Modi’s Record Of 100 Days Salvaged By Big Bang
Modi the politician who has shown the confidence of a self-made man suddenly made a big splash by initiating the start of the mega financial inclusion plan which Modi says will end the financial untouchability. This is one reform and measure which is ‘visible’ and which surged his reputation and credibility sky high. No one can say that they are still waiting for some results to judge him. The 100 days ended with a Big Bang
The report of losses in by-polls in four states on the day Narendra Modi completed 90 days in office affected the planned celebrations. Cheers and slogans wafting from the Congress camp dampened the spirit of BJP leaders. The initiation of the scheme which helps a large segment of the poor condemned as financially untouchabl to become bank account holders and acquire some dignity rescued Modi’s popularity and credibility. One hopes that he will deliver on all his promises. As per convention a surfeit of articles assessing Narendra Modi’s record of 100 days in office surfaced. They were not surprisingly very complimentary. For, nothing was visible or had any beneficial impact on the daily routine of the common man. Vegetable and fruit prices continued to be high.
But Modi has risen from being a chaiwala to the chief executive of 1.25 billion people. He knows personally ups and downs in life, of what it means to be an underprivileged and the struggle such disadvantaged people have to put up to overcome social barriers and emerge a winner. As 100 days were completed, most people continued to have faith in Modi, despite growls and grunts from the usual set of suspects. Used to remote-controlled Prime Minister for 10 years, the majority saw in him a man-in charge and who has had the guts to take hard decisions, without caring the sniping from a set of people who, he knows, he can never reach.
A spate of criticism and outrage he faced when he called off the scheduled Secretary-level talks between India and Pakistan because its High Commi-ssioner did not heed the warning that he should not meet Hurriyat leaders, otherwise India would call off the talks. Pakistan could never imagine India would have the nerve to stand up to it. But it did, which must have stunned Pakistan. Most Indians lauded Modi. Now slated to meet Chinese President and the US President in September after his highly successful visit to Japan, Modi is expected to restore India’s prestige which was fast becoming a Banana Republic under the UPA.
Modi the politician who has shown the confidence of a self-made man suddenly made a big splash by initiating the start of the mega financial inclusion plan which Modi says will end the financial untouchability. This is one reform and measure which is ‘visible’ and which surged his reputation and credibility sky high. No one can say that they are still waiting for some results to judge him. The 100 days ended with a Big Bang.
Now the definite impact of the Dhan Jan Yojana is there for all to see. Under the scheme 7.5 crore bank accounts are being opened. This will provide banking facility to the vast segment which is cut-off from the financial system. A record 1.80 crore accounts were opened on the very first day. By January 15, 2015, 7.5 crore accounts would be opened. A Bank General Manager said: “All banks had put up tents to open accounts.” I was amazed to see a large number of women queuing up, wearing dresses they would normally on festive occasions. “It was not only a day of celebration for them but the day on which they acquired dignity on their own.”
Modi has, in one stroke, turned the tide of doubts and dissenting voices. The confidence in him that he will deliver his poll promises and those he made in his Independence Day address is back again. From setting up a special investigation team in the black money case to getting Parliament’s approval to replace the collegium system of appointment of judges in higher judiciary with a National Judicial Commission, both promised in the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) manifesto, Modi has some reasons to be satisfied.
His administrative toning up, drilling work ethos in the luxury-indulging babus and disciplining his ministers to concentrate more on work than giving interviews and going out on invitations to exotic destinations or enjoying hospitality of business and industrial houses, has made Modi government a working unified machinery.
As a writer put it, “If he kept the promise of ending policy paralysis in scrapping the empowered group of ministers and restructuring the Planning Commission, the opening-up of defence and railways besides a big push to public-private partnership for infrastructure creation was also in sync with BJP’s poll pledge to revive the economy.”
After two years the GDP for the quarter ending June shot up to 5.3 per cent as against 4.6. The economy, this means, is on way to recovery. BJP’s manifesto promised a Clean Ganga and an open defecation-free India, both are being implemented. The news that defence items would be manufactured in India has brought heads of states and major industrial houses from all over the world to Delhi. Indian corporate is already in line. India will soon be a major defence equipment and items manufacturer instead of being the biggest buyer of defence requirements.
A secure India is in the office. And it will be the first South Asian country to have bullet trains criss-crossing the country. The government has announced 100 per cent FDI agreement with Japan. But this has been criticised by Pawan Varma, former diplomat and now JD(U) MP in Rajya Sabha. Modi’s focus on SAARC would result in restoring its leadership in South Asia. All these are positives one can discern. Admittedly in short span of 100 days Modi has done enough for India to accelerate a faster pace for other developments and modernisation. But a lot remains to be done.
Higher rates of inflation and corruption—the two central themes of his poll campaign and part of BJP’s manifesto—are yet to see a major change from the past. BJP’s promise to “take up skill development on a mission mode, at an unprecedented scale” is yet to be matched with action. The ‘National Multi-skill Mission’ proposed in BJP’s manifesto still remains on paper.
Special courts to deal with problem of hoarding and simplification of the tax regime are a few key poll promises that have to be tackled. There has been no noticeable flow of foreign investment or of a surge in developmental and infrastructural activities. Such programmes will take time to be implemented, but the problem is the aspirational young generation, whose patience is seemingly limited.
Pawan Varma, former Amba-ssador and presently JD(U) MP in Rajya Sabha, has criticised what he calls the party’s elitist vision that seems to be guiding the party’s economic and political philosophy. “It is a vision replete with bullet trains, state-of-the-art highways, smart cities…..far removed from the lives of the majority of Indians living in unacceptable and grovelling deprivation.”
He quoted statistics to argue special schemes (excluding credit, which farmers living at subsistence level can hardly avail of) announced for agriculture, “a sector which accounts for 60 per cent of India’s population, and where the poorest live, totalled a paltry Rs 500 crore. By comparison, highways were allocated some Rs 38,000 crore.
“Our country needs ports and highways and bullet trains, but unfortunately it also needs such basic things like freedom from hunger, drinking water, primary health and education, and a second green revolution….”
Varma has put forward points that need pondering over, although his defence of Modi would possibly have been as strong as his criticism if he was not attached with JD(U).
In summing up one can say that no one, except the Lutyen’s Club elites, the so-called secularists and leftist liberals, and the members of the 20-odd group to whom Modi said he could not connect with and who damn BJP as a divisive, communal party, had lost hope. The irrepressible critics now seem to be crawling back to hibernation. The majority has appreciated the toning up of the administration, curb over expenditure, and the corruption at the top and then the bouquet of banking and insurance scheme for the poor.
Modi has many 100 days ahead of him. The record of the first 100 days has rekindled hope in him. His stock is high both in India and abroad. And he must have learnt what went amiss and correct wherever an error was made. But he cannot let the number of backstabbers grow.
There is reportedly squabbles within the party—some say he and Rajnath Singh do not now have very good relation, Nitin Gadkari has reportedly never been enthused about Modi. The oldies are his eternal leg-pullers. Media abhors him, more because he has removed them as intermediary between him and his government and the people.
As he has been doing so far, Modi will have to have a direct link to the people, the source of his power. This way he will have many, many 100 days to make India, one of the great countries. A country every Indian would be proud to belong to.
By Vijay Dutt
100 DAYS, AN EXTENSION OF THE ELECTION CAMPAIGN: CONGRESS
The BJP captured power by making lofty promises and selling unrealistic dreams. The 100 days story of this Government has proved to be disappointing, characterized by non-fulfillment of promises, undermining of institutions, the compromising of administration and governance and promotion of a work culture nurtured by distrust and fear. Today, the Congress Party is asking the Government and the BJP to respect the mandate given to them by delivering on the promises they made. We demand that they work sincerely towards alleviating the problems of the people. Instead we see them creating media hype about nonexistent achievements, creating electoral slogans aimed solely at perception management and taking credit for the schemes and initiatives of the previous Government by just indulging in renaming exercises. The past 100 days point to nothing but ‘Over promise and under delivery’ on part of the Prime Minister and the Government. They have failed to deliver on every single issue that they had trumped up in the run up to the elections.
The first 100 days only seem to be an extension of the election campaign. This should end immediately for Governance to commence. This shameless exercise of renaming and plagiarizing the initiatives and schemes of the UPA Government, solely for the purpose of taking credit should be replaced by concrete steps that involve actual governance rather than mere perception management and media manipulation.
This government has been the epitome of double standards. The government’s grace period is over. We demand a clear road map for our country’s future socio-economic and political development. We would like to draw the attention of the people and the Government to some critical issues so that clarity can emerge out of the propaganda being spun:
UNTAMED FOOD INFLATION
After having incessantly harped on rising food prices in the run up to the polls the BJP/Government has ensured nothing but costlier milk and sugar and skyrocketing prices of vegetables and fruits. Government data itself shows that Food Inflation rose to 9.36% in July from the previous 7.90% in June.
UNPRECEDENTED ESCALATION OF CEASEFIRE VIOLATIONS ON OUR BORDERS
A party and its leaders who during their election campaign faulted the leadership in Delhi for LoC violations went on to invite the Pakistan PM over shawl and saree diplomacy. The government is yet to explain the absence of firmness and clarity in dealing with Pakistan.
WOMEN’S INSECURITY EMANATES FROM THE CABINET ITSELF
After having the pitched the slogan of “Bahut hua nari par attyachar, abki baar Modi sarkar”, Mr. Modi went on to include a rape accused in his Council of Ministers.
The Prime Minister’s colleagues in the Government and the Party, Shri Arun Jaitley, Sri Babu Lal Gaur and Sri Ramsewak Paikra (Law Minster, Govt. of Chhattisgarh) came out with insensitive statement trivializing rape and insulting women. The response of the Prime Minister is a resounding silence.
HOODWINKING THE PEOPLE ON BRINGING BACK BLACK MONEY
The UPA Government had signed treaties with more than 80 countries to facilitate the return of black money to India. The BJP and Shri Modi created a smokescreen and hoodwinked the people of India with the promise of bringing back a supposed 85 lakh crores rupees. The Nation, as indeed every honest tax payer, is waiting for an answer.
CORRUPTION AND PROBITY IN PUBLIC LIFE
The biggest bulwark against Corruption-the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act passed by the UPA Government remains a nonstarter due to the petty politicking being done by the Government by not fulfilling the statutory requirement of constituting the selection committee for the appointment of the Lokpal.
SUBVERSION AND WEAKENING OF INSTITUTIONS
The arbitrary decision of dismantling of the Planning Commission strikes at the base of our federal structure. This has come in the middle of the plan period without putting into place even a semblance of alternative mechanism.
Similarly, by undermining and politicizing the spirit behind the institution of the Leader of Opposition, this Government is surely and steadily hitting at the very foundation of India’s federal decentralization and democratic dissent.
EXTREME SECTARIAN AND DIVISIVE POLITICS AND THE PM’S DOUBLE SPEAK
Prime Minister on several occasions has claimed that the Constitution will be his guiding doctrine. He said he was the PM of 1.2 billion Indians and gave a call to put a ten year moratorium to sectarian and divisive issues. There have been more than 600 riots in the past 100 days and non-issues like ‘Love-Jehad’, ‘Forcible Conversions’, and blatantly communal statements by hardliners like Yogi Adityanath are being pushed deliberately in the media space and public domain to create mutual fear and distrust amongst communities with the sole aim of polarizing voters for political gains.
INCONSISTENCY IN FOREIGN POLICY AND TRIVIALIZATION OF MULTILATERAL COMMITMENTS
The foreign policy of the BJP government is opaque, directionless and confusing for India’s partners and all interlocutors.
MINIMUM GOVERNANCE, MAXIMUM PM
All that the slogan of minimum government, maximum governance has led to
- a) Half-baked restructuring of key ministries
- b) Major ministries being headed by non-cabinet ministers
- c) Part-time Defence Minister
- d) Exclusion of key ministers from Appointment Committee of Cabinet
- e) Secretaries of Ministries reporting directly to PMO, instead of respective Ministers.
All this has led to nothing but the thorough weakening of Cabinet system of Government that our Constitution envisages and has led to a situation characterized by fear and distrust.
This Government has a long time to complete its term. The first three months have been disappointing to say the least. While the Government aims at projecting itself as a strong entity, the process of weakening India as a nation has begun. The Congress party will continue to protect the integrity of India and will not allow the fundamentals of the Indian-political, social and economic system to be destroyed. (Uday India Bureau)