Prime Minister Narendra Modi was sworn into the office on May 26, 2014. The BJP-led NDA will complete four years this year. Next year, the Prime Minister will lead the fight for the re-election, and therefore, it is a good time to look back on last four years and to evaluate the achievements of his government and where it has failed to make an impact.
A good start is to revisit BJP’s 2014 Election Manifesto and look at what was promised and what has been delivered.
With the development of 100 oldest districts, 100 smart cities were promised. Smart City mission has been a major area of focus for the government. Mission has identified 99 cities whose proposals are eligible for the mission.
The government promised to implement the Diamond Quadrilateral Project of High Speed Bullet Train. In 2018, there is progress only on the Ahmedabad- Mumbai stretch and it seems to be progressing on schedule despite land acquisition problems in Mumbai. Of the rest, some projects are yet to begin the survey, while some have started but not yet completed.
Checking Price Rise
Spiraling prices remains a problem for the government. Inflation has largely been in check in the last four years but, this was helped by low prices of crude oil. Farmer distress is a serious concern as productivity in agriculture has not achieved its potential. However, the government has taken up several initiatives like the farmer credit card scheme, insurance scheme and has set up the National Agriculture Market, as promised.
Employment and Entrepreneurship
Job creation is under much debate. New jobs were promised in labour-intensive sectors like textiles etc. The opposition has been claiming the PM failed to deliver on his promise of creating 20 lakh new jobs. But as per NITI Aayog, the Employees’ Provident Fund Organization and Pension Fund Regulatory Development Authority have released data showing 35.3 lakh new jobs were added in the formal sector between September 2017 and February 2018. Data on jobs creation in the informal sector is not available, but with India growing at above 7% annually, the addition of new jobs can be an expected outcome.
This poorly thought action by the government will remain an enigma for what it promised and what was achieved. It disrupted a recovering economy and slowed down the government’s achievements.
Zero Tolerance on Terrorism
The NDA government has indeed taken up a hard stance against terrorism, and this is most visible, but its efforts seem to contradict itself in Maoist-hit areas of Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. However, the government is caught up in its political commitment in J&K which experiences the maximum cases of terrorism. Its now-on, now-off relationship with coalition partner PDP, exposes its inability to take a harder stance.
Greater Attention to Border Areas
The government has raised the investment and attention to border areas development, and it is seen in the massive railway projects underway. 14 strategically important projects have been identified, of which, the 498 kms Bilaspur-Manali-Leh line is the most important. Six rail projects are under various stages of construction in the eastern theater bordering the Line of Control. Investments in the road, housing, education, and health have been raised from pre-2014 levels.
The Goods and Service Tax (GST) introduced from July 2017 has been one of the most significant reforms of the Modi government. The implementing of GST has created a single common market in India by subsuming several different taxes into a single tax and applicable pan-India. The move has helped in removing the cascading impact of different taxes.
With the introduction of GST, states can expect their revenues to increase, especially those that do not manufacture goods and rely on supply from other states. In other words, the disadvantage of certain states over others stands negated. For a country the size of a continent, its impact on the economy will be transformational.