Modi Ministries Three Years

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It is time one took stock of the three years of the Modi government, and Parliamentarian presents independent, ministry-wise report cards from experts

Narendra Modi is one of the most popular Prime Ministers of India – almost as popular as Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. And, politically more successful than both of them. Modi has been leading the BJP to electoral success in state after state ever since 2014 general elections. He has been bestowed with a gift of gab. His government in 2014 started off with a bang with announcements of one grandiose scheme after another. He introduced strict office code, biometric attendance and other service issues. What gripped the mass imagination was the creation of two unique ministries: Skill Development and River Rejuvenation. Such things had never been thought of in Indian political history. Schemes like Ujjwala Yojana, Swachh Bharat mission brought him accolades. His emphasis on North East and Southern India was exemplary. His initiatives on foreign policy front left diplomatic circles in awe. He wowed the expatriate Indians. He made forays into the Arab world. He caught Pakistan by surprise on more than one occasion through his diplomatic moves.

He promised millions of jobs to the aspiring youth. His disruptive moves like demonetisation of high-value currency notes shocked the sectors which had thrived on black money for. He vowed to convert India into an economic and strategic superpower. It, therefore, becomes imperative to look back and do an assessment of the performance of his government as it completes its three years in office. Parliamentarian has been known to track political and policy interventions. This time we did it through multiple modes. We invited our readers’ response on various government initiatives. We consulted subject experts for their opinion and then we compiled the results in the readable format.

And what we found was surprising. Despite being people’s favourite and despite having launched a slew of most popular and beneficial schemes, the government did not find much favour with them. The most recurring complaint was – lack of delivery. Except for a couple of ministries like Surface Transport, Coal, Power and Renewable Energy headed by two Maharashtrian heavyweights – Nitin Gadkari and Piyush Goyal – most ministries were found wanting on deliverables.

Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) is normally the coordinating authority for various ministries especially foreign affairs, home, finance and defence. But, under Narendra Modi, PMO is the nucleus around which the entire government has been revolving. Our Senior Editor Sharad Gupta, who has been keeping a close vigil on PMO – the personnel, its policies and style of function – had done a cover story on Modi’s PMO for Parliamentarian in September last year. He writes again on the subject – this time on its performance and delivery.

Well-known agriculture and food security expert Devinder Sharma, who has been tracking these sectors for close to four decades, dissected the Modi government’s farm policies. Similarly, Supreme Court lawyer Virag Gupta has analysed the working of the Law Ministry. Veteran journalist Yogesh Vajpeyi, who has worked with prestigious publications, takes a look at the Ministry of Surface Transport. Sankar Ray, another veteran scribe, has analysed Modi’s foreign policy gaffe. Deputy Editor with The Wire, Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar has penned the report card of Ministries of Coal, Mines, Power and Renewable Energy.

I recently met the Indore-based well-known spiritual leader and social reformer Bhaiyyu ji Maharaj, whose followers include a bevvy of politicians, chief ministers and even Anna Hazare. His energy is infectious and his plans for the country more elaborate and imaginative than those of most politicians. It was an overwhelming feeling meeting him. I have shared that experience in an interview.

We have taken a lot of pains in compiling this edition of Parliamentarian. Hope you will ponder over the various issues after going through it, about the direction India is heading in. Do we need a mid-term course correction? Is there a dichotomy between performance and electoral dividends? You decide!

Happy Reading…

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