The Narendra Modi government completed 50 days of its second term in office last week. It is time to present our report card and roll out the roadmap for the future. Some may argue that since this is a continuous government, a report card on the completion of 50 days is not required. Some others may also argue that 50 days comprises too short a period to prepare a report, especially given that the Modi government passed its biggest test only two-and-a-half months ago.
People evaluated the Modi government’s performance in the Lok Sabha election and awarded more than 100 per cent marks in the mammoth democratic test.
This is where the Modi government stands out from the rest. Prime Minister Modi is a tough task master and a firm believer in the accountability of the government to people, the citizens of India. And, for this government, the first 50 days are a period of laying the foundation to accelerate the pace of progress in the country. Therefore, people have the right to know where this government is headed.
The Modi government 2.0 began its journey by making its objectives explicit. It added “sabka vishwas” to its motto of “sabka saath, sabka vikas”. To make this happen, the government set a target of making India a $5 trillion economy in the next five years. A bigger economy means more economic power, progress and prosperity to every Indian citizen. Budget 2019-20 has set the ball rolling and there is no doubt whatsoever, even in the minds of the Opposition, that the Modi government will achieve this goal.
The kind of tone set by the Modi government 2.0 can be gauged from the following: An investment plan laid out for Rs 100 lakh crore for infrastructure in roads, railways, airports, ports etc; action against corruption stepped up and a clean-up of the banking system, tightening of the noose around economic fugitives, reforms such as the amendment to Insolvency & Banking Code, labour laws benefiting about 50 crore workers; creation of the Jal Shakti ministry to deal with the water crisis that the country is facing and which the scientists say is going to worsen if adequate measures are not taken promptly; and, plans to ensure electricity and LPG connection to every household in the villages in the next three years.
In the first 50 days, the government has provided relief in corporate tax to over 95 per cent of domestic businesses, rolled out pension scheme for traders and increased MSP for farmers.
The launch of Chandrayaan-2 coincided with the completion of 50 days in office of the government. The government has done its bit when it comes to its commitment to take every political party along in key reforms. This is evident from the functioning of the Budget Session of Parliament. A record number of bills have been passed in this session. In fact, this is the highest productivity for the first session of Parliament after a Lok Sabha election in recent times.
In diplomacy, the first 50 days of the Modi government 2.0 have been exceptional. Two strategically located neighbours, Sri Lanka and Maldives, have come closer to India at a time when other powers are trying to impose themselves in the Indian Ocean region. Prime Minister Modi’s visit to these two island countries immediately after winning back the people’s mandate shows the importance this government accords to our key neighbours. Relations with China have been strengthened with engagements such as at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meet in Kyrgyzstan and G-20 summit in Japan.
On the front of combating terrorism, Pakistan has been further isolated in the international community with the prime minister’s call for a global conference on terrorism and holding countries sponsoring, aiding and funding terrorism accountable.
The ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case is another testimony to this government’s intent at doing everything possible to ensure the safety and security of Indian citizens anywhere in the world. ICJ’s ruling that Pakistan cannot execute the capital punishment awarded to the retired naval officer by a sham military court of that country, shows how strongly our government fought for the rights of Kulbhushan Jadhav.
Before I conclude, a few words on the responsibility that Prime Minister Modi has entrusted me with at the Sports and Youth Affairs ministry. Next year shall see the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, and given the hard work and commitment of our sportspersons, we expect a better performance for India at the Olympics. Consistent support has been extended by our government to sportspersons in their training programmes and participation in international competitions. We have been identifying and nurturing new talent through Khelo India and supporting elite talent through the Target Olympic Podium Scheme. The effort is to build a sporting ecosystem, right from the grass roots level to elite athletes. Under the Khelo India initiative, a National Sports Education Board (NSEB) is also being set up for the development of sports.
Our efforts are not limited to sportspersons but extend to every citizen of India, with the aim to inculcate sports and fitness into everyone’s lives. The transformational change that Modi 2.0 has brought about is in participative governance, where the citizens and government together define what it means to be a proud Indian.
Our prime minister has led from the front in showing us how an ideal citizen thinks and lives. Transforming India requires active and committed participation from each one of us. Let us join hands together to build a New India.
This article first appeared in the print edition on July 31, 2019 under the title ‘The 50-day journey’. The writer is Minister of State (Independent Charge), Sports & Youth Affairs; Minister of State, Minority Affairs.