The first year of second term of Narendra Modi led BJP government will probably have the same significance as the year 1947 in history of India. The unexpected have become true. This year people witnessed resolution of decades old problems, bold reforms for development of nation, measures for the progress of every citizen and an unexpected battle with corona. Government had utmost dedication, honesty and vision while taking decisions.
After independence some issues were left unresolved like Kashmir, Article 370, Triple Talak, Ayodhya Ramamandir and the persecuted minorities of Pakistan. These issues would have been solved decades back as the past congress governments had more than required number of seats in parliament. But what was lacking was will and determination by the past congress governments to solve the issue. The issues increased becoming threat to national integrity and security. In one month, article 370 and 35 A were abrogated and Ladakh was made Union territory (UT) separating from Jammu & Kashmir (J&K). J&K was made UT with partial state hood status.
This will pave for development of Kashmir and justice for women, marginalized Dalits and minorities. The anarchic practice of Triple Talak which caused brutal agony to millions of Muslim women was banned. Triple talak practice, which was banned in many Islamic countries including Pakistan, was continued in India due to congress government’s policies. Indian women can never forget the injustice done by Rajiv Gandhi government in Sha Bhano case. Supreme court delivered historic Ayodhya Ram mandir judgement and construction work of Ram mandir has finally begun. Modi government then brought in Citizenship Amendment Act doing justice to religiously persecuted minorities in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Citizens thought that these issues will never be resolved. The government has solved these long-standing issues with dedication and determination.
This year there were major reforms in many sectors to promote overall development. Many steps were initiated to promote agriculture and improve income of farmers. Around 72000 crores have been transferred to 14.2 crores farmers through PM kisaan Samman Nidhi Yojana. Kisan credit cards issued to farmers. Cold storage and fast transport of perishable agri items will be done using trains and aeroplanes through “Kisaan Rail” and “Krishi Udaan”. PM Krishi Sanchai Yojana to promote micro irrigation and farming of pulses. Solar pumps to be given to 20 lakh farmers. MSP was increased to 150% of production cost. To benefit Indian farmers and small industries Modi government decided not to join Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). To encourage industries in India several measures were taken. Most important one being reduction of corporate tax to 22-25% similar to countries like Singapore. Other important measures taken are merging banks, removing angel tax on startups, no surcharge on foreign portfolio investments (FPIs), lesser interest rates, disinvestment, etc. The ranking of ease of doing business improved from 142 to 63 Merging BSNL and MTNL and a package of 68,751 crores for revival.
Banks deposit insurance raised from one lakh to five lakhs. Simplified GST will be implemented from 1 april,2020. Companies need not pay Dividend distribution tax. New investment clearance cell will be set up for entrepreneurs. Real estate tax holiday extended by one year. Policy for single window e-logistics clearances will be established. 27,300 crores allotted for encouraging industries and commerce. To boost “Make in India” incentives will be given for encouraging exports and duties will be levied on some imports. For SMEs the turnover for audit has been increased from 1 crore to 5 crores. Increase liquidity support to NBFCs by government guaranteeing securities. Measures will be taken to provide SMSE more cash from banks and NBFCs. 3.5 lakh crores cash to be provided to government banks. Big boost is given to start ups. Tax holiday of 5 years will be given for startups with turnover up to 100 crores. 2.1 lakh crores to be raised by dis investment. Tax slabs were revised providing benefit to tax payers. Tax charter is created.
Several measures were implemented for the welfare of the needy. More than one crore patients have utilized Ayushman Bharath scheme for their health needs. More than 5.5 crores people have joined in Atal Pension Yojana. “Atal Bhujal Yojana” is launched to save groundwater in 8,350 villages. “Jal Jeevan Mission” was launched with 3.6 lakh with a mission to provide piped water to every house and saving water resources. A road map is developed for investing 103 lakhs crores in infrastructure in next 5 years on 6500 projects in drinking water, safe and clean energy, health care, roads, railways, metros, housing, airways, education institutes, logistics, ware housing, irrigation projects. By 2024, 100 new airports to be built under UDAN scheme. Saving environment by reducing plastic usage , promoting plantation and conserving ground water.
A lot of importance has been given to defense sector and army. Long lasting demand of Chief of Defense Staff was finally fulfilled. Defense production target is set at 90,000 crores for indigenous production of equipment like combat aero crafts -Tejas, Long range missiles-Agni, with exports at 15,000 crores. 71,000 crores worth advanced defense equipment deals done and Rafale delivered. Robots to fight terror in Kashmir. The first decision of Modi 2.0 was to increase scholarship of children of martyrs. Annual budget of ISRO is increased to 12,473 crores encouraging projects & business. Historic Bodo Agreement was signed bringing peace in Assam. Bru -Reang Agreement was made to settle the displaced Bru refugees in Tripura.
Entire world faced an unexpected unseen enemy – “Corona”. By March 2020, India started reporting corona cases on a daily basis. Here is where Modi government acted swiftly and bravely and implemented complete lock down at few hundreds of cases. Indigenous production of PPEs, masks, diagnostic kits, ventilators and medical equipment was boosted. With 17.7 % global population and high population density of 424 /square km many institutions predicted millions to crores of cases by May 2020. The situation was controlled with cases at around 2 lakhs by May end and deaths at 5000 by May end. PM Garib Kalyan Yojana with 1.76 lakh crores was announced to take care of the poor and needy during lock down. Ration of 5kg rice or wheat and 1 kg pulses per person was provided for 80 crores poor. Five hundred rupees was transferred to 20 crores women with Jan dhan accounts for 3 months. Thousand rupees was transferred to 3 crores senior citizens, widows and physically disabled for 3 months. Government allowed to use 36,000 crores “Building and construction workers welfare fund” for construction workers.
Further, “Atma Nirbhar Abhiyan” package of 20 lakh crores to revive economy boosting all sectors of Agriculture, industry, infrastructure and welfare. A package of 6 lakh crores was allotted for MSMEs, tax payers, DISCOMS, NBFCs, real estate and contractors. Government allotted 3 lakh crores to revive the stressed MSMEs which were in financial stress due to lock down. Interest rates on Mudra-shishu loans have been reduced by 2% for 12 months providing 1500 crores benefit for micro industries.Credit linked subsidy scheme on housing loans providing 6.5% subsidy on interest rates for those with annual income of 6-18 lakhs is extended to March 31,2021.Government has extended duration to file income tax returns to November 30. Percentage of TDS has been reduced from 10% to 7.5 %. Credit of 10,000 rupees to be provided to 50 lakhs street vendors India . Two lakh crores rupees to be disbursed through Kisaan credit cards to provide loans to farmers at lesser interest rates. An amount of 1.63 lakh crores rupees has been allotted for the development of agriculture and allied industries.Methods in which farmers can sell their crops directly to consumers will be developed and one lakh crores rupees fund is allotted to develop infrastructure accordingly.
PM Matsya Sampada Yojana has been started with 20000 crores to promote fisheries and marketing with a goal to increase output of fisheries by 70 lakhs tons, doubling exports to one lakh crores providing jobs to 55 lakhs. One Nation – One market was launvhed so that farmers also can sell anywhere in nation and states cannot charge for the interstate sale now. Essential commodities act has been modified by an ordinance removing pulses, cereals, oilseeds, edible oils, onions, potatoes from the list of essential commodities. This benefits farmers by allowing them to sell their crop across India at the price and place of their choice.
“TOP to TOTAL” scheme is launched to extend 50% subsidy being given on transport and storage of Tomato, Onion and Potato (TOP) to all vegetables. Branding and E-Marketing of farming products to reduce involvement of middle men. Ten thousand Farmer Promotion Organizations (FPOs) to be established to promote farmers. An additional amount of 40,000 crores is allotted to MNREGA scheme amounting to total of one lakh crores to provide 300 crore working days for migrants, daily wage earners and laborers. Daily wage under MNREGA scheme has been increased from Rs.180 per day to Rs.220 per day. Online education system to be promoted by PM -E Vidya and Mano Darpan projects.
Modi government has ensured this year in fulfilling the long-term desires of Indian citizens by resolving long standing issues. The government took decisions for the overall development of all citizens from all fields. Entire world was facing a global economic slowdown and then came the unexpected corona crisis. Undoubtedly, Narendra Modi has behaved responsibly and timely in handling corona crisis with the goal of saving lives and livelihoods. This year is the most significant year in post-independence Indian history and will remembered forever.