The BJP-led NDA government came to power at the Centre riding on an unprecedented and historic mandate. People had voted for development, stability, progress, showing yet again the resilience and vibrancy of India’s democracy.
But the huge mandate has come with an even bigger responsibility for Modi and the nation is waiting to see how he delivers on the promises he made in the run up to polls. So what will be the strategy and various other upcoming challenges for Modi? How is he going to bring the much awaited ‘change’ in India and make ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’ a true reality would be an interesting watch:
Boost economic growth, control price rise
In his previous role as a chief minister, Narendra Modi gained immense popularity as an economic moderniser. Now people are hoping that he will recreate the same model nationwide and put the economy back on track by bringing in investment. Modi’s tenure will be the new-versus-old battle, a hope that he will remove the bureaucratic cobwebs and unleash India’s creative energies. As promised, Modi will have to develop suitable policies which are friendly to big businesses. In PM’s own words, he will have to promote ‘Made in India.’
Though the first budget of Modi government was not upto the expectations of many, there are enough indications that the economy is on a rebound. For a country like India, GDP growth rate of around 5% is not good enough, what is needed is a steady growth rate of about 7-8%. Modi will also need to look at the issues of inflation and price rise which are hurting common man the most.
Rebuild relationship with Pakistan
Modi’s tenure as PM started with a masterstroke by inviting heads of SAARC countries, especially his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif. Everyone thought that a new chapter in the annals of Indo-Pak relationships will be written. The country was hoping that Modi will be able to work towards a peaceful and meaningful dialogue with Pakistan. However, the present scenario where Pakistan dares India every day by breaking ceasefire, presents a huge challenge for Modi in his quest to iron out the differences with the neighbour.
Also, stability in South Asia will continue to depend on the health of Indo-Pak relationship.
Two third of India’s current population is under the age of 35. This simply means that it has labour force of over 500 million people, which is similar to what China had in 1980s when their economy surged. PM Modi will have to positively utilise this huge work force in the organised sector by generating more employment opportunities.
Demand for labour also has to be created through small and medium industries. Growth in economy will mean a growth in revenue, which in turn will fund social welfare schemes. For India to stand tall in the world order, PM Modi will have to take up the challenge of channelising the talent of youth.
Food, house and education for all
Given the sensitivity of the price rise issue, the productivity of land needs to be increased by modernising agricultural practices. Modi will have to also devise a better public distribution system. He has already hinted at the restructuring of Food Corporation of India (FCI) to efficiently store and distribute food products. This would definitely be one of the key challenges for the Modi government.
The next challenge for the NDA government will be to provide education and housing for all. India’s future will truly shine if Modi fulfills his promises made to India. He has also promised to set-up AIIMS, IITs and IIMs in every state of India, a dream to ensure quality education is accessible to all sections of the society.
The PM also needs to device a concrete plan to ensure that his promise to ensure housing for all by 2022 becomes a reality. The 100 smart cities he plans to build will be key element of the plan.
Transparency in governance
The 'Modi wave' played a role but the biggest reason for the massive mandate won by the BJP was the unmitigated corruption seen during the UPA government's tenure.
PM Modi has promised to root out corruption from all levels. The new PM wants a paradigm shift in the manner in which the government machinery functions. He wants to run India in the way he managed Gujarat for 13 years – with bureaucrats running the show.
For the common Indian it won't matter how fixes the system but what is needed is that the system gets fixed.
Replacement of Planning Commission
The PM has promised to do away with the Planning Commission, and replace it with a new institution/body that is more aligned to the economic aspirations of a new India. The next 100 days will test his ideas on the front.
Construction of model villages
The other big task in front of PM Modi will be to turn the 'Adarsh Gram Yojana' into reality.
The plan may be a precursor to larger reforms in the sphere of rural development. According to a senior rural development ministry official, the new scheme will integrate all schemes, including the MGNREGA at the village level.
Digitisation of India
Taking forward the promise of a new India, Modi has decided to give India a digital future. According to him, ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’ will only be realised when entire India will be connected digitally.
The first step in this direction has already been initiated with Rs 1 lakh crore been approved for the project. The next step has to be greater emphasis on e-governance as it holds the potential to substantially reduce corruption.
While one challenge will be to assure that the youth get enough opportunities to give up the path Naxalism and also not fall in the trap of terrorism, women’s safety will be possibly one of the most keenly watched areas. After some recent barbaric incidents of gang-rapes and molestations, women’s safety should be a priority area for the PM, who has chosen to squarely put the onus on the male gender. Implementation of his promises that the government will run sensitisation programmes, enforce stricter laws and fast track women’s cases to make women feel safer, will remain a much awaited task for the NDA government. Unfortunately, statements like ‘too much publicity of Nirbhaya rape case hit Indian tourism’ by his senior ministers will not help matters.
Clean Ganga campaign and Sanitation
PM Modi has taken up a highly ambitious plan to clean up river Ganga. A new ministry under Uma Bharti has specifically been created to clean up the pious river.
The process to clean the river has already been initiated and hopefully, despite the challenges, the mission will see success so that the model can then be introduced for cleaning up other rivers.
Sanitation is another such issue that the PM is working on. Besides providing dignity to women, the 'sanitation for all' mission will help the country wash off the negative image of India abroad, thereby aiding the tourism sector.
‘Swachh Bharat' by 2019, is something India needs.
PM Modi has said that the country has given 60 years to the Congress, so BJP should at least be given 60 months to prove that it can change the face and future of India.
The only question that arises here is, will Modi be able to deliver on such big promises in a single tenure?
India is watching.