It is common for political parties to make lofty promises in the run-up to elections. They rarely fulfill such promises. Voters seldom evaluate the fate of such promises.
The Narendra Modi government is a rarity in this respect. The government has not only met the goals it set two years ago, but good governance and efficient management has led some ministries to raise their targets. The performance has been remarkable, given the circumstances in which the government took over the reins from the UPA.
After taking the oath of office, Prime Minister Modi made it clear that his government will work for the welfare of people in the villages. Such importance to the country’s villages and its farmers is unprecedented. The PM has pledged to double farmers’ income by 2022 and his government plans to extricate the country’s agriculture-dependent population out of the poverty trap. The PM is focusing at evolving a strategy for the development of infrastructure-deficient rural areas. Such infrastructure will be tailored to local needs.
Every village will have road connectivity. Former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee had launched the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana but there was not much progress under this scheme in the 10 years of UPA rule. The Modi government has given a fresh momentum to the scheme. It has also given an impetus to the construction of rural roads. The government’s initial target was to construct 100 km of roads everyday. Since this target has been achieved, the government has decided to raise the bar. The previous government expanded the national highway at the rate of 3.4 km per day. The Modi government had raised this target to 20 km per day. This has also been achieved and the government has raised the rate of expanding the national highway at the rate of 32 km per day.
During the UPA’s tenure, railroads were increased at a rate of 2.3 km per day. The Modi government increased this to 8 km per day. The government has achieved this target as well and is now contemplating to increase railroads at the rate of 10 km per day.
To benefit from government welfare schemes, it is necessary that people have bank accounts. The Jan Dhan Yojana aimed to bring eight crore people under the banking system. The PM’s monitoring ensured that 21 crore new bank accounts were opened in what is the world’s largest financial inclusion scheme. Banks have been operating for decades, even in the remote areas of the country, but no government could envisage such a financial inclusion scheme.
The PM had appealed that the rich should consider giving up the subsidy on LPG cylinders so that the government could distribute them to five crore poor households. The target was to take LPG cylinders to 75 per cent of households in the country in three years. This target is likely to be attained in less than two years. The government now plans LPG cylinders for 90 per cent households in the country in three years.
The government’s plans to provide electricity to every village within 1,000 days is also likely to be accomplished before the targeted date. So far, more than 8,000 villages have been connected with the electricity grid. The government promised to provide 24/7 electricity to every household by 2022. This target has now been brought forward to March 2019.
Before 2014, private telecom companies were making huge profits while the government-run BSNL was incurring losses. The Modi government decided to correct this. In 2014, BSNL’s operating losses were Rs 8,843 crore. In the last two years, it has registered an operating profit of Rs 2,128 crore.
The government has accorded the highest priority to electricity generation. It has increased the country’s nuclear power capacity, overcoming the obstacles created by China. Thermal power production has also increased. During the UPA government’s tenure, thermal power plants had only seven days of fuel, but now all such plants have at least 30 days of fuel.
The Modi government’s achievements have made the Opposition uncomfortable. They have been putting hurdles in the working of the government. But how long will they continue with their disruptive activities? The people will get a sense of their intentions sooner than later.