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Modi Regime’s Balance Sheet

Dr. Charles Dias

 Narendra Modi was brought by the Bharatiya Janata Party as a ‘savior’ of Indians from the Congress rule.  He raised so many issues against Congress, like corruption, price rise, FDI, black money, unemployment, stern action against terrorists, uniform civil code etc.  During 2013-14 Modi made vociferous attack on U.P.A. government, and with the fasting of Anna Hazare, supported by BJP at Delhi, to take effective action to check corruption, the Central Government brought a Lok Pal Bill passed in special sittings on 18th December 2013. What happened after that is history.  Today, Modi who raised so much of noise to check corruption could not even appoint a Lok Pal.  Moreover, we see Modi who claimed that he is a chowkidar (guard) to see that no corruption takes place in the country, is now accused that he is shielding, protecting and helping the corrupt people escaped outside the country!  The Rafael deal has brought the real colour of Modi.  He still could not reply who choose Anil Ambani’s company discarding HAL as Indian partner for Rafael deal and why?

 

Modi’s tall claim of achievement mainly is on rural electrification, cooking gas to poor and construction of toilets. These are positive steps, but have to be examined in the light of statistics of previous years.  The unreasonable price hike of cooking gas has diminished Modi’s claims. Let us examine what really happened during the past more than four years of Modi regime.

 

Price rise: Modi from 2014 was promising to end the climbing inflation. The spiraling petrol and diesel prices were amongst some of the key reasons that pulled down the UPA government. Even though price rise was one of Modi’s favourite topics to talk about while he was in opposition, during his tenure, he failed to break the vicious cycle of high petrol and diesel prices.   On June 25, 2014, the price of petrol in Delhi was Rs 71.56, which touched a record high of Rs 76.87 per litre on May 22 this year. Diesel price too climbed to its highest ever of Rs 68.08 on May 22, from Rs 57.28 on June 25, 2014.

 

UnemploymentIn 2013, Narendra Modi promised one crore jobs to the country. However, Modi’s optimism about job-creation in India is out of synch with the reality. We are here today with over 31 million Indians unemployed, as per a report published on February 27 by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE).  With only 4.16 lakh jobs being created in the country’s organised sector during 2016-17, Indians have no choice but to face the ruthless truth that Modi’s job creation promise was nothing but a mirage.  Worse, the Modi government has even failed to match the job creation rate seen in 2013-14, the last year of United Progressive Alliance (UPA).  The Statistics Department evaluate that the rate of job creation is now that of 45 years back!

 

Corruption ; The series of scams during UPA’s 10-year rule gave BJP and Narendra Modi the much-touted anti-corruption plank which became the key ground for Modi’s 2014 election campaign. However, almost four years as the PM of India, Modi still hasn’t been able to appoint a Lokpal.  And the acquittal of all the accused in the 2G scam case by the CBI court, including former telecom minister A Raja and DMK MP Kanimozhi, hints at BJP’s failure to prove its accusations, rendering them questionable.  Modi government’s inability to clear the air about Rafale scam mystery also raises a question mark on the government’s so-called transparency and anti-corruption narrative. With charges of corruption against the BJP flying thick and fast, be it at the Centre or the state level, Modi’s true stand on corruption is yet to be understood by the citizens of India.   And when economic offenders like Nirav Modi, Vijay Mallya, and Lalit Modi fled the country, it is hard to ignore the possibility of willful negligence or active connivance on the part of the ruling government.  Narendra Modi’s silence on alleged corruption charges against Piyush Goyal and the infamous Jay Shah case along with his decision to reinstate the scandal-tainted BS Yeddyurappa and mining baron Gali Janardhana Reddy and his brother into the BJP during the 2018 Karnataka Assembly Elections, is a failure of Modi’s another poll promise  Na khaunga, Na khane doonga”

Economy;  Indian economy is in a mess today, and the credit goes to the Modi government. Not only has the consumer price index (CPI) inflation increased from 3.9 per cent in March 2017 to 4.3 per cent in March 2018, but the foreign trade deficit has also increased from $10.7 billion in March 2017 to $13.7 billion in March 2018. Adding to the woes are the swelling crude oil prices and increasing bond yields. To top it all, we are also witnessing rupee depreciation. In 2018, the rupee has lost more than 6 per cent against the dollar.  First, the demonetisation drive led the country to a cash crunch that took several months to recover, drawing 86 per cent of the currency in circulation by value, affecting millions of medium and small businesses, and the already struggling rural economy. Then came another blow in the form of goods and services tax (GST), which was implemented hastily, causing troubles in the supply and production chains, and forcing distributors and retailers to liquidate their inventories, leading to huge losses. Further, the gross NPAs of private banks touched Rs 109,076 crore in March 2018 from Rs 19,800 crore in FY 2013-2014. And four public sector banks (Canara Bank, Allahabad Bank, UCO Bank and Dena Bank) reported a combined loss of Rs 117.29 billion in March quarter lately. The weak corporate and bank balance sheets have not only wreaked havoc in the Indian economy, but have also contributed to a steep slowdown in investment.

 

Agriculture: Increasing farm stress and a rise in farmer agitations and suicides across India over the past few years show the Modi government’s fiasco in handling the ongoing agrarian crisis. In 2014, the BJP promised to implement the minimum support price (MSP) with 50 per cent additional incentive for farmers. But, almost four years later, when finance minister Arun Jaitley announced that farmers would receive 1.5 times the cost of production as part of the MSP for all Kharif season crops, it revealed how the 2014 promise made by the BJP was nothing but another jumla. In the recently announced relief measures to farmers, the Central govt. promised Rs.6000/- to each farmer every year and that too in an interim budget!

 

Defense: With the ever-increasing tensions between India, China, and Pakistan, what comes as a major danger is India’s unpreparedness to defend the nation for a two-front war.  In the 2018-19 Union Budget, an amount of Rs 2.95 lakh crore has been allocated for the defense sector, out of which Rs 1,95,947 crore are for revenue expenditure, including payment of salaries and maintenance of establishments. This means that a majority of funds allocated to the defense sector are reserved for the usual functioning of the armed forces.  And with the failure of government’s Make in India initiative in the defense sector, the objective to create India’s own Boeings and Lockheed Martins that can strive in the global market is lost before it could even begin.

 

Ganga: Cleaning up of the Ganga river was one of the key electoral promises made by Modi in 2014. But, even with a whopping budget of Rs 20,000 crore for a five-year period ending 2020, the Namami Gange Programme launched by the ruling government has shown slow-moving progress so far.  A performance audit report by CAG, tabled in December 2017 revealed that the sampled 87 projects faced several deficiencies like delay in project approvals, huge unspent balances under the schemes and shortage of human resources, etc — delaying the achievement of the planned targets.

 

KashmirPM Modi inaugurated the Kishanganga hydroelectric project  (began in 2007) in Srinagar on May 19, 2018 and provided a great solution to the Kashmir’s power problem, smartly side-lining the core issue of Kashmir’s political grievances.  Modi continually stressed on infrastructure development. In the beleaguered Valley, our soldiers and innocent civilians are paying the price of the opportunistic BJP-PDP alliance, but the government pays no heed. Perhaps the PM has failed to understand that the Valley needs a strong policy initiative and not the age-old development rhetoric to help the region pull through.

 

Foreign policy: 1) Pakistan:  In his pre-election bluster on Pakistan, Modi assured of an effective and assertive policy towards the neighbour. However, even after four years, Pakistan continues to be a challenge, and the ties between the two nations have been as icy as they could get.  In 2017, over 860 instances of ceasefire violations by Pakistan reportedly occurred, injuring and killing several army personnel and civilians in India. The state of Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed a horrific increase in Pakistani shelling and firing along the IB and the Line of Control (LoC) this year. So far, more than 700 such incidents have been reported this year, killing 39 people, including 18 security personnel, and leaving many injured.  The Pakistani firing which started on May 15, 2018, has put 100 border villages and 40 BSF outposts in Jammu, Samba, and Kathua districts under direct attack by Pakistani forces, leading to a strong counterattack by the BSF. With all these skirmishes Modi could not move effectively to check the assaults in our borders, on which observers wonder when and how Modi is going to address the boarder issue that cause large causalities to India during his time.  The Modi government’s promise to completely seal the country’s borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh have also been left hanging in mid-air. 2) China: India-China relations in the past few years have been marked by problems over the Nuclear Suppliers Group membership, the 2017 standoff in Doklam border, the listing of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief as a global terrorist, and China’s fostering ties with Pakistan. And PM Modi’s failure to deal with these situations surely hints at the ruling government’s flawed foreign policy. 3) Nepal: Ever since the BJP formed its government at the Centre in 2014, India’s relations with the friend-cum-neighbour Nepal have been hurtling down the hill. The ties between the two countries also saw some bad times when in 2015, Kathmandu accused New Delhi of imposing an unofficial trade blockade along their border — an allegation that was rebuffed by New Delhi. Modi government’s imperfect foreign policy disturbed the country’s relations with Nepal for the first time in Indian history, allowing China to step in and develop closer links with Nepal — forming a union that now poses a much greater threat to India.

 

Smart Cities mission: Narendra Modi’s promise to build 100 smart cities has also fallen short, like all the others. Launched about three years back, this ambitious mission completed only 5.2 per cent of the total identified projects with just 1.4 per cent of the total envisaged investment of Rs 1,35,958 crore as of January 2018.

 

Digital IndiaNarendra Modi’s Digital India initiative was launched with the objective to create a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. Four years down the line, the execution of the scheme still lags behind the schedule — reasons being the digital divide between rural and urban areas, digital illiteracy dampening the project, poor network connectivity, poor internet penetration, crashing government websites, and the failure to electrify every part of the country. With several problems in proper implementation, this pet project of the PM has so far just imposed huge costs on the economy, without driving the promised results.

 

Skill India: Modi’s flagship Skill India campaign stumbled hard, earlier than expected. With the objective to train over 40 crore Indians in different skills by 2022, the project involved various initiatives like “National Skill Development Mission”, “National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, 2015”, and the much popular “Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY)”. As per the data disclosed for the PMKVY scheme up until the first week of July 2017, only 30.67 lakh candidates were trained or were undergoing training across the country. And out of them only 2.9 lakh candidates had got placement offers by that time.  .    The low placements reveal that Modi’s promise to train the people of India was another pipe dream. Shri Ahuluwalia, Minister of State for Electronics and IT.  in a written reply to Parliament said that the scheme provided 33.5 lakh people during financial years 2014 – 2018. There are conflicting reports on these claims.

 

Make in India: Launched with a lot of pomp and show, Make in India was introduced to encourage companies to manufacture their products in India and to increase their investment. But, the reports state that the scheme failed miserably,  affecting several sectors that were majorly hit by the dual force of demonetisation and GST. Other factors that led to the downfall of this initiative are the tough land legislation laws that make it difficult for companies to set up their manufacturing units coupled with the lack of industrial-scale innovation introduced, unavailability or the high price of raw materials, increasing competition from foreign markets like China.

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan:  A high-voltage sanitation campaign that was launched with the vision of clean India by October 2, 2019 just had an advertorial shine to it. Even after more than three years of its launch, the municipal bodies have not installed proper dustbins at public places across the country, nor have they found any tangible solution to the problem of open defecation near slum areas which continues to expose the failure of the government’s much-hyped cleanliness campaign. . A survey by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) in 2015-16 also highlighted that six out of every ten toilets built under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan had no water supply.

 

All of the above speaks volumes about our PM Modi’s national policies and development schemes which, without any tangible achievements, remain more of gimmicks and events, with the PM being the event manager.  In a country where minorities are lynched, farmers commit suicide, women get raped, youth remain unemployed, and small businesses suffer losses, the promise of “development for all” remains hollow and far from the ground reality.  It is important here to recall that so far Modi government has splurged Rs 4,343.26 crore for advertisements and publicity through different media, as revealed through an RTI reply (this figure must have considerably high with the addition of current year’s amounts). Now, PM Modi is again implore voters, hiding his trail of policy disasters.  Modi’s succession of promises is just a way to conjure up publicity events so that people can believe in his “dreams” of a developing nation.

 

Uniform Civil Code:  The Modi government promised Uniform Civil Code, but is still unable to pass any resolution on it

 

Peace and harmony in society: The BJP’s manifesto also promised “ensure a peaceful and secure environment, where there is no place for either the perpetrators or exploiters of fear.” But once again Modi-led government failed to keep this promise too. But during Modi era now we are seeing ‘gau goons’ to lynching to anti-Romeo squads, the list goes on. Human rights group Amnesty International flagged attacks by cow vigilantes, communal and, caste-based violence against Dalits under the Modi government as a major concern, in its 2016-17 Annual Report.

GDP Growth:  The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its annual report released the numbers behind the government’s demonetisation exercise. The report revealed that 98.96 percent — or Rs 15.28 lakh crore out of the Rs 15.44 lakh crore — invalid currency notes had come back into the banking system by the end of June 2017. India’s economy, which was one of the fastest growing economies in the world, slowed significantly after demonetisation. Demonetisation caused India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth to drop 1 percentage point (pp) to 6.1 percent in the January-March 2017 period, against the Central Statistics Office’s estimate of 7.1 percent. Politically, Modi tried to project himself as  a winner as he successfully sold the idea that demonetisation was aimed to blow lid off the wealthy who hoard black money.  But demonetisation is a policy failure, which forced common people and economy to suffer.

 

Electrification of all urban and rural houses:  One of the big promises of the Modi government was that of ensuring electricity for all, and particularly in rural India. In fact, the promise was for reliable power access for all, which formed a major part of Modi’s campaign pledges in 2014. The big push to rural electrification came in 2005 with the launch of the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY) and then accelerated further in 2010-11, when there was a significant increase in budgetary outlay for this. True to form, the Modi government has basically renamed the scheme, to Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana, and then sought to take credit for all of it. Since taking power, the Modi government has added another 19,219 villages (or 3.2 per cent of the electrified villages) to this total, thereby bringing it close to the total number of villages.

 

The Rs 15-lakh promise:  One of the most publicised promises made by Modi during the Lok Sabha elections’ campaign was that the NDA government would credit Rs 15 lakh in every honest taxpayer’s bank account, after it had brought back the black money stashed overseas. Even, demonetisation was done in order to bring in black money. But, all that is done, and we are still yet to receive Rs 15 lakh.

 

Dollar Price:  BJP promised to bring down US Dollar equal to Rs.40/-   But , the Dollar in 2014 equal to Rs.62/- has rose to Rs.72/- in 2019.

Crude Oil Prices

July 3, 2008 $145.29
(NYMEX WTI Record High)
(BACK TO TOP | RECENT CLOSE)
March 28, 2014 $101.67
March 13, 2015 $44.84
January 15, 2016 $29.42
March 24, 2017 $47.97
March 2, 2018 $61.25
February 8, 2019                               $52.72

 

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Crude Oil Price

  Petrol                                Diesel
March, 2014 105.30 73.16 55.48

 

Diesel                                        Petrol

April 19, 2018 74.07 76.77
April 16, 2017 68.07 70.66
April 16, 2016 61.13 64.90
May 16, 2015 66.29 73.76
August 15, 2014 70.33 78.03

 

 

According to me, the biggest disservice rather looting Modi did was the petroleum price increase.  The above chart gives an overview of crude oil prices and petrol and diesel prices.  With the major share of crude oil imports to Reliance, it goes without saying , the prices of  petroleum products is a sensitive issue that benefits Reliance.  With an annual crude processing capacity of 1,240,000 barrels (197,000 m3) per stream day (BPSD), RPL is the largest refinery in the world.  Reliance tried to be in the good books of whoever came to power. No government is exempted from this.  But, the way Narendra Modi and his government sided with Reliance to torpedo India’s economy by the increase of petroleum products, even when the crude oil prices in international market came down drastically, will record in the history of India as a ‘black chapter’.  No doubt the public sector oil companies also benefitted out of it.  With petroleum prices increased in an unrealistic and unjustifiable manner, prices of the essential commodities and other products increased.  The cost of building materials were increased beyond all controls of reasoning. The disastrous results are now seen in the lives of common man in India.   Modi pretended as though people believe what he says through his Man Ki Baat. The painful fact was that, while the petroleum prices were skyrocketing, there is every reason to believe that, the BJP shared the booty!  The chowkidar pretended to be sleepy!

 

While during the Modi regime about 3.5 lakh crores of  rupees  of debts to banks were written off  that of  corporates favourable to Modi, the farmers who were unable to pay off their debts to banks because they were not getting reasonable price for their products, were committing suicide!

 

How Lalit Modi, Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi and Vijay Mallya  who were  charged with several cases against them and owe several thousand crores of rupees to Indian banks were escaped from India during Modi regime?

 

Cow vigilatinisam , attack on Muslims and Christians, killing of people on suspicion of keeping beef, Ghar Waapasi drama to forcefully convert Muslims and Christians to Hinduism etc. were going on and the Central government was apparently shut their eyes towards these! The Dalits were persecuted, in U.P. and other States by the so called forward classes.   Many schools in Dalit areas were attacked and closed!

 

Media Manipulation and Fascism: It is no secret that the media in this country was manipulated to deplorable level. Several journalists were either silenced or murdered, as they expressed their views freely and the Sangh Parivar organizations and BJP leaders were disturbed by this.   The cold-blooded murder of Journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh, on 5th September 2017 night is being compared with the killings of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, CPI leader Govind Pansare and scholar MM Kalburgi.  This is simply called fascism!

 

The number of soldiers and civilians killed in Kashmir  during the regime of Narendra Modi (2014-2019) tells the real story of  lapses from the part of the ‘responsible people’ who accused the UPA ‘ inability’ to save the soldiers!  Who is to be blamed for security lapses in Phulwama on 14th February 2019  killing 40 CRPF men?  There were always security lapses in one way or the other.  But, the way Modi criticized UPA and the situation he is in now, there are not much sympathizers for Modi.  But, the strange thing is that, while the whole opposition stood with Modi on 14th February and after that, with Indian attack on Pakistani destinations began on February 26th , Modi started his ‘boasting’  that ‘he will take care of Indians’ and criticized Congress party and  UPA, unbecoming of a Prime Minister during such situations.

With the economy is in a mess, the disturbance made in the Reserve Bank of India, Supreme Court, CBI, major Universities in the country, Planning Commission, Election Commission and the immoral political intervention in States where the Governors were misused to manipulate and twist political will of people by unholy ways to form BJP governments, Narender Modi regime have nothing to boast of  their achievements for the welfare of the people.   BJP is crippled by an autocratic leader and   stands as an enterprise that lost its credibility to approach people of India again for a second term.

Dr. Charles Dias is a Former Member of Parliament