With the recent loss of BJP in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh much has been said about BJP and how it might not be doing much to benefit the ever-ignored middle-class. Over the decades, the middle-class voter has mostly been treated as a stepchild whose fair share is often denied. While the Congress chose to ignore this segment, the BJP has always focussed greatly on the middle-class.
When it was realised that this extremely crucial segment was firmly voting for the Modi government, Congress fanned a crafty narrative that aimed to disenchant the middle-class voter against BJP. While this narrative was fanned incessantly, Congress proceeded to oppose crucial GST rate cuts that would benefit the middle-class.
The middle-class voters are like weather updates of London. Accurate and predictive. While the vote share loss that accrued to BJP because of this faulty narrative cannot be ignored completely, the middle-class largely stuck to the BJP despite the negative campaign. However, with 2019 looming large, it becomes imperative to impartially understand what is it that the BJP, in the last 4 and a half years, has done for this ever important segment of voters, vs what Congress did for the middle class in its 10-year reign preceding 2014.
Voter’s behaviour can be studied in four ways.
1) Vote share patterns (mathematical analyses).
2) Fundamental analyses (major events).
3) Actual performance catering to the sample (example: middle class).
4) Perception analyses.
This article aims to study point number 3 (actual performance catering to the sample – middle class).
We have designed a methodology in which we will consider 30 different categories divided into 11 different parameters to compare what both Governments, Congress and BJP, have done for the middle class.
Finance, Investment and Taxation
The first parameter that we will be reviewing is finance, investment and taxation where we study IT exemptions, Goods and Service Tax (GST), stock market performance, Forex (Foreign Exchange) reserves and 80C and 80D deductions.
Component of tax is one of most crucial elements in the salary structure for middle-class employees. An appropriate taxing policy helps improve savings and ultimately enhances the lifestyle of people.
Section 80C allows a tax filer to make deductions by declaring his/her investments in the taxable income. Whereas section 80D allows deductions for the premium paid in the form of medical insurance. These different modules of investments contribute back to the budget and help to improve the overall economy of the country. Here we observe that in every parameter the current Government surpasses the achievements of the previous Congress Government.
If we compare the Global Insurance industry within 2016, China leads the top 5 emerging nations with market revenue of $466 Billion in 2016, which is nearly 6 times more than that of India. The insurance market is an open space for growth for countries like India when compared with fully developed countries like the United States and the United Kingdom.
The next parameter we cover is insurance where we compare the insurance premiums written and growth in the renewal of insurance premiums.
A robust Insurance system in the country will lead to a great deal of savings in the economy.
India currently spends cumulatively 4.2 percent of its GDP on healthcare. At only 1% in 2013, the contribution by the public sector on Healthcare was amongst the lowest globally. The Government recognized the need and invested heavily in the healthcare sector. Owing to this the healthcare market now is growing at the CAGR of 16% and is expected to reach US $280 billion by 2020 if the current surge in healthcare spending continues
Modi Government has taken crucial efforts to improve healthcare facilities in the nation. Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana has provided benefits like hospitalization coverage, healthcare for non-communicable diseases and childcare facilities to crores of Indian citizens.
In healthcare facilities, we compare infant mortality (number of deaths per thousand births) and maternity benefits. IMR dropped by 13.97% during BJP rule and by 13.68% during Congress rule.
Railway electrification, total broad gauge railway tracks laid and rate of laying new railway tracks are compared in the next parameter. The modernization of railways under Suresh Prabhu and quick implementation of projects under Piyush Goyal has helped in considerable progress of railways. Metro Transit system, Bullet Trains, Hyperloop and other high-speed rail projects are also in the pipeline of implementation.
At this rate Indian Railway market will the third largest accounting to 10% of the global market and Metro Rail will be 70% of the railway market in India.
The BJP Government has identified these prospects and invested heavily in railways. Owing to this the difference between the two governments is gigantic in spite of Congress having big leaders like Laloo Prasad Yadav and Mamta Banerjee as their Railways ministers.
“To enhance growth, we will need to promise that India will open more to trade and FDI (foreign direct investment)” quotes top economist Jagdish Bhagwati. To improve the trade we need to have modern and sustainable infrastructure facilities in the nation. India has a requirement of Investment worth Rs 50 Trillion (US $ 777.73 Billion) by 2022. There is an immense scope of improvement as only 24 percent of national highways are four-lane roads. Nitin Gadkari has said that the transport sector has the potential to create 15 lakh jobs and his ministry will contribute to 2 percent in India’s GDP if all the projects are completed soon. His Ministry has also given the topmost priority to waterways to reduce transport costs.
It is pretty evident by the table that the growth spurt in highway construction led by Minister Nitin Gadkari beats the Congress regimes construction by a mile and a half. The Ganga Rejuvenation project and road accessibility in Northeast India have also achieved cognizable heights in the Transport sector.
Inflation and Petroleum Prices
Next, we compare inflation, gross revenue – gross expenditure and petroleum prices. BJP inherited a dwindling economy and it has done well to recover it. The CPI inflation in 2013 and 2014 was 10.21% and 9.49% respectively. Currently, the average for 2018 is 3.58% coming down from a high of 5.97% in 2015. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s foreign visits have helped to build a strong relationship with countries like Saudi Arabia. This step was very important as Oil and the Gas Industry is amongst the six core industries of India. This industry contributes around 15percent to India’s GDP. (Figures include refining, transportation and marketing cost)
This is evident from fact that the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia has considered revision of oil prices to India. Also, the fiscal deficit of the nation has been kept under substantial control improving the economy of the nation
Crime and Corruption
In Crime and corruption parameter we can see that the corruption index has gone down so have the violent crimes. Cases registered for crimes against women have also reduced. There hasn’t been a single case of corruption or impropriety in the central government since Narendra Modi took over as the Prime Minister. No major terror attack has been reported across nation owing to effective communication of all the Intelligence agencies and a strong NSA.
The country has successfully registered a 77th place in the list of Ease of Doing Business by improving its policy procedures. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s foreign visits have also helped to improve the relationship with multiple nations with aid of MOUs signed across multiple sectors. The Government has signed more than 150 MOUs in 2018 alone and is giving top priority to the execution of these MOUs.
India Tech Opportunity a report tabled by McKinsey Global Institute says that the Indian Economy has a potential to add $ 1 Trillion in the GDP by 2025.
McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) further elaborates that India’s digital Index rose by 56 percent during 2014-2017 from 18 to 29 on the scale of 100. This has placed the country second in terms of growth among 17 emerging and mature digital economies. This has only been possible because the Government is implementing schemes like digital India.
Technology adoption is a key factor for any new age government. We now compare technology adoption by each government. The current BJP led government has made strides in this sector with 66% TV penetration and 83.5 crore viewers across the country.
The education sector in India is estimated to reach US$ 101.1 Billion by 2019. With the largest population in the world from the age bracket of 5-24 years and a huge English speaking population (India was ranked 27 out of 80 countries in English proficiency index in 2017). There is a high demand-supply gap in education in India.
The Government has initiated a series of reforms like 100% FDI in the educational sector(better implementation), National Accreditation Regulatory authority bill, Foreign education bill and many more,
Modi Government has also improved the primary education system by the adoption of digital platforms in schools. Primary education has been made more affordable by this government which remains the major factor for the rise in enrollment. Also, the advent of digital schools promises to make the carrying of heavy bags redundant. The Modi government also made private school education more affordable
We have just stated 2 out of 1200 plus items which were taxed 31 percent or more during the Congress government.
Today only 27 items come under the 28% tax slab in the GST.
We designed a methodology where we considered 30 different categories divided into 11 different parameters to compare what both Governments had done for the middle class.
Our Analyses showed that BJP was better than Congress on all parameters; the score was 30-0 in BJP’s favour.
Our methodology is effective as we have only used mathematical data (Technical analyses) and not depended on opinions (Fundamental analysis).
This is the comparison of only those parameters which hold relevance to the middle class. We have not included welfare schemes and prices of commodities as they pertain to a larger set of audience which is not limited to the middle class.
The middle class is a section that believes in what they see. There has been a decrease in taxation (GST via á vis VAT and service tax) for most basic amenities.
The insurance sector has been able to pick up because of the savings on tax. Tax deduction has been increased by 50%.
Competitiveness index ranking improved enabling a better business environment for new entrants.
Corruption is lower, so are the violent crimes. Crimes against women have dropped. People, women, in particular, can feel safe now. Inspire of media nitpicking each and every case against women and dissecting it on national television, the stats show otherwise.
There hasn’t been a single terrorist attack since this government took over. This speaks volumes for the steps taken for national security by this government.
The primary education is now accessible and private schooling has been made more affordable.
In spite of the critique of the current government, it is pretty evident that the middle class has been a big beneficiary of the steps taken by this Government. Despite what Bollywood has to say the country is a safer place.
The stats speak for themselves.
Head – Project Management Office (Projects, Corporate Relations and Media), for Minister of Finance & Planning, Forests – Government of Maharashtra.