Note: This is a very long analysis and opinion piece amounting to 3100+ words in toto. Thus, if you choose to read it, take some time. Bliss!
Yes, PM Modi had overpromised, shown too big dreams and may not be able to achieve all the targets that he had set for the present Government when he came to power. But, what he has achieved apart from a few setbacks is something I believe is unprecedented.
I am a fairly educated young person with a good understanding of economics and politics. I study those both subjects in great detail. So, just as many people say that they don’t see anything positive happening. I think I am equipped enough to have a judgment and assessment of my own.
And, in my judgment, this current Government has done a fairly good job that is akin to laying a fertile land where a bumper harvest can be produced for several years to come in succession. And, that is no mean achievement for a Government in just one term. Especially in a convoluted economic setup that PM Modi and his team had inherited from his predecessors.
Without more talk, now let’s dive into the details.
When it comes to economy and finances, Yes, I trust my Government’s intentions. I feel that they have done considerably good even if a few of their moves backfired. Because the incumbent Government is at least taking actions and doing something about the mess that they inherited.
The previous establishment, in order to make lesser mistakes in their second term, they simply did nothing at all! Okay, I won’t say nothing. But, the point is, they did just too less to deserve that seat of power and command. Now, that is not a kind of Government I want.
Financial sector reforms, be it GST or the IBC are both tremendous juggernauts that our nation needed for a long time. This Government got them the political consensus without which those would still have been just a matter being studied by someone’s committee.
Sure, I do lament that GST was implemented just too hastily. But again, I never said that this Government has been perfect. All I am asserting here is that its way better than its predecessors.
No Government is perfect. So, let’s appreciate it for the big feat that it managed to accomplish with each state being a part of the decision making. That’s cooperative federalism at its best, and it has been further championed by this Government after Atal Ji’s times.
Financial inclusion has been another big milestone which has gotten the poorest of all to open up a bank account. Now their subsidies and money from several welfare schemes go straight into their accounts free of any dirty hands of any middlemen.
Many people say that is a failed drive given over half of these accounts hold zero balance. What they often miss is that the number accounts created is way above 33 crores. Which means, even if half of those accounts are zero-balance accounts, well we have got over 16.5 crore poor and unbanked people to get in the banking loop.
That may be a small thing for many. But in my view, that is unprecedented.
Furthermore, the previous Government had left my country’s economy at a shambolic state with a ballooning current account deficit, uber high inflation, falling forex reserves, and a shady housing market whereby the prices of houses had reached a superficial high which had taken the prospects of the poor and middle class buying a house way beyond their league.
But, today the prices of plots and flats in certain areas have fallen by as much as 60% (at least in my city Faridabad, that’s the figure) making it way easy for the common men to buy a roof of their own.
As many might be aware that in India, the price of a property consists of three components. The circle charge and the registry charges. And, then there is this black component. And, it is this component which had went just too high during the previous Government’s rule but has been heavily brought down under the present administration.
Now, many don’t appreciate the Government enough for this achievement. But I surely do. Because this black component was all illicit and hidden money which is obviously anti-poor and anti-development and favours only the rich.
And, how has all of this been achieved? One main reason is the demonetization, another is implementation of RERA while another major reason is the notification of Benami Property Act because of which many such people who hold such properties to their names now want to sell those off as soon as possible.
Thus demand is low and supply is high bringing down the costs to what more of the common people can afford. Big win!
Mean feat? I don’t think so.
Another big achievement with respect to economy and finance sector in my belief is the way it has acted on unearthing the heaps of NPAs and bad loans that were awarded by the Public Sector Banks. Under the previous administration (UPA-1&2) most of these banks lost their lending moralities and lent out money to cronies and capitalists because of incessant political pressure, meddling and corruption.
And, when the administration changed in May 2014, the new Government found itself in a deep mess. Thus, it initiated a crackdown on such banks and their illicit and corrupt history. Slowly, a huge pile of NPAs begun to spring up as the incumbent Government kept pushing the banks to go through stringer audits and checks.
Consequently, it was revealed that our Public-Sector Banks were in a self-deprecating lending cycle which had wrecked them up financially. Thus, to better the state of banks, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code was brought to life. A massive recapitalization exercise was initiated as well. (BTW, A big credit for this unearthing of NPAs also goes to former RBI Governor, Shri Raghuram Rajan Ji.)
And, similarly, stricter provisioning clauses were imposed on the banking institutions to keep them afloat and to recover and to make up whatever losses that they had made in the past. RBI was empowered with tonnes of powers over the way banks work. Preventive and Corrective Active was also initiated over 11 PSBs which is now being expected to expand to 6 more PSBs.
Not a small achievement. It deserves kudos for the efforts.
And, when we talk of infrastructure, I believe the current establishment has in every metric fared better than almost every other previous administration be it roads or ports, rivers or railways, or aviation or even power, those are all sectors where I see a big change evident.
Roads and highways were never built at a rate at which was even comparable to the present rate. Previous administration left us at 11 KMs a day of highway construction. This March we were at 27 KMs a day and are charging towards accomplishing 44 KMs a day by March 2019. Mean feat? Nope.
The ports sector had always been a laggard except for the JNPT and Mundra (which by the way is not a public sector entity). But today, I can actually see the loss ridden ports making profits under the watch of the incumbent administration while massive road building projects are not just being awarded but are also being completed, often before the scheduled deadlines.
And, inland waterways had always been just a pipe dream with various DPRs written on sundry routes. But nothing ever happened on the ground. This Government got the ball rolling, gave in the policy push, defined a mission to achieve with timelines and created the conducive environment for builders and private sectors from not just India but also outside to come and invest, and build those.
On railways, when was the last time you heard that the Railways has increased the its capex by a factor of 3x in three freaking years! We were running on a 100 year old signaling system. But, no one gave a damn. Delhi to Kolkata route was super jammed and needed urgent upgradation. But no one cared.
None of the north eastern capitals were connected to rest of the country leaving Guwahati aside. Today, 6 out of 7 are connected to the national broad-gauge grid with Agartala and many others shaving direct trains to Delhi and other major cities like Bengaluru and Mumbai.
Under the previous establishment, a lot of projects were being awarded, money was being disbursed and a big hoopla used to be orchestrated, while nothing significant used to happen on the ground for years and years. But, I see that order completely overhauled in the present administration for which I am utmost happy, satiated and excited.
People often say that all these projects being inaugurated by PM Modi were launched during UPA-2’s tenure. What they fail to realize is that most of those projects had either turned NPAs or were on the brink when UPA-2 left. Those projects had been sabotaged and had to be brought back to rolling roads by the current Government with Nitin Gadkari making it happen.
But who gives a hoot about any of that? Right?
Now talking about foreign policy, I would say that my judgment is not that polite anymore. And, the dampener is just the growing hostility towards India among the common people from our neighbouring countries. Especially Nepal and Bhutan. Yes, many may not know that a large size of Bhutanese people too are irritated with Indian interventions and dominance over them.
So much that many political analysts have augured that the next elections in Bhutan will be fought between two faction, ones who are pro India, and ones who are not. Just one advise to all those people who didn’t know that. Read newspapers from other nations too 🙂
That said, apart from that, animosity and hostility with Pakistan, and the love-hate relationship with China are no big deal. This would most probably continue for a long time to come. After all, things have been that way for a very long time now. We get good. And, we get bad.
So, I don’t have any problems with present Government’s way of dealing with them. Particularly with respect to China, I am happy the way PM Modi has recently changed the narrative and tone and is actually trying to walk along that just walk into loggerheads with the Eastern Giant.
And, as far as the faltering relationships with United States of America are concerned, well which major country has got a flourishing relationship with them anyways since Donald Trump took the lead? It’s Donald Trump making the mess. Not Narendra Modi. Ergo, I have no complains to make in that respect either.
That said, apart of all that, I believe that India under the present leadership of PM Modi has been a rockstar on the global landscape! Be it reaching out to the Indian diaspora scattered across the globe, creating a great image for brand India, or giving a thaw to the bilateral relationships with countries across the globe, India under present administration has been on a roll. And, that truly deserves accolades.
And, when we talk about defense, we have both internal security and overall strength and well-being of the armed forces to discuss. And, as far as Internal Security is concerned, I believe that we have witnessed immense success in containing naxalism, stopping its spread, and also bringing down separatist and insurgency movements in the north eastern states.
That’s the reason why AFSPA has been revoked in so many of the states and territories of the North Eastern India.
Its a big achievement.
Yes, J&K has been a boiler no doubt. But I think, unless section 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution are abrogated, no significant and lasting good can be achieved there anyway. So the hardline approach seems to be only viable option to deal with the extremists and terrorists and also their sympathizers who never run out of stones to pelt.
And, on that front, I guess I am not much happy about the track of present Government. Because they are using pellet guns. Like, seriously? Why leave someone incapacitated, blinded or handicapped? If they support the terrorists instead of the army, well, I being a hardliner myself, believe that they must be shot down. Thus, I want more to be done by the Government in this regard.
And, regarding the well being of the armed forces, well I met an army Major during a train journey from Siliguri to New Delhi who told me, “Whichever the Government may be in the center, none has ever had a good relationship with armed forces. That’s because no Government can ever do all that the armed forces expect it to do.” Thus, my assessment of the support to the armed forces is relative.
Has the present Government done better for our Jawaans and Rakshaks than the previous UPA-2 government? I believe the answer is a big Yes. Be it about enactment of OROP, or about the astounding support to the armed forces for their actions on ground against the militants and repeated cross-firing and shelling on the border, the way present Government has supported the armed forces, its really unprecedented.
Now let’s talk a little about betterment of women. This Government has already distributed close to 4 Cr free LPG cylinders to poor families who had until now been cooking food and boiling water over coal and wood burnt choolahs which left them gasping for breath, while also ridding many women with lung infections, attenuated eye-sight and often even cancer.
And, who is the greatest beneficiary of this movement? The women. Same is true about the toilet movement. The Government claims that it has constructed well over 77 Million new toilets. And, I don’t believe that. But, it that is what they claim, at least half of that would definitely be true. And, is 38 Million toilets a mean feat! In no metrics would that be a small or trivial achievement.
And, yet again it’s the women who are going to benefit out of those toilets the most. Using this two-pronged strategy, PM Modi has beautifully tried to reach the women pan India by directly taking up issues which those women grapple with every day of their lives.
These are issues that no previous Government cared to look into as they hardly seemed worth making headlines and making speeches about. But, this man cared enough take up this subject. And, that deserves applaud.
And, when naysayers say that PM Modi has not given jobs that he promised, I just ask those people one question which apparently no one has ever been able to give me answer to. Under the present Government’s Mudra Yojana, over 12 Cr individuals hailing from SC/ST/OBC communities have been awarded loans of as much as 10 Lacs to run a business of their own.
Now that 12 Crore business loans have been given, am I wrong to assume that each one of those businesses must have at least created a job for one person, the very person who took the loan? That’s the very minimal count. The actual count has to be over that. So, that’s simple mathematics. One’s who don’t believe that number, they can go to the web portal of Mudra Yojana and see the results for themselves.
Thus, I believe that this jobs debate is nothing but a frivolous attempt of the opposition (United Opposition) to rake up an issue when the are actually out of issues to talk about. I mean, when in the recent times has the Indian opposition been seen to be so damn weak? I can’t recall any such instance.
Just think about it. Each of the opposition parties they have just one agenda, to attack Modi and his failures. And, those failures are so few that you can count them over your fingers. Else, those political parties would not have missed an opportunity to attack the incumbent Government over those issues as well.
It’s always demonetization, multiple GST rates, rising petroleum prices or the lynchings. That is it. Every speech, every public appearance, every single time they get in front of a camera or type something out on their twitter handles, it all rounds out to be one of those four subjects.
That is how much dumbfounded the opposition is in the present. And, even among those, I personally disagree with them on the issue of high prices of petroleum products. I support that. The more the better. But, that is a personal opinion, so let me keep that aside. Moving on, having talked about and analyzed so many of these domains of a Government’s work, its important to investigate the alternatives.
If not Modi for PM in 2019, the who?
We have a rich, inexperienced and unproven dude who think he is deserving because he was born out of the sperm of a former Prime Minister in the family of several former Prime Ministers. Also, because he wears a white Kurta almost all the time when he is in India. He thinks that makes him appear as a commoner among the masses.
Thus, he thinks it is his privilege, his destiny, his right meant to become the Prime Minister. Also, despite being an elected MP for Amethi since 2004, he has an audacity to promise that if elected again, he would turn Amethi into Singapore. You believe him? You can decide. I know where I stand. Moving on.
We have an archaic, shrewd and self-centric politician called Didi under whom every third month we get to hear of a new riot emerging somewhere or other in the state of West Bengal. A woman under whom West Bengal, once one of the most prosperous states of India, it has begun to slip behind most major states under all socio-economic metrics. Do I want the same mess at pan-India level? You know my answer.
And finally, we have a proven, learned and experienced incumbent Telangana Chief Minister who is a great choice. But, and it’s a big but! For him to become PM, he would have to go for a coalition with just the kind of ridiculous figures like Didi and many more like ones from BSP and SP and others. And, that is simply not in the better interest of this country. Under the rule of UPA we have seen what happens when such a coalition comes to power despite a relatively honest and dedicated PM leading it.
So, who am I supposed to vote for?
These guys who are definitely not going to give me a great future for my country. Or that one guy who is the incumbent PM. And, to be true, PM Modi hasn’t done that bad either. Especially when you juxtapose him against all of his predecessors, I would say that he has done a better job that most of them.
Hence, PM Modi is the man who I wish to see leading my country post 2019 as well. And, that’s why I will be voting for him. Firstly, because I believe that he has done a fairly good job. Secondly because I don’t see a better option. Period.
Thanks Shreya for pushing me to write this post 🙂