Wednesday, June 16, 2021
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Will Modi govt get a second chance to fulfil promises?

The NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India) is a policy think tank of the Government of India, established with an aim to achieve Sustainable Development Goals and to enhance cooperative federalism by promoting the involvement of the State Governments of India in the economic policy-making process using a bottom-up approach. The Prime Minister of the country is the Chairperson. In 2014 election campaign, Narendra Modi came up with a slogan “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas”, he promised many things to the voters but failed to deliver at large. Promising to ‘wipe tears of people’ in the country, Modi said, “You gave Congress 60 years, give BJP just 60 months. We will change India’s future and bring about development in 60 months.” Well, these were election jumlas (bluff).

Our country has faced a loss of around Rs 21,000 crore as of now and other banking frauds will also come out in near future. Another Rs 390 crore of OBC (Oriental Bank of Commerce) scam has also emerged. Despite our Prime Minister being the most expensive ‘chawkidar’ (watchman), how did all these frauds occur under his nose? Modi stated during poll rallies that he would act as a watchman for the country, then why the watchman is silent over many crucial issues?

Narendra Modi launched the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the most ambitious cleanliness campaign in the Indian history. Not by coincidence, this was on the date of the birth anniversary of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Modi, in a melodramatic style, appeared before cameras to sweep the courtyard of a police station in a Dalit residential colony in the central Delhi. Since the launch, Modi has put enormous effort into making the Swachh Bharat Mission a flagship programme of his rule. Taxpayers paid their hard-earned money towards Swachh Bharat but cities are piled up with garbage and infections. He also imposed a cess of 0.5 per cent on all taxable services to help raise money for the campaign. Late last year, after Modi demonetised the country’s entire supply of high-value currency notes, the replacement notes, which millions were anxiously queuing for, appeared carrying the Swachh Bharat Mission logo — Gandhi’s signature round glasses. Well, the over-hype soon got exposed when the United Nations, in a report on water access and sanitation in India released in 2015, said that 564 million of the country’s people still defecated in the open. They accounted for nearly half of the country’s population, and for over half of the 1.1 billion people across the world that practiced open defecation. The UN estimated that 65,000 tonnes of uncovered, untreated faeces — equal to the weight of around 180 Airbus A380s—were being introduced into the environment in India every single day. Leaving rural area aside, if we visit metro cities including the financial capital of India and Modi’s own hometown and his political constituencies, the cities are piled up with garbage. It has gone bad to worst, leaving high profile areas aside rest of the cities still languished in ‘trash’.

Over the next three years, however, the NITI Aayog was not seen as setting the official agenda, for its proposals for disinvestment and enabling women to work at night. One of the many promises made by Modi on the campaign trail in 2014 was that the Bharatiya Janata Party would generate employment. The party’s manifesto promised 25 crore new jobs over 10 years, or 2.5 crore a year. But circumstantial evidence and most of the available data indicates that four years into the BJP’s term, unemployment remains a big concern. In 2017, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development estimated that 30 per cent of Indians aged 18 to 29 were unemployed and looking for work. On one hand, the Prime Minister talks about ‘Skill India’ and spends Rs 10 to 20 crore on advertisements for his ‘Mann ki Baat’ programme, on the other hand, those who have received skills are being turned away from jobs. While the PM promised one crore jobs every year, not even 1,000 actually got employment and on the contrary, even those employed became jobless after demonetisation. The programmes such as ‘Skill India’ and ‘Startup India’ are like vehicles without wheels. The government must not even be having the figures of the number of people who were imparted skills and given jobs in the last four years. People like (diamond jewellers) Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi are fleeing away after looting our nation and sons of the soil are struggling for jobs. This is like fleecing the country.

Education and skill development for youth featured prominently in the BJP’s manifesto in the lead up to the 2014 general elections. However, the expenditure on education had been declining steadily since NDA came to power, until this year’s Union Budget, which noted that the government plans on spending 3.71 per cent of its total expenditure on education in 2017-18. The expenditure on education in the last year of UPA during 2013-14 was higher at 4.57 per cent. The Indian textile industry suffered a big jolt; it missed its revenue target for 2016-17 by a huge margin. While the government had set itself a target of $45 billion for 2016-17, it could just manage to earn $38.6 billion.

Setting up an effective Lokpal was one of the promises made by the BJP. Four years later, the Modi government is yet to enforce the law, which was passed in December 2013. The BJP manifesto promised to ensure a peaceful and secure environment, where there is no place for either the perpetrators or exploiters of fear. However, it has been anything but that from love-jihad to Cow terror to lynching to anti-Romeo squads—the list goes on. Human rights group Amnesty International flagged attacks by cow vigilantes, communal and caste-based violence against Dalits under the Modi government as a major concern, in its 2016-17 Annual Report. According to official statistics released in August highlighted more than 45,000 crimes against members of Scheduled Castes and almost 11,000 crimes against Scheduled Tribes were reported in 2015. One of the most publicised promises made by Modi during the Lok Sabha elections’ campaign was that the NDA government would credit Rs 15 lakh in every citizen’s bank account after it had brought back the black money stashed overseas. From 2014 till now, the Prime Minister has been asked on several occasions over the status of his promise. At least on two occasions, private citizens filed an RTI application with the Prime Minister’s Office asking when they would get their promised Rs 15 lakh. Before (Lok Sabha) polls, Modi had said black money worth around Rs 2 lakh crore is stashed in foreign banks. Four years in power, how much of it has been brought back? Demonetisation, Skill India, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, unemployment, Textile Industry many more issues are trailing in the empty promises, now they say give us one more tenure to perform, we will fulfil the promises. Hope Indian voters would be kind to BJP and Modi!


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Dr. Vaidehi Taman
Dr. Vaidehi is an Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and an Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. Since 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond the news (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which she caters for her sister-concern Kaizen-India Infosec Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

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