A huge difference is perceptible between the government led by prime minister Modi these last three years compared to earlier regimes. The difference is limited not just to statistical proof of delivery of promises made during the Lok Sabha elections three years ago, but also with the attitudinal change this government has wrought within the polity.
The speed with which this government has tried to serve the ‘common man’, or the last man in the queue, as part of its commitment to the philosophy of ‘antyodaya’, has already been considerably remarked upon. From providing the most cooking gas connections – 2.4 crores already and expected to touch 5 crores by 2019, compared to 12.5 crores since independence — to the highest production of urea to the exponential growth in the roads network, to 28 crore bank accounts and 4 crore toilets, no one can possibly point a finger at the BJP government.
From a macro-economic perspective, the current account deficit has been brought down to a historic low of 0.7 per cent, forex reserve are at an all time high of $360 billion and inflation is down to less than half of what was in the UPA. The GST will be an epoch-making economic change.
Moreover, this government has transformed our mindset in socio-economic sectors also. The relentless campaign around ‘Beti Bachaao – Beti Padaao’ has given a big push to the infant sex ratio in states like Haryana. ‘Swachh Bharat’ has led to thousands of villages shunning open defecation and pledging basic cleanliness.
Many have flagged the issue of creating jobs by this government. Pre and post globalization, the jobs scenario has undergone a sea change. While jobs in the government have got significantly pruned, opportunities in private and foreign companies have opened up big time. Further, evolution of IT-enabled services has added a new dimension to the jobs market. This government has consciously moved towards promoting self-employment through setting up micro enterprises and businesses using ‘mudra loans’ where even norms on collateral requirement have been eased.
From e-rickshawallahs to fruits and vegetable vendors, Rs 7.75 crore has been disbursed through mudra loans. On conservative side, even if 70-75 percent of these funds have led to creation of jobs, then about 6 – 6.5 crore jobs have been added in last three years.
Solar power has grown by over 450 percent in three years. Given the government’s commitment to clean and green energy, the International Solar Alliance’s research facilities in technology, which aims to make solar power affordable is coming up in Gurgaon.
Transportation is another area where there’s a big shift in approach. For instance, the perennial rivers that hitherto led to periodic flooding in eastern states like Bihar, Bengal & Assam are now being channeled to carve out waterways. Coastal sea routes have been opened up for domestic movement of people and goods under Sagar Mala Project.
War on corruption by tackling benami properties, black money, cash through demonetization and crackdown on the money network of the Hurriyat leaders in Jammu & Kashmir could have been possible only under the strong and decisive leadership of Shri Narendra Modi.
After the “surgical strikes” against Pakistan in September 2016, infiltration has come down by 45%, while the North-East and Naxal-affected areas have witnessed a huge decline in disruptive activities. The prime minister even held a rally in the most Naxal- affected district Dantewada, while Home minister Rajnath Singh visited Chinta Gufa in Chhatisgarh’s Sukma district.
Pakistan was tackled differently. Balochistan was brought front and centre of the debate, from the ramparts of the Red Fort, “surgical strikes” were carried out across the border and LoC, and two friendly Muslim countries in SAARC, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, were persuaded to criticize Pakistan. That country was severely embarrassed by India at the International Court of Justice in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case.
We stuck to our stand that terror and talks cannot go together. Only two official-level talks took place with Pakistan, in Ufa in Russia and in Bangkok, and both were on terror. It is clear that the reputation of India as a soft state is over.
Other additions to our dynamic foreign policy have been to utilize the strong cultural and civilizational potential of the Indian diaspora which no previous government dared to do.
In all these ways it is more than clear : The party with a difference, which got a clear majority three years ago, is providing a government with a huge difference.