Modi's India: The story of the last five years


The current central government, headed by Mr. Narendra Modi, has almost completed its entire term of five years. Before it faces the actual referendum in front of the electorate, a balanced appraisal of the last five years is absolutely essential. This article tries to provide just that. Read on to know more about this topic.

When Narendra Damodardas Modi became the Prime Minister of India in 2014, there were many who were optimistic about a radical change in India's fortunes. It must be remembered that India was emerging from really tough times during that period. The various instances of corruption had led to a degradation of the government's image at home and India's image abroad. The rate of GDP growth which had reached new heights in the preceding decade was now slowly stagnating. Above all, there was a strong anti-incumbency against the ruling party. This anti-incumbency, combined with Mr. Modi's promises (as well as a creative and dedicated campaign) led to a massive victory for the BJP-led NDA combine, with BJP itself securing a clear majority.

The initial optimism is still there to some extent. However, with the passage of five years, it has slowly worn off. The reasons for this are numerous. It is useful to remember that whenever mighty promises are made, the people are bound to be impatient for those promises to bear fruit. The fact that the people haven't gained as fast as they would have liked is to some extent a symbol of failure on the part of the current government.

The rise and fall

To make matters more specific, let us talk about the economy. When Mr. Modi first entered the scene, foreign investors were infused with a fresh burst of confidence in India's potential. Foreign investment grew at a considerable rate as the new PM tried to attract investors through a combination of foreign visits and newer policies. Indi's phenomenal jump in the Ease of Doing Business ranking has been a symbol of the increased comfort which businesses have been enjoying. Simultaneously, the GDP grew at a higher rate than the preceding few years. The country now had a newfound belief in itself.

However, stagnation has entered the scene yet again, at least in the past couple of years. Where the government has been hugely unsuccessful (and at the same time reluctant to accept its faults) is in case of 'Demonetisation' and the rollout of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). While no rational excuse can be found for demonetization, the GST exercise could have been done in a better manner. While the concept had enough potential for success, the glitches in the GST Network, the system of repeatedly filing returns and lack of awareness initiatives (for small retailers) have made the system the exact opposite of what we can call a business-friendly system. It is no surprise that post demonetization and GST, the confidence of the people in the economy has taken a body blow.

Our neighbourhood

In the realm of foreign policy, Narendra Modi initially took some innovative steps. This included the invitation given to the SAARC countries during his swearing-in ceremony. The Doklam standoff also brought to light India's diplomatic strengths as well as the value of Bhutan as a trusted friend. However, the ugly dispute between Nepal and India regarding the Constitution-making process with India allegedly blocking supplies to Nepal must be remembered as a low point in the tenure of the current Prime Minister. While India wasn't exactly responsible for the blockade, the way India allowed suspicions to develop was very much disappointing to see.

A discussion of India's foreign policy is never complete without a reference to Pakistan. In the last five years, the India-Pakistan relationship seems to have gone from bad to worse, despite Mr. Modi's initial attempts to forge a friendship with Nawaz Sharif. Ceasefire violations have occurred with increasing frequency and the two countries were locked in a war-like situation recently after the Pulwama incident. Fortunately, good sense prevailed and war was avoided. A high point though was the collaboration over Kartarpur. This showed that common links between the two countries must be identified as a way to achieve greater peace.

Weighing the positives

What has been this government's greatest achievement? The greatest achievement which Mr. Modi can be said to have achieved is a renewed focus on promoting social change. This was done through initiatives like 'Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao' and 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan'. While the results of these two initiatives have been variable and sometimes even disheartening, a great achievement has been the creation of a conducive atmosphere for discussion of issues which might have earlier made us uncomfortable. Steps like provision of LPG connection, provision of healthcare services (Ayushman Bharat) or provision of electrical connection to remote villages have been the other notable achievements. Again, we are nowhere close to achieving complete success, but a step has been taken in the right direction.

Another great achievement has been the focus on e-governance. This was a natural process as ICT services get diffused throughout the length and breadth of the country. However, the current government has given the process the much-needed boost. Almost every government service can now be availed online. Although several glitches are still there, on a whole, 'Government to Citizen' (G2C) services are now more conveniently available. This has helped in the reduction of corruption at the lower levels, which was the main headache of the citizen in earlier times. I can say this with some confidence as my own domicile certificate and my brother's driving license were both issued with zero corruption. While the PM wasn't directly involved in this by any stretch of the imagination, the policies initiated during his tenure have resulted in a positive push in the desired direction. The use of Direct Benefit Transfer in case of services like MGNREGA has also been a positive development.

And finally the negatives

Where Modi's India has been shamefully unsuccessful is in the provision of employment. Educated unemployment has risen to new levels. Although the government has tried to bring in schemes like MUDRA Yojana and Skill India, such schemes have been mostly unsuccessful. The lack of willingness on the part of the ruling party to accept its faults and instead tweak the data is also a negative sign.

The great danger that this government poses to India is the negation of its plural character and the suppression of free speech. Members of the ruling party have been involved in incidents ranging from issuing threats to artists to mob-lynching. While the PM himself spoke out against lynching on a couple of occasions, the lack of willingness to punish the culprits betrays a lack of sincerity. The level of intolerance seen in today's date was not anticipated when we laid the foundation of a secular and democratic polity in 1950.

The great tragedy, however, is that India doesn't have good opposition parties who can provide an effective alternative to the ruling party. Apart from forming opportunistic alliances in certain parts of the country and making hollow speeches in other parts, the opposition seems to be in slumber, waiting for its next defeat. And neither do India's mainstream media have the spine to stand up in an impartial manner. The decline of institutions like the CBI seems to be the third great tragedy of Modi's India.

How will you rate the current central government's performance? This was a question I asked almost a year back on this same site. Various replies came on that occasion. My own personal assessment is that Mr. Modi's government should get 6.5 out of 10, particularly because the last five years have been an uncommon mixture of failures and successes.


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Comments

Author: Umesh27 Mar 2019 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 5

An exhaustive article by the author on one of the most discussed subjects in our country in the media and the society alike.

Whenever in a country the regime changes and an honest and bold person takes the top position then certain things happen which might be seen as the outbursts of the corrupt people. The irony is that the whole system is the same and what has changed is a man on the top who looks impressive and honest to deliver. Now any system has got its intrinsic strength of opposing and resisting change especially when some vested interests are affected. This resistance creates obstacles in the path of this rare reformer and with time he is not able to perform as he intended.

In a democracy there are many factors which make a Govt success and people will always be ready to go anti-establishment on even the small failures. The opposition will never cooperate with the new regime as it will lead to the end of their existence. But what about the public? Is the public not aware of the positive sides or it is also seeing the negative points only? I am sorry to say that the public is also failing miserably in its judgment and that is what sometimes leads to the replacement of a person who was definitely going for reformative paths for nation-building. We have to assess the progress keeping in our mind one thing that one person is able to achieve so much in spite of so many people opposing him not because he is doing wrong things but he is going for measures to unearth black money and other financial frauds by the people having political nexus. He is not a superman and he has to work within the boundary of democratic principles and courts of law.

Whenever the riches of some influential people are on the target they are going to court on one pretext or another to safeguard their wealth. So things will be delayed and opposition will grow. Please remember that when he took over the country as PM there was widespread corruption which might be reduced by now but he did not get support from the people and opposition to eradicate it fully. Generally opposition comes with a better agenda for the country but unfortunately today there is only one agenda that is to somehow remove this person from power as he is creating problems for the dishonest and corrupt people in high places.

Author: DR.N.V. Srinivasa Rao27 Mar 2019 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 5

An exhaustive write up by the author on the performance of the present Government. We should appreciate the impartial write up of the author. But the article is not complete if the reasons were not analyzed for the failures and the role of other parties and people in those failures are also to be studied. One thing I should say is that within this five years corruption at the highest political levels in the country has a comedown. At the same time, the e-governance has shown a way to reduce corruption in the lower levels. Unfortunately in the middle levels still it is persisting. But the reason is not because of the policies of the government but because of the attitude of the people and some politicians. So to completely eradicate the corruption commitment from all including the people should come. Otherwise, it will be very difficult.

We all know that the construction of a house is very difficult but breaking it is very easy. If a train is handed over to a driver when it on the rails it will be easy for the driver to drive the train. But when it is derailed it will take a good time to bring the train on to the rails. Modi was given a country which was in very bad shape and many places there were many problems. Definitely, it is very difficult to rectify all these problems in a span of five years. That too without any proper support from oppositions parties and media it will be a difficult task. Even the citizens can't tolerate a little loss also personally to them. In these circumstances performing is a very tough task and we should appreciate at least Modi is able to get 6.5 out of 10.

Author: Sheo Shankar Jha29 Mar 2019 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 8

The article has exposed the strength and weakness of Sri Narendra Modi citing numerous instances where he failed to deliver results and the strength such as a fine orator and his convincing ability to garner favours from the rural public for his honest approach towards direction of rural electrification, provision of Ujwala Yojna, Ayushmann Bharat, etc is definitely unparallel. Summing up his character, he has been rather optimistic and has tried his best to plug the corruption which has weakened the entire structure of the country.

Linking the Aadhar card with the PAN cARD, constant up gradation of KYC in the Banks are some of the steps indicating his willingness to weed out corruption. However, some of his bold initiatives taken way back in Nov 2016 in the process of demonetizations has given mixed results with the initial hardship of the common man. However, his anticipation was to root out the Blackmoney from the system. So while analyzing his overall character, he seems to be a man of firm determination, willing to serve the nation honestly and at the same time promoting the lives of common men. Relationship with foreign countries has strengthened under his stewardship offering him a clean and popular PM of India. However, he has to go a long way in creating a conducive atmosphere which will enhance the employment potential of the unemployed youths. Maybe in the next phase of his winning the election and swearing-in as PM, greater thrust in this line will be exerted.

The author has effectively dealt with his positive strength of the PM in a lucid style but the analysis of failures in tackling the vital issues could have been elaborated.



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