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Age Debate: Real change or rhetoric

Published : May 26, 2016, 3:51 am IST
Updated : May 26, 2016, 3:51 am IST

Today India is on the cusp of great economic and socio-political transformation. This has become possible because of the successful two years of NDA rule.

Today India is on the cusp of great economic and socio-political transformation. This has become possible because of the successful two years of NDA rule. India is one of the fastest growing large markets, growing at an average pace of 7.6 per cent per year, projected a recent study by IHS Global Insight. The study said India will overtake China for the first time in over three decades. Such positivity about India is being projected by the International Monetary Fund and ratings agencies like Moody’s. This is the result of deft economic handling by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Compare this with the scenario in early 2014 when the economy was going downhill; growth falling to 4.5 per cent and inflation rate at 14 per cent. The spiralling prices, falling rupee, high-lending rates and flight of capital coupled with policy paralysis and unheard of corruption at all levels had created doubts about the success of the India story. It was from that all enveloping gloom that Mr Modi steered the country back on the path of development.

Inflation is now below six per cent, lending rates are down despite an unhelpful RBI governor Raghuram Rajan, food inflation is largely under control, power generation is sufficient and corruption is at an all-time low. Today foreign direct investment is rushing in and investor confidence is high. The government’s effort to make ease of doing business attractive has started showing results.

A slew of projects like Skill India, Stand-Up India, Start-Up India, Mudra Yojana and Make in India along with Jan-Dhan Yojana for financial inclusion have started showing results. Twenty-eight crore new accounts have been opened and with an accrued deposit of Rs 36,000 crore. This and Aadhaar have become the backbone of the direct cash transfer scheme under which 15.02 crore LPG users are getting direct cash transfer under the popular PAHAL scheme. The government in the last financial year saved Rs 14,673 crore by way of curtailing pilferage and misuse of subsidised LPG, which was being diverted for commercial purposes. This is now going to help in augmenting the Prime Minister’s Ujjwal Yojana in which five crore BPL families will be provided free LPG connections. Equally important is the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana to electrify all villages in the next two years.

The NDA has initiated many plans to take care of the weaker sections of society. The Prime Minister’s insurance schemes covering health benefit and accident death have reassured the poor of a more secure life. The beneficiaries under the minority welfare and education scholarship schemes are at an all-time high. The Prime Minister’s Office public grievance wing, which can be accessed on the Internet or by text-messages, has got an all-time high eight lakh complaints, of which 80 per cent are settled satisfactorily within three weeks. Under the UPA this number was only one lakh. E-governance has taken the citizen closer to the government. “India boasts of the world’s fastest growing large economy and the planet’s biggest population of millennial — and you can see why the likes of Facebook, Uber and Google are falling over themselves to establish foothold there,” wrote the Economist a few weeks ago.

India is better off under Mr Modi and is bound to be still better after three years.

Dr R. Balashankar is a member of the BJP Central Committee on Prashikshan Maha Abhiyan and the Committee on Publications

$The country is full of positivity

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Two years ago, the Narendra Modi government came to power by fanning high expectations on the economic front with the “development” agenda at their focal point. But after two years, there is very little to applaud. In fact, the scenario in the country is gloomy; there is little the government has to show except for its failure on many fronts.

Over 50 schemes have been announced by the Modi government in the past two years. The achche din promised in terms of creating employment opportunities for the youth are yet to be materialised. On one hand, the government is starting programmes like “Make in India”, “Start-Up India”, “Skill India”, and on the other foreign direct investment in retail and e-commerce is further liberalised, which is threatening the survival of indigenous industries. Black money stashed away by Indians abroad has not been brought back.

In the past two years, international crude oil prices were at a record low, yet domestic petrol and diesel prices have shot up. Seven core industrial sectors are showing negative growth. The Modi government has been high on promises, but low on delivery.

The government has announced it would double farmers’ income by 2022, but growing at the dismal pace of 1.6 per cent per annum doesn’t appear real. Further, the government refused to waive farm loans and backtracked on its promise of providing a 50 per cent hike on minimum support prices.

India is facing one of the most severe droughts. But instead of mitigating its effects, the government is directly hitting on the lifeline of the rural populace by refusing to spend more on Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. Moreover, there is no disaster management plan for facing such contingencies, which directly affect more than 700 million people.

By toppling the Arunachal Pradesh government and trying to repeat the same in Uttarakhand, the National Democratic Alliance has undermined the cooperative federalism of country. Money bills have been used to pass key legislation, setting aside all parliamentary conventions and constitutional precedence.

The social fabric and our liberal tradition are under serious threat. The right-wing “fringe elements” in the BJP government are posing a danger to our multi-cultural pedigree. “Love jihad” and “ghar wapsi” are quintessentially designed to subordinate the culture of minority communities. Activists M.M. Kalburgi and Govind Pansare were killed by people who could not tolerate them speaking their minds. Severe repression of students was seen all over the country. Students who demanded their democratic right of dissent were portrayed as “anti-national”.

India’s relations with its neighbours is on the worsening track. Nepal is the biggest foreign policy blunder of the government. Talks with Pakistan are heading nowhere and after the Pathankot fiasco it has completely stalled. The big-brother attitude by the Modi government is alienating neighbours. It has given China the opportunity to enter into the territories which earlier were closed for them.

If Mr Modi is really serious about the promises he made to the nation, he must address these issues directly. Unfortunately, there are very few signs that the Modi government is going to change its way of divisive politics and neoliberal agenda.

K.C. Tyagi is JD(U) national general secretary and a Rajya Sabha MP

$There’s too little to applaud

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