Intro: Since May 2014, Modi Government has taken several strong measures by clearing stuck projects worth Rs 7 trillion. It has swiftly ended the previous regime’s policy paralysis.
The economic upturn and financial inclusion achieved in just one year after the landslide victory of the NDA Government on the promise of inclusive growth is almost unprecedented in the 67 years’ post-independence history of the country. Economy has rebounded on a growth trajectory of 7.5 per cent, eclipsing even the China within a year, from the lowest ebb of last one decade. The wholesale and retail price indices are now reining at (-) 2.3 per cent and 4.9 per cent from a record high of 4.6 per cent and 10.2 per cent respectively. The Current Account Deficit (CAD) too is now at less than one per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) after hovering at a record high of 6.1 per cent, only a year before. On top of all, the new project announcements are picking up fast, with the promise of a sustainable revival. The NDA Government has well excelled to bring down the double digit Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation hovering at 10.2 per cent level since 2007, to 4.9 per cent now. In September, the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) law was also changed in Delhi to allow trading of fruits and vegetables outside the mandi.
But, the flip side of the story was also equally worrisome, where the falling global prices of agri-commodities were leading to a slowdown in exports of several commodities, causing almost a crash in domestic agri-prices, most notably of cotton. The government therefore, put the Cotton Corporation of India into action, to procure more than 9 million bales at minimum support prices for giving a breather to cotton farmers. Focus is also being laid now upon the development of irrigation facilities too, under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana to further help and support the farmers.
The most praise-worthy feat of the Modi Government is the attempt of financial inclusion of masses, wherein the 80 per cent of the Indian population was untouched hitherto till last year, by services like banking, insurance and pension for last 67 years, notwithstanding the nationalisation of banks and insurance sector long back. Almost 68 per cent of the population had no bank accounts only a year ago. The Jan Dhan Yojana has made a miracle of opening more than 13.2 crore bank accounts in such a short span. The three recently launched social security schemes viz. the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY), Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY) and Atal Pension Yojana have got nearly 6.5 crore subscriptions.
Government’s move for cooperative federalism is also well reflected in increased tax devolution from 32 per cent to 42 per cent to the states, in pursuance of the report of the Fourteenth Finance Commission, which would ease the Central Government stranglehold on states, hitherto mandating them as to which schemes to be run and how.
The Index of Industrial Production also reveals growth and revival in most of the important sectors like manufacturing, mining and electricity among others indicating a rapid turnaround in offing. The separate ministry for entrepreneurship, along with thrust on skilling would further bring a sea change on the front of fast overcoming unemployment and poverty. Industrial policy initiatives for ‘Make in India’ can also do wonder if focused on providing impetus for the development of indigenous products and brands under the scheme.
In the area of education as well, the government in past one-year has come up with several new initiatives including the Beti-Bachao Beti Padhao Abhiyan, Swachh Vidyalaya and Geographic information system (GIS) Mapping of schools and has opened several new institutions. Moreover, with respect to higher education the government seems equally keen to have new AIIMS, IIM and IIT like institutions being opened in states.
The focus of the government on development of infrastructure is well reflected in the push for railway up-gradation and improvement in customer service along with setting up of a target of 30 km roads a day by 2017. Rampant corruption and cronyism, that prevailed in allocating mineral rights and other assets to favoured beneficiaries is no more there under the Modi Government, which has changed that by holding fair auctions, and enacting legislation for auctioning other minerals. There has been a spate of other executive measures for improving the ease of doing business, by bringing together 10 licensing requirements on the single e-biz portal and setting up of new National Manufacturing Zones and an industrial corridor authority.
Modi Government has swiftly ended the previous regime’s policy paralysis and cleared stuck projects worth Rs 7 trillion. The economy is therefore, now in quite a better shape today.
Dr Bhagwati Prakash Sharma (The writer is a Vice-chancellor of the Pacific Academy Higher Education and Research, Udaipur, Rajasthan)