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Expectation vs Reality: BJP’s 18 months

BJP’s “Sabka saath, Sabka Vikas” campaign lead them to a huge win in the 2014 central elections. Their impressive campaign ran along the lines of Vikaas; development, a much needed word and idea in 2015 India. This spirit is reflected in their manifesto too. Structurally, BJP’s manifesto is divided into 5 categories. An understanding followed by a real world comparative analysis can yield significant results with regard to what was promised vs. what has been delivered so far.

A) Attend the Imminent: Price rise, Employment and Entrepreneurship, Corruption, Decision and Policy Paralysis, Poor Delivery, Credibility Crisis.
Price Rise:
1) Reduced MPs from 71 to 23, saving tax payer money.
3) Changes to APMC act have ensured some relief from inflation.
2) Delivered the promised Price Stabilisation fund ) The Union Agriculture Ministry on Friday approved the setting up of a price stabilisation fund (PSF) that had been announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his July 2014 budget.The fund, with a corpus of Rs. 500 crore, will be used to support market interventions for managing prices of perishable agri-horticultural commodities.

Initially, the fund is proposed to be used for onion and potato only. Losses incurred, if any, in the operations will be shared between the Centre and the States.The PSF will be used to advance interest-free loans to State governments and Central agencies to support their working capital and other expenses on procurement and distribution interventions for such commodities, the Ministry said in a statement.These commodities will be procured directly from farmers or farmers’ organisations right at the farm gate or mandi levels and be made available at reasonable prices to consumers.

B) Employment and Entrepreneurship:

1) A new ministry for skilled development and Entrepreneurs
As recently said by Modi, 65% of the population is below 35 i.e. the working population. Now if we want to increase employment or create more job seeking opportunities, we need entrepreneurs. Also for the 65% population to work to their full potential, they need skill- development. We can’t say what role will actually the ministry play in this but will just have to wait and watch.
2) Ram Madhav while addressing youth parliament said youth cannot depend on Government jobs, and should instead become a part of the Make in India initiative.

D) Corruption: Transparency International’s annual report of 2014 ranked India above China in terms of lowered corruption. India was at rank 85, in contrast to rank 95 during 2011.

C) Strengthen the Framework:
1) Setting up of Zonal Councils to improve communication between center and states.
2) Integrating NE: DoNER’s make in North East initiative. Increasing tourism, having a brand ambassador and Northeast expertise in areas like tea processing, organic farming, food processing, exploitation of wind power through wind mills, AYUSH, wellness therapies like spas.
Lack of transport links to other parts of the country leads to no trade. It is easier to transport between Kolkata and Mumbai than Kolkata and Agartala. Despite being rich in natural resources, the area imported almost 3,000cr worth of basic amenities like Fish and Eggs due to lack of capacity to harness what is already present.

The long tourism journey can start with simple, doable steps — creating a Northeast platform for coordinated action, developing destinations, creating tourism zones, involving common people and the private sector. Finally, the region has the talent to support IT-enabled services and BPOs that can be part of the Look East policy, provided unsatisfactory telecom links can be improved. In the end, development comes down to implementation. The latest initiatives of the ministry for development of northeastern region could energise the process. Much will depend, as well, on the proactive role of the states.

In regard to flood, 38 schemes are being run, however their results are not evident. The central govt. gave the state funds of rs. 1,387 crore to run flood control measures, again, effects of which remain to be seen.

D) Education – Enroll and Excel
No big reforms have been added in the field of Education. The Modi government has been treading lightly with small initiatives. Perhaps more attention will be given to the education feild after solving issues in the economic sphere. One might also argue that big reforms like Sibal’s making CBSE exams option do not always seem productive. Monetry promises to female education, FOSSEE and e-kalpa for taking education beyond books, SAKSHAM for differently abled children are some of initiatives of the Modi Government. None of these can be considered game changers, and the terrible states of goverment schools in small villages and even cities have not had redressal thus far. However, a country with which India has a bilateral trade of close to 5bil dollars, Israel, has announced a new joint education research program of 5mil dollars with India. They have announced 2 new IITS, 2 new IIMs and 5 new AIIMs. The shift towards higher education is also seen in budget allocation, while the overall education budget fell (82,777cr to 69,074cr), there was a 22% rise in allocation for higher education.

In the field of education, there have been unnecessary controversies. Most of these surrounding the HRD minister, Smriti Zubin Irani. The central government has been accused of saffronisation and centralisation of education. The central university of Bihar could be said to stand testimony to this, while changing history textbooks could be said to show the saffron agenda of the Modi government.

Therefore, a lot has been said, and some has been done. Controversies and arguments have been on the rise but so has speculation of great FDI. Perhaps the BJP government needs more time before evaluation!


Written by Alvina

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