Reforms by Modi Government : Analysis

  • September 23, 2017
  • 12:55 am
  • Priyanshi Chandrawat

Governance reform seeks to clarify and strengthen the positioning of the organization to achieve greater coherence among the many players involved in global health. This can be achieved by improving governing practices internally and engaging more effectively with external stakeholders.

Policy formation thus essentially devolves to three processes. These cannot be regarded as well constructed means of governing a project of this scale. Firstly, editors quietly make changes to the policy or more actively edit war to force in certain changes over the objections of other editors. Hence, as in more general debates, sheer persistence will often overcome opposition. Secondly, persistent editors make small but frequent edits which seem innocuous individually, but over time accumulate to a radical change in policy. Thirdly, the committee is not therefore well suited to play the role of the policy maker. In short, the Arbitration Committee does what it suggests arbitrating. Changes are typically presented as interpretations or clarifications to what is presumably already agreed upon.

For the first time in 30 years, the BJP came to power with an absolute majority and the swearing in ceremony gave a hint that Team Modi was ready with a game changing plan for the country. The External Affairs Minister headed by Sushma Swaraj earned laurels for helping the Indian living abroad, be it for rescuing Kerala nurses from war torn Libya or bringing back differently abled Geeta from Pakistan. The main reforms introduced by NDA government are Jan Dhan Yojana, LPG Subsidy Reforms, Swachh Bharat Mission by building more toilets, waste management and waste segregation, India Bangladesh land boundary agreement, bankruptcy code, Real Estate Regulation, Yoga Day, Mann Ki Baat, Digital India, Ministry dreaming to create a knowledge, GST and Land Ordinance, Women’s Bill, Silence on fringe right wing groups , Smart City Plans; Mr. Jaitley’s maiden budget allocated 7060 crore for the development of 100 smart cities, Make in India, EPFO reforms, the government introduced universal access number (UAN) to all EPF holders to make transfer of PF accounts easily when switching jobs, OROP; The One Rank One Pension scheme; a long-pending demand of ex-servicemen was accepted by the government, but with caveats, Planning Commission to Niti Aayog, UDAY Aadhar; questions remain on why was it made a money bill; would the Constitution be amended to give more teeth to Aadhar or would the UIDAI compromise on privacy, Ganga Rejuvenation.

The Namami Ganga project with a budget of Rs 20,000 crore over a period of five years has been cleared. Bullet train, demonetization and welfare schemes, a slew of insurance schemes namely crop insurance for farmers, Atal Pension Yojana for the unorganized sector, affordable health insurance coverage, and the Jan Aushadh Yojana for retail sales of generic drugs were introduced in the last two years. In addition, the government has re-launched Kisan Vikas Patra and introduced a PPF equivalent for girl child; Sukanya Samriddhi Scheme. Again, in the country known for socialist welfare schemes, the onus of welfare shifting from government to individual is an ideological change and may take time for acceptance.

Narendra Modi led BJP has just finished three years and there are two words to best describe Modi’s tenure 2014-17 change has occurred across various dimensions and is continuing. Whether it be economics, politics, social politics, foreign policy, a distinct stamp is being placed on India. The set of economic reforms already in place in India – the list is long and expanding: reforms in agricultural marketing and agricultural insurance, introduction and expansion of direct benefits transfer and the corresponding decline in PDS and NREGA corruption, bankruptcy code, beginning of direct tax reform (reduction in corporate taxes with promise of a major direct tax reform), GST and now soon to be comprehensively attached NPA problems of banks. These policies add up to more far reaching reforms than the cumulative economic reforms introduced in India between 1991 and 2014. In other words, the last three years have brought about more reforms than the sum of the previous 25 years.

Demonetization: of course, any discussion of the Modi government is incomplete without reference to that greatest “experiment” of all demonetization. Contrary to naysayers, demonetization has not had a very large negative short-term effect on the Indian economy. The just released CSO data indicates a decline in GVA (Gross Value Added, broadly comparable to the more familiar measure of GDP) growth from 7.9% in 2015-16 to 6.6% in 2016-17. However, as several analysts have noted, a slowdown in Indian growth was already present in the July September 2016 quarter, i.e., before the introduction of demonetization on Nov 8. In terms of short run, there is a negative demonetization effect of GDP, possibly amounting to as much as 0.5%. This negative effect is much lower than the doomsday forecasts of a 2% and more decline in GDP growth.

Finally, there is a genuine attempt to bring about an end to the practice of triple talaq and the introduction of a Uniform Civil Code but this is where the good news ends. The unwelcome news begins with the introduction of a morality code in the lines of Indian. It starts innocuously but disturbingly, with film censorship. But it gets worse and independent of politics we should recognize that in the social arena, we are handicapped by a problematic Constitution and more problematic set of individuals (High Court and Supreme Court) interpreting the Constitution. How does one justify the Supreme Court ruling that the Constitution requires that the national anthem is played before the start of every movie? Cow Vigilantism: This is a much greater threat to the Unity and Sanity of India than any collection of ghar-wapsi, Romeo Squads or justices like Chand or moralists like Nihalani. The ban of cow slaughters is not due to a (fire) brand of Hindutva, or due to a political party but rather the Constitution. It is the Supreme Court that prohibited cow slaughter and it did so because of social and religious “Directive Principles” in our Constitution. Cow Vigilantism is no different than communication. And India is not a theocratic Hindu state so the dietary or religious beliefs of a section of the majority community should not dictate the law of the land. Dietary restrictions for a diverse country like India is political and cultural suicide.

The lack of an effective, community oriented policy making process has caused a variety of other unfortunate consequences.

Among others are –

Firstly, the dispute resolution process has largely collapsed into a single arbitration step.

Secondly, policy pages are often dominated by small groups of editors, who actively resist any change away from their favoured position.

Thirdly, attempts to develop new policy sometimes degenerate into outright conflict among groups of editors.