No progress, only half-hearted measures, if any

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INDIA-VOTE-MODI

The NDA Union Government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi completes three years on May 26, 2017. It’s therefore relevant to talk of its performance heretofore. Promises of achche din (halcyon days), sabka saath, sabka vikas (inclusive development), and corruption free transparent governance remain elusive. There is no progress, only half-hearted measures, if any. On the contrary, there is a phenomenal rise in social tensions, resulting in terrorising of minorities and dalits, as never before, into their further deprivation, wider discriminatory treatment, intolerance, fear and insecurity, thus unsettling the time tested civilisational strength of India. People in general not feeling secured, so much for the rule of law based democratic governance. Promises to end naxalism (left wing extremism), terrorism, militancy, insurgency, etc. remain on paper; they seem to have raised their monstrosity with more ferocity than ever

before. Kashmir is on the boil. There is total alienation of the people. Still the Government has been winning elections after elections. The mantra has been splintering people along religious line, nationalism, hate mongering and communal consolidation.

Indian economy remains where it existed in 2013-14. There is no creation of two crore jobs annually, as promised. On the contrary, IT sector, as estimated, will curtail jobs by two lakh yearly in the next four years, given the downturn in global economy. Inflation is down on account of demonetisation of high currency notes, resulting in massive lay-off in jobs in informal sector of economy comprising over 40 per cent, closure of small and medium industry, lesser consumption by people, loss of buying capacity of poor and vulnerable as also willingness of businesses to sell their products and services at heavy discounts.

There is no perceptible steps to curb corruption, although some raids here and there on business houses not toeing government lines and adversarial political parties, Government turning a blind eye on BJP’s own corruption like Vyapam scam, Lalitgate, half a dozen Maharashtra Government Ministers battling corruption and other heinous crimes, 21 Union Ministers facing serious criminal charges, reticence of political parties to come under transparency law, no progress in the appointment of Lokpal (Corruption Watchdog) at the apex despite law enacted in 2013. No meaningful measures taken to eliminate corruption, whatsoever. Only cosmetic steps taken. About 32,000 crore was spent by political parties over the General Elections to Lok Sbabha in 2014.

After all, political parties, especially ruling ones have to pay back to donors through various concessions and favours from the government. Nothing done to bring back black money stashed abroad to put 15 lakh in the account of each citizen. Government has developed cold feet in not making bureaucracy accountable. Corruption continues to be rampant at all levels as usual, although there is no visibility at high level. About 30,000 crore black money seems to have been unearthed out of 15 lakh crore talked of. There has been no action on Panama Paper leaks.

In education and health, no improvement recorded, rather they have taken a big hit. Swatch Bharat Scheme continues to be in disarray despite massive money pumped in. No progress recorded in cleaning of the Ganges.Women’s security and safety further jeopardized with no progress in expenditure of the Nirbhaya Fund with a corpus of 1000 crore, set up by the UPA Government. Transparency in governance has been a casualty, with a lid on media in the corridors of power and efforts to dilute RTI. Funding of political parties continues to be veiled, with political parties not coming under the transparency law. Government’s promise to compensate farmers by 50 per cent more that their input costs remains unfulfilled. 100 smart cities, announced with big fanfare, remain where they were three years before. It is not even in focus now. There is no progress on digital India. There is no headway to show. Aadhar card is being pushed down the throat of people threatening their right to privacy after initial very stiff opposition by the BJP. Nothing has been done on R&D to sustain employment. No steps taken on micro-irrigation schemes, leasing of farmers’ land to corporate and start-ups for increased farm productivity to generate more employment.

Media are terrorized as never before to praise Government. Three years before, media were editorial driven where as presently it is owner driven. Owners are arm twisted by the Government to toe the line. Journalists are suffocated, kept on tenterhook, to praise Government to save their jobs. Exaggeration, farrago, distortions, outright lies, misrepresentation by unprincipled showmen on TV channels, masquerading as journalists are order of the day, denying in the process people’s right to fair and objective information. Media are fully regimented, making itself a laughing stock. Media as watchdog of public interests have failed to scrutinize Government. A fascism like situation has engulfed the country.

However, records in electrification, generation and supply is better during the last three years than it was in the UPA Government. So is the improvement in infrastructure development, although marginally. It is a matter of worrying as Indian Railways have started sourcing its requirements of High Speed Diesel for its diesel traction from Reliance Petroleum and not the state owned Indian Oil Corporation, perhaps a favour for its help to the ruling party in 2014 General Elections to the Lok Sabha.

As for the foreign policy, test of any country’s foreign relations can be judged by how good relations that country has with its neighbours. India today stands isolated in South Asia, when it boycotted China’s recently held Belt & Road Forum summit along with Bhutan. All other South Asian nations took part in the Belt & Road Initiatives (BRI), in the process losing out on a golden opportunity for economic prosperity in the times to come. Even otherwise, China is besieging the country from all around. It seems the country is being pushed behind to pre-Independence days when the British Raj had lost the plot while there were intra-people strives and situation was drifting apart. If the current drift, an antithesis of the Constitutional postulates, is not arrested and the Government of the day looks the other way, it may possibly end the idea of India as conceived by the framers and founding fathers of the Constitution of India, affecting even jobless growth and economy at large!

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