The Lok Sabha elections in 2014 brought to the fore a mandate in favour of a single political party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), for the first time in three decades. The NDA as a combination of several friendly parties added flavour to the mandate while confirming that the ruling principal party, the BJP, wasn’t in need of any crutches for support. It was indeed an unforeseen and unpredictable situation in the recent political history of India. The same story of 2014 with an additional number of seats was repeated in 2019. This all the more confirmed a new phenomenon in the socio-political scenario of the country with a leader with vision in the command of things, in the form of the versatile, Narendra Modi.
Eight years since 2014 till date created a record of events, challenges, achievements, reforms, growth and vision consistently and unabated. The Indian nation was/is perceived by the world as a global leader notwithstanding its internal challenges and their solutions. India has during the last eight years of journey covered a large area of unexpected destinations in various fields though it also faced a lot of unexpected natural upheavals including the COVID-19 pandemic. The struggle through a vast sea of challenges was led by the Prime Minister Modi with grit very successfully and remarkably raising hopes of the nation yet again. The Indian economy emerged as the fastest growing one despite the pandemic. Robust growth prospects for India with projected growth rate of 8.2 per cent in 2022, makes it the fastest growing major economy of the world as compared to the projected growth of 3.6 per cent in respect of global growth for 2022 and 2023.
“The International Monetary Fund (IMF) working paper — authored by economists Surjit Bhalla, Arvind Virmani and Karan Bhasin –said that the proportion of people living in extreme poverty, at less than 1 per cent, remained steady even during the pandemic on the back of “in-kind” subsidies, especially food rations”. A study report, published by The Hindustan Times, said that “the report comes at a time when several recent global reports have pointed to the widening gap between the rich and poor in Asia’s third-largest economy, while studies on the economic shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic vary in their conclusions.” In India, the number of people living in extreme poverty — defined by the World Bank as living on US$ 1.9 or less in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms — was 0.8 per cent of the population in the pre-pandemic year 2019, stated the IMF paper, published on April 5, 2022.
Food rations were “instrumental” in ensuring that extreme poverty did not increase and “remained at that low level” in the pandemic year 2020, the study found.
“Our results also demonstrate the social safety net provided by the expansion of India’s food subsidy program absorbed a major part of the pandemic shock”, the authors stated. Such back-to-back low poverty rates suggest India has eliminated extreme poverty, they concluded”. This was augmented by a very well thought-out and implemented scheme of free rations during the pandemic years by the Government of India.
The fight against the separatist politics of political parties in Jammu and Kashmir achieved a major breakthrough over the last three years. Management of the floor of Parliament in both the Houses in regard to abrogation of Article 370 etc was an extremely outstanding effort and achievement of the Modi Government in August 2019
‘Ayushman-Bharat’ scheme is an outstanding expression of social welfare of the present dispensation. No Government could perceive it earlier. It is comparable to any social security measure of an advanced country in the world besides being the world’s largest insurance scheme. Its benefit cover of Rs Five lakh per family per year is a financial protection to 11 crore poor families of the country. Over 18 crore Ayushman cards have already been issued to the deserving people under the scheme while around 4 crore people were treated free of cost till date. There is also active participation of private hospitals in the scheme. As a special measure in Jammu and Kashmir, the scheme has been made applicable to all the residents of the Union Territory. Health remains the core attention area for the Government. PM-Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission is the largest pan-India scheme for creation and improvement of long-term public healthcare infrastructure launched in 2021.
Management of COVID-19 pandemic and the connected vaccination drive have been remarkable. Around 200 crore vaccine doses have been administered by now. On the political front, the abrogation of Article 370, 35A, nullification of a separate constitution and separate flag for Jammu and Kashmir have been the greatest contribution of the Modi era. It brought Jammu and Kashmir at par with the rest of India politically, constitutionally and emotionally. These measures took away the constitutional justification for the separatist politics in J&K and with this ended the role of the exploitative politics in the name of religion and region for good.
The fight against the separatist politics of political parties in Jammu and Kashmir achieved a major breakthrough over the last three years. Management of the floor of Parliament in both the Houses in regard to abrogation of Article 370 etc was an extremely outstanding effort and achievement of the Modi Government in August 2019. We need to bear in mind that the BJP had no two-third majority in either of the Houses on its own yet it achieved a staggering three fourth majority in favour of the abrogation in the Lok Sabha and two thirds majority in the Rajya Sabha while voting for the motion. It has a great historical bearing and outreach.
Terrorism as an instrument of ‘Jihad’ in J&K has been dealt with complete commitment and dedication by the Government and the security forces in the UT of J&K. The response to unabated ethnic cleansing against the Hindus by the terror enclave needs a policy review by the Government. There is no need to make their demand of relocation as a point of prestige by the administration. The demand is justified keeping in view that the PM package as an experiment started in 2010 failed miserably. Moreover, it was not the BJP’s baby and was implemented by the UPA regime despite the exiled community’s rejection of the package as an instrument of the so-called rehabilitation programme for Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley. The Government in view of the eight years of glorious achievements in almost all the fields is expected to listen to saner voices in this regard.