As Narendra Modi-led BJP government completes yet another year in office, it claims to have achieved some of the things it set out to achieve but with passing time, it is also clearly becoming obvious that the challenges it faces are now very steep!
If one just goes for a dipstick survey of what the opinions are across sectors such as agriculture, banking, industry, manufacturing, education and social infrastructure, one would get a sense of either divided or polarised opinions around how well the government has really performed.
The opinions are sharply polarised specially in sectors such as banking where a lot that’s going wrong is blamed on legacy problems handed over by the previous governments. However, the present regime must now understand that it’s the fourth anniversary of them taking over the mantle and all that’s going wrong cannot be constantly blamed on the previous governments.
Some achievements that this government can take credit for are a few revolutionary policy initiatives in the field of housing and aviation. Prime Minister Modi himself has given a major push to the ‘housing for all’ initiative and low cost housing projects are now seen majorly taking off in many parts of the country. A paradigm shift in terms of people’s perception of looking at the real estate sector is happening. That’s the reason thousands of investors are moving away from real estate investments and getting into mutual funds thereby busting the artificially inflated real estate price bubble. This will be very beneficial in the long run for the middle class and the poor.
Similarly, controlling or restricting the prices of medical equipment is another good achievement of this NDA government. The initiatives taken in aviation sector are also very beneficial. Connecting smaller cities of the country to metros is happening now. These cities already had airports but they were not operational. In Maharashtra, Nanded, Nashik and Shirdi airports have become operational in the past few months and that’s a great achievement by the civil aviation ministry.
However, the challenges that this government faces in the last year before the next elections are now getting very steep. It now transpires that demonetisation announced in 2016 did not really achieve any of the objectives fully but delivered a massive blow to India’s economic growth. This has very badly affected the job market across sectors all over the country. Rising unemployment in the country and joblessness is very evident and the government has not been able to address this issue till now.
Another very obvious policy flaw is heavy taxation continuing on many commodities despite the introduction of GST, leading now to runaway inflationary trend in the country and petroleum products is a very good example of this. Most of these taxes are obviously being used to fill the fiscal deficit gap and the government is just not able to find a way of controlling the fiscal deficit. So growth slowing down, inflation not under control and joblessness are three big challenges that this government faces.
The first step towards solving any problem is to start by accepting that ‘there is a problem’! But right from the aggressive activists (also known as Bhakts) campaigning for the BJP on social media, to the representatives of the government themselves, all seem to be in denial mode and keep refusing that there are problems with the economic management. With such an approach, it would be even further difficult to solve some of the major problems the country faces.
This government has 11 months before it faces another big test in May 2019. It has to be more communicative with the masses, listen to their issues, fine tune policies and the hope is that it can put back economic growth back on the track in that period so that job creation and industrial expansion happens in the near future.