Friday, September 12, 2014

Fwd: 100 days

100 days of Modi government : Tall claims, but disappointing performance

The discredited Congress-led UPA government was replaced by the BJP-led NDA government with a resounding mandate. However, if the first 100 days are any indication, its work has been anything but landmark and emphatic.

Given below is the Aam Aadmi Party's assessment on main points :

Black Money

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's top priority was to bring back the black money stashed in foreign banks, which he reinforced in every speech during the election campaign. The current Home Minister Rajnath Singh had said that he would bring back the black money from foreign countries within 100 days. BJP leader Subramaniam Swamy had claimed that only two months were needed to bring back the Rs. 120 lakh crore back to the country, and even advocated abolishing the income tax for 40 years, since we'd have enough revenue not to need this tax.

But the actionsc fall short and are insignificant compared to the promises. 100 days are up. Where is the black money? The government has only set up the cursory SIT on Black Money, that too following the directions of the Supreme Court.
The government has taken no action to fill the huge number of vacancies in the Central Board of Direct Taxes, Excise and Customs, which would thoroughly investigate claims of corruption across the country. The government hasn't reverted, repealed or even commented upon the double tax avoidance treaties or participatory notes, which are important in smuggling black money away from India. It hasn't implemented any of the key recommendations of the White Paper on Black Money tabled in Parliament in 2012.

Achche din have arrived but only for those who want to keep their black money.

Price Rise

Another important electoral issue that the BJP and Narendra Modi raised was price rise and its effect on the Aam Aadmi. However, in the first 100 days of the BJP government, the prices of diesel, kerosene, milk, tomatoes, onions, potatoes and nearly every essential commodity went up by astronomical levels. And it's not as if farmers benefited from this price rise, as they received lower real minimum support prices, adjusted for inflation.

The Union Budget: Arun Jaitley or P. Chidambaram

For those looking for patterns of similarity, the Union Budget was a clear example of how the Modi government represented cosmetic change and not something more fundamental. Spending on education and health remained exactly the same, and so did the expenditure on women, children and the socially disadvantaged. There were tax deduction announcements, disinvestment, FDI allottment increases, PPPs, calls for modernization, but somehow the Aam Aadmi remained under the radar for Shri Arun Jaitley.

Criminalizing Parliament and Making India Corrupt

For all the talk of removing MPs with a criminal record from Parliament, there has been little action to follow it up. Twelve out of the 44 Ministers in the Modi-goverment have serious criminal charges against them. Nihal Chand, a minister of the government is facing rape allegations against him in a 2011 case. Yet, their cases aren't even close to being solved and have not been fast-tracked. Lok Sabha MP from Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath continues to make polarizing statements to flare Hindu-Muslim tensions even as the PM issues a 10 year moratorium on communal hatred. This doublespeak doesn't go unnoticed. At the same time, the government has shown excessive speed in removing honest officers who fight corruption like Sanjiv Chaturvedi at AIIMS and clipping the powers of institutions that fight corruption like the Delhi Anti-Corruption Bureau. The government may make tall claims about fighting corruption but it has worked only to promote this social and economic evil.

Destroying the Environment

The goverment has proposed to loosen the regulations and make as many as 19 amendments in the Land Acquisition Act in a bid to please industrialists without taking care of the environment, farmers and the rural poor. The height of the Narmada dam will be raised. Irrigation projects requiring 2,000-10,000 hectares are now exempt from the scrutiny of the Centre and can be cleared by state governments. Those requiring less than 2,000 hectares will require no green clearance at all. The new government has also diluted the Forest Rights Act that requires the consent of the local tribal population for diverting forestland. Instead of gram sabhas (village councils) certifying that their rights had been settled and that they had consented to projects, the district administrations have now been asked to do the same. The process of reviewing the National Green Tribunal Act to reduce the judicial tribunal to an administrative one has been initiated. Slowly and steadily, the government is paving the way for the real backers of the 2014 election, the corrupt businesses of Indian industry to dictate the rules of government and the usage of public goods.

Which brings us to the most important point. A government which holds private interests above public good will end up being the same, even if its declared motives are Nehruvian socialism or Hindu nationalism. The fear with Narendra Modi's government isn't that they will do something radically different and crazy, but rather that they will end up being the UPA government. And the first 100 days, an indicator of a government's priorities and policy goals, exhibit that this government is selling the public old wine in a new bottle, albeit with new leaky holes.
Rather, what we have seen is the same sort of governance or lack thereof, with excellent public relations management and high-definition photographs on Twitter.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails