Five observations on 'Ek Saal, Modi Sarkar'

Last Updated: Tue, Feb 16, 2016 12:05 hrs
Narendra Modi

The Narendra Modi-led BJP Government was sworn in on May 2014. The government has completed the first year of its tenure- a milestone dubbed as 'Modiversary' and the verdict is still being debated- has the Modi sarkar delivered? Rational issues and emotional arguments both are being discussed with vigor- what happened to the election promise of bringing back black money? What happened to implementation of 'One Rank, One Pension'? When does industrial output accelerate to double digit growth? What about dismal agricultural productivity? 

This article does not presume to answer any of the above or more questions, neither does it pronounce judgment on the Government's performance. Instead it would like to draw attention to a few observations made over the course of the last year. 

1. Demanding governance: Possibly the single largest impact of Modi Government has been the fact that now the populace demand governance. Indians have finally realized that they are not 'mango people' who can be trampled upon at each possibility. Instead the people have realized that they hold the power to truly elect their representatives and that the representatives are accountable to them. 

The very fact that a report card is being made of the Government's first year performance is testimony to the fact that people now expect and demand results. Contrast the same to one year of the previous dispensation – it was a comatose government with zero expectations. Consequently years came and years went – but there was no demand made on the 'rulers' on what have they done for the country.  

2. Understand the difference between secularism vs. minority appeasement: Hindus by virtue of the nature of their religion, which is more like a way of life than a set of prescriptive do's and don'ts, have always been a heterogeneous group. Hence it never suited any political party to cater to this demographic segment as one, rather they focused on creating divisions of caste/ sub caste/ OBCs etc. It also suited the parties to play on minority insecurities by short term appeasement than long term development. Hence vote bank politics came into play and they significantly destroyed the secular fabric of India. 

Hindus have never ever attacked any other country and neither does Hinduism preach conversion. But if a situation arises when any community feels threatened, there will always arise some radical fringe elements.  Yet despite what was initially assumed, there have not been any significant religion related riots in the last one has been proven that the 'attack on Churches' have been isolated incidents of hooliganism by perpetrators of different religions. 

Development is for all and everyone – irrespective of the religion - who wants to be part of the development story. What Modi Government has achieved has been that now both the majority and minority communities understand the pitfalls of short term appeasement and are instead now focused on developing capabilities for growth. 

3. Where are the scams?: There is a joke doing the rounds on social media...'Why does Arnab Goswami not like Narendra Modi? Because he is running out of sensational stories.' A cursory look at the previous Congress led Government throws up quite a few names – the Saradha Scam (2013), Coal allocation, Tatra Truck, Chopper Scams (2012), Commonwealth games (2010), Satyam Scam (2009) and 2 G Spectrum Scam (2008). 

Contrast the same with the headlines in the last one year – the most indicting ones were about 'ghar wapsi /love jihad / PM's suit'...surely there is something going right if the only thing that the entire country finds to get indignant about is the choice of the PM's clothes.  For all the talk that the opposition likes to indulge in regarding 'suit boot ki sarkar' – almost all of India Inc. has agreed that projects are now being evaluated on merit and 'selective camaraderie' is now a thing of the past. 

4. Back to the basics: It takes guts for the head of the country to stand on the ramparts of Red Fort and talk about sanitation. When the PM exhorts about 'Swacch Bharat' he forces us to acknowledge the filth around us. In some cases, Swach Bharat may have got reduced to photo-ops, but the fact that it has sensitized us to our surroundings and has led to awareness and cleanliness programs cannot be denied.  

When he asks people to send in their stories of #Incredible India, he is treating us as partners in the nation's development.  Yes, this government has failed miserably in intellectualizing poverty – but it is working on the nuts & bolts of job creation, financial inclusion and pension benefits to the unorganized sector. 

5. Action vs. words: When the Yemen crisis erupted, India won world wide praise and accolades for its outstanding work in bringing back 3000-plus stranded nationals.  The religious affiliation of the evacuatees wasn't considered. 23 other nations requested India to help evacuate their citizens. Gen. V. K. Singh led the evacuation from the front by being physically present in the strife torn region. 

Contrast this with the post devastation aerial trips that most of the other politicians rely upon.  India again showed its truly secular fabric and humanitarian roots when it rushed to neighboring Nepal's aid post the earthquake.  

While it is true that expectations from this government were sky- high and not all election promises have translated into reality, there has been a significant change from the previous decade of mis-rule. 

Today's India has a direction, a goal and a roadmap for the same. Have we reached our destination? No, we are still a long way off. But the transition from a comatose economy to a resurgent one has begun. In a country as large, as populated and as diverse as ours, change will not be visible overnight. But change has begun and the first year performance assessment of the Modi Sarkar is the first manifestation of that change. 

Aditi Kumaria Hingu is a marketing graduate from IIM Calcutta, currently she works in the corporate sector. She comes from an army background.