Seven Years of NDA: Evidences of Strong Commitment
The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) under the leadership of Narendra Modi has completed its seven years in power on May 26, 2021. Last seven years have been full of political swings for Bharatiya Janata Party, NDA and of course for Narendra Modi too. In fact, there has been dig differences in NDA 1.0 and 2.0. The very first
difference is change in allies of the ruling party. Interestingly, major allies of NDA 1.0 such as Shiv Sena, Telugu Desha Party, Shiromani Akali Dal, Rashtriya Loktantrik Party, Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, and Goa Forward Party are no more associates in NDA 2.0.
Enhanced External Affairs Policy
Despite changing of political allies, the National Democratic Alliance has shown its commitment towards nation and common people at large by its firm actions in large interest of the economy and solidarity of India. One very important feature of this Government lead by Narendra Modi is that it has put India on international map in the group of strong countries. It is a fact that no country in the world can dare to take India for granted. Especially after the emergence of Quad Countries, India’s weightage has gone up significantly high in terms of maintaining power balance against so called communist ruled countries i.e., China and Russia. China has a long-term policy of capturing land and strategic locations (sea ports and airbases) of neighboring countries i.e., Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Myanmar by getting these countries in debt trap.
United States of America, Australia, Japan and India have come together for an informal strategic alliance to check aggression of China on South China Sea and neighboring countries. China has shown its resentment over Quad alliance at several occasions but India has been firm in its commitment to fight against China and check its illegal expansion of geographical territory. Further, there has been a drastic shift in the Indian foreign policy. The previous Governments maintained a distance from Israel and favored Palestine; whereas, the present NDA Government has openly come closer to Israel without giving any negative comment on the status of Palestine. India has been a traditional ally of Russia, erstwhile Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR), and USA kept a distance from us for this reason. The foundation of closeness with the USA was laid down during Atal Bihari Bajpai regime but it has been made rock solid strong during Narendra Modi’s last seven years tenure. Consequential, the USA’s old friend Pakistan is finding miserably isolated in the changes global equations set by India. India has made good number of friends all over the world with reengineered its external affairs policy. India is favored by the Middle East, majority of Europe, USA, Latin American countries, and of course Russia has not gone away from us.
Aggressive Defence System
India has shown its strengths in terms of maintaining its internal security, peace and harmony. On February 14, 2019, militants supported by Pakistan attacked a convoy of vehicles carrying security personnel on the Jammu Srinagar National Highway in the Pulwama district, Jammu & Kashmir. India showed its unprecedented strength by destroying terrorist camps based in Balakot of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) early morning on February 26, 2019. It was a major setback for Pakistan and Pak supported terrorist groups based in PoK. The Pak supported militants had attacked Indian Army base camp in Uri on September 18, 2016. India was determined to settle the score; and, Indian Army made severe casualties to militants based in PoK on September 29, 2016. Similarly, India has undertaken cross border operations in Myanmar to hit ultras attacking Indian civilians and running in the forests of Myanmar for hiding themselves. On June 09, 2015, India announced that it had conducted a cross-border operation against insurgents belonging to NSCN-K. According to the Government of India officials, the operation took place in Myanmar and it was in response to ambush of Indian Army convoy of 6 Dogra Regiment in Chandel district of Manipur. India is giving befitting response to China, Pakistan and various extremist groups in aggressive mode. It is indeed a matter of pride that India is no longer a soft target for terrorists and countries supporting terrorism. China has tried to redraw Line of Actual Control (LAC) but every time it had to go back to its own cave. It is, undoubtably, an achievement of the NDA government over the last seven years.
Self-reliant India Movement
The world is facing severe challenges and threats to the economy as posed by the pandemic COVID-19. Rich and poor all countries are finding it difficult to manage their economic affairs in this Covid – 19 times. There has been a series of lockdown of economies which had its disastrous financial impacts irrespective of developed and developing countries. India is no exception to this. However, the Government of India launched a movement in the name of Self-reliant India to save the economy by infusing Rs. 20.95 lakh crores. Prime Minister mentioned about five important pillars of this Self-reliant India movement i.e., Economy, Infrastructure, System, Demography and Demand. The Government of India targeted Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSME) on the top. Further, farmers were given special attention in the movement for uplifting the economy out of corona blows. It is estimated that the Government of India spent almost 10% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in reviving the economy. No other government has experienced such a critical time in the past; and, hence, it was difficult for any government to take an appropriate action during Covid times. Nevertheless, the NDA could manage the economy well and sustained it from dropping down very deep.
High Inflow of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)
The Measures taken by the Government on the fronts of FDI policy reforms, investment facilitation and ease of doing business have resulted in increased FDI inflows into the country as India has attracted total FDI inflow of US$ 72.12 billion during April to January, 2021. It is the highest ever for the first ten months of a financial year and 15% higher as compared to the first ten months of 2019-20 (US$ 62.72 billion).
The trends show that the FDI equity inflow grew by 28% in the first ten months of F.Y. 2020-21 (US$ 54.18 billion) compared to the year ago period (US$ 42.34 billion). In terms of top investor countries, ‘Singapore’ is at the apex with 30.28% of the total FDI Equity inflow followed by U.S.A (24.28%) and UAE (7.31%) for the first ten months of the current financial year 2020-21. Japan has been leading the list of investor countries to invest in India with 29.09% of the total FDI Equity inflows during January, 2021, followed by Singapore (25.46%) and the U.S.A. (12.06%).
The Computer Software & Hardware has emerged as the top sector during the first ten months of F.Y. 2020-21 with 45.81% of the total FDI Equity inflow followed by Construction (Infrastructure) Activities (13.37%) and Services Sector (7.80%) respectively. As per the trends shown during the month of January, 2021, the consultancy services emerged as the top sector with 21.80% of the total FDI Equity inflow followed by Computer Software & Hardware (15.96%) and Service Sector (13.64%). These trends in India’s Foreign Direct Investment are an endorsement of its status as a preferred investment destination amongst global investors.
Make In India (MII) Dirve
The Government of India under the leadership of Narendra Modi launched its ambitious project of Make in India (MII) in September 2014 to boost Indian export and dependency of import of manufactured premium articles. Make in India drive had three stated objectives i.e., (i) to increase the manufacturing sector’s growth rate to 12-14% per annum; (ii) to create 100 million additional manufacturing jobs in the economy by 2022; and (iii) to ensure that the manufacturing sector’s contribution to GDP is increased to 25% by 2022 (later revised to 2025). The GOI laid down a policy for foreign collaborators to manufacture their products in India only instead of importing it from other countries. Such imports were creating a huge forex burden on Indian economy. After the launch of MII, GOI gave investment commitments worth ₹16.40 lakh crore (US$230 billion) and investment inquiries worth of ₹1.5 lakh crore (US$21 billion) between September 2014 to February 2016. As a result, India emerged as the top destination globally in 2015 for foreign direct investment, surpassing the United States and China, with US$60.1 billion FDI. As per the current policy, 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is permitted in all 100 sectors, except for Space industry (74%), and defense industry (49%). Japan and India had also announced a US$12 billion ‘Japan-India Make-in-India Special Finance Facility” fund to push investment.
The NDA lead government hit a very crucial aspect of the economy to boost export revenue. It became a mandatory feature for all Multinational Corporations (MNCs) working in India to export at least 30% of the manufactured articles to other countries. As matter of fact, many MNCs are exporting more than 40% of their domestic production.
According to the World Bank’s annual report on the Ease of Doing Business (EODB), ‘Doing Business 2020: Comparing Business Regulations in 190 Economies’, India ranks 63rd out of 190 countries and has moved up by 14 spots this year. Some of the leading MNCs participating in Make in India drive are Samsung, Apple, Toyota, Hyundai, Honda, Suzuki, Nissan, etc. Indian economy has gained from Make in India drive in terms of employment, forex reserve, enhanced export, favourable balance of payment, and increased global trade.
Implementation of Direct Benefit Transfer Scheme
Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) Scheme was launched by the Government of India on January 1, 2013, with any preparation and infrastructure. There was no actual effect of DBT scheme till the NDA Government came in power in May 2014. Under the leadership of Narendra Modi, the GOI took prompt initiative to build the infrastructure to transfer the Government subsidies and other benefits in the accounts of ultimate beneficiaries. National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) was passed in the year 2005 by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government. Later on, it was renamed as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Act (MNREGA). Billions of rupees have been spent under this scheme since its inception; but it is believed that there was large misappropriation of the funds earmarked MNREGA as it was not done with DBT system. The NDA Government took a bold step to implement DBT scheme. The Government of India is now confident that subsidies and benefits are reaching to the ultimate beneficiaries now. Indeed, it is a real and significant achievement of NDA Government. As a matter of fact, a total sum of Rs. 15,61,734 crores have been transferred to the beneficiaries under the DBT by the GOI till date.
By Dr. Alok Chakrawal
(The writer is a Professor at Saurashtra University, Gujarat)