Cover Story : The National Mood
Intro: The biggest achievement of Modi-led NDA Government is that the country has come out of the spell of despair and people have started believing that something positive can be done.
The slogan, Ab ki Baar-Modi Sarkar, was translated into reality a year ago. The swearing-in of Narendra Modi Government on May 26, 2014 is considered to be the most important event of post Independence era. This event changed the course of history, society and the nation. Along with Modi Government, the nation, society and also the history have taken stride in new direction with new expectations, dreams, targets and ways to achieve them.
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Now, the process of reviewing the performance of Modi Government has begun. This is again historical event, because we, the people and media of India, do indulge in such reviews for any government completing 100 days or one year. But, the scale on which these reviews are being done for Modi Government’s performance is simply mind-boggling. This is happening, maybe for the first time betraying the common sense that one year is too short a period for reviewing the performance of any government.
But there is a reason for this ‘celebration’ called review. You may recall that the debate on the performance of this government had begun immediately after it completed just four days in power! The reason was very high expectations. Who cares for earlier government and its performance? Now, people are caring and that is the indication of country coming out of the spell of frustration and despair. It started thinking and believing that something can be done. This wave of hopes was visible during the historical election results too.
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Those who are travelling in this time machine are worried over the destination. They keep on asking where this bus would take them? Where this road would lead to? There are some who are habituated to deep slumber during the journey and they were sleeping for the entire year. As and when they are awakened they ask whether Rahul Gandhi had become Prime Minister. They are unable to accept the reality that Narendra Modi was elected with a thumbing majority by Indian electorates and is the Prime Minister of our country. This vast majority consists of those who have faith in new engine, new road and their driver.
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The entire discussion is centered on this. It is necessary to join this discussion. Participation to throw meaningful, logical and impartial light on the performance of the government albeit with conceding to the fact that reviewing the performance of a government in just one year is like cooking fast food. Let’s begin with the beginning. The journey had a very auspicious beginning. All the heads of the states of neighbouring countries were present at the swearing-in ceremony. After some days Indian spacecraft landed on the Mars. It was a long awaited historical experience for India’s soul.
The swiftness exhibited by the government in dealing with the unprecedented floods in Kashmir was beyond the imagination of the common masses. Pakistan had to resort to blatant lies to keep its flock of supporters intact in Kashmir but it could not dare to indulge in misadventures along the LoC or border. Government of India dealt with diplomatic acumen with the emergencies in Yemen and Iraq and safely evacuated Indians from these lands. This operation not only exhibited the diplomatic expertise of the government but also put its strategy planning at the highest. This was followed by a number of good omens.
By inviting US President Barrack Obama for Republic Day celebration on January 26, India achieved a position that would form the basis for its future. The nuclear deal with the US, and agreement with Australia and Canada for supply of Uranium added feathers in the cap of the government. Wherever Modi went in the world, India dominated the scenes there. On the home front the government took new and big steps almost every week for the benefit of the masses.
Most interesting fact is the march on this new road was not peaceful. It accompanied a hue and cry. The sound was not of the train or engine but was of the people who could not digest this journey of the train. To begin with they started singing the same old communal song. The attempts were made to defame the government vis-à-vis attacks on churches. What was the result? The same fate had befallen to launching of the Prince Rahul.
It has been said time and again that Modi Government has been the first single party majority government elected after a long gap of three decades, and maybe because of this it is more efficient and effective. This is true. But the larger truth is different. The country has witnessed in the past the majority of over 400 seats for a single party in Lok Sabha. What was the major revolution that brute majority could bring in the country except promoting corruption. Today also why to confine country’s welfare and interests to mere figures? But the majority reflects hopes, expectations and faith of the people. In spite of this, major Bills like the Land Bill, GST etc. are pending with the strength of the opposition parties. Joint session could be the answer to resolve this logjam, but there has been a clear signal that government does not want such a step to be taken. Modi government has decided to act without using the strength of the majority in House.
“Sab Ka Saath-Sab ka Vikas” is the result of this thinking of the government. In this only 100 per cent results are expected. But figures less than 100 also speak of achievements. If we talk of the economic achievements, figures are mandatory. For example, Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana. Needless to say, the scheme in just one week from its launch, over 1.80 crore people opened their accounts in the banks carving a niche in the Guinness Book of World Records. By the time these lines are written the figure crossed 12 crore 54 lakh and 73 thousand individuals who opened their accounts in the banks depositing an amount of Rs 10,500 crore. This is to say that every household, every individual is being connected to the financial system of the country. The way ahead goes to ‘Jan Suraksha’, and ‘Jan Samruddhi’. Under the Pradhan Mantri Social Insurance Scheme every individual is assured insurance cover for a premium of just Re 1! Similarly, under Pradhan Mantri Jivan Jyoti scheme, insurance cover for Rs 2 lakh is assured against the premium of Rs 330 per annum. Similar is the “Atal Pension Yojana” which fulfills the most important aspect of social security.
The government also did well in disbanding the otherwise defunct Planning Commission and replaced it with NEETI AYOG. The Government dissolved the GoMs ad EGoMs too. Now decisions can be taken faster and with clarity. This prepared the soil for ‘Make in India’ movement. ‘Make in India’ is not just a slogan to attract foreign investment. There is an appeal to make India a forum for new inventions and to provide new markets to India’s existing and new industries and create jobs for youth.
Another important aspect of social security is law and its strict enforcement and adherence. A movement to put an effective check on crimes committed by using the loopholes in the law has been launched.
In fact, there is no need to seek public opinion separately at this juncture. The assembly election results were sufficient enough to spell the people’s opinion. Public opinion or public memory is short lived. If you ask anyone about the achievement of Modi government, they will start talking on foreign visits and praise foreign policy. Is it because the foreign visits of the Prime Minister are fresh in his memory? And the older achievements have lapsed from his memory? It means, the achievements in foreign fronts are really laudable and immediately at hand to recall.
In fact, it is not so. The respondents have talked openly on each aspect and never it was observed that they are influenced by any temporary event. They talked on issues ranging from “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan to Namami Gange”. Political review can be meaningful only when one restrains the attitude to draw short term inferences from it. We need time to reach to extensive inferences, but, yes, the footprints can give you the direction and they are.
Gyanendra Bartaria (The writer is a senior journalist)