial Outputs.
- Perception management due to Cow Vigilantism
This I believe was more of perception battle which Modi has lost because of too much rise in reporting as well as media coverage in violent cases related to Cow Vigilantism. I was born and raised in Jharkhand and I know that this is not a new phenomenon where villagers take the law into the hands to protect their cattle but in last five years that way opposition and few media highlighted these incidents and connected to the central government somehow not managed well by BJP functionaries. There was always gave a mixed signal on this subject which shows BJP a party of hooligans in a few areas.
At last, we must give it to Mr Narendra Modi that since from the time he came in National Politics, people at large has become involved in political discussion & discourses. He has set a new trend of performance-based politics and set a new benchmark which will be an uphill task for any other leaders to fulfil. I have never seen anything like this in past, the way this government has been scrutinised on even smaller issues which have made public at large more aware and alert.
Let’s see where this election leads where we have Mr Narendra Modi is one side and lots of options at another side.