Zee Media Bureau/ Deepak Nagpal
So, it`s now certain that Narendra Modi will be India`s next prime minister and he will lead the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre for the next five years – the full tenure is for sure because the party on its own has crossed the simple majority of 272 seats, with the NDA winning over 300.
With `power` in its bag, the BJP`s next focus will be the road ahead – the challenges which the NDA-2 faces in the next five years.
Here`s the task ahead for the BJP-led NDA government:
Corruption: One issue the Narendra Modi-led government will have to take very seriously will be corruption. One prime reason behind Congress` massive defeat in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections has primarily been corruption. The Manmohan Singh-led UPA government will be remembered as one of the most corrupt regimes in the history of independent India. Scams like 2G, CWG, Coalgate, VVIP choppers etc not just spoiled the UPA`s reputation in its second tenure, but also hurt India`s image internationally.
The BJP, which had been out of power for the last decade, had based its Lok Sabha poll campaign mainly on the policy paralysis alleged during the UPA-2 tenure and the corruption unearthed during the same. So, for Modi an uphill task will be to reduce if not uproot corruption from the country. He can take the route of anti-graft legislations and ensure their effective implementation to tackle the menace, which had given birth to the recent Lokpal movement and subsequently the Aam Aadmi Party. The development carried out in Gujarat has largely been free of corruption taint and Modi should replicate the same model across the country.
Foreign Policy: In India, there has been a practice that successive governments largely carry forward the policies of previous regimes as regards external affairs. Same is expected during the Modi government`s tenure.
Like the UPA, the NDA-2 government is expected to maintain a fine balance in India`s ties with Russia and the US. However, as regards China and Pakistan, Modi has been quite vocal and is expected to adopt a hard stance compared to the UPA government led by Manmohan Singh.
Modi is also likely to try to leverage the relationship that India and the US have shared in the global war against terror, to exert American pressure on Pakistan and ensure uprooting of terror sanctuaries there. A case in point – the 26/11 trial in Pakistan is heading nowhere and top terrorists continue to roam freely inside the latter`s territory.
Security: One major challenge for the Modi government will be to tackle Naxal surge in the country. Lately, Naxals have carried out spectacular strike – in one attack, they nearly wiped out the entire state leadership of the Congress party in Chhattisgarh; in another incidence over 70 security forces personnel were killed. Notably, both the attacks took place during the BJP rule in the state.
Another challenge will be to deal with terrorism originating from Pakistan. Apart from the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, numerous other terror strikes took place during the 10-year UPA rule. One worrying factor was also the emergence of the home-grown terror organisation Indian Mujahideen. PM Modi will have to modernise and bring in reforms within the paramilitary, police and investigating agencies in order to help them deal better with terrorists, who are armed with sophisticated weapons.
Also on agenda will be to modernise the armed forces – the Army, Air Force and Navy – to prepare them to face challenges posed by Pakistan and China in the changing global scenario. Recent naval tragedies have already exposed India`s preparedness.
Economy & Inflation: One issue on which the Modi government will have to act quickly and efficiently is the economy. Under UPA`s tenure, the growth slipped from a high of near double-digit to a low of 4.6 percent. The agriculture as well as industry too failed to register healthy growth, with the IIP even going into the negative during the UPA-2 regime. While the UPA government had managed to tide over the 2008 depression, it failed to revive the `India story`. For Modi, the challenge is this – revive the `India growth story` and hardsell it to attract foreign investment.
Infrastructure projects also need to be taken up in a big way to reinvigorate the flagging economy. Most of the delays in infra projects during the UPA tenure were due to issues like law and order problems, delay in land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement problems, fund constraints, delay in green clearances etc. While Modi will have to tackle these issues effectively, he has shown in Gujarat that such problems are `minor issues` from him.
Further, the nation has the capacity to increase domestic consumption, but for that to happen inflation has to come down. This will be another key challenge for the BJP government under Modi`s stewardship, coupled with employment generation for India`s youth. Modi will also have to keep on his radar fiscal discipline and banking reforms etc.
Miscellaneous: Alleviating poverty and spreading education will also be key challenges for the Modi government in the 21st century. Various state BJP governments have fared well on these issues and Modi is expected to implement their policies nationally.
The government under Narendra Modi will also have to take special care of minorities, especially Muslims, as the BJP is mainly seen as a pro-majority party. Modi is still forced to answer on the 2002 Gujarat communal riots, despite courts giving him a clean chit. He will also have to impress upon the fact that his government`s agenda is not pro-Hindutva.