Narendra Modi’s Four-Year Plan
Indian politics has been dragged into a phase of agitation, personal attacks, non-cooperation even over issues of national interest and the disruption of Parliament, which means stalling of Reforms Bills. It’s an all-out war waged not by the Congress Party but by Mother and Son against Narendra Modi. Can he counter the Gandhis’ campaign to disillusion those who supported Modi in 2014 and made him prime minister?
This is an onslaught not on Modi alone but it is in violation of all precepts of democracy. But if we look back to the Gandhis’ tenures, we find each of them had their own concept of democracy. Jawaharlal Nehru did not hesitate to make Indira Gandhi, Congress President at a very young age. No one could dare challenge her election. It is well known that he did not want Rajendra Prasad to become President. But relented under pressure! Then his rumoured spat with Sardar Patel.
The internal democracy in the party, the election of various office-bearers from the district level to the CWC was seldom held during Indira Gandhi’s long tenure. A glare from her and the most seniors will cower down. Ultimately all appointments had to have Gandhi stamp. Chief Ministers were chosen by 1 Safdarjung and not by party legislators.
During Rajiv days, diktats of his friends were like legislation by Parliament. Sonia and son Rahul Gandhi have thrown all democratic norms out of their political ethos and instead of assailing the Government inside Parliament they have been disrupting the proceeding which has already cost Rs 135 crore of taxpayers’ money. Faraz Syed of Moody’s Analytica commented, “Key reforms, such as the Land Acquisition Bill, and the Goods and Services Tax have failed to pass in Parliament.
“And given the political seesaw these are unlikely to be delivered until later this year or even 2016. “ The slowdown of investments apart, even inflationary trends would not be contained. And then mounting bad loans, “A positive step higher is not likely without significant reforms.” Nor will it be positive enough to reach anywhere near China’s.
But this is the exact game plan of the Congress. Sonia will hardly like Modi to be able to change and develop the country for acche din for the people. She is being helped in this ‘noble cause’ by son Rahul Gandhi who literally called Sushama Swaraj a thief. He is taking advantage of the BJP’s inability to reply as bluntly as Rahul Gandhi. Smriti Irani did respond but only could say that Gandhis did not have to toil for money whereas others had to work hard to earn their living. She didn’t remind Rahul of the amount that was siphoned off under his and his mother’s dispensation.
He is getting more abusive and aggressive. At the present his target is Sushma Swaraj. The opportunity to put a break on him was lost. Rahul, having chosen the role of an agitator, has been dashing off to wherever strikes or some such protest is being staged. He rushed to Pune where students of FTII were agitating. Rahul had no briefing about the history of the institution. The numbers of agitations at the institute have been over 39. What could Rahul have gained? Nothing except some more jokes coined about him.
How much his anti-Modi tirade, since over last three months, is having an impact? Well, in one survey 80 per cent and in another 78 per cent said it was improper to disrupt Parliament. What have mother and son gained from what would end up in taxpayers coughing out hundreds of crores.
The Monsoon Session Is it India’s Loss?
The scheduled Monsoon Session of Parliament has concluded on August 13th 2015. Politically, this session was very educative but, frustrating. Parliament represents the best in Indian democracy. ‘Parliamentary paralysis without an issue’ signifies the vulnerability of the system.
The importance of GST need not be overstated. It converts the whole country into one economic market. It facilitates the smooth and seamless transfer of goods and services. It reduces harassment and corruption. It mandates a uniform tax regime. It eliminates ‘Tax on Tax’. It adds buoyancy to tax revenue and has a favourable impact on the GDP. The GST has received consistent support from most mainstream parties. The Congress / UPA government announced this idea in 2006 and it introduced the Bill in 2011. Today, it seeks to go back on the GST. The objections in the Congress Party’s dissent note are contradictory and trivial. The Parliamentary numbers are loaded against the Congress. It, therefore, relies on disturbance and lung power to prevent its consideration by the Rajya Sabha. The Congress is well aware that any delay in passage of the Constitution Amendment which has been accepted by most States will result in at least one year’s delay. That appears to be the Congress’ strategy. National interest is least on its priority.
The Congress party has exhibited that it continues to be enslaved to a family. It is willing to compromise national interest and policy merely because the family is unable to digest its electoral defeat in 2014. India’s loss in this Session is not Congress party’s gain. There is popular disapproval of its policies of ‘disruption without a cause’. The debate in Lok Sabha on the last day of the Session clearly demonstrated the hollowness of Congress party’s argument.
The Congress party President, Smt. Sonia Gandhi, hit a new low. It is for the first time that a senior-most leader of a mainstream party has jumped into the well of the House. Even the pretext of stature and dignity was not maintained. As for Shri Rahul Gandhi, there was no serious expectation that he would raise the level of the debate. He has failed to recognise the difference between sloganeering and a Parliamentary speech. The more he grows, the more he immatures. Aggressive body language is never a substitute for substance. It is the NDA Government which brought a tough law against illegal foreign assets. It is the NDA Government which is taking effective steps to bring to book the alleged offender around whom the present controversy is centred.
This Session has educated and enlightened public opinion that India’s economic interests are being held to ransom by the political frustration of the Congress party. India stands educated, though frustrated. The anger emerging out of this frustration will provide India the answer to face this challenge.
By Arun Jaitley
Modi’s popularity has surely lost a bit of sunshine—which is natural, he being the government—but even now he is the most credible and popular politician in India. How visionary he is, is evident from schemes he envisioned—dhan jan yojana, mudra bank and Swacch Bharat, adoption of villages and smart cities. And except to criticise, Rahul has not, even once, talked about his vision for India if he came to power.
He has confined himself to attacking Modi, possibly someone advised Rahul Gandhi during his mysterious introspection sojourn to target Modi. And this is what he has been doing from day one of his return. His onslaughts on Modi are full of venom.
When VP Singh was attacking Amitabh Bachchan over Bofors knowing full well that his involvement was not conclusively proved, he said, “Did you never read the stories that evil Rajas used to keep their hearts in a parrot or a trusted person. By attacking Amitabh I am in reality frightening Rajiv. He could never be convicted otherwise. I am sorry Amitabh is getting troubled.” Rahul has also been attacking Modi because the life of NDA is with him. If he gets alienated from people who supported him believing his promises for acche din, NDA will collapse.
The question is how much he has succeeded in denting the high esteem people have for Modi. Gandhi himself has failed to create any credible persona for himself. This is why his assaults could not seriously damage Modi, but it did make people sit up and to look around to assess how much has he delivered on his promises. Frankly not much is visible.
But while Modi talks of plans and schemes and has been launching projects, Rahul has been occupied in assailing Modi. And some say while his mother is inclined to let parliament function, it is Rahul who is against it. There is the old English saying, ‘consistency is the characteristic of an ass.’
As is his tactics since Gujarat, Modi has kept silent against all jabs, including over the stalling of Parliament. But he will surely have to counter the intensive campaign that he is hiding two of his leaders Vasundhra Raje Scindia and Sushma Swaraj who are alleged to have helped Lalit Modi, a declared absconder.
In his aggressive attacks and criticism of Modi, Rahul has full support of the Media and intellectuals, most of whom have pathological hatred of Modi.
This controversy, called, Lalitgate, seemed to threaten Modi’s credibility. This was admitted by an insider but he added, it would not matter electorally. It won’t affect Bihar assembly election and the General Election is almost four years later.
But it would be foolhardy to let his image be dented and hope that in four years, it would be repaired. Forget about the margin of his victory in 2014 General Election, what was politically more important that Modi emerged from that election as the most powerful leader in
India. He can hardly afford to slip down from that stature and this Modi himself realises.
The opposition leaders believe that people are increasingly getting convinced that Narendra Modi will be unable to fulfill any of his promises he made before and after the 2014 election. Does it mean that Modi will turn out to be one-term wonder?
Many disconcerting comments were made at the end of his one year in office. Rahul Gandhi gave zero, rating Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first year performance.
“PM Modi has time to travel the world, but he has not visited the home of even a single farmer who has committed suicide,” Gandhi said.
Rahul and Gandhis loyalist Mani Shanker Aiyer echoed his vice-president’s sentiment. Rahul Gandhi gave more weight to his condemnation by saying that “Like farmers and labourers, I will also give it a zero out of 10.”
“However, Industrialists and corporate houses will give it 10 out of 10,” added Gandhi. His refrain is that Modi is a man of the corporate.
Declaring a war against the land reforms of the Modi government, Gandhi called him ‘anti-farmers’ and ‘pro-corporate’. Gandhi continued to attack the ‘foreign tours’ of PM Modi about which the Prime Minister even spoke in China. The sole aim was to dent the popularity of Modi.
“I am criticized by some for travelling, for working hard. If working hard is a crime, I am prepared to commit that crime for 125 crore Indians. Every moment of my time is for the people of my country.”
Taking a jibe at Gandhi’s big absence from major events during his ‘leave’, PM Modi on an international ground said that he has not taken any vacation ever since he has resumed work. But as the orchestration of non-doer continues, Modi has drawn up a plan which he wants to be completed by 2017. Former Governor Amolak Rattan Kohli told this author about three projects which will soon be in the pipeline scheduled to be completed by 2017 and 2018. These will cover majority of the population. This need not be visible for people will be directly benefited by them.
Governor Kohli said that he has known Modi since long and he is a fighter, a doer and knows no defeat. The plans he has for next few years reflect his determination to prove his detractor wrong. The Prime Minister’s PR savvy, had in Gujarat combined with skills in exploiting strong party machinery, which created and sustained an aura of a “doer” for not just his dedicated constituencies of women of all ages and youths but even among Congress supporters.
“Our former CM is above caste,” said Shailesh Thakore, the secretary of a local milk co-operative at Lunnasan village in Mehsana district.
Gabbaji, also a Thakore, swore he was a Congressman. “But I must be objective because we don’t have a leader like Modi,” he said. “He’s a smart talker and an efficient doer.” And that upset caste equations.
This is being observed in Bihar. So far Modi has addressed two rallies and observers said already caste alignments are ‘melting’. A BJP leader said Modi is “all-in-all”.
“He is convinced nobody else matters. He cut his internal adversaries to size. His style of working will impact the next election outcome,” claimed this party worker. This ‘doer’ and a determined fighter who knows no defeat, has, according to Governor Kohli, set in motion three resolutions to ‘win’ one and all.
The first resolution is ‘No Hunger”. There is no dearth of food grain in the country but because of defective distribution system, a large segment of population is unable to buy food grains at prices hiked by middlemen, most brazen and callous lot. They unilaterally fix prices to buy from farmers and if any farmer holds they let his produce risk vagaries of nature.
The Food Ministry is streamlining Public Distribution System (PDS) and the Government has decided to purchase food grain at market price. The number of people covered under the food security law from 40 per cent to 67 per cent of the population; expediting the direct cash transfer of food subsidy to the beneficiaries; and the lowering of mandi taxes on food grain to a uniform three to four per cent in all states.
In addition, the primary policy objective of the Department of Food & Public Distribution is to ensure food security for the country through timely and efficient procurement and distribution of food grains. This involves procurement of various food grains, building up and maintenance of food stocks, their storage, movement and delivery to the distributing agencies and monitoring of production, stock and price levels of food grains. Sources say that officers are being identified who will implement the ‘No Hunger’ scheme. The second plan is No Malnutrition! The malnutrition is more in villages than in urban areas. The Government has sanctioned Rs 50000 Crores for irrigation which will enable three crops a year. But while water facilities are under process, certain senior people in a village are being identified who have some rudimentary knowledge about vitamins and their sources in fruit and vegetables. The plan is to subsidise fruit and vegetables crops. The basic objective of the scheme is to ensure that maximum produce of fruit and vegetable is consumed in village. Malnutrition and Anaemia rates are high among Children 38.4 per cent of children under age three are stunted, that is too short for their age and 46 per cent are underweight that is too thin for their age. Both indicators have slightly improved from 1998-99.
Wasting, defined as an abnormally low weight for the child’s height affects 19 per cent of children under age three with a slight deterioration from 1998 –Overall, girls and boys are about equally likely to be undernourished. Under-nutrition is higher in rural areas and is strongly correlated with the level of maternal education showing a two-fold difference between non-educated mothers and 10-year and above educated mothers.
This may be linked to a stark difference in access to a nutritious diet and complementary feeding at 6-9 months. The plan thus is to identify a person as one with basic knowledge of nutrition through fruit and vegetables and can help in developing habit of eating of fruit and vegetables, which may be grown in the village with the help of subsidy. The third plan is No Darkness! This is the reason that Modi has been travelling to different parts of the country opening power generation projects. India is the sixth largest in terms of power generation. The immediate focus will be on electricity losses in India during transmission and distribution which are extremely high, about 28.44 per cent (2008-09). India needs to tide over a peak power shortfall of 13 per cent between 5pm and 11pm by reducing losses due to theft and pilferage.Modi’s plan is to concentrate on electrification in rural areas. While 84.9 per cent of Indian villages have at least an electricity line, just 46 per cent of rural households have access to electricity.
Rajiv Gandhi Gramin Vidyut Yojna (RGGVY), which had a target of providing electricity to 125,000 villages and connecting 23 million below-poverty-line households across the country, has also been faltering. For this various strategies have been drawn up. Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Uttranchal, Madhya Pradesh etc are some of the states where significant number (more than 10 per cent) of villages are yet to be electrified. The Swach Bharat scheme has already made inroads in rural areas. Several toilets are being built in villages ordered by some families there. Jan Dhan Yojana, Mudra
Bank schemes will bring support of millions for Modi. Those who disrupted Parliament if politically astute will soon realize that it’s very difficult to tame one who has 56 inch chest. May we please inform Rahul Bhaiya that it’s not 5.6 inch. Baba, don’t look at everything with myopic eyes.
In fact slow down on your raving and ranting and see what Modi is doing to your party. You forgot he is a fighter not just a Tammany Hall rabble-rouser. Modi has charted a raid inside the 44 Constituencies of you and your MPs and in the nine constituencies of the Left. One minister with about four MPs will be going into these 53 constituencies and hold 50 meetings in each of them. Then Smriti Irani will go to Amethi on raksha bandhan day and distribute insurance certificate of 25000 each to 25000 ‘daughters’ of Amethi.
The real Modi whom Rahul called gutless is showing his fighting spirit. Beware! One columnist has appealed to him to mukt Congress of Gandhis. The Swaraj onslaught was a good beginning in that direction.
By Vijay Dutt