OPINION

Has the Modi government delivered?

Four years ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge of transforming the lives of more than a billion Indians. That day marked the beginning of a new dawn for the people of India who gave the mandate to him to not only take charge of the government but also to transform their lives in a ‘new India’.

Meeting expectations

In 48 months, the Modi government has been able to achieve what could not be achieved in 48 years by the dynasty in power. Be it the economic, social, educational, or any other front, this government has strived to meet the expectations of people. The decisive and bold decisions taken by the Prime Minister, without consideration of the political outcomes, have stood the test of time. Demonetisation and the goods and services tax (GST) are testimony to this.

Demonetisation brought unaccounted money back into the legitimate economy. More than one crore taxpayers have registered under the GST. The number of income tax returns filed in 2017-18 rose to 6.84 crore, which is a jump of 80.5% from FY 2013-14. This indicates higher trust in the government, resulting in higher tax compliance. Also, 31.52 crore Jan Dhan accounts have been opened.

Under the Prime Minister-inspired Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, every citizen has taken charge of her surroundings. Over 7.25 crore toilets have been built, and over 3.6 lakh villages and over 17 States and Union Territories have been declared open defecation free.

Schemes for women

The government has also taken a sensitive view of women in the country. Close to 3.8 crore women have already got LPG connections under the Ujjwala Yojana and the aim is to benefit eight crore women by providing them access to clean energy and smoke-free kitchens. The government is also providing cash incentive of Rs. 6,000 to pregnant/lactating mothers. More than 50 lakh women are expected to benefit every year from this.

The Prime Minister appealed to the people to save the girl child under the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ campaign. The results are for us to see. The improving trends in sex ratio at birth are visible in 104 districts. The government is committed to ensuring the safety of girls. Laws have been framed for crimes against girl children. The death penalty has been introduced for those who rape children under 12 years, and the minimum punishment for the rape of a girl under 16 years has increased from 10 years to 20 years.

In merely 48 months, the Modi government has succeeded in reaching those areas which were rarely attended to earlier. Northeast India is one of them. Connectivity was a big issue in the Northeast. Now the region is fully integrated with the rest of India with the rail network converted to broad gauge. Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram have emerged on India’s rail map for the first time.

Not only in the Northeast, the emphasis of the government is on boosting and improving connectivity in other parts of the country too. When this government took charge, roads were being constructed at a speed of 12 km/day; now it is 27 km/day. Under the UDAN scheme, 25 airports have been added since December 2016, and 106 additional inland waterways have been added since 2014.

The government has also been sensitive to the marginalised. Earlier, home loans were given up to Rs. 6 lakh at a subsidised rate of 6.5%. Now housing loans of up to Rs. 9 lakh and Rs. 12 lakh get interest subventions of 4% and 3%, respectively.