Love him or hate him, you simply can't ignore him! That's India's 14th and current Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, for you. It's his birthday today and Modi - who has also been the Chief Minister of Gujarat from 2001 to 2014 - has turned 71. Here's looking at 10 landmark decisions that redefined India and key developments during his regime.
Launching the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
The Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission) is the one of the most significant cleanliness campaigns by the Government of India. A nation-wide campaign, the mission was launched in 2014 to eliminate open defecation and improve the system of solid waste management. The campaign was officially launched on Gandhi Jayanti, October 2, 2014 at Rajghat. The Prime Minister's speeches made for a personal push for the campaign and the construction of toilets in rural areas to stop open defecation earned praise from many.
Balakot airstrike: India's military might
In the early hours of February 26, 2019, the Balakot airstrike was conducted by India. India confirmed the airstrike by saying that it was a major “non-military pre-emptive” action directed against a terrorist training camp, which caused the deaths of a "large number" of terrorists. The Indian strike on the JeM camp came 12 days after the terror outfit claimed responsibility for a suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama in which over 40 soldiers were killed.
Abrogation of Article 370
On August 5, 2019, Articles 370 and 35(A) were nullified that gave Jammu & Kashmir its special status and the mandate to define its domicile rules. It also led to the bifurcation of the erstwhile state into two Union territories. This revoked the temporary special status, or autonomy, granted under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution to Jammu and Kashmir. Two years after the abrogation, the official account of Narendra Modi's personal website tweeted, "A historic day. Two years ago, on this day, the first big step towards a #NewJammuKashmir was taken. Since then, there has been unprecedented peace & progress in the region."
Revision of laws in Jammu and Kashmir
The Centre under the Modi government also paved the way for people from outside Jammu and Kashmir to buy land in the union territory by amending several laws, over a year after the nullification of Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution. In a gazette notification, the Centre has omitted the phrase "permanent resident of the state" from Section 17 of the Jammu and Kashmir Development Act that deals with disposal of the land in the union territory.
Fight against COVID-19
While the government and the Prime Minister came under sharp criticism during the second wave of COVID-19, which created havoc in the country including its capital, Delhi, the tide seems to have turned. With vaccination pace picking up, India witnessed a record 1 crore people getting vaccinated in a single day towards August end. While Modi applauded the feat calling it 'momentous', World Health Organization (WHO) chief scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan congratulated India for vaccinating 50 per cent of the adult population with the first dose. This comes as a major pat in the back for the PM.
Introduction of Goods and Services tax
The nationwide Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime was rolled out in 2017 to incorporate and replace 17 existing indirect taxes like excise duty, service tax and VAT and 13 cesses. The rollout of GST through a special session of Parliament four years ago is considered one of the major highlights of the Modi government.
GST has been a milestone in the economic landscape of India. It has decreased the number of taxes, compliance burden & overall tax burden on common man while significantly increasing transparency, compliance and overall collection. #4YearsofGST
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) June 30, 2021
Instant Triple Talaq made a punishable offence
The NDA government faced several hurdles but finally managed to enforce the Triple Talaq law on August 1, 20219, under which giving instant divorce by Muslim men to women was made a punishable criminal offence. Earlier, the Supreme Court of India struck down the practice of instant triple talaq in August 2017, following a petition filed by Shayara Bano, who was divorced through the instant triple talaq. While many opposition parties targeted the PM and government, this is considered a major win for the Modi government. The practice of instant divorce by Muslim men is now punishable by a jail term of up to three years.
Initiation of Digital India
As a PIB statement mentions, the vision of Digital India was aimed at transforming the country into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy. The idea was to ensure that Government services are available to citizens electronically. "This decade is going to enhance India's capabilities in digital technology and its share in the global digital economy. That's why top experts are looking at this decade as 'India's Techade'," PM Narendra Modi said earlier this year.
This decade is going to enhance India's capabilities in digital technology & its share in the global digital economy. That's why top experts are looking at this decade as 'India's Techade': PM Narendra Modi pic.twitter.com/cXSPg7eNPi
— ANI (@ANI) July 1, 2021
Appointment of the first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)
While the creation of a CDS was suggested almost two decades ago by the Kargil Review Committee (KRC), in February 2000, General Bipin Rawat was named India’s first Chief of Defence Staff on December 30, 2019. Earlier that year, in August, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the decision to create the top military post from the ramparts of the Red Fort.
100% FDI for Telecom sector
In the latest development, the cash-strapped telecom sector received a big boost. The Centre has announced major reforms that are likely to usher the telecom industry into a new era, pushing investment and reducing the debt burden. The Union Cabinet, which cleared the big-bang reforms on Wednesday (September 15), also approved a massive relief package for the telecom sector that includes a four-year moratorium on payment of statutory dues by telecom companies as well as allowing 100 per cent foreign direct investment through the automatic route.