Opinions differ on what Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has accomplished in his first year but most observers agree he has been busy since taking over last May.
When Modi stormed into power in 2014 by winning Lok Sabha election with massive mandate, he delivered a strong message: “We are not here for any positions but for a responsibility”. From bureaucrats to MPs, everyone started falling in line. Be it strengthening foreign policy or launching welfare schemes for low-income group, team Modi has been working hard to fulfil people’s expectations.
Modi-led government is clocking over a year at the wheel. Here are 10 major things Modi government has achieved since coming to power:
1. Make in India
To facilitate investment, boost research & development (R&D), ensure product originality and create skill-based jobs by establishing industrial sector; major national programme was started by Narendra Modi. Modi has reached out to the world with his idea of ‘Make in India’ and it has generated positive response from foreign companies. Key Labour Law reform in the pipeline will boost manufacturing industry and foreign investment in India.
2. Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Campaign)
Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was launched on 2 Oct 2014 by Modi. Filth is considered one of the major problems in India and Modi gave the issue its due importance by launching a nationwide campaign. Many called it a masterstroke from Modi as it put him at par with Mahatma Gandhi in public perception and also gave people the message to act on hygiene and civic sense. Modi nominated notable personalities from film industry, sports, media, business and other celebrities to promote the initiative.
3. Creation of NITI Aayog to Replace Planning Commission
On 1 Jan 2015, Modi formed National Institution of Transforming India (NITI) Aayog, which is a policy think-tank of Government of India that replaced Planning Commission. The panel was abolished along with GOMs and EGOMs which caused policy paralysis under UPA rule. NITI Aayog is headed by PM Modi and its members include top-notch economists, consultants and advisers along the lines of US think-tanks.
4. Jan Dhan Yojana
On 15 August 2014, Modi announced Jan Dhan Yojana. Over 15 crore bank accounts were opened in last one year. Main focus has been on reaching every household to provide credit facility, pension and insurance to account holders.
5. Economic Reforms and Policy Implementation
Modi-led NDA government’s primary focus is on reviving Indian economy through major reforms in manufacturing and export sector. Government has not only increased the limits of FDI in Railways, Insurance and Defence but also encouraged privatisation of loss-making public sector companies.
Without being bogged down by coalition partners, Modi persisted with his focus on transformation. On the infrastructure front, government has already begun work on connecting major metros under Diamond Quadrilateral rail corridor project. Major reforms and developments are under process for Modi’s dream projects: 100 Smart Cities and Clean Ganga Mission.
6. Foreign Policy Put on Fast-track Mode
Modi’s foreign policy is currently focussed on improving relations with neighbouring countries and getting the world to invest in India. In the US, he met several American business leaders and invited them to be a part of Make in India programme. During his recent visit to France, he urged Airbus, the aerospace giant, to explore manufacturing opportunities in India. While in Germany, he made a strong pitch for the Make in India initiative. He has been trying to send across the message of a more “competitive, confident and secure” India.
7. Tourism Gets a Push
Tourism featured prominently in the government’s action plan. Its prime target has been to make India a world class travel destination. In last one year, the visa system underwent a major revamp. Introduction of visa-on-arrival service for all leading nations was a key step in this direction. Moreover, growth has been reportedly observed in the number of foreign tourist arrivals after the Modi government came to power.
8. Implementation of Neighbourhood First Policy
One of the major policy initiatives taken by Modi government was to actively focus on improving ties with immediate neighbours. Inviting all heads of SAARC nations to Modi’s swearing-in ceremony was an aggressive and smart move by Modi as a Prime Minister. It gave bold message to the World that no one does swearing-in in Asia like we do. It was the first diplomatic victory for Modi and India started taking itself seriously again.
9. Campaign for Building Toilets
PM Modi has initiated a huge project to construct 10 crore toilets by 2019 at an unbelievable rate of one toilet per second. Modi appealed to corporate sector for contribution in this Clean India drive. Positive response has come from IT giant TCS and they have decided to build 10,000 toilets in girls’ schools across the country. An enormous fund of 100 crore has been provisioned for this cause. Oriental Bank of Commerce has announced contribution of 2 crore for building toilets. Bharti Foundation, Adani Group, Reliance Group and Vedanta Group have also pledged support for the campaign and contributed significantly.
10. Confidence-building Measures in Kashmir
Kashmir is an integral part of India but has a long list of complaints against previous governments – both Centre and state. When the flood created devastations in the valley, response from Modi government was immediate and genuine. Modi dedicated constant monitoring system for flood affected areas and people of Kashmir. He also decided to spend Deepawali with Kashmir flood survivors. Even his critics praised his move. After a long time an Indian politician managed to establish a connect with the Kashmiri people.