One year of NDA government: Development Modi-fied

A factual appraisal of how the Narendra Modi government performed in its first year

Last Updated: Wednesday 08 July 2015

Study says that while the Centre’s performance on environment has not been unsatisfactory, it has not done enough to reduce environmental degradation and pollution
Author: DTE Staff
An assessment of the Narendra Modi government’s one-year record on environmental conservation says that it has not been very different from that of the previous regime.
It has been a mixed year for the NDA government on forest governance. Apart from the introduction of the Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill in the Parliament, there was no significant departure from the measures of the previous government
Narendra Modi-led government’s flagship programme to restore purity and glory of India’s holiest river has made little progress on ground
Ganga basin, the largest river basin in India, covers a little more than a quarter of the country’s landmass and supports almost 43 per cent of its population. Restoring the "nirmal aur aviral dhara" (clear and flowing stream) of "Ma Ganga" was a top priority for Narendra Modi when he was sworn in as the Prime Minister on May 26, 2014. It was also one of the major election promises made by Modi to the ancient riverside city of Varanasi, which elected him to Parliament.
The Modi government released the National Air Quality Index (AQI) for public information
There was no place for air pollution in the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) election manifesto. Around 50 per cent of Indian cities are severely affected by particulate pollution which is a public health hazard. The BJP manifesto had, however, talked about building an integrated public transport system to discourage the use of private vehicles in urban areas.
Clearances to coal mining projects has been a priority for Narendra Modi government
The BJP's manifesto released during the 2014 general elections did mention about environmental governance, but with a twist. The plan for environmental management was largely talked about under the subject "industry", instead of "flora, fauna and environment". There was a clear emphasis on framing of environmental laws in a way that aids speedy clearances and removal of bottlenecks and leaves no scope for confusion.
With increased funds and Centrally Sponsored Schemes, India's states now urgently need the institutional mechanism to manage this responsibility
For long, states have been demanding more funds from the Central tax pool. In addition, there have been demands for devolving most of the Centrally Sponsored Schemes to the states. Just a few days before the Union Budget, the government had accepted the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission that had increased the states' share in the central tax pool.
Modi government's climate change actions–big on plans but unclear in implementation strategy
Since coming to power, there has been a lot of speculation about how serious the Modi government is about climate change. Prime Minister Modi's remarks at various forums have shown a lot of inconsistency in statements—from "Climate has not changed. We have changed" to "India can offer natural leadership on climate change".
Will choosing auction route to allocate coal blocks make coal-fired thermal power expensive?
Within a few months of the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) coming to power, the Supreme Court cancelled allotment of coal blocks to private and government mining companies, terming all allocations made between 1993 and 2010 as illegal.
Funding for the National Health Mission has been reduced by 20 per cent; spending on public health will also be reduced by 8 per cent
After taking over as the prime minister last year, Narendra Modi identified health as the key focus area of his government. The Bharatiya Janata Party had promised universal health access during its election campaigns. During his poll speeches, Modi identified it as an important part of his famous “Gujarat model”. But in the first budget, the Modi government brought about one of the highest budget cuts in the health sector.
Several flagship schemes have faced huge cuts in annual allocation
The Narendra Modi government's first year was perceived as anti-poor and pro-business. During the 2014 Lok Sabha poll campaign, Modi had come down heavily on the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government's rural programmes, citing them as doles. Several of Modi's ministers have also criticised the massive UPA spending on rural welfare, saying it was a hindrance to overall development and sheer wastage of public money. The 2015-16 Budget maintains this notion.
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