BJP’s GDP Mantra for 2024!

We are already a few days into the New Year which promises to be very exciting in many aspects at the outset. It is the year of elections not just in India but I am told in 50-odd countries including the oldest modern democracy –America. While in America, the elections will take place towards the end of the year, in India it will be in May and one can already feel the election heat.

In all probability, it appears that the BJP under Narendra Modi is set for a record 3rd term, going by the mood in the country at this point. Unless BJP commits some major blunders from here on which is seemingly unlikely, Modi is expected to take oath as India’s Prime Minister come May 2024. Now there are many liberal commentators who, while acknowledging this possibility, ascribe it to Hindu polarisation as the main reason for Modi and BJP’s success at the hustings. This commentary in my opinion is most unfair and uncharitable. This reasoning has gained more traction ever since the mega build-up to the Ram Mandir inauguration at Ayodhya started. In my opinion, even if the Ram Mandir was going to be inaugurated a few years later, the results of the elections wouldn’t be too different. While positioning itself as the guardian of Hindu rights is one aspect of BJP’s politics, it is not the only one and its repeated success at the elections is due to a combination of other factors as well.

As we begin this New Year, it is almost 10 years since this government under Modi came to power and it may be a good time to do a proper performance appraisal of the Sarkar. I would list the following key achievements of this Modi Sarkar which in my opinion puts it in an absolute pole position to win the 2024 elections:

  1. Infrastructure Development: Right from Vajpayee’s NDA government to Manmohan Singh’s UPA government, there has been a focus on infrastructure development by the governments at the Centre. However, this Modi government since 2014, has taken the focus on Infrastructure development to another level. There has been a relentless effort to improve visible infrastructure at all levels which means building Roads and Highways, upgrading railway tracks, modernising Railway stations, Increasing the footprint of Metros across the country, building new airports in smaller towns, improving and expanding existing airports, developing areas of tourist potential around different circuits, expanding telecom connectivity to connect the remotest villages in the country and so on. While many of the big-ticket projects are still Work In Progress, quite a few have seen completion and people can see and feel the changes. It is important to note that this focus on asset building continued even during economic downturns like the Covid years.
  2. Delivering basic needs to people: For years, BSP a coinage for Bijli, Sadak and Paani used to be an ongoing issue and promise by parties in elections. Not anymore. Even remote villages boast of decent roads and connectivity these days. As of year 2020, 99.57% of the Indian population has been covered under electrification. Providing potable water to all is currently underway. Traditional smoke generating stoves are being replaced by Gas stoves across the country. Pucca houses have been constructed and handed over to the needy. Toilets have been built in villages to stop open defecation. Under various programs like the PM Awaz Yojana and Ujwala scheme, people have seen that some of their basic needs which were not addressed all these years have been delivered. I’m not saying that all the needy have been provided with the basic needs. But as we saw in states like UP, MP etc… there has been a major chunk of people who have become beneficiaries under these welfare schemes.
  3. Banking the Unbanked: This in my opinion counts as one of the significant achievements of this Sarkar as it feeds into many other benefits for the underprivileged. Right in the 1st year of its 1st term, Modi kicked off the Jan Dhan Yojana to significantly increase financial inclusion and bank the hitherto unbanked. Having a bank account is a manifestation of pride and empowerment that only those who didn’t have one can relate to. One can argue that the previous UPA government also gave importance to financial inclusion in the past but the sharp focus with which the Modi Sarkar went about executing the Jan Dhan programme on the ground across the country is indeed a case study on the execution of mass welfare programmes. In this effort, the government was ably assisted by party workers on the ground as well who took it upon themselves to get bank accounts opened for the needy. Opening of Jan Dhan accounts on a mass scale has paved the way for the smooth transfer of welfare programmes directly to the needy with almost zero leakage as we saw during Covid.
  4. Prudent fiscal management: This aspect of the Government’s functioning is not talked about much as it can be distorted and played up in the opposite way. When Modi took over as the PM, India was among the fragile five in terms of economic standing. Today, India is coveted to be among the best-performing economies. During these ten years, the Government had many crises to contend with starting with the global slowdown in 2018, the Covid pandemic in 2020, the ongoing Ukraine war and conflict in the Middle East. Yet, the country has demonstrated tremendous resilience in tiding over all these crises from a financial standpoint. For this, I would give credit to the entire team in the finance and economic ministries and the PMO. In the first term of this Government, it had the benefit of low crude prices. But what did it do? Instead of completely passing off the cost reduction to the consumer, the then Finance Ministry under Arun Jaitley decided to build a buffer – a strategy which in my opinion came in handy for the government in the 1st term to continue spending to pump prime the economy in the wake of slow private sector investments. The same strategy also came in handy in the last few years to deliver welfare schemes to the needy in the form of free rations etc during Covid and later. People have learnt to live with the high fuel prices and the Government has been able to channelise the additional tax collections to welfare programmes. There has been no visible outrage among the public and even when some outrage happens, the government has been able to handle the situation deftly. If in 2014 someone said that we would be able to reduce our Current Account Deficit (CAD) to almost 1% from 4.7%, one would pity that person for indulging in kite flying. But the fact is, India’s CAD declined sharply to 1% of GDP in Q2 of this FY!
  5. Pragmatic and muscular foreign policy: One of the other major achievements of this Sarkar has been its way of handling foreign policy. In extreme pressure situations, India has been able to take nuanced and tough stands on key issues and articulate the same in equal measure. Pakistan as a neighbour used to occupy our mindshare in the past but not anymore. Modi made an earnest attempt when he took over to build bridges with Pakistan. But, when the same was reciprocated with terrorist attacks on Indian soil, the government responded in two ways – one to retaliate with cross-border strikes immediately and two to cut off diplomatic ties with Pakistan. The result is that Pakistan occupies the least mindshare in India. Even with China, the Modi government started off with friendly overtures. But when they were not reciprocated in the same manner, the government has since taken a tough diplomatic stance with China. At the same time, the government has managed to navigate its way through and maintain transactional relationships with the big powers like America, Australia, Japan etc while building an extremely friendly relationship with the Muslim countries in the Middle East. In tangible terms, we have been able to ward off challenges due to high crude prices post the Ukraine war.
  6. Bringing back the focus on Manufacturing: For long, India has been faring well on the services front with IT and related services leading the way. The rise of India as an IT superpower indeed changed the landscape of cities like Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, Gurgaon, Chennai etc forever while significantly changing the lifestyles of middle-class Indians across the country. However, a country like India cannot just depend upon services to lift the poor out of poverty. The other two cylinders namely Manufacturing and Agriculture have to equally fire for the country to achieve equitable growth. Though “Make in India” as a program did not take off initially, it has now started to pay off. We are seeing a significant surge in manufacturing activity in sectors like Automobiles, Pharma and electronics which is also contributing to our export growth. This foundation has also helped us to launch the concept of becoming “Atma Nirbhar” and take advantage of the “China +1” strategy of big countries in the Covid aftermath.
  7. Abrogation of Article 370: On the political front, this is one of the most significant achievements of this Government without a doubt. Even in 2014 when Modi took over as the Prime Minister of a full majority government, truth be told, it was inconceivable that the special status accorded to Kashmir through Article 370 could ever be repealed. This Government not just managed to repeal it, but also managed the fall out of it domestically and internationally without much ado. Recently, the Supreme Court of India also gave its NOC for the same and with this one can conclude that Modi Sarkar managed to pull off a thing that was carved in stone to be a red line for any Government at the Centre. Once the state elections are conducted in Kashmir, it will complete the loop of mainstreaming Kashmir like any other state of India and this is a Big achievement!
  8. Improving Ease of Living: This is always an ongoing project as there is no real endgame for this. Yet, one can safely conclude that in the past 10 years thanks to the JAM (Jan Dhan-Aadhaar-Mobile) trinity, there has been a marked improvement in the way many services can be availed. And this is not just restricted to cities but even small towns and villages. This is also not restricted to the privileged class of society but across the board. Whether it is availing many government services, E-Commerce, Online payments or medical care, life has certainly become easier in India. Credit goes to this government for embracing and democratising technology like no other government in the past.

There are certain areas where the government has yet to fulfil its promises. But, no one is expecting that any government ticks off every item in its manifesto. People are more than happy if 5 out of 10 promises are kept and the government shows an earnest intent to do its best.

As you can see from the above list, Modi Sarkar has more than just Ram Mandir and wooing of Hindus to its credit in the past 10 years. Therefore, the liberal commentariat should come out of its delusion that this Sarkar is all about Hindu Vs. Muslim and which is why it is winning elections. That would be insulting to the intelligence of the voters in this country.

I believe that going into the Lok Sabha elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party will invoke the “GDP Mantra” to ask for another term for Modi along with the Ram Mantra. GDP as in Governance, Delivery and Promise!

On that note, wishing my readers a successful and satisfying 2024!

0 thoughts on “BJP’s GDP Mantra for 2024!”

  1. All your points i accept.. But what about people means people below poverty line. You want to develop a nation but forget to eradicate poverty.. Our poverty index is one of the worst in the world. On other important aspect is the democtatic vision. We are not a Hindu nation. Our constitution defines us as a secular republic. Huge money is spent on statues instead of people.

    1. Asha that’s a typically jingoistic statement. Just count how many statues have been funded by the govt and compare them to the welfare schemes and benefits transferred to millions of people across the country, be it in terms of rations, electricity, housing, cooking gas and so on. You at not be an statue lover, but there are people who do believe in them and thank God , the govt is also looking after their spiritual needs.

    2. Thanks, Asha for leaving your comment.
      India is a 1.4 Bn country and with a big chunk of people below the poverty line for decades now. So no government can eradicate poverty in 10 years.
      a. Has this govt taken concrete steps to eradicate poverty. The answer is yes. The huge investment in infra, giving boost to mfg etc are all steps in the right direction to give jobs to people and lift them out of poverty.
      b. Has the Govt taken some stupid decisions that pushed millions to poverty? The answer is No.
      c. Can this govt do better in eradicating poverty – The answer is yes.
      So the poverty index etc will not change even in the next 10 years of any govt for that matter.
      Democratic vision – I don’t see any issue with this govt doing anything to damage democracy.
      Building statues – if you are talking of Patel statues etc.. are not built with Govt money. Also, it helps to develop the local economy when people start visiting the place!

  2. Health has been missed out – infrastructure, Free Drugs and Diagnostics, Screenings and referrals for NCDs, Ayushman Bharat – AB-Ayushman Arogya Mandir, AB-PMJAY, ABDM. ABHIM + FCXV tied Health grants —— continuous reduction on Out of pocket expenditure on health

  3. Dhanaji Ganpatrao MULIK

    Nothing Seems about Agriculture and Sustainable Solutions industry… Farmers Need Minimum Support Price top of it, Desi Cows based Bamboo Farming & Organic Crops will boost FARMER income and quality of Air.. MySMart Village it’s initiative not only Idea or VISION Join US For Developing Sustainable Green Economy…

  4. BJP did lot of efforts to gain the faith of the Indian voter and they achieved it successfully. The main work done by BJP is more towards the showbiz to mobilize the Indian mob. All that is achieved with a proper and consistent coverage of these issues on social media and killing the opposition. The benefit of growing economy, technology and communication is well taken by BJP. BJP majorly worked on the smaller and localized issues and used propaganda theory avoiding the main work needed, which are tax reforms, reservation and population reforms. The BJP lacked totally on Hindu – Muslim relations, bringing honesty by reducing corruption, education and farming systems.

  5. Excellent Commentary.byou have read the mind of the common voter.

    We look for a leadership who can prepare our country for the next generation. Opportunity generation is on a all time high. Enough patronage from government to start ups MSME means we are building the Tier 2 Tier 3 areas.

    This is a great time to be in Bharat as a citizen, entrepreneur or an investor.

  6. All is good on the surface, and Govt deserves full credit.
    However issue of corruption by babus at all levels of governance still remains a big issue for the public, and grievance Redressal system of Govt is a total joke and a mockery, including the PMO, who only push papers, and no grievances are actually redressed, despite repeated follow up, sorry to say.

  7. Dear RaSA,
    Very focussed and clear articulation of this govt’s achievements….I dont think we can pick out anything in the form of needless compliment to Modi Sarkar 2.0 ..I am sure this will be pleasing to the eyes n ears of the PMO….
    Wish the Nation Best for 2024 & Beyond!!

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