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PM Modi: Perception Versus Reality

An analysis of India’s progress in the last one year

8/31/2015 4:05:54 PM
written By : Ashali Varma Print

The Congress party with the help of the mainstream media and other like-minded intellectuals are actually trying to waylay a Prime Minister and a party that many believe has the best interest of India at heart. I don’t say this lightly. The alternative is Rahul Gandhi.
For the argument that I am making I would like to briefly outline my reasons for what is being perceived and the reality.
Perception: Modi is divisive.
Reality: The Prime Minster has only ever spoken about development, jobs, education and that we need to build more toilets instead of temples. He has never once brought up the Ram Temple issue. And as far as the riots in Gujarat were concerned - at least he tried to take action and hundreds of rioters are in jail. He is pilloried for it even though Gujarat has been riot free for 13 years. And it is curious that the media has never spoken about Haji Bilal, a Congress member of the Godra Nagarpalika who got together a large mob to pelt stones at the fire engines that were trying to reach a burning train full of Hindu pilgrims in Godra.
As recently as on August 15, in his Independence Day speech, he said that he said that under his government there would be zero tolerance for communalism.
Perception: Prime Minister Modi has not done enough in the case of major reforms as far as the economy is concerned.
Reality: Actually he has done more in one year in this very anarchic democracy than of ours than all of his predecessors. He inherited a largely moribund economy; a country riven by scams; inflation; and policy paralysis.
Since the BJP government has come we have seen lower inflation and we are told by the IMF that we will have at least 7.5 per cent growth in 2016.
In addition, thanks to pragmatic and far-sighted policies, millions of Indians can now open bank accounts and for Rs 12 a year get a 2 lakh insurance cover for accident. For Rs 365 a year they can get life insurance of Rs 2 lakh. One third of India had no access to banking services and had to take loans at exorbitant rates from money lenders. On the launch date itself 15 million bank accounts were opened. Today its stands at 150 million with a collective balance of over $3 billion dollars. Modi called it an end to ‘financial untouchability’. In the programme account holders get a debit card and $1,600 as accident insurance. The programme aims to reach 85 million families by 2018, each with two account holders.
He then launched a bank with a $3 billion corpus for 58 million small businesses, which can now get credit up to $17,000. “After ‘banking the un-banked’ with the Jan Dhan Yojana, it’s time to ‘fund the unfunded’,” the Prime Minister said at an event to launch what is called Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency – MUDRA.
In the case of Indians parking black money abroad, the Centre has enacted one of the most stringent laws with heavy penalties and a 10 year jail term for people caught on the wrong side of the law.
To provide jobs he has initiated the Make in India programme and increased FDI in insurance, defense and railways to access foreign technology get more corporations to invest in India. For the first time the railway budget was applauded by all political parties for its clarity and vision. Today the Railway minister is inviting NRIs to adopt a station. This is really thinking out of the box.
Transparent coal and spectrum auctions have brought money into states and the centre. Archaic laws have been struck down. Steps are being taken to create an atmosphere that will lead to ease of doing business. Of course, much more has to be done to set our economy right. For this the country needs labour reforms, the land acquisition bill and GST in the coming year, if the Congress and opposition parties allow it.

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