With Long List of Hits & a Few Misses, How Modi's 100 Days in 2nd Term Are Better Than Maiden Stint
The most important miss is the economy. Several indicators including the slump in the auto sales, rail freight, consumption of petroleum products, domestic air travel and also in imports, clearly showed the slow down.
Newly-elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi takes charge of the office of Prime Minister of India, at the PMO in South Block, in New Delhi. (Image: PTI)
The Narendra Modi government completes its first 100 days on September 6. How is its performance so far? What are the hits and misses during this period in his second term? While there are many hits, there are also a few misses.
Politically, Modi has emerged much stronger after his party’s stunning victory in the 2019 polls. This has given him enough boldness to carry out his reform agenda in several areas. The pace of reforms is also much faster going by the budget and the vision he had revealed in his Independence Day speech. His team was already in place and he has also been making plans for his second term even before the 2019 polls, confident of his victory.
At the party level, Modi 2.0 has achieved most of the core agenda of the BJP. Triple Talaq bill is a message to the Muslims that they should not hide behind religion and have a different law. "If we can take steps against 'Sati' custom, female feticide, child marriage and dowry, then why not against instant triple talaq," he asked.
The abrogation of Article 370 pertaining to the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and the related Article 35A were indeed bold steps. It was the surprise element and meticulous planning, implemented by Home Minister Amit Shah, which worked in his favour.
Modi has resolved a complex issue, which many of his predecessors had been grappling with unsuccessfully for the past 60 years. However, the biggest problem will be to restore normalcy at the earliest. Once the local leaders, including the three former chief ministers, who are now under arrest, are released it is not known which way things would go.
On the legislative side, the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha has created record in many ways, as legislation relating to many areas has been passed. A total of 30 bills had been passed in a most productive session so far. On the security side, anti terror laws have been tightened. Labour reforms, enacting strong laws against frauds, death penalty for child sexual assault are other measures. Modi has been able to divide the opposition and get even controversial bills like Triple Talaq, Article 370 etc. passed even in the upper house where the government is in a minority.
On the Foreign policy front, if it was the SAARC leaders who attended his swearing-in ceremony in his first term, it was the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) leaders who were invited in his second term.
The Prime Minister has been rubbing shoulders with world leaders in the G 20 summit in Japan and G 7 leaders in France in the past 100 days. He has raised the stature of India by finding a place in the high table. Modi has held bilateral meeting with many of these leaders, including US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of these summits. Modi himself is leading on the diplomacy front and has personally explained the Kashmir situation to Trump, Russian President Putin and other world leaders.
The International Court of Justice ruling in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case is touted as a victory by New Delhi. The court ruling that Pakistan cannot execute the capital punishment awarded to Jadhav is in favour of India.
On the development side, the government has announced Rs 100 lakh crores of investment in road, railways, ports, airports and other infrastructure projects. The Rs 6,000 assistance to all farmers, and higher Minimum Support Price for Kharif crops, are some of the other decisions. The formation of the new Jal Shakti Ministry and its schemes like 'Jal Shakti Abhiyan' are indeed notable. The launch of Chandrayan 2 is also an important event in the space science.
The most important miss is the economy. Several indicators including the slump in the auto sales, rail freight, consumption of petroleum products, domestic air travel and also in imports, clearly showed the slow down. The Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced mega merger of nationalised banks, providing stimulus to the sick units.
The other miss is the National Register of Citizens issue. Due to weak efforts of the West Bengal and Assam governments, many illegal migrants have entire nation. The NRC has been updated to comply with the demands in Assam Accord of 1985, signed between Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and the Assam students union. When the list came out recently, lakhs of people, who are genuine citizens have been left out which has created chaos. Throwing out the illegal immigrants is also part of the BJP manifesto but the mess has created an embarrassment.
Trade with the US is yet another irritant. Trump is upset about the lack of US market access to Indian market and the protectionist tendencies shown by the Modi government in its second term. Trump and Modi discussed the issue in their recent bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G7 summit in France. Iran is yet another irritant with the US.
While 100 days are not enough assess Modi government’s performance but then on balance, it has certainly done more in the first 100 days of his second term than in his first.
(The author is a political analyst. Views are personal)
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