Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, recently marked the completion of his first year of second consecutive term. His first term transformed the country, by bringing in a paradigm shift in governance through inclusive economic policies that helped reign in corruption. His second term has been increasingly addressing issues of territorial integrity. Here is a brief look at his achievements in the first year of his second innings.
After leading the party to a landslide victory with a decisive mandate in May 2019, he held his first cabinet meeting within 24 hours of assuming office. With Arun Jaitley & Sushma Swaraj opting out of Ministries due to ill-health and the untimely deaths of Anant Kumar and Anil Dave, his cabinet had relatively new faces. The first cabinet meeting in his second term made major changes to PM Scholarship Fund under the National Defence Fund that offered financial assistance to wards of those defence personnel who lost their lives in the line of duty, both at the national and state level. These changes were in line with the PM’s vision for India’s safety, security and the well-being of those who protect the nation.
PM’s vision: Sab Ka Saath, Sab Ka Vikas, Sab Ka Vishwas
The Sutra that connects various measures taken by the Modi Government in his second term has been that of correcting historical wrongs, and addressing pertinent issues to re-stitch the ailing nation into a whole.
Abrogation of article 370 and 35 A: The abrogation of Articles 370 & 35A has fully integrated Jammu and Kashmir with India, paving the way for its development by bringing it into the mainstream. A long-standing demand to make Ladakh a centrally governed territory has also been realized by giving it a Union Territory status.
The Bodo Accord: The signing of the Bodo Accord ended a 50-year-old crisis securing Assam’s territorial integrity. A special package of 1500 crores has also been allotted for the development of Bodo areas. A memorandum of settlement, signed by Govt. of India, Govt. of Tripura and NLFT-SD has ended the insurgency in Tripura.
Bru Reang refugee settlement: A package of 600 crores has also been announced for the development and rehabilitation of 34,000 internally displaced Bru Reang Refugees in Tripura, resolving a long withstanding humanitarian crisis.
Citizenship Amendment Act 2019: A monumental decision to protect the rights and dignity of persecuted religious minorities in India’s neighboring countries was passed. This act facilitates granting of Indian citizenship to migrants from Hindu, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, and Parsi communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
PM Modi has also demonstrated his respect for diversity and plurality of the nation, by giving each religious community a reason to celebrate.
The Kartarpur Corridor: 550 years of Guru Nanak Dev ji was marked by the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor to promote the rich cultural heritage for Sikhs. All Indian citizens can now visit the corridor without a visa.
Ram Janmabhoomi Teertha Kshetra Trust: Following the historic verdict delivered by the Supreme Court, this trust was formed to oversee the construction of a grand Ram Mandir.
The Muslim women (protection of rights on marriage) bill: The triple talaq bill, as it is popularly known, protects and empowers Muslim women by criminalizing talaq-e-biddat or any other similar form of talaq having the effect of instantaneous and irrevocable divorce pronounced by a Muslim husband.
One of the major natural disasters in modern Indian history and that of the world is the novel corona virus 2019 (covid19 in short) that was declared as a pandemic by World Health Organization. This pandemic, transported from Wuhan, China, has brought the world to a standstill forcing many major economies to impose lockdowns to contain the spread of the virus. Even during this crisis India has been performing better than many Western countries. PM Narendra Modi’s clarion call for ‘Vocal For Local’ is gaining huge traction. More recently, the PM announced ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ and allocated 10% of the GDP to this initiative, to fight this pandemic and deal with the havoc it will undeniably leave us with. This is one of the biggest stimulus packages announced by any country in the context of the pandemic, and has the potential to transform India into a self-sufficient and self-reliant country.
The Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, an umbrella scheme that provides stimulus (of cash and kind) to people from across communities and professions to deal with the covid19 crisis, includes the following:
Redressal of farmer grievances
An advance of Rs. 2000 was given to 8.7 crore farmers under PM Kisan Yojana
Rs. 2 lakh crore credit boost to farmers under the Kisan Credit Card Scheme
Rs 30000 crores of additional emergency working capital for Farmers through NABARD (over and above Rs 90000 crores that NABARD is providing for crop loans) benefitting 3crore small and marginal farmers.
Over 6000 crores of claims were paid during the lockdown period under the PM Fasal Bima Yojana
Rs 74,300 crores worth procurement at Minimum Support Price (MSP) was done during lockdown.
An additional 1 lakh crore under Agri Infrastructure fund has been created to develop affordable and financially viable infrastructure for post harvest management of produce and cold storage facilities.
Health insurance scheme for frontline health workers
The government has announced insurance cover of Rs. 50 lakhs per health care worker, benefitting over 20 lakh health care workers in the country. This special insurance scheme will cover sanitation workers, nurses, ward-boys, ASHA workers, paramedics, technicians, doctors, specialists, and other health workers, both at the central and state levels.
Providing financial assistance to the poor
5 kilograms of either rice or wheat was distributed amongst 80 crore poor people each month during lockdown. In addition to rice, one kilogram of pulses was also distributed each month amongst BPL families.
8 crore families received free gas cylinders for 3 months.
20 crore women Jan Dhan account holders got Rs 500/month for the duration of the lockdown period of 3 months.
Ex-gratia of Rs. 1000 each to 3 crore poor senior citizens, widows and Divyang was given.
Increased MNREGA wages, from 182/day to Rs 202/day/person (a total 1.01 lakh crores) benefitted 13.62 crore families
The increase in the limit for collateral free lending increased from Rs 10 lakhs to Rs 20 lakhs for Women Self Help Groups supporting 6.85 crore households.
An Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (ARHC) for migrant workers and urban poor will be launched to provide ease of living at affordable rent. Converting government funded housing to ARHC in cities under PPP mode and also incentivizing manufacturing firms, industries and institutions to develop ARHC on their private lands.
Providing relief to borrowers
A special credit facility worth Rs 5000 crores can be availed by over 5 million street vendors
Rs 500 crores has been earmarked for Beekeeping, with an aim to develop infrastructure for storage, marketing and value addition facilities, will benefit over 2lakh bee-keepers.
Rs 15000 crores has been reserved for Animal Husbandry with an aim to support private investment in Dairy processing, value addition and cattle feed infrastructure, and incentives to be given for exports.
Rs 20,050 crore under PM Matsya Sampada Yojana with an aim to increase production of fish and doubling of exports, which in turn will provide employment to 55 lakh people. The amount includes provision for insurance for the fisherman and his boat.
Rs 10000 crore fund for Micro Food Enterprises to assist them in getting FSSAI food standard license, marketing and branding which benefits over 2 lakh Micro Food Enterprises in the country.
Providing relief to borrowers
2% interest subvention for a period of 12 months has been given to 5.15 crore Shishu loan takers.
A Rs. 3 lakh crore collateral free automatic loans is being provided to more than 45 lakh MSMEs. Government will also set up a corpus fund of Rs. 10000 crore that will provide equity funding to further support MSMEs.
The changes effected by the Modi government on different fronts have happened with relative ease by making the best use of available resources, in terms of policies and laws. Decisions are made and implemented in an effective and timely manner. The government has also adopted technology in the most efficient manner and used it for better performance and delivery. Under PM Narendra Modi, governance has moved from being rigid and reactive to being dynamic, proactive and responsive. The government responds to changing situations in a timely and appropriate manner, keeping (and safeguarding) the interests of the citizens in mind.