One year of Modi government: no more achhe din, claims citizen report

According to the authors, the document was prepared after consultations with stakeholders in 100 districts across India

By Jitendra
Published: Tuesday 26 May 2015


A latest “citizen report” states that the one-year-old Narendra Modi-led government has neither lived up to the expectations of people nor to its own claims. The report was published by a network of more than 4,000 voluntary organisations across the country.

Titled “Citizens’ report on one year of NDA government: Promises and Reality”, the report that was released on Sunday critically looked into the promises and achievements of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government. To gather data and collate the report, experts had consulted different stake holders in 100 districts to understand the impact of different schemes under the banner of Wada Na Todo Abhiyan (WNTA).

Paul Divakar, Convener of WNTA, stated while releasing the report that it makes an attempt to see the impact of the flagship schemes of NDA on the poorest of the poor and the vulnerable communities.
“Janata Mazdoor colony in East Delhi, located only 18 km from Connaught Place, is a cesspool does not have sanitation facilities, civic amenities, electricity connection for all, mostly the juggis and jhopdis,” said Divakar. He added that the city has 200,000 workers, including city makers, domestic helpers, small factory workers and rickshaw pullers. “There is no trace of government in the colony. One wonders if schemes like Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan, smart cities and Beti Bachao will benefit people of this area,” he said.

The report was released in presence of media professionals, activists, experts and politician Sandeep Dixit who is former Member of the Parliament. No one from Bhartiya Janata Party was present. The opposition party leader and a known economist Jayati Ghosh stated that the current government is a remarkably anti-farmer and pro-corporate. She claimed that India was slipping into a rural crisis. “Government halved the budget of Rastriya Krishi Vikas Yojana, the basic institute at district level for providing advises to local farmers, no substantial increase was recorded in the Minimum Support Price and at the same time, the input cost of farming is rising,” says Ghosh.
She further claimed that the government was hell bent on killing the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Scheme by taking it to a “point where it becomes very unviable”. “Earlier, after 60 per cent of spending of funds, the next amount of fund released. Now, it set the criteria of 90 per cent usage for releasing the next amount, which never happen. Even the NITI Aayog termed the NREGA as ‘waste’. In eight states, the anganwadi workers, ASHA workers and many others have not been paid from last six to eight months,” added the leader.

Independent journalist Prananjoy Guha Thakurta shared that the government was pushing reforms by stealth. He criticised the government for attempting to remove the “consent” clause from the Land acquisition Law. The journalist further added that the government was lucky to witness the drastic reduction in global prices of oil. Thakurta, however, satirically asked when would those who voted the government to power be able to see Achhe Din.

Harsh Mander, former member of National Advisory Council and Supreme Court Commissioner on Right to Food, said the government has attacked three fundamental pillars of constitution: liberty, equality and fraternity. Earlier, those posing a threat to the national security were branded as anti-nationals. But now, people who oppose the so called economic security are branded as anti-national. Mander criticised the government of dismantling the welfare nature of the state by stealth.

Nilotpal Basu of Communist Party of India (Marxist) said, “Due to failure of the government to meet the aspirations of people and bring Áchhe Din to them, the resistance of people is growing and is visible in form of street protests and trade union agitations.” The CPI member further explained that the policies of the Modi government could be characterised in three forms: its attack on people’s livelihood, force communal divide, and authoritarian directions. “Since this is a government sponsored by the corporates, it will now repay them with cheap labour, land and natural resource.”

Findings of the report

According to the report, children who constitute 39 per cent of the population have not got anything.

“With slashes in budgets to the Ministry of Women and Child Development, and in health and education, it will be near impossible to deliver on the right to education and ensure health and well-being. In addition, there have been regressive amendments to laws such as the Juvenile Justice Act and the Child Labour Laws which will set us many years back,” states the report. “The new amendment to the Child Labour prohibition law, which intends to not ‘disturb the social fabric’, would provide sanction to girls being kept at home, counter to the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) initiative,” it adds.  According to the report, reversing an abysmally low child sex ratio is as challenging a task for the new regime.

Moreover, the report brings out the fact that within the first few weeks of the new government, 113 communal incidents took place in various regions. In May and June 2014, 15 persons were killed and 318 others injured, reported the Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju to the Rajya Sabha. Churches have been vandalised and Muslims in several parts of the country have been targeted by the fundamentalist elements.

The report, however, appreciates the government for formulation of stringent laws for containing black money. But it also states that the names of people having accounts in foreign banks are evading the public gaze.

An opinion

On the socio-economic front, the government’s flagship Jan Dhan Yojana, that promises unprecedented financial inclusion of the people through the banking route is a key indicator for judging its performance. Government has been able to open more than 15 crore accounts in less than a year. But the concern remains if all the account holders will be benefitted from the overdraft facilities and if their dependence on the informal sources of loan, which charge exorbitant rates, will be dispensed with.

Swachh Bharat Abhiyan is another novel domain categorised as a full-fledged scheme. Thought no additional mechanism seems to be in place and the safai karmachari communities engaged in sanitation tasks have been falling far short in number, majority under contract labour are poorly and irregularly paid. There has been no consultation with them on how the mission can be implemented. 

Under the Make in India scheme, the PM is taking special interest to bring foreign investment to the country. But will these investments generate employment and skill among the youth or will only lead to transfer of land from the community to the corporate and bring irreparable damage to the environment. The speed  and the determination with which government is moving to amend the Land Acquisition Law to dilute the need of “consensus” of the community for land transfer, combined with the attempt to weaken the environment laws, apprehensions about environmental damage are adding up.

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