Modi's 8 yrs: Little cheer for common man

Damodardas Narendrabhai Modi
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Damodardas Narendrabhai Modi

Highlights

Damodardas Narendrabhai Modi has completed eight years in office. Modi started his journey as Prime Minister with the slogan “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas,” and as he entered the second term, he added, “Sabka Vishwas Aur Sab Ka Prayas.” The BJP claims that they have given a new direction to the development of the country.

Damodardas Narendrabhai Modi has completed eight years in office. Modi started his journey as Prime Minister with the slogan "Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas," and as he entered the second term, he added, "Sabka Vishwas Aur Sab Ka Prayas." The BJP claims that they have given a new direction to the development of the country.

While his track record as a person who had broadened and deepened the welfare state made him retain his high level of popularity, the economic track record could have been better. In the initial years of coming to power, benign crude oil prices helped the BJP government reduce fuel prices and control budgetary deficit. In 2015-16, India also earned the statistical glory of being a fast growing economy, but it lost the tag to China in the succeeding years.

The BJP will certainly be facing heat from the electorate because of the high prices of petrol and diesel. The petrol price shot up to Rs 120 a litre and then the government announced a cut of Rs 9. This is unacceptable. Modi and team which had virtually put the Congress government in a very tight corner in 2014 are now finding it difficult to justify this steep hike. Even the price of LPG has gone up and is now costing around Rs 1,055 per cylinder.

The situation has become a little more complicated as some of the states including Telangana have refused to reduce the excise duty on these products. The concept of 'Sabka Saath' seems to have developed cracks and efforts to form a new political front are on. To what extent it will succeed is a different issue. Pandemic resulted in increase in public debt. The government expected double digit growth but it did not happen and the growth rate now is around 7%.

Demonetisation  was a failure. It did not achieve the expected results. There are no signs of reduction in black money and on the other hand it adversely affected business. GST was implemented claiming that there would be one nation one tax. But the complicated structure with multiple rates on different products and complex filing has added to the problems of not only business sector but even the common man was badly affected. However, the BJP refuses to accept it.

It doesn't mean that there are no achievements of the Modi government. A lot of good work has been done during the eight year regime. The infrastructure development had gained great momentum. Road construction during the last two terms of Modi has been faster than it was earlier despite change in methodology of counting road length.

The Swachh Bharat Mission has seen many more toilets built than before and the concept of Swachhta is getting embedded in people's mind though it would take at least another five years before greater awareness is created because we Indians are what we are. We appreciate and talk of how clean many countries in other parts of the globe are but do not hesitate to spit on the roads.

Upper level corruption has reduced – No huge cases at the ministerial level as of now (but the same was true of UPA I). Lower level seems to be about the same. Another achievement is that electricity connections have increased, and the power supply is for more hours in most of the villages. While Congress gave connections to five lakh villages, Modi government connected 18 lakh villages. On the law and order front, it certainly is good. The NDA also succeeded in giving better connectivity for the northeast, with more trains, roads and flights.

The biggest strength for the BJP during the next elections is that people still have greater confidence in Modi rule than the opposition parties. The parties which have been time tested by people and rejected are now trying to convert themselves into old wine in new bottle and new packaging. But it is not easy to win the confidence of the people so easily.

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