By Kamal Sharma, IMI Delhi
26th May 2014, was the day when Mr. Narendra Modi took oath as the Prime Minister of the world’s largest democracy with the promise to show “Ache Din”, and now as First six months have passed, here is the progress report of the Modi Government.
The first six months of the Modi government have seen hectic decision making on the economic front in sharp contrast to the policy paralysis that marked the UPA rule. Here are the Five Big Ideas that the government came up with.
Five Big Ideas
Jan Dhan Yojna : With a substantial section of society still outside the ambit of the formal financial system, the initiative which aims to bring the excluded into the banking system is a laudable one. According to the reports, 5.29 crore bank accounts have been opened and 1.78 crore RuPay debit cards have been issued so far under this scheme.
Make in India: The governments innovative ‘Make in India’ campaign signals its commitment to transforming India into the manufacturing hub of the world. The importance of manufacturing stems from the fact that the sector can serve as a source of employment for the bulk of unskilled and semi-skilled workers currently engaged in the agricultural sector. But the success of this initiative depends on the degree to which the government can provide an enabling environment by improving the ease of doing business in India. Currently, in ease of doing business India holds 142nd place out of 189 countries (World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index).
Smart Cities: Government allocated INR 7,060 crore for smart cities, though the initial estimate for the project was INR 35,000 crore per annum. The plan is to build 100 smart cities in India over a period of time. Smart cities are broadly defined as urban spaces that are technologically integrated, well-planned and environment-friendly. A flexible PPP (Public-Private Partnership) model is being worked out; many countries including the US, Japan and Singapore, have committed to play a role. Critics say power outages, poor infrastructure and dearth of clean drinking water may play spoilsport.
Digital India: Moving forward with the aim of a Digital India by 2019, Narendra Modi’s plan is meant to cover all sections whether its e-governance, broadband for all, IT-enabled education or telemedicine. To begin with, the government is working on INR 500-crore plan, and has already initiated biometric attendance in government offices. Delivery of government services through a unified portal has been planned under it.
Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana: Under this scheme, each Member of Parliament needs to choose one village each from the constituency that they represent, fix parameters and make it a model village by 2016. The Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana has three distinct features- (a) Demand driven (b) Inspired by society (c) Based on people`s participation.
Trade talk: Struck deal with US on food stockpiling, reviving WTO trade talks.
FDI: Allowed FDI in railways, easing norms in defense and rail estate.
Gas Price Hike: Raised domestically produced natural gas prices by 33 percent to 5.6 dollar per unit.
Diesel: Linked domestic diesel prices to international rates.
Coal Blocks: Brought ordinance to open coal sector for commercial mining and allocated coal blocks through transparent e-auction process, following SC judgment to de-allocate 214 blocks.
Drug Prices: Taken away National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority power on 108 non-essential drugs.
Green Norms: Issued more than 50 guidelines to ease green norms.
Indo Pak talks: Cancelled foreign secretary-level talks.
Auto cuts: Excise duty cuts given to automobile industry extended till December.
Duty rise: Increased excise duty on petroleum and diesel by 1.50 rupee.
Planning Commission: Scrapped the Commission and most EgoMs.
ACTS: Decided to amend the Land Acquisition Act and MNREGA.
Clean Campaign: Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan launched on Oct 2.
Black Money: SIT on black money. Government refused to disclose names but gave a list to the Supreme Court. Narendr Modi strongly pitched for repatriation of black money at G-20 summit.
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