Narendra Modi launched a scathing attack against the Congress in the Lok Sabha yesterday and mentioned the various ways in which his government had either improved upon or completed or implemented a novel scheme for the benefit of the economically weaker sections of the country. We look at 9 issues through which the NDA government has definitively surpassed the UPA.
1. INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT
During the tenure of the Congress government, the rate of construction of National Highways was 11 km/day whereas the same for the Modi government has been 22km/day during the first 3 years of the Modi government. Moreover, around 80000 km of roads were constructed during UPA-2 whereas around 1,20,000 km of roads have been constructed under the Modi government until now.
Between 2011-14, optical fibres were provided to only 59 Panchayats, and since Narendra Modi took over, optical fibres have reached over 1 lakh Panchayats.
During the last 3 years of the previous government, only 12000 MW of renewable energy was produced and under this government, 22000 MW have been produced already.
The shipping industry has been revolutionized by the NDA government with millions of rupees of investment and a string of new ports. The industry is set to play a major role in the grand economic story of India.
2. THE BIDAR KALBURGI RAILWAY LINE
The Bidar Kalaburgi line was announced by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government and the foundation stone was laid in 2000. But even after 16 years, including 10 years of the UPA government, the project had not been completed.
During the UPA regime, only 37 km out of the 110 had been completed. It was only after Narendra Modi came to power that the remaining 73 km were laid and the line was finally inaugurated by the Prime Minister in October last year.
3. THE BARMER REFINERY
The Congress could claim that the foundation stone for the project was laid down by Sonia Gandhi. However, it was the only thing that had been done under the Congress according to the Prime Minister and the project saw no further development. The project was seen as a last-ditch effort by the Congress to win some votes in the looming Assembly elections but the BJP scored a thumping victory and the project got stalled as Vasundhara Raje believed it was a poor deal for the state.
Under the Modi government, Barmer is set to have India’s first Greenfield Bharat Stage VI refinery cum petrochemical project. And Rajasthan is expected to make a saving of Rs. 40000 crores as a result of the revised plan.
4. THE DHOLA-SADIYA BRIDGE
The feasibility study for the project was first conducted under the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 2003. The project was then approved in 2009, 6 years after the feasibility study was started, and construction finally began in 2011. However, due to delays, the project which was set to be completed by 2015 was delayed to 2017. The longest bridge in India, named after Bhupen Hazarika, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi on the 26th of May, 2017.
5. AVIATION POLICY
The UPA government had not deemed it necessary for the country to have its own aviation policy. It was Narendra Modi’s government in 2016 which cleared India’s first Civil Aviation Policy. Under the aviation policy, the 5/20 rule was no longer applicable and new airlines could open up for international routes without first having to complete 5 years of domestic service and operating at least 20 flights.
Moreover, the NDA government has given a big push to the creation of new airports in tier 2 and 3 cities and the restoration of abandoned airports. 450 flights are operational till now but the figure is expected to reach 900 by the end of the year.
6. BAMBOO: FINALLY, IT’S GRASS IN INDIA
Apart from increasing the MSPs of various agricultural products, the Narendra Modi led government has introduced various reforms in the sector. Until it came to power, the Bamboo was regarded as a ‘tree’ by the government of India and as a consequence, farmers could not cut and sell it.
The NDA government has reformed it and declared it a grass, as it is treated all across the world, and farmers can now engage in the selling of Bamboos.
The Congress has perhaps raised the most hue and cry over the greatest economic reform in India post liberalization of the economy. Between its rants that it was initially its own idea and simultaneously screaming that it is a disastrous move by the Modi government, the Congress forgets that the GST that was proposed by the UPA was opposed by their own governments in states. And GST could not be passed because the Congress failed to create a consensus between states on the issue. Narendra Modi after extensive consultations and discussions with the states managed to reach a consensus on the subject and the GST finally came into force in 2017.
8. SCHEMES FOR THE POOR
The Narendra Modi government has launched various schemes targeted towards benefiting the poor and the lower middle class.
Under the Ujwala Yojana, over 2 crore families under the BPL have received free LPG connections. The main beneficiaries of this scheme are women who were keen on switching to LPG as soon as free connections were made available.
The Jan Dhan Yojana which was aimed at financial inclusion for the poor has over 30 crore beneficiaries.
Through the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, the Narendra Modi has aimed to build 2 crore homes by 2022. The scheme is directed to benefit low-income, middle-income and economically weaker sections of society.
The NDA government has ratified, amended and implemented various Acts to further the interest of the nation and the marginalized sections of society.
The Prohibition of Benami Property Transaction Act (PBPT) amended the loopholes of the previous Benami Act and came into effect in November 2016. The amendments provide for the confiscation of Benami property and imprisonment and fine for the violators of the law.
The Enemy Property (Amendment and Validation) Bill which was passed in Parliament in 2017 amended a 49-year-old law and declared that the descendants of those who have acquired the citizenship of Pakistan and China will no longer be able to inherit the property of their predecessors.
The Congress was reluctant to act on the matter because they feared it will hurt the sentiments of Indian Muslims. Apart from the 2 Acts, the government has also been trying to pass the Triple Talaq Bill which would liberate Muslim women from the heinous practice but has been unable to do so because of the opposition.