“The true test of leadership is how well you function in a crisis.”
The entire world faced unexpected grave situations in the past few years. Terror activities resurfaced on a massive scale in some nations like Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, leading to great collateral damage. Covid pandemic, which started in 2019, was an unprecedented event that resulted in vast humanitarian, social and economic devastation. When the world was solely limping back to normal, the Russia Ukraine war came as several blows to the stability. Several nations have landed in various forms of crisis.
Many predicted a collapse of the Indian health and economic situation in 2020. Contrary to that, India tided over the crisis protecting the lives & livelihoods of citizens under the able leadership of the strong, dedicated, honest and determined Narendra Modi government. It is not an exaggeration that the predictions of the collapse of India would have become true if there was a weak and undedicated government like the one which preceded Modi.
Crisis Situations faced by various countries
Global factors and decisions of the government of the Rajapaksa clan have landed Sri Lanka on the verge of default. The country is going through the worst economic overhaul since independence.
The government declared an economic emergency in September 2021. There is a rapid rise in inflation to 17.5% in January 2022, prices of essential commodities and a severe shortage of food. Food prices in rupees stand at 35 per egg, 1000 per kg chicken, 500 per kg rice, 290 per kg rice, 790 per 400gms milk powder, and 100 per cup of tea. There is no diesel and a severe shortage of petrol due to lack of foreign currency. Hospitals cannot even perform surgeries or diagnostic tests appropriately due to rationing of electricity and prolonged power cuts. Thousands of people are protesting on roads, breaking petrol bunks, and the army has to suppress them. Thousands of Sri Lankan citizens are flocking to India as refugees.
Staggering debt burden due to inappropriate and excessive loans taken by Srilanka over the past two decades. Even before the pandemic, Srilanka took nearly 5 billion dollars from China, amounting to 10% of the country’s external debt. Public debts rose to 119% of GDP in 2021 from 94% in 2019, with the economy valued at 81 billion dollars. It was obliged to repay about 7 billion dollars in debt in 2022. Foreign exchange reserves fell by 70% since January 2020 to 2.3 billion dollars by January 2022.
Serial bomb blasts across Colombo in 2019 during Easter had a very negative impact on the tourism sector, contributing to 10% of the share of GDP. Populist measures of the Rajapaksa government like decreasing taxes and giving freebies. Tax cuts have greatly decreased revenues. A sudden ban on fertilisers led to a massive reduction in agricultural production, food shortage, and a rise in food prices. The covid pandemic was the final nail in the coffin, culminating in the present situation.
Afghanistan stands as a tall example of the outcome of terrorism and foreign country intervention. Afghanistan, which saw some positive change in the past two decades, is again in the grip of the anarchist Taliban. Taliban have unleashed terror after the sudden withdrawal of American troops. Women are not even having basic rights like access to education, employment and travel.
The situation between Russia and Ukraine always have been tense. The latest Ukraine- Russia crisis is a result of the influence of global factors on sovereign nations. The decision of Ukraine to join NATO has led to a series of untoward events. This has a negative impact on Russia, Ukraine and the entire world.
The financial situation of both countries has deteriorated very rapidly in the last month. Russia faced a lot of sanctions, and the value of the Russian currency Ruble crashed. Ukraine is facing a humanitarian crisis. Nearly 15 lakhs of citizens fled away from Ukraine, seeking refuge in neighbouring nations.
Thousands of soldiers died in the war. The war resulted in the interruption of the supply chain of crude oil globally, leading to a sharp rise in the price of crude oil to a record high of 110- 115 dollars per barrel.
Pakistan Prime minister Imran Khan is facing a coup. PM Imran Khan openly mentioned that the influence of foreign countries on internal matters of Pakistan is responsible for the political turmoil.
The country has always been suffering due to state-sponsored terrorism. The country is in a debt trap.
India has faced all these situations with determination and courage under the able leadership of PM Narendra Modi. The call of the PM during the covid pandemic, “Jan bhi, Jahaan Bhi”–”To save lives and nation” resonated with every Indian. The Modi government took the right measures at the right time, taking the nation in the right direction. Atma Nirbhar Abhiyan was launched to make India self-reliant by turning opportunity into crisis.
The Covid crisis was handled in an apt manner with the available resources. Lockdown was implemented in the correct way at the correct time. During this period poor were taken care of by giving free ration for almost two years, free gas cylinders and direct transfer of money. A lot of emphasis was given to indigenous manufacturers of covid diagnosing tests, covid vaccines, medicines, Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), and ventilators. Over 184 crore doses of covid vaccine doses have been given as of today.
Several industries were utilised to manufacture sanitisers and oxygen. Several steps were taken to safeguard jobs and industries and promote manufacturing in India. Emergency Credit Linked Guarantee Scheme saved 1.5 crore crores of jobs by giving loans to 13.5 lakh MSME firms worth Rs 1.8 lakh crores. One Nation One product scheme was launched to promote local brands. PLI (Production Linked Incentive) scheme was launched with 1.97 lakh crores to provide a 4-6 % incentive of incremental sales to boost manufacturing in India. PLI scheme has been widely used by electronics, mobile phones, steel, textile, semiconductors, automobile and pharma industries and is anticipated to provide nearly 1.4 crore jobs in the next financial year. Tax reforms were bought.
At the beginning of FY 2021 -22, India set a very ambitious target of achieving 400-billion-dollar exports as a part of “Atma Nirbhar Sanklap” and achieved the target nine days in advance. For the current year, 2022-23 target has been set to achieve 650-billion-dollar exports. The economy has boomed back in a V-shaped recovery. Forty startups have become unicorns in the last year. With 54 unicorns, India is now the third top country with the highest number of unicorns. Several schemes were launched with lakhs of crores of rupees to promote farming and farmers’ income. On 4 June 2021, Forex reserves exceeded $600 billion for the first time, and India became the fifth country after Switzerland.
The Modi government promoted digitalisation and digital payments. Digital transactions through UPI crossed the one trillion-dollar mark in total transaction values for 2021-2022. The government launched Rs.100 lakh crore worth of Gati Shakti to improve infrastructure all over the country, which ultimately will create jobs and leads to sustained development.
The Modi government adopted a correct foreign policy of “Vasudhaika Kutambakam Sarve Jana Sukhinobhavanthu” – “Whole world is one family, and all people should be happy.” India supplied covid vaccines and medicines to various countries like Bangladesh, Maldives, Srilanka, Brazil, Indonesia, etc. India took equal-distance stands on Russia Ukraine issue, considering all internal, external factors and complicated geopolitical border issues. India assisted Srilanka by providing a 2.4-billion-dollar financial assistance package between February and March 2022.
India stood firmly in the most horrible times ever faced by entire humanity under the leadership of Modi. Unexpected challenges were handled in a balanced way. Both lives and livelihoods were saved. India has turned the opportunity into a crisis and became Atma Nirbhar Bharath. India has a problematic neighbourhood, and the Modi government’s stance on international issues is appropriate and appreciable. The Modi Government is constantly working even in difficult times to realise the goal of making India “Vishwa Guru–The Global leader.”
“A leader is the one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.”