The great Indian festival is over, Prime Minister Modi and his party BJP has emerged as the winners’ hands down, for the second time arguably because of weak opposition more than promises fulfilled. But what does this big win mean for India?
The BJP in its election Manifesto committed to building a stronger economy, investing a massive 100 Trillion to infrastructure building and another 25 Trillion to the Agriculture and Rural sector. It also had some encouraging agendas for Entrepreneurs. It has reached out to medium and small enterprise sector which have suffered because of GST and Demonetization in its previous term. However, the biggest challenge Modi 2.0 faces, is to fix the slowing economy. With investment slowdown and consumption slump, the road ahead to bring the economy back on track looks like a bumpy ride. The Modi comeback aims to boost private investments and encourage export which has also seen a sluggish pace of growth.
A big benefit for infrastructure builders is in store with a promise to build railways, airports and 60,000 km of highway. The second term of Modi government addresses the agricultural crisis and promises to deliver the doubling of farmer’s income by 2022 which it failed in its first tenure. Experts opine, to do so, the current rate of increasing farmer’s income has to be accelerated much more. Indian agriculture still depends on Monsoon and this year’s predictions don’t happen to be very good hence the big plans may suffer a slowdown in the first year itself.
Modi’s comeback means good news for start-up organizations. The Prime Minister can now carry on with the Start-up India initiative started in the last term which could address the issue of unemployment. Political stability which is conducive to carrying out any business is ensured for the next five years as BJP is back with an unexpected landslide victory yet again.
A promise of 20,000 crores “Seed Startup Fund” and a New scheme to provide Collateral free credit of up to Rs.50 Lakh for entrepreneurs and the promise of half of Rs.50 Lakh credit to be guaranteed by the Government for women entrepreneurs as mentioned in the “Sankalp Patra” sounds encouraging.
The angel tax which was a sore spot has been tackled earlier this year so the entrepreneurs will definitely have it smooth. The MSME’s seem to be positive about the comeback as easy access to credit and other relief measures are already ensured. Despite initiatives like “Make in India”, the Modi government’s first tenure failed to create a global manufacturing hub and it remains to be seen how far it goes this time.
The Modi government has also given due importance to women’s rights, safety, and dignity and pledges 33% reservation for women in the Parliament in its election Manifesto. It is also reported that for the first time, a government will have six women cabinet ministers. However, it has to be noted that the Women’s Reservation Bill was on a backburner in the last term of this government. While Photos of Smriti Irani lending her shoulder to carry the body of her murdered close aide in Amethi have gone viral and have been dubbed as a strong message of women’s empowerment, a recent video of a Dalit woman thrashed by Haryana police have gone viral too, a state where BJP is in power. A young Dalit doctor’s suicide over alleged castiest comments by seniors in a state-run hospital in Mumbai has also made the news. Maharashtra is another state ruled by the BJP.
The worst fear of Kashmir comes true with BJP in power for the second term. Revocation of Article 370 has been a bone of contention between BJP and the leaders in J&K. Article 370 grants special status to the state of Jammu & Kashmir which it wants to go citing reasons that it’s discriminatory against non-permanent residents and women of J&K. The recent religious polarization in Jammu is also expected to aggravate the situation in Kashmir which has already seen a rise in militancy and increased tension across the LOC. The regional party leaders are up in arms against the revocation of Article 370 and Article 35(A).
The next 100 days being planned out with priority to fix the economy has been reported from several sources. Although it is too early to predict if the Modi government fulfills its promises, going by the report card of its previous term, it looks like a mixed bag is in store for Indian voters. The politics of fear and Hindu Nationalism growing with BJP’s return into the power is still a concern.
India under Modi 2.0 may become the 5th largest economy in days to come with big development plans, however, a heartbreaking tragedy like the Surat Fire reflects the loopholes in the way in which actual development is happening. Modi 2.0 must work on getting the groundwork done even before it builds the statues and gets the Bullet Train running.
TEXT: TRIVENI SHUKLA
IMAGE CREDITS: RAJYA SABHA TV